PREVIEW | 2023 Men’s Ashes: 4th Test

THE FOURTH Men’s Ashes Test gets underway tonight, with England needing a victory to stay in contention of reclaiming the coveted urn. We take you through all you need to know before the opening ball is bowled in Manchester, at 8pm AEST.


When: Wednesday July 19 – Sunday July 23
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester
Watch: Channel Nine
Listen: ABC Grandstand, SEN


Australia leads England 2-1.

Australia is on the brink of winning its first overseas Ashes series in 22 years, needing to take out just one more match to attain an unassailable lead. The visitors retained the urn in 2019’s drawn away series, and can still do the same in 2023, but will look to go one better and forge their own slice of history.



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), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Josh Tongue, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood


Both sides have already named their XI’s leading into tonight’s toss. Much of the selection talk coming into game four surrounded Australia’s team balance, with the headache of two in-form allrounders and a waning opening batter making decisions difficult.

In the end, selectors opted to bring back Cameron Green after a minor hamstring complaint kept him out of the Headingley Test, accompanying fellow allrounder Mitch Marsh at the expense of Victorian spinner Todd Murphy.

With Josh Hazlewood also replacing Scott Boland, Australia has not named a frontline spinner at Test level for the first time since 2012. It gives depth to the batting order from one to eight, and will likely see part-timers Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne take the ball more often.

England has also made a change, bringing back legendary seamer James Anderson to play in what could possibly be his final home Test, at Manchester. The Burnley native has struggled so far this series, but should be ready to go after being rested for the short turnaround at Headingley.

It means Ollie Robinson (back spasms) misses out, while spinning allrounder Moeen Ali has been listed to come in at first drop. That choice will see brash basher Harry Brook come in at a more natural number five having compiled his most effective innings there.


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


David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Josh Hazlewood



Steve Smith

Old Trafford is somewhat of a happy hunting ground for Smith, who hit 211 and 89 in his last outing there. After an uncharacteristically soft dismissal in the second innings of his 100th Test at Headingley, he should be mentally and physically refreshed enough to put together a performance more fitting of his class. You cannot keep a good man down – the same applies for Labuschagne at first drop.


Jimmy Anderson

Recalled for his home Test at the ground with an end named in his honour, it would only be fitting for Anderson to put on a show. He may not have many matches left in him on English turf, so will likely lap it up and give everything to the fans which have adored him for so long. The prolific seamer has had a lacklustre series but like Smith, can only be counted out at your own peril. Class is permanent.


The typically fickle Manchester weather may bring all three outcomes into play, which would be a disaster for England, though the hosts’ mindset means they’ll do everything in their power to force a result. This is a tough one to call in what could decide arguably the tightest Ashes series of all time, but we’ll jump off the fence and back Australia’s unconventional selection to produce a decisive 3-1 lead.


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

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments