There’s a running joke among the Australians. An English coach walks into a bar where a New Zealander, Indian, South African, Scotsman and Irishman are having a drink. ‘Ok. Which of you wants to play in the next Test?’
It’s a bad time to be English. They’ve already lost three Tests on the trot, none of their batsmen are firing and two players – Jonathon Trott citing mental health-related stress issues and Graeme Swann announcing his retirement – have left. The bulldog, never-say-die spirit which saw England win the last series 3-0 is completely missing. Mitchell Johnson, who was often branded a clown by the English media, is breathing fire and brimstone and the English batsmen look like are facing Jeff Thomson. The Boxing Day Test has become a dead rubber but the Englishmen will want to win or at least draw the remaining games to avoid an embarrassing 5-0 whitewash.
English Team News
Very few of the English team are in any sort of form, though Ben Stokes was quite a revelation in the last Test with his magnificent century in fighting conditions. Captain Alastair Cook has been in dire form though and needs to lead from the front while Joe Root’s batting has been the only redeeming feature amongst the other hapless batsmen. A lot of eyes will be on Kevin Pietersen who has been criticised quite harshly by Geoffrey Boycott in recent times, but the flamboyant batsman has refused to change his ways. English fans will also hope that Monty Panesar can do some damage when he takes Swann’s place.
Australian Team News
The Australians are likely to have an unchanged squad with the redeemed David Warner opening and Watson will look to do some damage at number 3. Haddin is in good nick with bat and gloves and the Aussies will hope Mitchell Johnson continues his reign of terror.
Australia (probable): Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (c), Steven Smith, George Bailey, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon.
England (probable): Alastair Cook (c), Michael Carberry, Joe Root, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Ben Stokes, Matt Prior (wk), Tim Bresnan, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Monty Panesar.