Live Cricket Score : Ashes 2013 - England Vs Australia : 3rd Test, Day 1

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Manchester, Aug 1: A good start then for Australia. They have won the toss which is a positive beginning. Michael Clarke must be one of the bravest men in the world. He is very confident that Australia can come back from 0-2 down to win the Ashes. Even at the toss he was clear and spoke with great clarity. Can he inspire this Aussie side whom many are calling it the worst ever to leave the shores? Well if anyone can change the fortunes of this Aussie side, then it should be the one world-class performer in the side in Clarkey.

So it's good news for England that KP is fit and will be playing. Warner at No 6 for Australia is an interesting move. An aggressive batsman at that position could prove a double-edged sword.

As we start wondering how the Old Trafford wicket will play, Sir Ian Botham is out there doing the pitch report. He reckons it's rock-hard. A true wicket, with lots of pace and bounce. Plenty of carry as well. Pretty much similar to the old Old Trafford wickets then. Sir Ian says, if it spins, as they it will, it will spin pretty quickly. So that's the pitch report done.

How will the Old Trafford wicket play? Old Trafford is generally the quickest and bounciest pitch available in England. But will the pitch retain the same characteristics after the renovation? It generally spins and spins quickly at Old Trafford. Remember Warne to Gatting 1993? That ball doesn't need more explanation. It has been beaten to death!

Team news, Australia: James Pattinson is already out with a stress-related injury. Lots of changes expected. Will David Warner, who is available replace Chris Rogers? Rogers has already given a hint, saying that Warner might take his spot. There also has been talk about Nathan Lyon coming in for Ashton Agar. Will we see more changes? We''ll know in a bit.

Australia have won the toss and elected to bat

Cook: 'I would have probably batted as well. We are unchanged. We came here with all our options covered. It's good that Chris Tremlett is back. He's a tough bowler to face as we find out in the nets. It's going to be a crucial first hour. The extra stands that have been built is fantastic.'

Clarke: 'We're going to have a bat. Mitchell Starc is in. Nathan Lyon is back in for Agar. Warner is in for Hughes. We've not being play the solid cricket that we want to. Warner will bat at No 6. You want to win every game you want to play. We can turn it around in the next five days. I look forward to being out there today.'


Australia (Playing XI): Shane Watson, Chris Rogers, Ed Cowan, Usman Khawaja, Michael Clarke(c), David Warner, Brad Haddin(w), Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon

England (Playing XI): Alastair Cook(c), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonathan Bairstow, Matt Prior(w), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson

Yesterday Michael Clarke and Darren Lehmann invited Shane Warne to come and have a pep-talk with the lads ahead of the third Test. Warne had a lengthy session with the boys with special tips passed on to young Ashton Agar. Will those wise words prove to be the sparking of a revival? We'll see, but one thing is certain. Australia are leaving no stone unturned to mount a fightback. But that's the Aussie way, right?

Team news, England: The big question is whether Kevin Pietersen who has been suffering from a calf injury will play. Alastair Cook was pretty bullish that KP will play, with him having done all his pre-match exercises without going through any discomfort. If Pietersen doesn't play, James Taylor who played a couple of Tests against South Africa will replace him. If the Old Trafford wicket offers bounce, Chris Tremlett may come in for Tim Bresnan.

No such problems for England. They lead 2-0 for the first time in an Ashes series since 1986-87 and look all set to complete a whitewash if things go their way. A big day for Old Trafford as well. The ground has undergone significant changes with large parts renovated. They last hosted an Ashes Test in 2005, losing out in 2009 due to the renovation going on. It cost Lancashire Cricket Club 44 Million Pounds to renovate Old Trafford. There will be a few nervous officials when the first ball is bowled at 11am today. Fingers crossed!

If you have been reading the following paragraphs, you would imagine that it is all doom and gloom for Australia. Amidst all these, there has been some silver linings like the showing of young left-arm spinner turned talented bat - Ashton Agar. He almost created history by becoming the first debutant at No. 11 to make a Test 100, but fell agonisingly two runs short. Brad Haddin has been another bright spot in an otherwise dark summer for Australia.

