England vs Australia, 3rd Ashes Test, Preview – Focus on Jofra Archer as hosts look to level the series

The visitors will miss Smith in this Test.

Jofra Archer
Jofra Archer. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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The things have definitely spiced up in the Ashes after the mouth-watering contest at the home of cricket, Lord’s. Though the game ended in the balance the hosts were able to shrug off their morning blues after the thrashing received at Edgbaston. England have got their tails up and now it is time for them to pound their prey. While the Kangaroos will be licking on their wounds and will be prepping for the Headingley humdinger.

The English boys will be flying high after their inspired performances in the second game. Particularly the arrival of fast bowling phenom, Jofra Archer has changed the outlook of the series. His deadly bumper to Steve Smith has put the batting maestro out of the Leeds Test. Even though a couple of their batting stars have failed to produce the numbers the bowlers have made up for them by delivering game-changing spells. They have their best chance to level the series.

The Australian team will be focusing on the fact that they are still leading the series. As usual, their bowling department has been top-notch. They have also outclassed the opposition with their fielding efforts. Still, they have to address their batting frailties which could bust them wide open in the absence of Smith. There are some tough characters in that dressing room and if they execute their skills in order then the fans will be in for another Ashes’ roller-coaster ride.

Playing Combinations


Rory Burns has been a valuable addition at the top of the order and he will also be helping out Jason Roy who is yet to find his feet in the classic format. Skipper Joe Root‘s form has been a worry so he will be desperate to reverse his batting trend. England’s new No.4 Joe Denly has looked assured in his stay so he will be keen to convert his starts into substantial scores. Jos Buttler’s promotion in the batting order will certainly boost his confidence.

Superman, Ben Stokes will be in a good frame of mind after stroking an important century in the context of the series. Jonny Bairstow has kept well but he needs to contribute more with the bat. Chris Woakes has done his part as an all-rounder and especially his tidy spells have helped the skipper control the game. As usual Stuart Board has been amongst the wickets and the new entrant, Jofra Archer has already shown his colours in the whites. Spinner Jack Leach will be looking to consolidate his place in the playing XI as the premier spinner.

Probable XI: Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Root (C), Joe Denly, Jonny Bairstow (WK), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer.


It will be an important game for the opening pair of David Warner and Cameron Bancroft who has not found the rhythm since their comeback into the Test arena. In the absence of star performer, Steve Smith the onus will be on Warner to guide the batting department. He will be assisted by Usman Khwaja and Travis Head in the middle-order. Both of them have played well but a big score has eluded them.

Though Matthew Wade had forgetful outings in the last game his hundred at Edgbaston will keep him in good stead. Tim Paine’s poor batting form has affected his keeping skills so he will need some runs under his belt. Pat Cummins has efficiently led the pace attack and again he will be joining the forces with Josh Hazlewood.

Being a workhorse Peter Siddle will play the role of 3rd seamer. Nathan Lyon has hit his straps early in the series and now he will be hungry for more.

Probable XI: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khwaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (C & WK ), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc/Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle.

Focus will be on

Joe Root (England)

The England batting mainstay has not enjoyed this year as he has been averaging 25 in the longest format. He has looked vulnerable against moving ball as the pacers have worked out a set pattern for him. Joe Root batting exploits in the rest of the series will be a key factor for the success of the Brits. His form will determine the team’s chances of regaining the urn.

Nathan Lyon (Australia)

In the last couple of years, Nathan Lyon has clearly stolen the limelight from the famed pace attack. He has enhanced the reputation of classical off-spinners and his rising aura has helped the youngsters to pick up the art. He was one of the heroes when the side won the Edgbaston Test. Again he will be licking his fingers to outfox the English batsmen.

Head to Head

Matches played – 332 | Australia won – 135 | England won – 106 | Draw – 91

Stat Attack

0 – In his 13 innings against England Pat Cummins has never remained wicketless.

10 – Number of years passed since the last Ashes Test was played at Headingley

Broadcasting Details

TV – Sony Six and Sony Six HD

Live Streaming – Sony LIV

Match Timings – 15:30 IST, 11:00 local