Leeds While things haven’t gone to plan for England after their historic victory at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, their spirited performance at Lord’s will give them hope ahead of the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

Trailing 0-1 in the five-match series with a loss and a draw to their name, England will be keen to level the series in Leeds. While they have gone with the same 12-man squad for the Test, head coach Trevor Bayliss conceded that they might reconsider their batting line-up. With Jason Roy struggling at the top of the order, the hosts might consider opening with skipper Joe Root or Jonny Bairstow, who assumes that role in their white-ball cricket. James Anderson is still not in the mix for the third Test; he will instead play for Lancashire’s second XI, where his performance will be assessed.

Steve Smith’s absence, as he recovers from a concussion, comes as a blow to Australia. Marnus Labuschagne notched up an impressive 59 after being called up as a substitute at Lord’s, but he will have huge shoes to fill: Smith is the highest run-scorer in the series, and has largely been the difference between the two sides so far. Josh Hazlewood’s strong return is a positive for the visitors. Australia now have to decide whether to bring in James Pattinson or Mitchell Starc, while giving another pacer a rest.

The second Test at Lord’s saw a thrilling finish, despite much of the Test being lost to rain. Smith starred in the first innings with a fighting 92, while Archer enjoyed a memorable debut. In cricket’s first-ever like-for-like substitution for a concussion, Labuschangne replaced Smith after the former captain was hit on the head by an Archer bouncer in the first innings. Rory Burns appears settled at the top of the order, while Pat Cummins and Hazlewood made fiery comebacks to the Australian XI.

Trevor Bayliss, England head coach: “We think we’ve got the best seven batters available to us at the moment in England. Whether we can change it round and make [the batting line-up] any better, I’m not sure, but we’ll certainly have a discussion about it.”

Travis Head, Australia batsman: “There was some stuff I was not so happy about with my batting [at Lord’s] but there was some stuff that was really good, so it’s just trying to make sure of the good stuff for longer and doing more it more consistently.”

Headingley’s reputation as an archetypal English ground is unlikely to change with this Test, as the pitch has some grass on it and should provide some level of assistance for the seamers. Since 2009, seamers have taken 246 wickets in Tests at the ground, compared to just 52 for spinners, though slow bowlers have enjoyed some level of success as games have worn on and wickets have deteriorated.

After rain threatened to wreck the second Test, this week should be much better. Light rain is forecast for the night before the game, and there will be plenty of cloud cover on the first two days, but the sun should manage to peek through by Saturday. There is barely a ticket going for the first four days, though there are plenty spare for day five on Monday.


ENGLAND (PROBABLE): Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Joe Root (capt), Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach.

AUSTRALIA (PROBABLE): Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (capt/wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.