ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 06: Jonny Bairstow of England looks dejected as Usman Khawaja, Cameron Bancroft and Mitchell Starc of Australia celebrate his wicket giving them victory during day five of the Second Test match during the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at Adelaide Oval on December 6, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Preview

Australia and England are set to continue hostilities at the WACA in the third Ashes Test of the summer, beginning on Thursday.

Coming in with a 2-0 advantage, Australia enter the match as red-hot favourites on a ground that has given England nightmares for decades. The visitors will need to grab control of their derailing tour in order to resurrect the series. However, they face perhaps the most difficult challenge of the summer thus far, a bouncy WACA wicket.

For Australia, they will likely once again rely on the likes of Smith and Warner to make the bulk of the runs, with Marsh’s strong form and in-depth knowledge of Perth conditions also a cause of concern for England.

Usman Khawaja and Cameron Bancroft will hope to make some runs to cement their places in the team, while intrigue surround the potential inclusion of Mitch Marsh for out-of-form batsman, Peter Handscomb. Marsh is a WA native and the all-rounder the selectors might turn to, with the ability to bowl from a tall height potentially being effective on the WACA deck.

In the bowling stocks, Australia can rest easy knowing their attack of Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood and Lyon are as reliable as they come and should thrive in Perth conditions.

For England, their well documented off-field mishaps are the least of their worries, with the visitors desperate for a bigger contribution from former skipper Alastair Cook at the top of the order. Cook’s tour has gotten off to a shaky start, with only one innings over 16 runs opening up the top order to a confident Aussie bowling attack. Cook’s not alone on the batting front however, with the rest of the line-up also failing to record big innings, putting further pressure on the bowlers to produce at a high level.

Captain Joe Root can rely on Anderson, Broad and Woakes to produce with the ball, but will need a significant improvement from spinner Moeen Ali to get back in the series. Ali has been a non-factor with his off-spin, taking just the two wickets across Australia’s four innings, while also struggling with the bat at number six. Jonny Bairstow has looked more likely with bat in hand and could move up the order at the expense of Ali.

Australia can regain the urn with a win in the last Test match at the WACA, an added motivation on a deck where they have been near unbeatable.

History at the WACA

Tests: 13

Wins: Australia England 1

Draws: 3

Likely XI’s

Australia

  1. David Warner
  2. Cameron Bancroft
  3. Usman Khawaja
  4. Steve Smith
  5. Shaun Marsh
  6. Mitch Marsh
  7. Tim Paine
  8. Pat Cummins
  9. Mitchell Starc
  10. Nathan Lyon
  11. Josh Hazlewood

England

  1. Alastair Cook
  2. Mark Stoneman
  3. James Vince
  4. Joe Root
  5. Dawid Malan
  6. Jonny Bairstow
  7. Moeen Ali
  8. Chris Woakes
  9. Craig Overton
  10. Stuart Broad
  11. James Anderson