England and Australia head to the Oval for the fifth and final Ashes test.
Even though the ashes will be heading back to Australia, this test gives England a chance to draw the series and retain some dignity.
We already know the ashes will be heading back to Australia at the end of this series. This is because in the case of a draw the previous winners retain the ashes and a draw is now the best result England can come away with.
Although we know where the ashes are headed the series is far from over. To England this final test will mean everything. They have not lost a home Ashes series since 2001.
If England can win the test and draw the series then they can be fairly happy with how they’ve played against a very good Australian side. However if they lose the final test and go down in the series 3-1 then there’ll be a lot of awkward questions for Joe Root and his team.
For Australia they will be delighted if they can complete a victory on foreign soil.
5th Ashes test betting odds
So what are the betting odds heading into the fifth Ashes test? The bookmakers are predicting an Australian win, but the odds for England are also fairly short. For the previous test they predicted an England win.
England – 2.50
Draw – 6.00
Australia – 2.05
England have named an unchanged side for the final test. They will be assessing Ben Stokes’ fitness to bowl but he will play as a specialist batsmen either way. If Stokes is unfit to bowl it is likely they will bring Chris Woakes into the side.
Despite the courageous performance from a few of the batsmen at the end of the last test, England will be very low in confidence heading to London.
One positive from the last test may be that the switch of Jason Roy and Joe Denly’s positions in the batting lineup showed some promise. In England’s second innings they both dug in well. Joe Denly reached his half century off over 150 balls and Jason Roy was playing solidly before recieving an absolute peach from Pat Cummins. Hopefully they can build on this in the final test.
As of today Australia have not announced their side, however it will likely be identical to the one from the last test.
Australia’s bowlers have been outstanding for the whole series so far. You can see why Pat Cummins is rated the top test bowler, he is relentless with his pace and does not deviate from his line and length. Josh Hazlewood has also been impressive.
If they were to change anyone it may be Mitchell Starc, a great bowler yet he has a tendency to leak runs. With James Pattinson and Peter Siddle available, Australia might drop Starc to bring one of them in.
The batting for Australia has in general been no more impressive than Englands, except for the standout Steve Smith and his apprentice Marnus Labuschagne. David Warner is currently on 3 ducks in a row, a stat England will be hoping to add to.
Nathan Lyon may be a slight concern for Australia. On the last day of the previous test he seemed to have done some damage to one of his fingers, hindering his bowling.
Head to head at the Oval
The Oval has not been the most successful ground for England. Of the tests played against Australia in this millennium England have won just once.
It looks set to stay dry for each of the 5 days so we should get the full amount of play in.
My moneys on an England win. With so much to play for, the English will turn up all guns blazing to this test. The Australians already know the ashes are going with them so have less to play for.