The Ashes: England vs Australia
Blundstone Arena, Hobart
14th – 18th January 2022
Following the dramatic draw in the 4th Test at the SCG, the Ashes whitewash dream has now disappeared for Australia, with Pat Cummins’s side taking a 3-0 lead into the final match in Hobart. In what has been a one-sided encounter, the baggy greens have dominated throughout the series, with England often playing for survival – rather than to win the game.
The final test of the series presents a chance for both sides to blood some fresh players, with Australia looking at the role of opener Marcus Harris within the side. Whilst England have injury problems of their own, with Sam Billings expected to make his test debut in Hobart.
For Australia, it has been another home Ashes series they have dominated from the outset. New captain Pat Cummins has thrived in his role, with opener David Warner coming to the party regularly. Marnus Labuschagne is now the world’s best Test batsman, with Steve Smith also ever-reliant with the bat in hand. Cameron Green has emerged as one of the best all-rounders in world cricket, whilst Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon have both taken plenty of wickets in the series so far.
England could be buoyed by their final ball escape in Sydney, but they do have problems with their starting XI. Haseeb Hameed can’t buy a run at the top of the order, with Dawid Malan also starting to struggle for form. With Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes all expected to miss the game, the likes of Ollie Pope and Sam Billings will need to step up in the middle order. The bowling department also looks a little light, with the exception of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad – two men that could well be playing their last ever Test match down under.
This should be a high scoring encounter with Australia playing full of confidence with the Ashes in the bag and England should feel like they have nothing to lose.
Joe Root needs a performance personally for the sake of his captaincy and the Yorkshireman should stand up and be counted here – with an away Ashes hundred still on his bucket list.
Despite only playing two of the four games in the series so far, Stuart Broad has shown his class and he’ll be steaming in here in Tasmania.
Steve Smith has dominated the English bowling attack for years and with a couple of low scores in his past few outings, how he’d love to go big here.
The day-night conditions in Hobart should suit bowlers who look to move the ball and Mitchell Starc is one of the best in the business with the new ball in hand.
With the destination of the Ashes wrapped up, both sides could rotate their squads a little, but England will feel they have a point to prove and won’t want to lose another game in the series.
The momentum however is very much with Australia at this point, the Aussies should come through and win this one at 4/6.