The Ashes Preview: Old Trafford the scene for potential series-clinching fourth Test
July 18, 2023
England and Australia will do battle at Manchester’s Old Trafford in the fourth Ashes Test on Thursday night (8:00pm AEST) with the visitors looking to retain the urn after falling short at Headingley.
The hosts’ injection of Mark Wood in the third Test sparked their first win of the series with the breakneck Northumbrian ripping through Australia’s batting lineup to finish with figures of 5-for-34 and 2-for-66 as well as 40 total runs off just 16 balls.
Australia are expected to make just the one change with Josh Hazlewood widely tipped to come into the attack for Scott Boland who has taken just two wickets at a 115.50 average in two outings this series.
Veteran David Warner is anticipated to retain his spot atop the order despite averaging just 23.50 through his first six innings.
Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw are two squad members who have opened for Australia at different stages whilst Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, and Cameron Green have all opened in white ball cricket.
Headingley centurion Marsh is also expected to remain in the side despite Green being ruled fit to play.
Marsh entered the series as the side’s reserve allrounder but was rushed into the team after Green was ruled out of the Headingley Test due to a minor hamstring strain.
The 31-year-old’s career-defining, run-a-ball 118 in the first innings has looks to have been enough for him to secure his spot in the XI for the second straight match.
As for England, Jimmy Anderson is set to return to the side after sitting out the Headingley Test with Ollie Robinson the man to make way.
The 40-year-old took just three wickets at 75.33 across the opening two Tests but returns to the side rested as the hosts look to set up a deciding fifth Test at The Oval.
Moeen Ali is also forecasted to bat at three after making the late switch up the order in England’s successful run chase in the third Test.
The 36-year-old’s move up the order allows for Harry Brook to bat at his preferred five.
Old Trafford has proven a happy hunting ground for the Australians over the years having won or drawn their past seven at the venue and not losing there since 1981.
The last time they were there four years ago, they retained the Ashes with a 185-run win thanks to a Steve Smith double ton.
England enter the clash as slight favourites as they look to set up a winner-take-all final Test match in London.