With the score not so carefully poised at 2-0, England head into the Third Test of their 2013 Ashes Series with the intention of accomplishing a feat not seen for almost 40 years.
Not since 1977 have the English managed to mount a 3-0 lead over their southern hemisphere rivals, but thus has been the dominant fashion in which Andy Flower’s roster have gone about their business this summer.
Although there are another five tests to play in the winter, Alastair Cook will revel in the joy of tying up this series quite so early, with Test Three promising to be a do-or-die exchange as far as the hosts are concerned.
With quite so much up for grabs, you won’t want to miss a minute of the Old Trafford meeting, with each side chasing the same prize, but in rather different circumstances.
What: 2013 Ashes Series Third Test
Who: England vs. Australia
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
When: August 1-5, 6 a.m. ET/11 a.m. ET
Broadcast: Sky Sports (UK), Willow Cricket (USA), GEM/FOX Sports (AUS)
In terms of playing staff, Andy Flower has dropped just one player ahead of Thursday’s resumption of play, with Steven Finn the only player to be axed from the squad.
In his place, Chris Tremlett has returned to haunt the same team against whom he performed so admirably three years ago, taking an astonishing 17 wickets in just three tests.
Along with the recovered Tremlett, James Taylor and Monty Panesar also manage to make the cut in time for this week’s examination, according to The Telegraph's Derek Pringle.
Interestingly enough, Kevin Pietersen should also figure having proved his fitness to the coaching staff, despite scoring just seven runs in total during Test Two.
It’s already known that James Pattinson will play no further role in Australia’s tour after picking up a stress fracture injury in his back, according to the Press Association (h/t The Guardian).
According to the Sydney Morning Herald’s Chris Barrett, Jackson Bird currently stands out as favourite to replace the 23-year-old bowler, but no decision has come out yet.
Should they record a third consecutive victory, England will not only write their names in the history books, but they'll also take a deserved lead Down Under for the Winter Ashes, a one-off second tour of the year made to prevent clashing with the 2015 World Cup.