The fourth Ashes Test starts tonight. For Australia, with the series lost, this match is all about playing better cricket and rebuilding team spirit. Jackson Bird replaces Ashton Agar as Australia’s 12th man to keep Australia’s pace attack strong on a wicket that is traditionally suited for seam bowlers. The Aussie batting group stays the same though the order of 1-6 remains a mystery.
Ryan Harris will continue to trouble England’s top order. He has looked dangerous in every spell he’s bowled, dismissing Jonathan Trott three times in four innings.
England’s squad remains the same with the exception of fast bowler James Pattinson, who is out with a stress fracture in his back.
This test the focus will be on the Hot Spot technology and video reviews by the third umpire, though both sides have given Hot Spot and the decision review system their backing, in principle, after repeated failings and controversies. In Hot Spot’s defence, the ICC’s general manager, George Allardice, said “It is conclusive: when there is a mark we know the bat has hit the ball or indeed the pad when lbws are being determined, which may save some batsmen occasionally.”
England captain Alastair Cook voiced most players’ frustration when commenting this week on the Hot Spot controversy. “Everyone’s made quite a big deal of the Hot Spot stuff,” he said. “But there have been a couple of human errors from the third umpire which the ICC have mentioned.” – Blake Moretti
Top photo of Ryan Harris celebrating another wicket, taken from Cricket Australia’s web site.