England appear set to hand a Test debut to novice leg-spinner Mason Crane in Sydney.
Coach Trevor Bayliss has given the strongest hint yet that the 20-year-old will win his maiden cap in the Ashes finale, with England able to 'look at some different people' as they try to break their duck in a series lost in Perth before Christmas.
Since then, England have recorded a more encouraging draw in Melbourne to at least ensure they will not suffer a third 5-0 whitewash in four tours to Australia.
England appear set to hand a Test debut to novice leg-spinner Mason Crane in Sydney
Trevor Bayliss has given the strongest hint yet that the 20-year-old will win his maiden cap
Crane's graduation is not entirely contingent on England dropping badly out-of-form Moeen Ali, but that seems the most likely scenario.
Either way, if the leg-spinner does begin his Test career at the SCG on Thursday, he will be doing so on the same ground where his grade cricket tour Down Under last winter culminated in an unexpected Sheffield Shield call-up for New South Wales.
Asked if Crane is ready for Tests, Bayliss said: 'There's maybe no time like the present to find out.
'We think he's a guy that has got the goods, and the more he plays at this level the better he will get.
'You've got to start somewhere.'
Crane's graduation is not entirely contingent on dropping Moeen Ali, but that seems likely
As for Moeen's future, the short and long term may well be divergent.
After the off-spinning all-rounder's three wickets at an alarming cost of 135 each in four Tests so far, and only 136 runs at under 20 an innings, it is hard to have much current confidence.
He is a famously mercurial talent, however - a fact not lost on