Australia leaning towards Mitchell Marsh for third Ashes test


It has been a few years now since we have seen a WACA ground wicket with its famous pace and bounce.

More recently, conditions have favoured the batsmen rather than the pace bowlers, and a day out from the potentially series-defining third Ashes Test between Australia and England, the pitch has left the Australian captain disappointed.

"Probably not as hard as I would have liked it to be a day out," Steve Smith said after inspecting the ground today.

"But, you know, 24 hours can change a wicket, and we'll have another look in the morning and hopefully it's harder and faster."

Smith will wait until the toss tomorrow morning before deciding if there will be a change to the team for Perth.

All-rounder Mitch Marsh is expected to replace batsman Peter Handscomb in the final XI, but the selectors will take a final look at the pitch before making a final decision.

It is set to be a nervous night for the out-of-form Handscomb, who has a highest score of 36 in the series so far.

Peter Handscomb plays a shot to mid wicket on day four of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

But if the Victorian misses out to Marsh, it won't be because of form.

"The message to him [Handscomb] purely from my point of view and the selectors speaking to them, that it is for the extra bowling option, it is nothing to do with the batting as such," Smith said.

"It will be unlucky if he misses out but we still see a very bright future in Pete."

England also won't finalise its team until tomorrow.

It has been a horrible series for the tourists. The players have struggled to adapt to Australian conditions on the field, while also finding themselves in trouble off it.

And skipper Joe Root admitted he has had enough.

"If guys keep making silly mistakes there's got to be consequences," Root said.

"I'm obviously a little bit disappointed in the way things have turned out, but there's no point dwelling on it."

England has lost its Past seven Tests in Perth, and Root and the players understand the magnitude of what needs to be achieved.

"The real thing to hit home here is it is an opportunity to create history. It is a real chance to flip the dynamic of this series on its head," Root said.

"If we do come away 2-1 from this game, it blows the series wide open."

Australia can claim the Ashes with a win at the WACA.

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