Who should England select as they look to save the Ashes?

Cook And England Cricket

England find themselves 2-0 down in the Ashes with the potentially decisive third Test in Pert starting this evening.

In complete contrast from what we saw over the summer, England are set to make more changes to their starting eleven while Australia are likely to go in with an unchanged side for the second time since that thunderous win in Brisbane.

Andy Flower and Alastair Cook have two choices as they seek to try and salvage something from the wreckage, trying to keep the Ashes alive.

The first is to make a change based on the players they know and trust which could see Tim Bresnan come into the side at the expense of one of the spinners.

There has also been the suggestion in some parts of the media that both spinners could be dropped with Steven Finn taking the other position with the spin coming from youngster Joe Root.

However, that’s dangerous considering there is a good chance the ball may not do too much for the faster bowlers through the air or off the seam.

With the wicket in Perth likely to offer a lot of pace and bounce, it’s important England have an extra seam option over the two spinners they played in Adelaide, who were never given the chance to win England the game bowling last.

The spinner that makes way for the seamer who comes in is a very important decision. England are likely to stick with Graeme Swann who still averages under 30 in Test matches despite a noticeable lack of zip in his bowling following elbow surgery last spring.

The other line of thinking England can look at is to take a risk and go with an unknown commodity like Boyd Rankin in the attack over Bresnan or Finn.

It’s a risk because he has no experience but with England staring down the barrel of an Ashes defeat, it’s the sort of risk which could work in their favour and something that the Aussies won’t be expecting.

Rankin is the perfect sort of bowler if the wicket at Perth is a traditional one; his height guarantees him bounce and he’s quicker than any of the other seamers in England’s attack.

Rankin has a first class average of just over 27, which shows he has been consistent during his career and with England’s backs to the wall, he could thrive if given a chance that he may not have been expecting.

England do need to do something differently because they have been pulverised in the first two Tests.

They have tried the option of going with someone they trust in Tremlett which failed in Brisbane and showed a little forward thinking with the inclusion of Ben Stokes in the last Test who could be the all rounder England have been missing since the days of Freddie Flintoff.

England need to respond and while Rankin is a very exciting option, Bresnan’s ability to add to the batting in the lower order means that if he’s fit he’ll most likely come into the side for Monty Panesar.

image: © gareth1953