The 2nd Ashes 2019 Test at Lord’s ended in a pulsating draw on the 18th of August. Had the rain interruptions in the first couple of days not lost a lot of overs, we would have certainly seen a result in this Test too. For now, Australia have eked out a draw and have secured their 1-0 lead in the series.
The third Ashes 2019 Test begins on the 22nd of August at Headingley, Leeds. And given the way things are now placed this could be the most important match of the series.
Preview – Both England and Australia evenly matched
The biggest issue for both England and Australia before the third Test begins will be the status of Steve Smith’s injury. Smith, who was injured on the neck by a vicious Jofra Archer bouncer, had to retire hurt in the first innings for a while. While he came to bat later on he couldn’t take any further part in the match because he was diagnosed with a concussion. Whether or not Smith will be able to take part in the 3rd Test is still unknown.Embed from Getty Images
Smith has scores of 144, 142 and 92 in this series so far. It goes without saying that Australia would be desperate to want their best batsman back. England, though, would hope that Smith stays away as he has been the biggest thorn in their path. Australia without Steve Smith would give England a great advantage
Even with Smith, though, Australia has a few issues to sort out. Opener David Warner has managed only 18 runs in the two Tests so far. And No. 3 batsman Usman Khawaja has managed a paltry 91 runs. This would really need to be addressed by the team management. The good news is that Marnus Labuschagne, who became the first-ever concussion substitute when he replaced the injured Smith in the 4th innings, showed a lot of grit and maturity to compile a solid 59. He could get a chance in the fragile Australian middle-order in the next match.Embed from Getty Images
Australia’s bowling has been good all round with Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon being among the wickets.
Meanwhile, England too have some questions to address. Captain Joe Root has been in horrible form, managing only 99 runs in the 2 Tests so far. Opener Jason Roy, playing his debut Test series, was expected to set things on fire but has been found wanting and collected only 40 runs so far.
Thankfully, Ben Stokes’ unbeaten 115 in the final innings of the second Test would have given the England camp a lot of hope. Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow too showed character and if Joe Denly can show some support then England’s middle-order would look robust.Embed from Getty Images
England’s bowling has been pretty good so far with Stuart Broad (10 wickets) and Chris Woakes (7 wickets) leading the way. The inclusion of Jofra Archer in the 2nd Test showed how lethal he can be with his pace and hostility. He will be the biggest threat for the Australian batsmen in the upcoming Test.
Match prediction: England may make a comeback in evenly poised series
The last Ashes Test at Headingley, Leeds, was played back in 2009 which Australia won by an innings and 80 runs. The pitch is expected to assist the seamers but batsmen should find it good to bat on the second and third days.Embed from Getty Images
While Australia lead the series 1-0, they haven’t been the best side as of now. England have played some poor cricket but were beginning to show signs of resolve by the end of the 2nd Test – both with their batting and bowling. If captain Joe Root can find form then England can make a comeback in this series. However, if Steve Smith returns and piles on the runs again then Australia might well take an unassailable lead after the end of the Test.
This should be a cracker of a Test match and significant in deciding the outcome of the series.