All change for England but too late to prevent Australia whitewash
With the Ashes long gone, England’s task is now just down to avoiding the humiliation of a 5-0 whitewash. A largely unconsidered outcome (33/1) when the series began is now a 4/6 probability with Coral and it is hard to see this rampant Australian letting go their bite in Sydney this weekend.
But there is a bigger picture to address as management and selectors, appropriately at this time of year, think seriously about saying goodbye to the old and ringing in the new.
So Michael Carberry, Tim Bresnan and Monty Panesar might be making way for Gary Ballance, Boyd Rankin and Scott Borthwick, the first step of a revolution that may even have the likes of Kevin Pietersen and James Anderson looking over their shoulders a little further down the line.
Of course, making the right amount of changes at the right time is always a fine balancing act and there will be those who advocate letting the players who have underperformed so badly this winter see the job out to allow the new wave to bed in next summer when the flak stops flying.
But the vibes are that significant changes will be made right now and if that’s the case, it will be interesting to see how the new boys cope.
Ballance, who averaged over 50 for Yorkshire in county games and one-dayers last season, looks to have what it takes to succeed at this level, but of course we won’t know until he actually faces Mitchell Johnson (5/1 with Coral to be Man Of The Match for the fourth time in the series) and Ryan Harris hurling down bouncers at 90mph plus at the SCG.
Rankin can dish out the fast stuff, too, and should be okay if he gets the nod over Steven Finn, but the player to keep our fingers crossed for is Borthwick,
The Durham all-rounder also averaged over 50 in country games last summer, while working his way up the order to number three, but if he is picked, it will be primarily for his spin bowling and his stats in that department are not so impressive.
We all saw what the Aussies did to Simon Kerrigan when the Lancashire tweaker was given a chance at the Oval at the end of the last Ashes series and if Warner, Watson and co decide to give the same treatment to this débutante, it could all get pretty messy.
Those who reckon the newcomers will shine can get 7/1 that Ballance top scores for England in the first innings, and 4/1 and 5/1 respectively that Rankin and Borthwick can take most wickets.
There’s some rain forecast in the Sydney area over the weekend, but not enough to save England – the new boys will have to step straight up to the mark and go for the win (7/2). Good luck.