“Just how important is this match? The Ashes, after all, are gone with Australia’s retention sewn up at Old Trafford where they took a 2-1 lead. England can, however, still level the series up with a victory at The Oval even if they cannot reclaim the prize they came for. In any normal series, its unresolved nature would give this match huge significance. But with the destination of the Ashes already resolved, there is a strange dynamic to this match. Does it really matter?” asks Rob Johnston in his preview.
Exactly, does it? Not according to Vithushan Ehantharajah, who writes “This is no dead rubber and the Ashes, as a series, are not gone. England can, and should, focus on maintaining Australia’s winless run of series since 2001.”