It’s that time again.
The Ashes is back and ready to throw up many moments of magic, which it has done numerously over the years.
England go down under on the back of a 3-0 home series victory over Australia. It was the third successive Ashes victory for the Englishmen and it is of no doubt the Aussies are desperate to reclaim the little urn after a drought which goes back to the 2006-07 series.
If you were to ask the general public who they think will win the upcoming series, then the majority would say England. England have a settled side and a captain who has continued to lead a group of players to many memorable victories.
In contrast if you look at the Australian side, you would say they are in a transition period. If you compare the Aussie side of 2005 to the side they put out in this year’s series in England, then you will notice a vast difference in quality.
In ’05 you had the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden. It is fair to say they haven’t really replaced those players. They are still looking out for that next Warne or the next Ponting. However, we shouldn’t say that it will be a complete walkover for England because the Australians showed moments of class in the series just gone by.
When you’ve got quality like Shane Watson and the captain Michael Clarke, along with emerging talents such as George Bailey and James Faulkner, you should never write off a team. Some would say England’s 3-0 series victory flattered them, and in a way it did because there were days where Australia made them look very average.
It would not be surprising if the score line was a lot closer in the series that starts in Brisbane on the 21st November.
England have a decision to make on who will fill the space left by Tim Bresnan, due to injury. The three in contention are Chris Tremlett, Boyd Rankin and Steven Finn. Tremlett looks to be the favourite at this stage. They will also be hoping that wicketkeeper Matt Prior will recover from his calf injury in time for the opener on Thursday. If he isn’t available, then Jonny Bairstow will take the gloves.
On the Australian front, they look set to hand George Bailey his test debut. A revitalised David Warner will open the batting with Chris Rogers, and captain Michael Clarke had nothing but praise for the New South Wales batsman, who has recovered form and composure since the Ashes series in England. Warner was involved in an incident with England’s Joe Root in a bar in Birmingham.
It is perfectly set up for another exhilarating Ashes series, and Aussie spin king Shane Warne has tried to stir things up a bit claiming Alastair Cook is a “boring” captain. Warne is trying to unsettle the visitors because he is desperate to see his country get back to their best and return to winning Ashes series once again.
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