England to battle for series and Ashes momentum at Lord’s
In just 91 days time England will begin their battle to retain the Ashes in Australia with only Pakistan remaining in their test itinerary before the showdown Down Under.
With the series well poised at 2-1 the home side will be desperate to eradicate a disappointing performance at The Oval and clinch the series at Lord’s to gain precious momentum ahead of their winter tour.
Before the third Test the tourists had been bullied and dominated in all departments. However, the return of Mohammad Yousuf stirred a vital response from Pakistan, who were boosted by a number of changes as they stormed to victory at The Oval.
But their sudden improvement is not all bad news for England. The third test will have given the side priceless experience of being under pressure for periods – something they will undoubtedly experience again come 25 November.
Furthermore, the final Test looks to be exactly that, a test -something which until The Oval they had not yet faced.
As Pakistan appeared rejuvenated and replenished, England seemed sluggish and jaded. Many have been quick to once again question player selection when in the wake of victory at Edgbaston most showed joy at the certainty of England’s Ashes side.
Alastair Cook on the other hand went some way to convincing critics that he is the man to open with Andrew Strauss in Australia with an incredibly gutsy hundred. Cook will need similar spirit on tap when his first ball comes down in Brisbane.
Unfounded pressure on Matthew Prior was too lifted as his first innings 84 rescued England from 94-7.
At Lord’s this week, England need not only a win but also a performance. It is clear from previous Ashes summers that momentum can be essential and all will be desperate to make a positive contribution to a convincing win for the team and for their individual self belief.