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The Ashes: Fifth Test preview

The fifth and final Ashes Test gets underway at the Oval on Thursday and Australia have some big calls to make regarding their team selection.

The Baggy Greens have managed to retain the Ashes after rain washed out the last two days of the fourth Test at Old Trafford, meaning it ended in a draw.

However, they were outplayed by England and had the rain stayed away, Ben Stokes’ side would most probably have levelled the series at 2-2.

Australia will want to win the series, preferably 3-1, and that could mean they will make changes for The Oval clash after a number of players failed to produce in Manchester.

England look set to stick with the same side, although there are some doubts over the fitness of express fast bowler Mark Wood.

WhatEngland v Australia, fifth Test
WhereThe Oval, London
WhenThursday 27thJuly - Monday 1st August, 2023
How to watchChannel 9
OddsEngland 2.37, Draw 3.75, Australia 2.75

Murphy tipped to return

Australia decided to go without a spinner in the fourth Test, leaving out Todd Murphy and opting to go with two all-rounders Cameron Green and Mitch Marsh.

It was a decision that almost cost them the Test and there are suggestions Murphy will return at The Oval. But who will the Aussies leave out, Marsh or Green?

The decision could be made for them as Marsh is said to be suffering for soreness that prevented him from bowling on day three at Old Trafford.

If he is unable to bowl in the fifth Test, then Australia look certain to go with Green as the all-rounder and bring back Murphy.

If Marsh is passed fit then the Australians will have a dilemma over who to play.

Green has struggled with the bat throughout the series, but did take a couple of crucial wickets in the fourth Test.

Marsh has been the opposite. He came into the side in the third Test at Headingley and immediately smashed a century.

He backed that up with a solid half-century at Old Trafford, but did not take any wickets.

Starc faces fitness check

There is also a concern over the fitness of fast bowler Mitchell Starc who damaged his shoulder after landing awkwardly while fielding at Old Trafford.

He had to leave the field for treatment and, although he later returned and was able to bowl, he will need to prove his fitness.

If left-armer Starc was ruled out, it has been suggested that Australia will hand Michael Neser his first start in this Ashes series.

Scott Boland is another option, but he has struggled on this tour and that could open the door for Neser to get his chance, with the latter having excelled in county cricket with Glamorgan.

There had been talk that skipper Pat Cummins could be rested after playing all four Tests so far, but that is unlikely to happen.

Cummins is priced at 6.00 to be the top first innings bowler.

Warner set to retain his place

Opener David Warner failed to make a big score in the fourth Test as he continued on with a disappointing Ashes series.

However, it is unlikely the Aussie selectors will decide to leave him out at the Oval and the general consensus is, if Warner was to be dropped, it would have happened for the fourth Test and now he will see out the series.

Warner can be backed at 15.00 to be the Top 1st Innings Batter.

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