Ben Stokes defied the odds to keep the 2019 Ashes series alive with an outstanding individual fightback at Headingley.
However, the Aussies will be buoyed by the return of England’s nemesis Steve Smith, who has been declared fit after missing the Test at Headingley with concussion.
Where does this series go next?
We look ahead to what could be a defining few days in determining the destination of the iconic Ashes urn this autumn, and look at the latest Ashes betting ahead of the fourth Test.
The Ashes Fourth Test Preview – Old Trafford
He’ll now forever be known as the ‘hero of Headingley’, but Ben Stokes will be hoping his miracle innings on Day 4 of the third Test wasn’t in vain with the series now level.
England head into a fourth Test knowing only a win for them can avoid the Aussies retaining the Ashes. After Headingley, however, Trevor Bayliss’ side will have renewed confidence that in Stokes, they have a star man every bit as resilient as their Aussie tormentor-in-chief Steve Smith if they need to dig deep for victory at Old Trafford.
The return of Smith to the crease is likely to cause Joe Root a major headache as the England captain tries to settle on a strategy that can finally counter the batsman’s stickability at the crease.
Both teams have opted for evolution not revolution as they refresh their ranks ahead of Wednesday’s first day of play. Out-of-form opener Jason Roy has dropped down the order to play at No. 4, with Joe Denly taking his place to open the batting with Rory Burns. Australia have also reshuffled the pack. Under-par Usman Khawaja makes way for Mitchell Starc as Marnus Labuschagne retains his spot after three consecutive half-centuries.
This could finally be the time for Jos Buttler to make his mark after a disappointing 2019 Ashes return so far. The Lancashire right-hander will be stepping out onto familiar terrain at Old Trafford. After only reaching double figures twice so far in this series, this will surely be his best opportunity yet to prove his place in the squad shouldn’t be under threat. Can he finally improve on the series-best 31 runs he scored at Lord’s in the second Test?
Finally, the weather could yet again be the wildcard in determining the outcome of the latest Ashes Test. The latest forecast suggests Manchester’s ‘rainy city’ reputation is likely to be kept intact across all five days. With intermittent showers expected throughout the week, that could make the draw a tempting option at 5/2.
The Ashes Fourth Test – Best Bets
Ben Stokes to be Man Of The Match at 8/1
Jos Buttler to score over 23.5 runs in the 1st Innings at 9/10
England and Australia to draw at 5/2
Browse all the latest Ashes betting with Marathonbet
See here for all Cricket Predictions.
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