Wondering what the buzz in Edgbaston is all about? It's about Mitchell Johnson and and his searing pace that could blow England to punctum sized beans, presumably. After his antics had stupefied the Englishmen at the most perfect of settings, the Lord's Cricket Ground, one couldn't help but go all the way back to The Gabbatoir, England's Theatre of Horrors, where Johnson first showed England what terror was in the same manner as Jeff Thompson once did.
Moving forward to Edgbaston after being smitten by the smiters, England now have it all to do, while Australia are busy winning the war of words, and playing the mind games Alex Ferguson style. Worth remembering, however, is the fact that Trevor Bayliss is no Kevin Keegan, neither are England.
England came into the second test with relatively less problems, fast forward four days, and the hosts are in a mess. Adam Lyth can't decide whether to play or not, the new no. 3, Ian Bell, is struggling to buy a run, Jos Buttler isn't exactly sure as to how should he go about his job, and Mark Wood's legs have given up. Given the way the events have shaped up in the build-up to the third test in terms of the pitch preparation, Captain Cook's "Men of Horror" must be ready to make themselves familiar to watch a lot of green across the 22 yards.
In a sense, a track that swings is exactly what James Anderson and company would need to rip through the Australian order, but on the contrary, grass could be a recipe of disaster for England's struggling top order. At a messy time as this, it is in England's best interests that they bat with confidence, and avoid loitering around the corridor of uncertainty. Again, the bowlers would need to be full, and give the red Duke the best chance to swing, irrespective of whether there is any sideways or up and down movement.
Be on the look for Jonny Bairstow, the lad can bat.
Line-up: Quite clearly, Jonny Bairstow's time to don the whites again is now with Gary Ballance being dropped. Mark Wood may miss out as well, paving the way for Steven Finn. The rest of the line-up should be same.
There are several ways of striking back in a series, but none of them matches the swagger with which Australia do it. Days after a shoddy Australia had been almost slaughtered by a 169-runs, it was both bemusing and amusing as to how they did actually turn it around so quickly, so very quickly that a Chris Martin inning would last longer. They persevered quite magnificently at Lord's with their plans, and it all worked for them, every single bit of it.
However, as much force as they have up their sleeves, Australia have some bit of worrying to do as well and nearly all of those worries lie in the middle and lower order which appears out of form, Michael Clarke in particular, who is yet to get going. With Chris Rogers a doubt for the third test, Australia would need runs from everyone, or someone apart from Steven Smith, as putting all your eggs in one basket isn't exactly a good thing.
Keep a check on Nathan Lyon, he could well be spinning it.
Line-up: Chris Rogers is highly unlikely to play, which means Shaun Marsh is the automatic choice to open alongside David Warner. Expect familiar faces.