Never change a winning team, so the old adage goes. It is an understandable viewpoint, and after Stuart Broad’s blitz at Durham Andy Flower and the England management may feel there is no need to make unnecessary changes to the England side.

Tim Bresnan will miss the final test at the Kia Oval, with Chris Tremlett set to return to the England XI on his home ground. 

Tremlett was a success in the last Ashes campaign in Australia before injury once again put a halt to his international career, but despite their unassailable 3-0 series led, England have not been the dominant force many thought they would be.

England won the first test at Trent Bridge by 14 runs, drew the third test at Old Trafford thanks to the rain, and although the 74 run victory margin in the fourth test seems comfortable, with Australia at 109-0 chasing 299 the home supporters buttocks were firmly clenched. 

Add to that some disappointing individual performances, and a better than expected Australia team, and there is much to trouble captain Cook and his superiors. 

Cook himself is only averaging 27, although obviously his place in the side is secure, while Jonny Bairstow (29), Jonathan Trott (24), Matt Prior (14) will all be troubled by their performances with the bat. 

However, with two of those three being stalwarts of the side, and the other a young prospect, it is unlikely Flower and company will seek change.

One batsman who could be rested is Kevin Pietersen. His calf injury continues to cause issues, and should the problem persist then it would ease some fears if his replacement had considerable test match experience.

James Taylor, the man currently in pole position should Pietersen succumb to injury during the winter, has only played two test matches and has yet to fully convince. 

Would England be so bold as to rest KP to give someone else more experience?

As for the bowling, James Anderson has been woefully under par over the last two test matches. Match figures of 2-138 at Chester-le-street and 2-153 at his home ground Old Trafford. 

The Lancastrian was once criticised for only threatening in English conditions, so it was alarming to see how little Anderson moved the ball compared to the other fast bowlers on display in Durham. 

While two bad tests can be passed off as merely a blip, it was troubling to see how neutered the England attack became when Anderson and the off-spinner Graeme Swann struggled. 

Broad’s devilish spell won England the game, and when on fire the tall right-armer can blaze through any batting line up, but on an off day Broad offers up easy runs.

The next bowler in the queue, however, makes Broad look like a model of consistency. While Steven Finn offers an improved chance of taking a wicket, he can also prove expensive and the way Brad Haddin attacked him in the final innings at Trent Bridge nearly cost England the game.

Ultimately, England are a conservative bunch and rarely make a change unless it is enforced. 

Most of the places in the team are sewn up, with Bairstow and Joe Root afforded time to make their mark, and the third seamer position rotated between Bresnan, Finn, and Tremlett. 

Graham Onions was overlooked at Durham despite his fantastic first class record this season, and Taylor and his cohorts have not made the runs in the county championship to provide a strong enough case to rest someone like Pietersen.

Twenty-20 and One day internationals offer the chance to rest players ahead of the winter tour to Australia, so it is unlikely we will see any surprises from England. 

However, another poor display especially from the batting lineup may make changes more likely in the future.

 

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Topics:
#The Ashes
#Cricket
#England cricket