Despite having opportunities to seize the initiative in all three matches, Joe Root’s side find themselves 3-0 down and in severe danger of an unprecedented successive away whitewash.
Questions have been asked of the selectors and here at Rewards4Cricket we have named our team for the First Test back on home soil in 2019…
Rewards4Cricket 2019 Ashes XI:
Alex Hales – With Alastair Cook struggling for form for a while now, we believe the time is right for fresh impetus at the top of the order. Hales has been a mainstay for his country in the shorter formats and whilst he hasn’t made the most of previous opportunities with the red ball, his attacking prowess could give the Test side a new dimension going forward.
Mark Stoneman – Stoneman has produced a number of dogged displays in his relatively short international career so far, and his ability to overcome periods of hostile bowling should encourage the selectors to stick with the likeable geordie.
Dawid Malan – Many eyebrows were raised when the Middlesex left-hander was introduced to Test cricket this summer but, like Stoneman, he has shown the mentality required to perform at the highest level. His magnificent century at Perth combined with other gutsy displays have answered his critics thus far and we believe a promotion to number three is warranted.
Joe Root –Root’s captaincy is still developing and he will need time to take in the disappointment of this Ashes series. By the time 2019 comes around, Root will have cemented his place as one of the world’s top batsmen, whilst he will also have a further 18 months leadership experience which will be invaluable for England’s hopes of regaining the Ashes.
Dan Lawrence – The classy Essex top-order batsmen has all the attributes to become a regular in international cricket. Whilst his future may see him higher up the order, an introduction at number five will allow Lawrence the chance to become accustomed to Test cricket whilst not having to face new ball – a technique that Australia have used several times in the past.
Ben Stokes – The all-rounder will no doubt have a point to prove to many people, and he will be desperate to make up for lost time. Australia’s players will undoubtedly give Stokes plenty of reminders about certain things during future series’, and it will be up to Stokes to thrive under the spotlight.
Jonny Bairstow – With a century in the first innings at Perth, Bairstow has done enough to secure his position for the immediate future. His glove-work is improving all the time, and more consistency with the bat should enable Bairstow to become a senior figure in the coming years.
Moeen Ali – Ali has endured a poor Ashes series so far with both bat and ball, which has led to a lot of criticism for some pundits. The immediate reaction would be to drop the off-spinner, but the fact remains that he is still England’s best slow bowling option – given that he can also bat too. But his current form does need to improve, and his place is far from secure for the next series.
Stuart Broad – The swinging conditions on home soil in 2019 should enable Broad to get back to his best following an underwhelming series in Australia. Whilst he doesn’t have the express pace of one or two of his Australian counterparts, Broad will be looking to replicate his efforts in the 2015 series where he was unplayable at times.
Mark Wood – If this Ashes series has taught us one thing about England’s bowling attack, it’s that extra pace is required. If the Durham paceman can maintain his fitness levels, he should walk back into the Test setup.
James Anderson – There has been no indication yet that England’s all-time leading wicket-taker is ready to call time in his illustrious career. The combination of swinging conditions and one last stab at Australia could mean that there is one last hurrah for Anderson.
Alternatives – Many of the batting places are not nailed down and Lancashire duo Liam Livingstone and Haseeb Hameed have briefly tasted international cricket before. Alastair Cook may still be around, whilst James Vince and Gary Balance are still very much in the thoughts of selectors.
In the wicket-keeping department, Ben Foakes was included in the touring squad for this Ashes series, whilst Jos Buttler won’t have given up hope on a Test recall. Lancashire’s Alex Davies could also be a future contender.
The alternatives to the pace department are the likes of Toby Roland-Jones, Craig Overton and Steven Finn, whilst Jack Leach and Mason Crane will look to put more pressure on Moeen Ali for the spin option.
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