Ashes 2023 | Faith in Bazball remains for pivotal Old Trafford Test


Has the 2023 Ashes ruthlessly exposed Bazball as a weakness under the umbrella of Test Cricket?

For now the jury is out, but as the Fourth Test of an exhilarating Ashes summer begins on Thursday at Old Trafford, England once more find themselves on the brink.

Finally on the board at Headingley, the hosts need to win in Manchester to keep their Ashes hopes alive.

Can England level the series?


Crunch time, again

As the returning Mark Wood and Chris Woakes rode to England’s rescue in Leeds, the duo who have waited for their Ashes moment, delivered.

However, Australia retain the upper hand and England’s task of winning three back-to-back Tests to regain the urn remains a tall one.

Skipper Ben Stokes’ perennial heroics may have given the hosts a much-needed shot in the arm, but whilst beating Australia in successive games may now feel more attainable, England’s fight this week is against something far more worldly.

Mother nature.


Bazball can shine through gloom

Following three scintillating games that have reached a suitable conclusion, Old Trafford is up against the elements.

As Southern Europe melts in record-breaking heat, Manchester looks set to live up to an oft-disproven myth as ‘the rainiest city in England’.


Whilst for the moment Thursday looks dry, the same cannot be said of the other four days.

Bazball might yet come into its own.

England will need their accelerated, aggressive approach more than ever and arguably skipper Ben Stokes must win the coin flip.

If successful, however, England can write the playbook for what is likely to be a truncated Test.


Keeping faith

Despite victory, the clamour for Ben Foakes to take the gloves from an errant Jonny Bairstow were loud.

However, those calls have once more been ignored.

With minimal changes made, England’s hierarchy are bent on keeping the faith.


James Anderson returns for his home Test with the hope that bowling from his own end will resurrect his summer.

Moeen Ali’s move up the order to no.3 is the bolder move but whether it gives England’s batting order stability remains to be seen.

For the tourists, the absence of Nathan Lyon is proving a predictable issue.


Todd Murphy left the Baggy Greens exposed at Headingley and coach Andrew McDonald is reportedly toying with an all-out seam attack.

Following Mitch Marsh’s successful return to the fold, a fit-again Cameron Green could come back in with the forecast swaying any argument.

But despite Australia tinkering with their line-up, the onus remains firmly on English shoulders.


Can England level the series?

The hosts are marginal favourites at 6/4 with Betfred for the win, with Australia 7/4 with William Hill.

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