Perth: An embattled England faces a tough ask to try to keep the Ashes urn from slipping out of its grasp in the third Test at the WACA in Perth, a venue the English side hasn’t won a match in since 1978.
England, already 2-0 down in the five-match series must secure at least a draw in the match starting on Thursday to keep the series alive.
Australia on the other hand, will look for an Ashes clinching victory, with the opposition in some disarray.
Joe Root’s side has been beaten by eventually big margins in the first two Tests, both of which had been evenly fought until Australia seized on the key moments.
History and form both favour Australia though, and England’s recent performances have led to several observers and former players commenting on the possibility of a 5-0 whitewash.
England has to decide whether to call up Mark Wood to inject some much-needed pace into the bowling attack, although Trevor Bayliss, the coach, has indicated he was happy with the four pacemen who played in Adelaide.
Australia is likely to make a change with Mitchell Marsh, the recalled allrounder, in line to come into the side for Peter Handscomb, the batsman.
Australia: Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (Capt.), Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Mitchell Marsh
England: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Joe Root (Capt.), Dawid Malan, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Chris Woakes, Craig Overton, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Mason Crane, Ben Foakes, Jake Ball, Tom Curran
Pitch and conditions
WACA curator Matt Page is confident the surface will be quicker than last year. The forecast for Perth is hot.
Stats and trivia
December 14-18, 2017
Start time 1030 local (02:30 GMT)