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England target historic 4-0 Ashes win at The Oval

Trophy holders determined not to give Australia hope with the next series just months away

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 August, 2013, 3:48am
 

A chance to make history will confront England when they take on Australia in the final test of this season's Ashes at The Oval in south London today.

At 3-0 up with one to play, England have already retained the Ashes and won the series - the first time since the 1950s they have won three successive test campaigns against their oldest rivals.

But they still have plenty to play for as they have never won four tests against Australia in England and have never taken any Ashes series by a 4-0 margin although they did win 4-1 in Australia in 1911-12 and in 1928-29 before taking a six-match series against an Australia side hit by defections to the unofficial World Series Cricket 5-1 in 1978-79.

The last thing England batsman Jonathan Trott wants is for captain Alastair Cook to receive the Ashes urn after a loss.

"I don't think anyone wants to go up on the stage and raise the urn after we have lost," Trott said. "If we do that, it will be a bit of a downer."

Unusually, Australia will have a chance for revenge in just a few months, with the return Ashes starting in Brisbane in November after the series was brought forward to avoid clashing with the 2015 World Cup.

"There are another five games [against Australia] after this one so we are not letting up," Trott said.

"That is an important message to send. If we take our foot off, you give them hope and they can go back to Australia having won a test," added Trott.

England have been forced into making a change after Tim Bresnan, who starred with both bat and ball in the 74-run fourth test win at Chester-le-Street, was ruled out of the rest of the season with a back injury.

Fast bowler Chris Tremlett, looking to revive his test career on his Surrey home ground, is one of three players along with the uncapped duo of all-rounder Chris Woakes and left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan looking to take Bresnan's spot.

Australia, who have used eight batsmen in a series where the top order has been their Achilles heel, could again make changes despite being urged to "pick and stick" by the likes of former captain Steve Waugh.

Usman Khawaja, averaging just 19 in three successive tests, appears to be the batsman under greatest pressure right now after coach Darren Lehmann warned his top six they were playing for their places.

Australia have lost seven of their last eight tests, a losing streak interrupted by a rain-affected draw at Old Trafford.

However, vice-captain Brad Haddin insisted a side led by world-class batsman Michael Clarke could avoid becoming the first Australia team since 1977 to go through an Ashes series without winning a test.

"There's a lot of belief in the changing room that we can win this last test," wicketkeeper Haddin said. "We've been in a position over the tests to put ourselves in a position to win, we just haven't been good enough in the big moments.

"We've shown glimmers of where we can be as a team, but we haven't done it for long enough.

"To get ourselves in a position that we did at Durham and then finish the way we did, it takes a lot out of you," Haddin admitted.

"But test cricket's not meant to be easy. The series has gone, and we've just got to see what we're made of."

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