Ever since Michael Hussey followed Ricky Ponting into Test retirement in January, Australia's record in the longer format of the game has been: played 6, lost 6, which included a 0-4 whitewash at the hands of India. They are on the verge of equalling their worst-ever record - when they lost seven in a row to England way back in the 1880s - if they lost the third Test at Old Trafford. They have already equalled their second worst - which is losing 6 in a row to mighty West Indies in 1984. Not a good time to be an Aussie Cricket fan.

As if one Warner wasn't enough to cause mayhem to the Aussie ranks, his brother Steven went on his own Twitter rampage posting a couple of offensive tweets which further embarrassed Cricket Australia. David was quick to distance himself from his brother's comments. But the damage had been done. Steven deleted his Twitter account as soon as the scandal erupted. Double trouble!

David Warner's story so far on this Ashes tour can be made into a blockbuster movie. Before the start of the Ashes tour, he was involved in a Twitter spat with a couple of Aussie journalists. He was fined for that act. Then came the famous punch at Joe Root in a Pub which forced the Aussie management to remove him from the squad for the first couple of Test matches. He was sent to South Africa to play for Australia A where he made 193, which in turn forced a recall for the third Test at Old Trafford. Some story that!

The problems don't end there. There has been talk about the uneasy relationship that Shane Watson and Michael Clarke share with Mickey Arthur claiming that Clarke called Watson a 'Cancer'. And we haven't even started talking about the special case of one man - David Warner.

Consider this: Australia are suffering ever since they set foot in England. They sacked their coach Mickey Arthur, who in turn filed a case against his unjust removal. They installed Darren Lehmann hoping he would turn things around - that move hasn't worked so far. The batting has been a shambles with the lower-order contributing more than the top and middle.

The Oxford dictionary has the following definition for the word 'Turmoil': 'a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty.' It would be apt to say that the definition suits Australian Cricket perfectly at the moment. Wondering why? The following paragraph will explain it better.

Match Preview :

The Build up

Come Thursday, the 1st of August and a rather timid 'David'(read Australia) will once again take on the mighty 'Goliath' in an old and familiar and revamped Old Trafford! A decade ago one never imagined, even in our wildest dreams that a touring Australian Ashes side would be on the verge of being labelled as the worst unit to have ever put a foot on the shores of England. That tag is almost a certainty now unless Michael Clarke's men can pull off a miracle as they go into the 3rd Test against England at Old Trafford in Manchester, 2-0 down in the series fully aware that a loss at the historic venue would not only mean that the Ashes urn would remain with England but it would also equal a 125 year old 7 match Aussie losing streak and leave Australian cricket at one of its lowest points in history.

The visitors do not need more inspiration than what the situation demands. A look at the numbers and what's at stake - the series, their pride, their reputation, is enough motivation for them to give it their all. But does this Australian team have the ability and the skill-set to topple a world-class English side? Most former players and experts believe they do not! Ashton Agar's freak heroic performance in the opening Test at Trent Bridge, albeit in a losing cause, rekindled hopes of an Australian fightback and an exciting keenly contested series. But soon everything, including the enigmatic personality of the new coach, Darren Lehmann, was washed away as the hosts thrashed their traditional foes in the Mecca of cricket. The humiliation at Lord's was a result of an insipid and uninspiring batting display by the visitors and though some of their batsmen got some invaluable runs in the tour match against Sussex at Hove, the real test awaits at Manchester!

Team News:


Australia need their top order to fire. The batsmen need to take the responsibility and give their bowlers some runs to play with. Ashton Agar, with 130 runs from 4 innings has been their leading run-scorer thus far. Michael Clarke and Shane Watson, the only others to cross an aggregate of 100 in the series need to convert their starts into meaningful and big contributions.

The controversial and volatile, David Warner who smashed 193 for South Africa A in Pretoria last week is expected to replace Chris Rogers at the top of the order. He might be the spark the visitors have been looking for over the past three weeks. Phillip Hughes, Brad Haddin and Steven Smith, who all hit fifties in the dramatic series opener at Lord's need to repeat their feats. Smith notched up a fine ton against Sussex but is suffering from a stiff back and is in doubt for the 3rd Test. Ed Cowan and Phillip Hughes also got some runs in the tour match and Australia would be hoping that they can replicate their performances in Manchester.

