It's Australia all the way
England are now unquestionably the second-best team in the world, but they are not yet expected to challenge for the top honours. That is the unanimous opinion of our panel of international judges, all of whom fancy Australia to retain the Ashes for yet another series.
Andy FlowerTwo months ago I thought it would be an Australian procession; after watching the NatWest Series, I believe it could be a closer contest than I thought. However, still I think Australia will prevail for a couple reasons. First they have matchwinners and second they have Shane Warne, the best legspinner around. As the games are going to be played in the latter half of the English summer, the ball will turn and Warne will definitely outdo Ashley Giles. But it won't be a whitewash.
Muttiah MuralitharanAustralia. Flintoff is out of form, Vaughan is out of form, Trescothick is technically suspect and Thorpe should be playing.
Tom MoodyAustralia to win 3-1. Their entire top seven is better than England's, and England will struggle to bowl Australia out twice.
Harbhajan SinghAustralia, because they play better in pressure situations.
Anil KumbleIt's going to be an interesting series as both teams have been doing well. But, having said that, Australia have the edge because of their greater experience.
Shivnarine ChanderpaulI think it will be a very good and intense series. I do not know who is going to win and I don't want to make any predictions but it will be very interesting all the same. Both teams are playing very good cricket at the moment. I can identify four players on each side who will hold the key for the two teams. Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist need to bat well for Australia and their top wicket-takers, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, will have to deliver. For England, the batting of their captain, Michael Vaughan, the allround performance of Andrew Flintoff and the bowling of Steve Harmison and the under-rated Matthew Hoggard will make the difference for them.
Chris CairnsMy heart says England, but my head says Australia.
Jacques KallisAustralia will win. England have been trying hard for a long time but Australia have got the depth and the experience.
Mahela JayawardeneAustralia. England should have picked Thorpe; and their batting is also too shallow with Jones at No 7.
Interviews by Nagraj Gollapudi, Charlie Austin and Tim McConnell