England, who are 2-0 down in the ongoing Ashes, have made four changes to the playing XI for the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Jonny Bairstow, Jack Leach, Zak Crawley, and Mark Wood will replace Ollie Pope, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, and Chris Woakes.
While Pope and Burns could manage only 48 and 51 runs respectively in the first two Test matches, Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad, on the other hand, scalped three and two wickets in the series respectively. While Woakes has an average of 54.28 away from home and 55.61 in Australia, Broad averages 37.88 in Australia, which is quite below considering their standards.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) December 24, 2021
As far as the series is concerned, Australia have already won the first two Tests where they won the second Test in Adelaide by a huge margin of 275 runs as well and took a 2-0 lead in the five-match series as well.
England XI for third Ashes Test: Haseeb Hameed, Zak Crawley, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson.
“Ridiculous” – Michael Atherton on England’s changes
Meanwhile, former England opener Michael Atherton opined on the inclusion of Zak Crawley for the third Ashes Test. Atherton questioned the move too as he finds it “ridiculous”. Michael Atherton wrote in his column for The Times:
“Zak Crawley is in consideration to replace Rory Burns; Jonny Bairstow likewise for Ollie Pope, with Mark Wood and Jack Leach potentially coming into the attack for Chris Woakes and one other. One would feel especially for Crawley, a young player making his way in the game and potentially asked to open in a Test match having not batted for more than 2½ months. Ridiculous, really.”
“No batsman, bar Joe Root and Dawid Malan, could complain if dropped, but the lack of cricket played by the reserves must give pause to the understandable urge to change,” he further added.