Changes imminent as Paine’s patience wears thin
WITH the dust still settling on another thrilling Ashes Test, in a series that has already come to the boil, thoughts turn to Headingley in a matter of days, when hostilities will be swiftly resumed.
The answers to the following teasers will go a long way to deciding the outcome of that third Test, and by consequence, perhaps the series itself.
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WHO COMES IN FOR STEVE SMITH?
Marnus Labuschagne had to replace Smith at Lord's, as a like-for-like replacement, and his half-century was an admirable return for a man thrown in to his first Ashes Test at the last minute.
But the with worries at the top of the Australian order simply inserting Labuschagne in for Smith, should the former captain be ruled out, may not be the simplest answer.
Captain Tim Paine made numerous references to Marcus Harris in his post-match press conference, and a top-order reshuffle could be in order if patience is lost with Cameron Bancroft.
Could Usman Khawaja open with Warner at Headingley, or Harris, or Labuschagne come in at three and Harris down the order? Plenty is to be pondered, all pending of course Smith's fitness.
WHICH BOWLER MISSES OUT?
When Australian coach Justin Langer confirmed James Pattinson was missing out at Lord's he also basically declared the Victorian was playing at Headingley.
That means one of Peter Siddle (3-106) in the second Test, Pat Cummins (6-96) or Josh Hazlewood (3-101) misses. Hazlewood was a standout on day one, Cummins and Siddle took all five second innings wickets.
On form alone you don't drop any, but given the Aussies couldn't roll England twice, maybe Pattinson's strike power beats Siddle's containment, which wasn't at its best at Lord's.
WILL THEY JUICE UP THE HEADINGLEY PITCH FOR JOFRA?
There hasn't been a drawn Test at Headingley since 2012, and the words "fastest over by an Englishman" will ring in the ears of Australia's batsmen until they face England's newest Test sensation, Jofra Archer, at Leeds on Thursday.
He looms as the home team's biggest weapon, but recent pitches, despite the string of wins, have been conducive to making runs.
The West Indies chased 322 in the fourth innings to beat in England in 2017. Then last year Pakistan was out for 174 & 134, but England made 363 in between, which says more about Pakistan than the wicket.
But the last time Australia went there, in 2010, they were rolled for 88, by Pakistan.
CAN THE AUSSIES FIX THEIR DRS BLUNDERS?
After not reviewing two LBW decisions that were out on day four, Australia blew its two DRS referrals on day five for decisions given not out on field, which stayed not out.
There seems little conviction when it comes to calling out the umpires, with plenty suggesting those when spinner Nathan Lyon was bowling should be easier to get right, because the ball is going slower, and everyone is closer to the batsmen.
"It can change a game, it can change a session, it can change a Test match, it could change a series. We're aware of it and we need to get better at it," coach Justin Langer said.
Yes, yes they do.
WILL STEVE WAUGH'S DEPARTURE HAVE AN EFFECT?
The former Test captain has been a massive presence in his role as a mentor to the Australian team, at every training session, throwing balls, taking fielding drills, and in the dressing room, reminding a squad which has plenty of inexperience how much a part mental steel plays in winning in England.
Even the locals were spending a lot time talking about his "presence", especially after the Aussies won at Edgbaston for the first time since a Waugh-led team did the same in 2001.
But he's leaving after Lord's, with hope he could be replaced by Ricky Ponting, who did the same role as Australia made it all the way to the World Cup semi-finals.
Ponting never won an Ashes in England as captain though.