England ensured the retention of the Ashes on Monday, albeit with a little help from the British weather, as the third test at Old Trafford was tied.
In fairness, fantastic performances in the opening two tests gave England a massive stake in winning this year’s Ashes and despite a less than impressive third test, the pressure is now off with the knowledge the urn is retained.
Now attention turns to the fourth test at Chester-Le-Street in County Durham as England seek to win the series which will be confirmed should they avoid defeat.
In the days since the completion of the third test, a row has broken out after Australia’s Channel Nine television channel accused Kevin Pietersen of using silicone tape on their bats to deceive the Decision Review System.
The channel claim that the England team have been using the material to mask thin edged from being flagged up on the review system but England have responded angrily and are awaiting an apology from the channel.
It comes after a number of controversies involved in the Hot Spot system used to detect whether the ball has clipped the edge of the bat.
The ICB has confirmed that despite the recent controversies, the DRS system, including Hot Spot, will remain in use for the two remaining test at Chester-Le-Street and The Oval.
England have tweaked their 13 man squad in the wake of the Monty Panesar’s drunken escapades on Monday night. The Sussex spin bowler was fined for being drunk and disorderly after he was reported to have urinated on nightclub bouncers.
Durham seamer Graham Onions comes into the squad alongside Chris Tremlett in reserve ahead of the next test. It is possible Jimmy Anderson may be rested after bowling 128.5 overs, more than any other fast bowler in the Ashes series this year.
Meanwhile in the Australia camp, Jackson Bird comes into the Australian 12-man squad and he’ll make his first appearance in the series should he make the final 11-man squad.
Ashton Agar is the man likely to give way for the switch although injury-prone seamer Ryan Harris may miss out to guarantee he is fit for the final test.
Despite their faltering performance in the last test, England remain favourites to win the fourth, with a number of bookies offering evens, including Ladbrokes.
Australia will be desperate to finally register a win in the series and if you fancy a flutter on them, Stan James are currently providing the best odds of 16/5.
Rain could once again feature on the forecast on Monday and Tuesday which could force another draw. Bet 365 offer the best odds on that at 5/2.
As always, all five days of the test can be seen live on Sky Sports Ashes/Sky Sports 2.
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