ASHES 2015: Why The 5th Test is as important as any other for England.

For many, the result at the Oval in the final Ashes test of the current series will seem irrelevant, with England already regaining the Ashes up in Nottingham two weeks ago.

But Alastair Cook’s men can’t be complacent on the field, as Australia will look to seek little consolation with victory. It will also be the final test appearances for both Michael Clarke and Chris Rodgers. Both will look to end with a flourish.

Clarke is disappointed with his performances this summer, but is grateful to the Australian Cricket Board for what has been a glittering career.

“I would have liked to have played better in this series, admitted the Australian skipper.

“But I think it’s the right time for me to walk away.

“I’ve given my heart and soul to Australian cricket and every time I’ve walked on I’ve given everything I had for the team.

“I’m very fortunate to be the 43rd Australian cricket captain and I’m very proud and honoured to have had the opportunity.”

England will be attempting to win a fourth home Ashes test in a single series for the first ever time. They will have to do that without James Anderson, who isn’t 100% fit. But with an unchanged side named for the Oval, you can expect England to attack with a similar ferocity as at Trent Bridge.

A win would also see Cook and Co. rise to second in the ICC world rankings, ahead of Australia. Draw or defeat would see Australia retain their ranking of second, with England just behind in third.

For most of the team though, the main reason to put in another top quality performance is so they can carry momentum with them to the UAE this winter, where they face Pakistan.

Players like Adam Lyth and Mark Wood will hope to catch the eyes of the England selectors with solid displays. Lyth has struggled with the bat, scoring the second-lowest average for England in this Ashes series (12.28).

Joe Root will look to cement his place at the top of the batting rankings with a big score at the Oval, with Stuart Broad (rank 2nd) also looking to edge ever closer to Dale Steyn (rank 1st) at the top of the bowling rankings.

Finally, if England win it will be the sixth test victory of the calendar year, the first time that has happened since 2011, when they were ranked the best test team in the world.

So with so much at stake, and a chance for a little bit of payback for the stick and abuse the side suffered down under 18 month ago when they were whitewashed 5-0, why should England ease off?

Australia are on the ropes, with players now calling it a day and injuries, England have never in my lifetime had a better opportunity to rub salt into the very deep Australian wounds.

With a green pitch, fans can expect another wicket-fest like the other test matches this summer. With bounce and swing, the fast pace bowlers can once again commence a fierce attack at the stumps.

It will once again be a very important coin toss when Alastair Cook and Clarke meet on the wicket tomorrow morning- with both teams hoping to bowl first and gain an early advantage.

*Quotes from BBC Sport.

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