Geoff Miller and his fellow England selectors will not be agonising quite so long as their Australian counterparts about the make-up of their Test squad for Old Trafford, where the hosts have the chance to retain the Ashes at the earliest possibility.
They have only to avoid defeat to achieve that goal.
England are sitting pretty. They hold a 2-0 lead yet several of their "bankers" have yet to perform to their usual standards. Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Matt Prior and Kevin Pietersen are all due to deliver.
Pietersen may not be fit enough to play but, having missed the last three Tests of the 2009 Ashes series, he will be desperate to prove that his calf has recovered. So it is that in this country Pietersen's major Ashes contributions took place as long ago as 2005. Oddly enough it was his injury in 2009 that allowed Ian Bell, England's batting hero so far in this series, to come back into the fold.
England name their squad at nine o'clock on Sunday morning. The only source of contention is the identity of the man who will replace Pietersen if he is unfit. James Taylor, requisitioned to play for Sussex against the Australians, duly delivered an unbeaten half-century and is the favourite. The other candidates bound to have been considered are Nick Compton, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan and Gary Ballance. However, Compton is seen only as a replacement for the top three and there is no enthusiasm to move Joe Root back down the order after his 180 at Lord's.
Recently Bopara and Morgan have prospered for England only when batting against a white ball and both have suffered untimely injuries in the last few weeks. Ballance, the nephew of Dave Houghton, one of Zimbabwe's finest batsmen, has been in excellent form for Yorkshire this season. He is 23 years of age and a pugnacious left-hander, whose potential has already excited the selectors. Like Compton he scored a lot of runs for Harrow School before advancing to the first-class game – in both Zimbabwe and England.
If Taylor is preferred as cover for Pietersen, Ballance may surface during the one-day series against Australia that follows the Tests. Pietersen's absence would put pressure on Jonny Bairstow, who is still trying to cement his place in the side. If Taylor or Ballance comes in – or someone else – and excels at Old Trafford while Bairstow fails then selection for the fourth Test becomes very interesting.
Otherwise there will be the usual debate on the eve of the match over which pace bowler will accompany Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann in the final XI. At Trent Bridge it was Steven Finn, at Lord's it was Tim Bresnan and at Old Trafford it is likely to be Bresnan again.
In his unspectacular way Bresnan had a good game at Lord's. He bowled with sound control, picked up four wickets and batted for just over three hours – it seemed like longer – in England's second innings. Since England, with two wins in the bank, are not required to chase the game Bresnan's steady virtues may be more attractive than those of Finn.
The humane thing to do might be to relieve Graham Onions of his duties as the reserve's reserve. He has been in the squad for the first two Tests and has probably carried enough drinks for a while. As it happens the likeliest outcome for Finn and Onions is that they will be opposing one another at Lord's, where Middlesex entertain Durham on Friday.
Probable England squad: Cook, Root, Trott, Pietersen, Taylor (as cover), Bell, Bairstow, Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Finn, Onions.
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