The biggest cricket extravaganza and the biggest cricket rivalry are just a few days away from us now. England and Australia are all set to lock horns against each other in a gruelling five-match series known as the Ashes.
The Ashes is a test match series between England and Australia that represents the cricketing rivalry between both teams and has given a lot of historic moments to this sport. The winner of the Ashes series is presented with the prestigious Ashes urn, a trophy that means a lot to players from both countries. The top bookmakers in India have Ashes odds on their platforms.
The series, which is played every two years alternately on English soil and down under, is all set to be played in the United Kingdom this time around, with Australia being the defending champions. The first match of this enthralling Test series will start on Friday at the Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham.
Ben Stokes has some selection dilemmas on his mind before the first test match of the series, as his premium spinner, Jack Leach, was ruled out of the series a week ago. Moeen Ali, another off-spinner, has come out of his test retirement to join the team for the Ashes series and is likely to find a place in the playing 11 due to the lack of a spinner in the English squad.
England will most probably start with three seamers and a fourth seamer in Ben Stokes.
Predicted Lineup: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood/Ollie Robinson.
The Australian team is currently on cloud nine after winning the World Test Championship final against India and starting their tour on a great note on English soil. Josh Hazelwood was ruled out of the WTC final due to an injury, but there is no word about his progress as of now. Hazelwood’s replacement, Scott Boland, was sensational in the test match against India and proved a strong case for the first Ashes Test.
Pat Cummins has some thinking to do as to who his other two companions will be in the first match.
Predicted Lineup: David Warner, Usman Khwaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Mitchell Starc/Josh Hazelwood, Nathan Lyon.
Conditions on the first day are expected to be a little overcast, with showers predicted on the fourth and fifth days of the test match. The team winning the toss will like to bowl first in the match, as chasing in the fourth innings is no longer a difficult task on English soil.
The players on both teams are in top form. England played a solitary match against Ireland a few days ago, where the team had good preparation for the Ashes, whereas Australia played clinically in the WTC final against India and looked well set for the Ashes.
The key players for both teams in the first test are going to be Pat Cummins for Australia and James Anderson for England, as teams need to take 20 wickets to win a test match, and these two are the top bowlers from their respective teams.