Langer exits with Warne and McGrath

Australia seek a 5-0 Ashes series whitewash in Sydney.

Australian opening batsman Justin Langer will retire from Test cricket following the fifth Ashes Test [AFP]
Australian opening batsman Justin Langer will retire from Test cricket following the fifth Ashes Test [AFP]

Add the forgotten man Damien Martyn to the three other retirees and it has been a tumultuous summer for Australian cricket, however they have almost a year to regroup before their next Test series starting in November 2007 against Sri Lanka.


Langer will play his 105th and final Test match in Sydney as he leaves the international scene having currently scored 7650 runs at an average of 45.26 with 23 centuries and 30 fifties.


The hosts, and now Ashes holders, will take the same 12 players into the Sydney Test, deciding against adding another specialist spinner to the squad such has been the dominance of their past four victories.


New South Wales leg-spinner Stuart MacGill will feel unlucky to have missed out, however with the greatest bowler in history playing in his last match another spinner may have overshadowed the spectacle.


If there is turn in the SCG pitch, Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke will be called upon to extract some spin as back-ups to Warne, while McGrath, Brett Lee and Stuart Clark form a familiar pace attack on their home ground.


Lions’ pride on the line


Shane Warne will retire with teammates
Justin Langer and Glenn McGrath [AFP]

It’s the last chance for the England Test team to salvage something from their tour, and prevent themselves from going into the record books as the side that got swept 5-0 after holding the Ashes for the shortest time in history.


Star batsman Kevin Pietersen has finally been elevated up the order to number four and will have better scope to take control of the match should the opportunity arise, with the solid Paul Collingwood dropping down to five in a role that should suit his cautious style.


South African-born Pietersen was criticised for not being a team player by Australian coach John Buchanan after the fourth Test, with the dangerous stroke player no doubt keen to let his bat do the talking.


With nothing to lose, except a fifth Test in a row, the tourists may give off-spinning all-rounder Jamie Dalrymple his Test debut to provide Monty Panesar some support, with paceman Sajid Mahmood the one likely to make way.


The match should be an entertaining contest with both sides aiming to win, however the weather may play its part with showers forecast on most of the scheduled five days.


Australia will want to give their retiring heroes a deserved winning send off, but England – with the threat of 5-0 hanging over their heads, will be doing everything to spoil the party.

Source : Al Jazeera

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