ASHES 2019: England look to take Headingley momentum into Old Trafford
Manchester, Sep 3: Riding high on confidence after registering an improbable win at Headingley, England will look to keep their winning momentum going when they take on Australia in the fourth Test of the ongoing Ashes series beginning Wednesday at the Old Trafford.
Ben Stokes, who was England's hero in the World Cup, snatched victory from the Australian camp and made sure his team levelled the series at 1-1 and remain in the hunt in the five-match rubber.
Apart from Stokes, the biggest positive for the English side in the last two games has been the bowling of pacer Jofra Archer, who has made an impact right from the word go and has troubled the Australian batters whenever he comes to bowl.
However, the area where the recently-crowned world champions need to work upon is their top-order batting. Both Joe Root and coach Trevor Bayliss will desperately want their top three to get crucial runs and make sure they lay a solid foundation for the likes of Jos Buttler and Stokes to go full throttle.
In order to strengthen it, they have decided to push Joe Denly up the order to open, with the struggling Jason Roy dropping down to play at No.4 in Manchester.
On the other hand, it will definitely take some courage from the Australian team to leave the Leeds' defeat behind and make sure they focus on the job in hand when they enter the ground on Wednesday.
One of the biggest pluses for the visitors is the return of Steve Smith, who had to miss the Headingley Test due to concussion. His duel with Archer was something which the fans enjoyed at Lord's and they would certainly be looking at it when they face each other in the fourth Test.
Australia coach Just Langer admitted that he felt 'physically sick' in the week following the Leeds' defeat and that's something which the visitors would have to move on from in their bid to retain the Ashes.
Tim Paine has dropped Usman Khawaja from the 12-man squad for the Manchester Test. Khawaja had captained the team in their tour game in Derby, making 72, but it wasn't enough for the left-hander to keep his spot in the XI.
Australia have also continued with their policy to shuffle their bowling attack as they have brought in Mitchell Starc, leaving out James Pattinson. Starc, who picked up seven wickets in the Derby game, will likely be competing with Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Peter Siddle for three pace-bowling spots.
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh, however, finds himself out of favour once again despite his good all-round show against Derbyshire.
Squads: Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matt Wade, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
England: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.