The bowlers have put in a spirited effort and tested the fancied England batting line-up. Peter Siddle is the leading wicket-taker for the visitors with 11 scalps to his name including an inspirational fifer in the 1st innings at Nottingham. Ryan Harris was picked for Lord's and immediately justified his selection with a five-wicket haul. However, James Pattinson's exit due to a back stress fracture is a major blow for the visitors. Mitchell Starc has been recalled after rather surprisingly being dropped after the 1st Test where he had chipped in with 5 wickets.

It would be interesting to see what team composition the Australian think-tank opts for with the pitch bearing a dry and hard look with patches of dead grass. The veteran Nathan Lyon might replace the inexperienced Ashton Agar who is also nursing an injury. Michael Clake has stated that if need be he would roll his arm and provide another spin option to the visitors. With Shane Warne assisting the Australian spinners just prior to the Test, the indications are clear that the wicket will offer some assistance to the tweakers and is also expected to keep low as the Test match progresses.


'No one is more disappointed than we are about the way we performed during the second Test at Lords but we have left that behind us. As a sportsman you simply can't afford to dwell on the past whether it's been good or bad. You're always looking forward, planning and preparing for the next match or series,' Australian skipper, Michael Clarke.

Team News:


England are on the verge of creating history. They are on the threshold of retaining the Ashes Urn for the 3rd time in a row. Right now, the only enemy the hosts have to guard against is over-confidence and complacency. Ian Bell is in the form of his life and has already notched up two splendid centuries in the series. With 317 runs to his tally, he is by far the leading run-scorer. Joe Root has grabbed the opening slot and made it his own with a match-winning 180 in the 2nd Test at Lord's. Jonny Bairstow has got some starts and looked impressive in the series.

The only concern bothering skipper Alastair Cook would be the fitness of star-batsman Kevin Pietersen who is nursing a calf injury but reports suggest that the flamboyant batsman will be fit for Old Trafford. James Taylor has already been drafted as cover for KP should he not be able to make the final eleven on the morning of the Test. Taylor registered a fine century for Sussex against the Australians in the last tour match.

James Anderson and Graeme Swann have spearheaded the England seam and spin attack respectively and come out with match-winning performances. Anderson was the player of the match at Nottingham picking up a fifer in each of the innings. He is gearing up and relishing the opportunity to bowl his side to an Ashes-series victory at his home ground. Swann accounted for 9 wickets at Lord's and was instrumental in the host's mammoth win bamboozling the Australians with his spin and guile. England have drafted in Monty Panesar to make use of the favourable spin-conditions at Old Trafford and he might replace Tim Bresnan in the final eleven.


'This is a cricket-mad area. All five days are sold out again, so it will be a fantastic atmosphere,' an excited James Anderson looking forward to wrap up the Ashes at his home-ground.

Players to watch out for:

Shane Watson has come under severe criticism from various quarters - some even suggesting that his career is under threat. There have also been reports of his sour relationship with skipper, Michael Clarke. The talented all-rounder who spent most of the last week training in London against the in-dipper which has been his nemesis and has made him a candidate for lbw, may just surprise everyone amid all the negativity and come up with a defining performance.

James Anderson has been the catalyst behind England's success in the series. The likes of Andy Caddick have suggested that his best is yet to come. Wasim Akram observed that Anderson is the best bowler in contemporary international cricket. Anderson is eager to perform in front of his home crowd and with the wicket likely to assist reverse-swing, the Australians have their work cut out.

The Verdict

England will come hard as they can smell the URN and know it is just one good performance away. An emphatic Ashes triumph after Andy Murray's historic victory at Wimbledon will truly make it an English Summer!

Australia need some inspiration. Old Trafford has witnessed some memorable feats in the past. Jim Laker picked up his world-record 19 wicket-haul against Australia here in 1956. But Australia have enough inspiration from their own - Shane Warne bowled the 'Ball of the Century' to get rid of Mike Gatting at the very same venue in 1993. Will they? Can they? How will they? Can DAVID defeat GOLIATH? Will we see a series triumph or a renaissance resurgence? This is the moment of reckoning. It doesn't get bigger than this. Let the drama unfold...


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Title: Live Cricket Score : Ashes 2013 - England Vs Australia : 3rd Test, Day 1

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