The Ashes retained: Sir Ian Botham says pressure is off England
Sir Ian Botham says England can win 4-0 as he and Nasser Hussain analyse the key moments so far.
Last Updated: 06/08/13 2:29pm
So how have they maintained their grip on the urn so quickly? Following the drawn third Test at Old Trafford Sky Cricket's Sir Ian Botham and Nasser Hussain looked back at some of the key performances so far and what the Friday's fourth Test at Durham might hold.
James Anderson's 5-85 and 5-73 in the first Test at Trent Bridge
Beefy: Jimmy is magnificent, he really is. Currently he's probably as good as anybody in the world. South Africa's Dale Steyn has held that mantle for quite some time but I think Jimmy is right up there with him and, at the moment on current form, might be the No 1 seam in world cricket. He's a tremendous bowler who keeps himself fit and his variations are hard to pick and he keeps going - he's got a big engine. When nothing was happening at Trent Bridge, who did Alastair Cook turn to? James Anderson. You had a feeling - it was written in the stars almost - that Jimmy was going to come on and do it.
Graeme Swann's 5-44 and 4-78 in the second Test at Lord's
Beefy: I think everyone knows how good he is and how good he's been for England over the last few years. He has a great knack of picking up wickets in his first over and he dreams about bowling to left-handers because he's as good as anyone in the world. For a finger spinner he gets a lot of action on the ball. He's a massive asset to this side and because he's so consistently good he allows the captain to rotate his main bowlers at the other end. That's something that Kevin Pietersen realised when Nathan Lyon came on for Australia. He went after him straight away and Michael Clarke had to take him out of the attack. Then he had to rotate his seamers at both ends, which made it a bit more difficult and tiring.
Ian Bell's haul of 381 runs in the series so far
Nasser: It has been a big series for Ian Bell. He was sort of plodding along a little bit, getting starts and then getting out. With Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott not having great series so far it was important that the next senior player after Kevin Pietersen said 'this is my time'. He's had some issues against Australia before - particularly against Shane Warne - but this is his time to go out and show his class and that's exactly what he's done. He has come of age, to be honest. It is about time because he is that good a player that he should be playing like this all of the time. He is so pleasing to watch, he plays spin well, his timing is good, he plays the short ball well and now he's gone on to make big runs consistently. If England do go on to win the series a lot of it will be down to Ian Bell.
What to expect from England for the rest of the series
Beefy: I think the pressure is off now. I think they will go out and play. Trott and Cook are not going to continue not to score runs - that's going to change. As far as I can see England will march on. It is a pretty good cricket wicket up at Durham nowadays and I hope it has a little bit of carry in it. It will be interesting to see if - because it is a three-day gap - they consider playing Onions, who is just coming off a seven-for-not-very-many and giving one of the bowlers a little break. No-one wants to leave a winning team, so perhaps that is unlikely, but it would be horses for courses.
Nasser: Adding Graham Onions and Chris Tremlett to the XI that played at Old Trafford makes sense because what England don't want is a very samey attack. They nearly played Tremlett in the third Test because of the bounce so that if someone does need to attack Michael Clarke you have an option rather than an attack that is one-paced. Tremlett is the variation that they are always looking for but Onions on his home ground has got to be an option. But all these bowlers - James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan - might just turn to Cook and say 'I am not resting - I want to win the series; you are going to have to axe me'.
Watch the fourth Ashes Test between England and Australia live from 10am on Friday on Sky Sports Ashes and online and iPad via the Ashes Events Centre, available via the Sky Sports App.