Preview- In-form Australia looks favorites to clinch Ashes 2019 series 3-1
The Ashes 2019 has been one of the most exciting ones in recent memory with every game having multiple ebbs and flows. Australia retained the Ashes this time after winning the 4th Test match at Manchester against England by 185 runs. It was a stunning performance after being deprived of a certain win in the 3rd Test by a Ben Stoke special.
Australia now lead the series 2-1 and have looked the better side overall in this high-octane Test series. They will hence go into the 5th and final Test at The Oval with great confidence of winning the series too. Australia’s biggest strength right now is Steven Smith, who has been by far the best batsman in both the sides. Smith has amassed an incredible 671 runs with 3 hundreds and 2 fifties in the 3 Tests he has played so far in the series and England has found no way to dislodge him.
The poor form of opener David Warner (79 runs in 4 Tests) is a big worry. However, Marnus Labuschagne (291 runs in 3 Tests), Matthew Wade (204 runs in 4 Tests) and Tim Paine have provided solidity to the batting order.
Australia’s bowling, though, has shown great potency. Pat Cummins has been the pick of the lot with 24 wickets so far in the series. He has been able supported by Josh Hazlewood (18 wickets) and spinner Natahan Lyon (16 wickets). The addition of left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc from the 4th Test has added further vigor to their bowling unit. These bowlers will be quite a handful at The Oval as well and the home team would have to find a way out.
England, meanwhile, have been poor this Ashes. Barring that brilliance from Stokes in the final innings of the 3rd Test, they have failed regularly to make an impact. Captain Joe Root (247 runs in 4 Tests) has been below average and would really need to step up in the final match. Rory Burns (323 runs in 4 Tests) has been England’s best batsman this series and would look to continue his good form along with Stokes. However, the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Jos Butler and Jason Roy are having a terrible series and would need to do much more if England wishes to salvage a drawn series.Embed from Getty Images
England’s bowling has been much better led by the experienced Stuart Broad (19 wickets) and Jofra Archer (16 wickets). Ben Stokes and spinner Jack Leach have done a good job as well.
Match prediction – England vs Australia, 5th Test:Embed from Getty Images
The last time England and Australia faced-off in an Ashes Test at The Oval was in the 2015 Ashes series where Australia won by an innings and 46 runs courtesy a masterful 143 by Steve Smith.
England would hence be wary of Australia and especially Smith heading into the 5th Test at The Oval.
The average 1st innings score at this venue is 349 and thus the team winning the toss would be looking to bat first and score in excess of 350 runs. The wicket assists seamers and would be difficult to bat on by the third day. The average 4th innings score at The Oval is 154. Hence, chasing is difficult here and a target over 250 runs might be a match-winning one.
England should go all out in this final Test to secure a victory. But Australia has got form and confidence on their side and look favorites to win this contest.