First one who blinks, loses.
But, what if both blink?
England and Australia, tied 1 – 1 in the 2019 Ashes series, both will change their batting orders and make some switches to their attacks for the fourth Test.
The next installment in the series begins soon and will be held in Manchester.
According to England captain Joe Root, Chris Woakes has been dropped to be replaced by seam bowler Craig Overton. Woakes was mainly ineffective, taking only one wicket in each of Australia’s innings at Headingley. While Woakes could argue that one of his wickets was the one that resulted in England’s one-wicket win in the third Test, it would be hard to imagine that argument holding sway.
Jason Roy has been moved down to No. 4, replaced as Rory Burn’s opening partner by Joe Denly. This is Roy’s first Test appearance, and although he is considered a specialist in limited-overs cricket, his role in assisting England to the World Cup win earned him a Test selection.
Steve Smith will be back, apparently deemed sufficiently recovered from the concussion that saw him removed from the second Test and unable to play in the third.
Paceman James Pattison was dropped in favour of Mitchell Starc for Australia. It will be Starc’s first selection for the 2019 Ashes.
Australia will be glad to have Smith back, as he opened with 144 and 142 in his first innings and was on 92 when he was struck in the neck by Jofra Archer.
Usman Khawaja has been dropped, with a series average of 20.33.
Australia were denied a retention of the urn when England, led by Ben Stokes’ 135 not out on the final day at Headingley.
The mental recovery might be the harder proposition, with Australia coach Justine Langer saying, “We felt like we got our Ashes stolen.”
Stolen, kicked, makes no difference.