England: Can they avoid a whitewash?

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After Australia raced to victory at Melbourne, England were once again left in tatters thinking that what just happened.

What actually happened was that England let go of the opportunity that they got. They reduced Australia to 164/9 and could have easily got a lead of 80+.

But Cook once again chose to be on the defensive side and as a result, Haddin and Lyon made a 40 run partnership that gave the Aussies such a momentum that they bowled out the Brits for a low total and then denied them even a sniff of victory on day 5 as Rogers and Watson steered Australia through as early as possible.

Now, both the teams move to Sydney for the fifth and final test of the back-to-back Ashes season. England would have nothing but their third spot in the ICC Test Rankings to defend as well as their pride.

If England win here, they’ll get the much needed momentum for the ODI series and hopefully win there as well. Australia on the other hand would look to blow the Brits off for the final time and complete their 5-0 victory to finally lift the ultimate prize, The Ashes.

Talking about changes that England should make now is first of all the “Batting Order." Going with Ian Bell for the no.3 spot where the Warwickshire lad has tons of runs won’t be a bad option at all because going with Root hasn’t done much good. Another change that England surely should make is giving either Rankin or Finn a chance to play instead of Bresnan because they have that pace and bounce that no batsmen would like.

Also, seeing the way the Sydney pitch behaved in a recent Big Bash League match suggests that the pitch would assist the seamers a lot. The other English batsmen too would like to get some big scores under their belt and convert the starts into something that can influence the match in England’s favour.

Also, Cook’s men would like to gather some confidence from England’s 2002-03 Ashes squad that won at Sydney by 225 runs after they too were 4-0 down. Sydney could well have something interesting in the pack.

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