England v Australia Fourth Test Preview
What a shame that on the test pitch that is almost guaranteed to provide the most swing in this series, England's most potent seam bowler – Jimmy Anderson is sidelined with a side injury sustained during the third test match.
The Trent bridge ground is tightly enclosed and the construction of the New Stand in 2008 completes the claustrophobic effect whilst sand under the turf and regular watering keep the pitch moist which aids the bowler who can swing the ball.
Mark Wood will replace Anderson but the Durham man is highly prone to injury and will be playing with cortisone injections in his ankle.
As for the batting, England are getting very close to finding a tremendous balance in the top order if only the man opening with Alistair Cook, Adam Lyth could find some form.
Moving Ian Bell up to number three to replace the out of form Gary Ballance worked well at Edgbaston and Joe Root needs to be playing at four so that he is not exposed to the England tail before compiling a decent score.
This pitch is going to be very helpful to the England bowlers and a lot of responsibility falls to Stuart Broad in the absence of Anderson to bowl a tight line. Steven Finn will be backing him up with a brilliant six wicket haul in the second innings of the third test.
The Australians are under pressure to make some runs and the England crowd could really make a difference in this game if they get behind the home team and make a cauldron of noise.
As David Warner observed recently:
You do feel that pressure in yourself, that little bit of pressure. Look at the football. The crowds are behind the home teams, you hear the songs and chants, and you actually come over here and the crowds are singing, they’re obviously behind the English. It’s helpful [to England], especially when they’ve got their tails up.
The Aussie captain Michael Clarke is badly out of form and with England winning eight out of their last twelve tests here I'm going for an England win.