PREVIEW | 2023 Men’s Ashes: 3rd Test

IT is do or die for England in the third Men’s Ashes Test, which gets underway tonight at Headingley. The hosts trail Australia 0-2 in the five-match series and need to win all three Tests to take back the famous urn. Find out all you need to know before the first ball in Leeds.


When: Thursday July 6 – Monday July 10
Where: Headingley (Leeds)
Watch: Channel Nine
Listen: ABC Grandstand, SEN


Australia leads England 2-0.

Every Test is now a must-win for England having gone 2-0 down in the series, albeit in very entertaining fashion. The hosts can only regain the Ashes by winning all of the next three matches, as any other result will see Australia retain the coveted urn.



Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis (wk), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Todd Murphy, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, David Warner


Ben Stokes (c), Rehan Ahmed, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Matthew Potts, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Josh Tongue, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood


As has been the case throughout the series, England has wasted no time in naming its XI prior to the Test beginning. Three changes have been made, one forced, as the hosts look to bolster their bowling stocks and lower-order batting.

Vice-captain Ollie Pope comes out and will miss the remainder of the series with a shoulder injury, leaving usual number five Harry Brook to earn promotion to first drop. It means reserve batter Dan Lawrence misses out on a Test recall.

Instead, England has adjusted and brought in paceman Mark Wood, seamer Chris Woakes, and spinning option Moeen Ali. The latter two loom as aggressive lower-order batters whose bowling will be primary, giving the 0-2 side a touch more depth at the crease throughout its XI.

It means Jimmy Anderson makes way alongside Josh Tongue. Management is the buzzword around Anderson’s axing after he struggled on benign pitches in the first two Tests. He is poised to return for a home outing in Manchester next week, nonetheless.

Australia is also likely to rotate its quicks, with Josh Hazlewood a chance to be rested. Scott Boland is in the pipeline to replace him, though Michael Neser may also get a look-in depending on the pitch. The tourists are taking a cautious approach with Hazlewood due to the three-day turnaround.

Elsewhere, a relatively straightforward swap of spinners will see Todd Murphy replace Nathan Lyon in the XI. The Victorian impressed on debut during Australia’s tour of India and looks a shoe-in to take over the role of Lyon, who tore his calf quite severely in the Lord’s Test. The remaining lineup is settled.


Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes (c), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood


David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Todd Murphy



Todd Murphy

It seems a near certainty that Murphy will replace Lyon in Australia’s XI, and Australians are quietly confident of how the second line spinner will fare. Lyon has done the job in countless fourth inning for Australia and having burst onto the scene in India, Murphy will have to step up and do similar for likely the remainder of the series.

Steve Smith

Arguably Smith’s finest Test century, and perhaps series, came in the last Ashes tour and he hit his stride at Lord’s with another terrific Ashes knock. The number four is incredibly important to Australia’s side and pivots the batting order beautifully. With Marnus Labuschagne scrapping for form and England threatening to make bulk runs at a good tick, Smith’s class will be key.


Harry Brook

The English firebrand batter has been promoted to number three in Pope’s absence and outside of Joe Root, is arguably England’s form batter. His potential to score bulk runs quickly will put the pressure on Australia’s bowlers, who even if they snare an early wicket, will be faced with the ominous figure of Brook. He’ll take the attack to Australia.

Mark Wood

England has finally unleashed Wood unto the Australians, after he was his side’s most dangerous bowler in the last Ashes series overseas. A genuine quick, he offers a point of difference to England’s other bowlers and can perhaps extract a little extra from the relatively flat pitches which have been served up so far. He has the potential to be potent, offering something different to what Australia has faced.


For all the English bravado and smokescreens of success, Australia seals the series here with another polished performance over five days. England may well entertain again, but this will be a case of same old Aussies, always winning.


1st Test: Edgbaston | Australia won by 2 wickets
2nd Test: Lord’s | Australia won by 43 runs
3rd Test: Headingley | Thursday July 6 – Monday July 10
4th Test: Old Trafford | Wednesday July 19 – Sunday July 23
5th Test: The Oval | Thursday July 27 – Monday July 31

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