The wait is over on Thursday when England and Australia get the 2019 Ashes series underway at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
England warmed up with victory over Ireland as they avoided a potential shock at Lord’s, while Australia have warmed up with a set of matches that included pitting the main side against the ‘A’ team to get quality match practice.
Australia hold the Ashes after a 4-0 series win Down Under, but they haven’t won in England since 2011. Who will come out on top in the latest edition of the famous rivalry?
The hosts have rested quite a few of their regulars against Ireland and Jofra Archer’s anticipated Test debut may now not happen at Edgbaston. There is considerable interest over captain Joe Root’s position too, as he reverts to number three.
With the pitch expected to be dry, England will look to Moeen Ali as their only spin option. Sam Curran and Woakes could be vying for one final spot, as England welcome James Anderson back into the fold.
Australia are sure to welcome back the trio from ball-tampering saga – Cameron Bancroft, David Warner and Steve Smith. With Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh in the middle-order, there is a bit of doubt on the strength of this batting unit.
Bowling wears an aggressive outlook, though, with James Pattinson and Pat Cummins heading the unit. Nathan Lyon will be their lone spinner while Mitchell Starc should edge out Peter Siddle for hte third seamer role.
- England have won six of their last seven home Tests (W6, D1), including three in a row.
- England are unbeaten at this venue since 2008 (W6, D2), including the last four.
- Australia have won their last two Tests, but haven’t won three consecutive Tests since November/December 2017.
- Australia are winless in the last five away Tests (D1, L4), since winning against South Africa in March 2018.
- Australia have lost seven of their last 11 Tests in England (W2, D2, L7).
Australia hold the Ashes after a 4-0 win Down Under in 2017-18, but England haven’t lost a home Ashes series since 2001.
Six months ago, England would have been absolute favourites to regain the Ashes. However, so much water has flown under the bridge hence and Justin Langer’s side look a confident side.
England will have to be at their best all through the five days, and this could be a tough tussle for supremacy.
Prediction: Top Australia Runscorer (1st Innings) – Steve Smith ($3.75 TopBetta)