England head into this Ashes series as complete underdogs and very few pundits or supporters give them any chance of winning the series and with it the famous little urn.
Australia are favourites and deservedly so. They are the current cricket world champions and have won their last two Test series whereas England suffered an ignominious exit from the World Cup and have only drawn their last two Test series.
Add to those statistics the fact that in the last Ashes series down under England were absolutely destroyed by Australia, who inflicted a 5-0 whitewash on.
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On paper, it doesn't look too good for England, but as we all know cricket is not played on paper, it is played on grass and weather conditions can also have a major effect on the game.
Everyone hopes that the weather doesn't influence the series result and that all five games are completed without any major interference.
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It would be nice though, if the weather was a little bit cloudy here and there, with humid conditions, which would allow the bowlers to have their say on the series, rather than the series be dominated by the batsmen, which was definitely the case in the recent ODI series against New Zealand.
If this is the case then there is a definite possibility that England can cause the Australian batsmen more than their fair share of problems. It is well known throughout the game that Aussie batsmen have been known to struggle in English conditions and with playing the Dukes cricket ball as well.
James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn and Chris Wood are all capable quickies, and if they bowl sensibly and keep the ball pitched up they could well be rewarded.
They must be aggressive and take the game to the Aussies. A bold team selection by coach and captain will definitely help them. It's also crucial that they choose to play Adil Rashid as the main spinner and not Moeen Ali who is only a part-time spinner and will not win you a game.
As for the Aussie bowlers, Mitchell Johnson is dangerous when his confidence is high and both he and Mitchell Starc can cause major problems with a swinging ball if they can control it. Our batsmen need to deal with that and also target their main spinner Nathan Lyon, who can be got at if we are positive against him.
That leaves the Aussie batsmen, and they are all positive players who like to dominate, but a major player in their line-up is Steve Smith.
He has scored six centuries in his last seven innings. It might sound simple but we need to get at him early, because if we can dismiss him early in their innings, it will have a knock-on effect on the Aussie innings.
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