The final Ashes Test over two legs of the series is upon us and Australia will go into this game in Sydney as heavy favourites to clinch it over England by a 5-0 margin. Join us for live scores and commentar from 10.30am AEDT.
It’s been a sorry series for the visiting English side and while they have been clean swept 5-0 by Australia as recently as in 2006-07, it was a team ranks among the best in the history of the game.
This one is a solid side, but a work in progress and for England to capitulate so meekly over the course of the first four Tests has come out as a shock.
Things were a tad different in the previous game though, with England gaining some advantage by the end of the second day. They were still ahead by 91 runs when stumps were drawn but more vitally Australia had fallen to nine wickets down.
Things changed dramatically on the third day.
First Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon chipped at the lead to reduce it to 51 before being bowled out. And then England were sent packing from 5/173 to 179 all out, and that was after they had got up to 1/86 at one stage.
Australia required 231 for a win, and there was enough on offer for the fielding team in terms of chances but England refused to hold on to them and were swept aside to an eight-wicket loss.
In the recently concluded series between South Africa and India, when Zaheer Khan was queried what he needed to do in order to get rid of his purported bunny, the left-arm pacer had joked, he just needed to turn up.
From a position in which they could dictate terms to one of a feeble surrender took England less than one and a half days coming.
As things currently stand, England seem like in a situation that’s no different.
On a man to man basis, Australia might seem a little ahead on paper at home but there’s not too much to suggest that they are miles ahead. And yet, the psychological scars from what has been dished out to them by the likes of Mitchell Johnson and co. has left them almost wishing the series wasn’t this long.
And that’s where Australia have scored. They have been relentless in their pursuits and on the rare occasions they have fallen behind, they have recovered because of the confidence they possess, having known how to get over those situations.
So come the fifth Test match, it would be no surprise if we see a repeat of one of the previous games. With the same result.
There could be changes in both sides, one to injuries and the other because they aren’t left with too many options.
If Shane Watson and Ryan Harris fail to recover in time, we could see James Faulkner and Nathan Coulter-Nile joining the starting 11 but the chances look a little remote. Alex Doolan’s also a part of the side but unless Australia want to make three changes to their playing 11, it may not make sense to bring him in.
England have question-marks over many of the places in the side.
Can Michael Carberry start converting his starts?
Will Joe Root get scoring a tad more quickly for his number three spot?
How will Ian Bell turn up after the horrendous shot he played to get out in Melbourne?
Will Matt Prior get a look-in ahead of Jonny Bairstow?
Could the management bring in Steven Finn or Boyd Rankin for Tim Bresnan?
Is Monty Panesar fit, and if not, will Scott Borthwick get a Test cap?
Join me for the first day of the fifth Ashes 2013-14 Test on Saturday and you can follow live scores of this game from 10.30am AEDT and post your comments below.