Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane November 20, 2013

Australia all talk, but can they back it up?

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Match facts


November 21-25, Gabba, Brisbane
Start time 1000 (0000 GMT)

Big Picture

Three months ago - is that all? - England stood on a dais at The Oval and were presented with the Ashes urn amid fading light and fireworks. Under normal circumstances, they would have had 18 months to revel in their success before defending the prize, but 2013 is anything but a typical Ashes year. The presence of the World Cup in Australia on next summer's calendar meant a clash with the Ashes, and a rescheduling was required. As a result, Michael Clarke and his men have an almost immediate chance to redeem themselves, and there is a sense of optimism among Australian fans.

It is tempting to view that enthusiasm as misplaced, given Australia's 3-0 loss in England and the yawning gap in experience between the players of both sides. Make no mistake, England should win this series, for they are more settled, more experienced and more familiar with the winning feeling. Yes, Australia were on top in several Tests in England this year, but the fact that they let those winning positions slip is not an encouraging sign. Australia have not won a Test since Michael Hussey's retirement in January, and since the start of the last Australian summer, the only team they have beaten in a Test is Sri Lanka.

That the squad chosen for the Gabba Test was described by many observers as "stable" said more about Australia's shambolic year than anything else. George Bailey is uncapped, Shane Watson is an accidental No.3 due only to his hundred there at The Oval, Mitchell Johnson was not even on the Ashes tour to England, Darren Lehmann has been coach for less than six months. Only four of the XI from last summer's opening Gabba Test against South Africa - Clarke, David Warner, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon - are in this team. Stability is relative.

England are not immune to changes, including the Michael Carberry-Joe Root switch, but it is worth noting that 11 members of their Ashes squad played in their 2010-11 triumph in Australia. The conditions are not so foreign to England as they once might have been. At the Gabba last time, England piled up 1 for 517 in their second innings. In the lead-up to the first Test, Warner said he felt England might fear Australia given the way they played at times in England this year. It's easy to talk the talk, now Australia must walk the walk.

Form guide

England: DWDWW
Australia: DLDLL

Players to watch

For all the talk from within the Australian camp that Mitchell Johnson could win them the series, the fact is that he wouldn't have been part of this team but for injuries to James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and perhaps Jackson Bird. It is true that Johnson made several Indian batsmen jump with his pace and bounce during the recent ODIs and he does seem to be bowling quicker than ever, but sustaining that and maintaining accuracy through five days of a Test match is a vastly different challenge. Australia's best bet is to use Johnson in short, sharp spells.

One of the most encouraging things for England at home this year was that they won the Ashes comfortably without Alastair Cook reaching anything close to his best form. His top score in the series was 62, but his memories of the last series in Australia are exceptionally pleasing - he made three centuries including an unbeaten 235 in the opener at the Gabba. Regardless of the lack of top-class bowling England have faced in their warm-ups, his 154 against Australia A at Bellerive Oval and his 81 in Sydney last week are also positive signs.

Team news

Australia have chosen a 12-man squad, meaning their only decision is whether to include the allrounder James Faulkner as an extra bowling option. Shane Watson is expected to bowl only a small amount if at all due to his troublesome hamstring, which could encourage the selectors to take in an extra bowler, but the more likely scenario is three fast men, one spinner and George Bailey to make his debut at No.6.

Australia (probable) 1 Chris Rogers, 2 David Warner, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Steven Smith, 6 George Bailey, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Peter Siddle, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 Nathan Lyon.

The main change from the England side that won at home this year is the inclusion of Michael Carberry at the top of the order to open with Alastair Cook, which was also allowed Joe Root to slide down to No.6, the position occupied by Jonny Bairstow for much of the home series. Matt Prior suffered a calf tear during the warm-up match in Hobart and remains in doubt, and Bairstow would keep wicket if Prior is ruled out. The other key decision is on which fast bowler will join James Anderson and Stuart Broad, and Chris Tremlett may have the edge over Boyd Rankin and Steven Finn.

England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Michael Carberry, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Joe Root, 7 Matt Prior / Jonny Bairstow (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Chris Tremlett, 11 James Anderson.

Pitch and conditions

The Gabba pitch is renowned for offering some pace and movement early, before flattening out for the batsmen, and this year should be no different. The forecast for Thursday is mostly sunny and 30C, but all four remaining days show the chance of a storm and showers. However, the drainage is so good at the Gabba that provided the covers are put on quickly, play can usually resume soon after the weather clears.

