Australia hold a 2-1 lead in the 2023 Ashes series and have retained the urn. But England believe they could have been leading 3-1 instead if things went their way in crucial moments.
As the action moves to The Oval, Australia are determined to secure an outright victory. It has been 22 years since they last achieved a Test series win in England, and they are eager to break that drought.
On the other hand, England’s goal at The Oval is to achieve a moral victory, emphasizing that winning and losing aren’t their primary focus, even though they still aim to prevent Australia from accomplishing their outright series victory.
We take a look at three things England need to do right to win fifth Ashes 2023 Test:
#3 Batters need to score big runs
The England batting really came to the fore in the fourth Ashes Test. Zak Crawley led the way with a superb ton, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow too dug deep as England piled on a huge total.
The batters need to repeat the dose at the Oval. This will be even more pertinent against an Australian attack that will be tired and will want to make an impression after a forgetful fourth Test.
Ben Duckett has looked good all series and he now needs to sign off on a high. Moeen Ali at three and Ben Stokes too have to step up as a huge first innings total will put a lot of pressure on Australia.
#2 Role of Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali was excellent at number three in the fourth Test. He chipped in with a vital 54 in the first innings and stitched an excellent partnership with Zak Crawley. This set the platform perfectly for the likes of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. He will stride out at number three once again and will need to see off the new ball.
Moeen is also the designated spinner in the side and has been able to pick up crucial wickets so far. He has accounted for Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne on more than one occasion and his role becomes crucial if England continue to attack with their pacers.
#1 Focus on Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow finally came to his own with the bat in Manchester. His breathtaking 99* powered England ahead and he will hold the key lower down the order. He was decent with the gloves as well and plucked one of the catches of the series of Mitchell Marsh that turned the course of the match.
Bairstow has not been too neat with his wicket-keeping, and this is one area he will have to improve. If the pitch does offer pace and bounce, his role will be even more important behind the stumps.
In Edgbaston, Bairstow was found wanting on more than one occasion. He missed Cameron Green’s routine stumping and also dropped Alex Carey twice in the match. A much-improved performance with the gloves will go a long way in helping England draw level in the series.