Ashes recall for Zak Crawley with England ready to make four changes for Boxing Day Test at MCG

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
Zak Crawley in Adelaide (PA)
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

With their Ashes hopes hanging by a thread, England are set to recall Zak Crawley to their side for the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

At 2-0 down, England are weighing up as many as four changes for the Third Test, with Crawley poised to come in at the top of the order.

Jonny Bairstow is likely to be recalled for Ollie Pope, Mark Wood seems certain to play, and Jack Leach is back in the equation after being dropped in Adelaide.

England are yet to decide which opener Crawley should come in for as both Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed have struggled.

Burns made a horror start to the series in Brisbane, bowled round the legs off the Ashes’ first ball, dropping a well-set David Warner, then being dismissed for 13 by a nasty Pat Cummins lifter. He had a slightly better game in Adelaide, making four and 34, in which he looked in better touch.

Zak Crawley in Adelaide (PA)
Zak Crawley in Adelaide (PA)

Hameed’s series so far is the opposite. He started fine, making 25 and 27 in Brisbane, before two failures in Adelaide, including a horror dismissal on the second evening.

The decision boils down to whether England believe Burns has hit his ceiling as a Test cricketer. Aged 31, Burns has played as many Tests and is also averaging 31. Hameed, at 24, is younger, and has a future in Test cricketer, but it is unclear whether his low-handed method will allow that to be in Australia.

England feel a cycle of trouble at the top of the order needs to be broken, as the pair’s highest partnership of the series against Australia’s terrific attack is just 23. Twice a wicket has fallen before a run has been scored, and both men are prolific duck hunters; Burns has six from 10 Tests this year, while Hameed has three in five.

Crawley comes in with no form to speak of. He was dropped for Hameed after the opening Test against India at Trent Bridge in August, with an average of 11 in Test cricket this year. Crawley had an excellent 2020, however, performing well in South Africa, then making a breakout 267 against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl.

England have long considered Crawley, who stands tall at 6ft5, well suited to Australian conditions, where they have struggled with the greater bounce.

Watch: Lower body and core workout

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting