Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 1st 2013 Contents A51
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LONDON---England manager Roy
Hodgson will take charge of his
country's under-21 side for its match
against Scotland this month, giving
him an opportunity to work closely
with up-and-coming players at the
start of a World Cup season.
The under 21s are without a manager
following Stuart Pearce's departure
after a poor campaign in the European
Championship this summer, and
Hodgson offered to step in on a one-off
basis. Hodgson says "in a World Cup
year, it makes absolute sense while
there is the chance to do it."
The under 21s play Scotland at
Bramall Lane, Sheffield on August 13, a
day before England's senior team
takes on the Scots at Wembley
Hodgson to manage under 21s on one-off basis
MANCHESTER---Old Trafford has
witnessed some memorable Ashes
feats down the years, Shane
Warne s so-called "Ball of the Cen-
tury" in 1993 and Jim Laker s 19-
wicket haul in 1956 high on the list.
If Australia is to avoid an embar-
rassingly early end to the 2013 Ashes
series, it will have to pull off another
in the third Test starting today.
Down 2-0 in the five-match
series, on a run of six straight test
defeats and with their batting
department in disarray, few are giving
the embattled tourists a chance.
Except Michael Clarke, that is.
"I honestly believe we can win
this series---and I know there are a
lot of people out there that will laugh
at me saying that," the Australia cap-
tain said yesterday. "But I wouldn t
be here today if I thought this team
wasn t good enough to have suc-
"The reality is, our backs are
against the wall. But if we play our
best cricket, I think we will give it
a real shake for the rest of the series."
There is a precedent for Australia
coming from 2-0 behind to win an
Ashes series 3-2---the team did so
in 1936-37. That side contained a
certain Don Bradman, however, and
there is no one anyone near his ilk
in the current line-up.
In fact, no specialist Australia
batsman has scored more than 81 in
an innings this series and the highest
knock is owned by a No. 11, Ashton
Agar s extraordinary 98 in the first
test at Trent Bridge.
If the turnaround is to happen,
the Australians need their batters to
hit form and the likely recall of David
Warner for his first match this series
could spark a revival.
The strapping left-hander is back
in action after serving a suspension
for punching England batsman Joe
Root in a late-night bar-room inci-
dent during the Champions Trophy
in June, and hit 193 for Australia A
against its South African counter-
parts last week.
"He s got 190-odd runs under his
belt, which is obviously a positive
considering our batters haven t made
many runs so far on this tour," Clarke
said. "I think Davey at the time made
it pretty clear that he was extremely
apologetic for what occurred (with
"He knows what the expectations
are as an Australian cricketer. I am
very confident that he has learnt
from what happened in the past, is
trying to put that behind him and
Clarke wouldn t be drawn on
whether Warner would be recalled
but it is a risk worth taking given
the team s current predicament.
With selectors likely to keep faith
with Shane Watson and Chris Rogers
as openers, Warner could come in
for injury doubt Steve Smith (back)
in the middle order.
Australia must also find a replace-
ment for paceman James Pattinson,
who is out for the rest of the series
with a back problem. Mitchell Starc
or Jackson Bird are the likely alter-
natives while Nathan Lyon could
come Agar as the spinner.
Looking to clinch a third straight
Ashes series win for the first time
since 1981, England couldn t be in
a stronger position---and it hasn t
played anywhere near its best this
The priority for captain Alastair
Cook has been not letting his team-
mates get ahead of themselves,
despite many pundits saying the
series is already won and predicting
"It s very dangerous to start
thinking like that," Cook said yes-
terday. "We are a very good side
when we take games one step at a
time and the only thing we can con-
centrate on is this Old Trafford test
match, not what s gone before and
not what s going to come."
Still, with batsman Kevin
Pietersen seemingly fit after a calf
injury and England having won six
of its last seven tests at Old Trafford,
things couldn t be better.
With the Manchester track noto-
rious for assisting spinners, Monty
Panesar could come in to help out
frontline slow bowler Graeme
Swann, buoyed by his record of tak-
ing 25 wickets in three Tests at Old
Trafford at an average of 16.
Chris Tremlett, a hulking fast
bowler who has overcome back
problems to feature in an England
squad for the first time in 15
months, is also in contention to
start with the hosts showing off
their strength in depth in naming
a 14-man squad.
Cook is on the brink of winning
his first Ashes series as captain---
there is no greater feeling as an Eng-
land player---to leave Clarke staring
a whitewash squarely in the face.
"That was the prediction when
we arrived here in the UK and it s
up to us to make sure we don t allow
that to happen," Clarke said. "I
believe we can win the series."
Australia looks to
re-ignite Ashes hopes
Australia captain Michael Clarke, right, speaks to the
side's former spin bowler Shane Warne at a nets session
the day before the start of the third Ashes series cricket
match against England at Old Trafford cricket ground,
Manchester, England, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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