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Australia search for miracle, ready to go for broke

cricket Updated: Jul 30, 2013 02:56 IST
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It could be over all too quickly. In 2002 at the Waca in Perth Australia retained the Ashes before anyone had the chance to open a single door of their Advent calendar.

In 2013 England may well have secured the urn long before the commencement of the grouse shooting season. Cricket-loving lairds need not feel compromised. The Ashes contest over, the grouse will have to look out.

If Australia do not win at Old Trafford, it will be an August of Mourinho and Moyes rather than Michael Clarke; there will be much more Rooney than Root. It is enough to prompt sacrilegious yearnings - even among ardent English cricket fans - of an astonishing Australian renaissance.

Do not anticipate an unchanged side at Old Trafford. After Trent Bridge, they made two changes. How many will they make after the debacle at Lord's?

David Warner has just hit 193 for Australia A in Pretoria. By a nasty process of elimination that might be enough to propel him back into the Test team. Darren Lehmann will be relying as much on intuition as any long-term strategy, which brings consistency of selection. At Old Trafford it is "do or die", which may be good news for Warner.

There are complications in the spin department. Ashton Agar's wonderful debut at Trent Bridge has muddied the waters. Clearly Agar is gifted. But is he currently a better spinner than Nathan Lyon? Almost certainly not.

In a match that Australia have to win they will have to go with their four best available bowlers. So Lyon may eventually make his Ashes debut. If that is the case, no Australian cricketer will have waited so long - in terms of Tests - to play against England.

Whomsoever they select, the chances of Australia emulating the side of 1936-37 are slight. back then, they came back to win from 2-0 down after England had prevailed in Brisbane and Sydney.

But that Aussie side included Stan McCabe, Bill Brown, Jack Fingleton, Bill O'Reilly and new captain Don Bradman. It is just possible that the current wearers of the Baggy Green will one day be just as revered but at the moment this requires unusual powers of imagination.