Following the inaugural Calendar Ashes series down under, England will now seek to regain the urn at home.
Following an unconvincing win against the West Indies and a somewhat close defeat to India on Sunday, the Aussies will be scratching their heads in terms of selection for tonight’s match-up against Pakistan in Taunton.
With an untimely side-strain injury to Marcus Stoinis and gloomy weather surrounding the UK until early next week, there is no doubt Australia will be calling upon one or more new members to their XI, as Aaron Finch alluded to in his press conference yesterday. Stoinis is reportedly set to be ruled out of the fixture tonight, meaning that either Shaun Marsh slots into the middle order or Nathan Lyon comes into the side as a second spinner.
Shaun’s brother Mitch was called into the squad only yesterday, so he won’t be available to play tonight against Pakistan, and Adam Zampa’s consistency with ball in hand has been questionable, to say the least, hence why the latter option seems the most viable of the two. These are certainly headaches that Justin Langer doesn’t want heading into Australia’s fourth fixture of the tournament.
But it doesn’t end there. Even though he dug the Aussies out of a huge hole with bat in hand against the West Indies, the position of Nathan Coulter-Nile will be under serious threat if he doesn’t perform with the ball tonight. He has looked under extreme pressure with the ball, and surely the batting capabilities of this man at No. 8 aren’t enough for him to retain his spot in this side moving forward in the campaign.
The option of bringing in both Shaun Marsh for Stoinis and Nathan Lyon for Coulter-Nile isn’t too far off the cards. Should Marsh or Lyon get picked in the side tonight, one of them needs to put their hands up and put a gritty performance together for their country.
Watch closely how Usman Khawaja and Glenn Maxwell perform tonight. These two batsmen have been heavily criticised for their performances of late, but we need to stick by them for the time being. Maxwell is one of the most destructive hitters of the ball in world cricket, and with the high possibility of a shortened fixture tonight in Taunton, he is certainly someone that you want in your side.
With only two matches – three if the weather holds off tonight – remaining until the Aussies face competition favourites England on 25 June, there has never been a more crucial time for the Aussies to put a convincing victory on the board.
Every single member in the team, one to 11, needs to understand their role and dig deep for the green and gold.