PREVIEW: Parkinson on the fifth Ashes Test
Sydney-based Matt Parkinson is hoping England can end their disappointing Ashes series on a high at the SCG this week to set them up ideally for the forthcoming one-day series and March's Test series in New Zealand.
Lancashire leg-spinner Parkinson has been a keen observer of the Ashes, which sees Australia 3-0 up with one to play, starting on Thursday (Wed 11.30pm UK).
He is currently playing winter grade cricket with the Gordon club in Sydney, where Mason Crane played last year.
Parkinson knows the Hampshire leg-spinner well and is backing him to go well on debut if, as expected, he is selected to play on Australia's most spin-friendly surface.
"Being out here for the first time, it's been really interesting to view an away Ashes series and see what it means to the Aussies," said the Boltonian.
"They've really been up for it, and it's pretty obvious we've been outplayed.
"The Australians are playing well, and we're struggling to match them.
"But the last Test was a big positive, and hopefully that sets it up for a big finish in Sydney this week.
"Another thing with being out here, you hear about lads in (Sheffield) Shield cricket and what they're doing, and they've called Ashton Agar up from Western Australia.
"It's a possibility they may play two spinners. It will be interesting to see if England do the same.
"Judging by what New South Wales have done here, it may spin. They've played Steve O'Keefe and Nathan Lyon.
"If England can come away from the series 3-1 having blooded the likes of Mason and Tom Curran in the last couple of Tests, they at least have something positive to reflect upon.
"They will have gained some confidence ahead of New Zealand and the one-day series in Australia in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed, that can be the high point of the trip.
"England have been playing some really exciting one-day cricket of late, and a few of the lads have been playing out here already in the Big Bash, the likes of Jos (Buttler), Jason Roy, Sam Billings and David Willey."
Parkinson has linked up with the England squad as a net bowler for the two practice days at the SCG along with another leggie in Derbyshire's Matt Critchley.
He knows Crane very well having played with and against him since their days as juniors, and Parkinson said: "I would play him, especially now that we're three down.
"He played for New South Wales last year at the SCG, so he knows the ground very well.
"I know Mason really well.
"We've been playing against each other since the age of 14, and we played against each other for the 19s.
"We've been vying for the same spots growing up, and his career's been fast-tracked in the last year or so. I hope he goes well. He's got everything in his favour to do so."
Parkinson is loving his time in Sydney, which has seen him take nearly 40 wickets in all cricket for Gordon.
He has even been pleasantly surprised at the lack of Ashes related abuse he has been getting from his Aussie team-mates.
"It's died down since the first Test to be honest," he added.
"I thought I'd have got a bit more, but it's not been too bad. Maybe that's because the score has been pretty one-sided."
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