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The final stanza of the Ashes series awaits at the Sydney Cricket Ground, a venue known as a wonderful ground for watching cricket.
Neither a result or a lively pitch was seen in Melbourne, and Australia therefore hold their 3-0 advantage. Ahead of the fifth and final Test of the series let’s take a look at some of the notable stats and figures behind it all.
20 – England failed to take 20 wickets in a match this series, but they may look to a bright young leg spinner of that age in Mason Crane to help address this. While there has been no confirmation yet, coach Trevor Bayliss hinted at the possibility this week.
7 – On the subject of team changes, clearly a lot can happen in four years. The last team England brought to the SCG included seven different faces not present on this tour. Only Alastair Cook, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad and James Anderson remain in the XI this time.
3 – It took Australia just three days to complete a 5-0 rout of England in that match, winning by 281 runs. Fast bowler Ryan Harris was the man of the match, claiming eight wickets for the game, and current captain Steve Smith scored Test century number three.
371 – Okay, so it’s incredibly unlikely, but Smith needs 371 runs in the fifth Test to break the record of most runs in an Ashes series, which stands at 974 set by none other than Don Bradman in 1930.
151 – It’s difficult not to keep mentioning him, but if you’re picking a player of the series, right now it is this man. Smith is averaging 151 in this series and has been dismissed on only four of six occasions.
33.8 – Ordinarily you might say Smith’s opposing captain, Joe Root, has had a respectable series, scoring three half-centuries and 237 runs at 33.8, but his side has still needed much more at crucial times, and his numbers appear pretty insignificant when compared with Smith.
1 – This will be Joe Root’s first Test appearance at the Sydney Cricket Ground, having been dropped from the side that lost there in January 2014.
78 – David Warner has put in a solid series with the bat, thanks largely to two big hands in the Melbourne Test, which included a first-innings century. But it was 12 months ago that Warner played a tremendous innings at the SCG, reaching a century before the lunch break and taking just 78 deliveries to do so against Pakistan.
70 per cent – Ominous signs for England as Australia’s recent record at the ground is very good. The home side have won seven of the past ten SCG Test matches. The plus side for England, however, is that they inflicted Australia’s most recent loss in the 2010-11 Ashes series. England is also the only side to have beaten the Aussies at the ground since 1995, having done so twice.
166 – A frequent figure in the Channel Nine commentary setup this season, Michael Vaughan’s 166 in January 2003 helped England to the first of those two wins at the SCG, avoiding a series whitewash to go down 4-1. This time a win for England would salvage plenty despite losing the urn, as a 3-1 defeat looks more respectable than 4-0, which we all know is a real possibility.
Who can step up for the tourists and achieve this? Alastair Cook, Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow are all in form and boast centuries this series. Or will it be the skipper Root, who is yet to reach to three figures so far? Maybe there is an opportunity for the inexperienced Stoneman or Vince to go to the next level in this match.