Spin Set to Play a Big Role in Final Ashes Test at the SCG

by on Wednesday, January 3

One final chance for England to save some face, with the fifth and final Test of the Ashes series upon us.

There’s no dressing it up, England have been comprehensively outperformed by Australia who won the first three Tests of the series to get the urn back in their possession before the players had even tucked into their Christmas dinners.

England stopped the rot with a draw in the fourth Test of the series, but on a docile Melbourne pitch rated as poor by the ICC’s review panel, it would have taken a superhuman effort for any side to force a win. And with Australia safe in the knowledge that the series was won, there was no real motivation for Steven Smith’s side to twist the knife.

The final Test at Sydney will be a gauge of how far England have fallen in the past few months. Australia started the series as favourites, as much based on home advantage rather than any supposed gulf in class, but they will begin the fifth Test as overwhelming market leaders. 188BET have the home side priced at 1.61, with England available to back at 4.05 and the draw the same price.

Consistency, or lack of it, has been England’s undoing this winter and even in the drawn game at the MCG they were reliant on one man, Alastair Cook in this case, making a massive score. What England need is for at least three of the top order to turn starts into big runs, which would then enable them to put some pressure on the Australians. For too many sessions in the series, it has been England with their backs against the wall fending off an onslaught from the home side.

England will make one change for the SCG, with leg spinner Mason Crane earning a Test debut. The 20-year-old is a promising individual, and with the series lost and at a venue expected to offer assistance to the spinners it looks a good call to make.

The toss has had no impact on the series so far, as Joe Root called correct in the first three Tests and duly lost them all. But you get the impression it could have a bigger say in Sydney.

With both sides thinking of going with a couple of spin options, Australia have drafted in Ashton Agar, winning the toss and batting first could be a huge advantage.

In the hope that Root calls correct at the toss, England could be the bet to win the final Test and salvage something from an abysmal series.