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The Ashes: Fifth Test

THE Ashes will reach its conclusion as Australia and England head to Hobart for the fifth and final Test from Friday. 

It will be the first time Hobart has hosted an Ashes Test in history, with this set to be the second day-night Test of the series as Australia look to complete a four-nil rout, while England are stimply looking to head home with a win under their belt. 

This will be the 18th day-night Test in total, and it’s the tenth time Australia will have hosted, with the home side never having lost or even drawn a game under lights. 

It’s a record which well and truly stacks the deck against the tourists, who have been comprehensively outplayed all series long, only managing to cling on for a draw in Sydney by one wicket in a match which lost more than 50 overs due to the prevailing weather conditions, which made for a frustrating five days. 

Hobart could suit England better than any other ground they have played at on this tour given the likely covering of grass, however, none of their players have ever played a Test match there, which could tip the balance against them, even if the conditions end up being “English” in nature. 

Before that draw in Sydney, England had barely been able to hold a candle to the Aussies, who had won by nine wickets, 275 runs and an innings and 14 runs, and while a draw is still a step up, the issues which have plagued the tourists all series simply continued on into Sydney. 

For the third time, Australia went past 400 in their first innings, while their other was 267 in a game they won by an innings. England made it to 294 in their first innings, but that is now their second highest score of the series, and just three runs below their best, when they made 297 in the second innings at the Gabba. 

The difference in runs is the most obvious difference between the two sides, and that is further backed up when the individual stats sheets are considered, with Joe Root sitting second for runs, but the remainder of the leaderboard dominated by Australians. Marnus Labuschagne, David Warner, Travis Head and Usman Khawaja all come in ahead of the next-best Englishman in Ben Stokes, while Steve Smith is only marginally behind the English all-rounder. 

Stuart Broad made comment that it wouldn’t matter what attack England picked in an attempt to take 20 wickets if their batsmen kept on being knocked over cheaply, and that’s the exact way the series has gone. 

England’s bowling hasn’t been terrible, but they have lacked luck and consistency, often bowling too short, and that shows with all of Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Scott Boland, Patrick Cummins and Cameron Green taking more wickets than England’s best in Ollie Robinson, who has nine for the series at an average of 26. 

The selection of both teams is still up for debate, with Australia having a headache caused by twin centuries to Usman Khawaja, who replaced Head in Hobart, while England have injury clouds, and Jos Buttler most certainly out. 

It won’t matter though. Australia are simply the better side, and their experience and domination of day-night Tests against all opposition will continue here.

Our best bet: Australia win $1.46 at PlayUp


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