Stats and trivia

  • Kevin Pietersen will become the 10th man to reach the milestone of 100 Tests for England

  • Australia have not lost a Test at the Gabba since 1988-89

  • This will be Ryan Harris' first Test match at his adopted home ground

  • Since Richard Hadlee's famous 9 for 52 in 1985-86, the best innings figures by a visiting bowler at the Gabba were Steven Finn's 6 for 125 on the last Ashes tour, but he appears unlikely to play at the venue this time

Quotes

"Australia has a proud record at the Gabba. This is a record we want to enhance … The extra pace and bounce of the Gabba makes for exciting cricket."
Michael Clarke, Australia's captain

"We all know that despite all the hype beforehand, what happens in the lead-up is irrelevant. A lot of words are said, a lot of mind games supposedly happen, but come Thursday morning with the crowd behind them, that's when it counts."
Alastair Cook, the England captain

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • brisCricFan on November 20, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    I'm looking out over the Gabba grounds as we speak, cloudy but no rain in sight today. Will be at the ground tomorrow for the start of play and expect a lot of movement early for the bowlers. Still, no-one needs reminding that when you win the toss, you don't send the opposition in at the Gabba.

    England batsmen have all made runs on tour but honestly they are against third string lineups and don't count for much, albeit confidence building.

    For Australia, Harris is looking good and (touch wood) injury free. Mitchell Johnson is on fire and in his recent red-ball game bowled with sustained control and aggression. Good signs. The Aus batting though is far from settled and unless the openers can gel (a dasher and a stayer), that could expose a weakness. Not convinced a less than 100% fit Watson is a good choice.

    All in all I think the Aus bowlers have what it takes to unsettle the otherwise patient English lineup. Similarly Anderson and Broad will be a handful if Eng bowl.

  • Mitty2 on November 25, 2013, 23:26 GMT

    LOL yes Byron I think we can "back it up" to the tune of 381 runs. Some of these comments.. Wow... A great read!

  • on November 23, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Everyone talking about Johnson only being in the side due to injury, and pointing out that he wasn't in the top 15 for the touring side, should sit back and take a look at his record. His record in Australia is astounding, and away from Australia is less than great. So more often than not, he won't make the tour side, but will make the home side, there's no surprise there. And to @khansa06, Clarke is regarded as one of the best test captains in world cricket, as opposed to Bailey, who has always struggled with the longer form of the game at domestic level, let alone international, where after making his debut this test, now has an average of 18.5. Classy.

  • left_arm_unorthodox on November 20, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    If Johnson needs to be used "in short, sharp spells", and Harris is prone to breaking down and Watson is unlikely to bowl much, I would not want to be Peter Siddle in this game, seeing as they've gone in without Faulkner. I think there's half a chance Australia finishes with only half a bowling attack and gifts England a draw or more likely a win.

  • on November 20, 2013, 22:58 GMT

    My Aussie Team -1 Rogers -2 Warner -3 Watson -4 Clarke (c) -5 Smith -6 Bailey -7 Haddin (wk) -8 Faulkner -9 Johnson -10 Siddle -11 Harris

    England Team -1 Cook (c) -2 Carberry -3 Trott -4 Root -5 Bell -6 Ballance -7 Prior (wk) -8 Broad -9 Swann -10 Anderson -11 Rankin

  • on November 20, 2013, 22:46 GMT

    830am in brisbane and i am already getting sunburnt! winning the toss could be very important to this game, a huge first day total in the humid sun followed by rain-hit 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings. cmon clarkey, lets win a toss for once

  • on November 20, 2013, 22:04 GMT

    Have to laugh at some comments from the sub-continent here about the Ashes being "3rd vs 5th" in the world! Need I remind anyone here on the results home and away between England and India recently in tests series (yes 4-0 and 2-1) or do you want to continue celebrate beating the mighty West Indies? England are the proper 2nd ranked team in the world by any reckoning, grow up please. In any case, cannot wait for the Aussies v England, will be a close and well fought series to be sure. Just hope Alastair Cook will be given a bit more credit for being a winner as a captain at some point!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 20, 2013, 21:45 GMT

    Australia are great at talking. The thing is, Australia do not have the same skill levels as England. That's why they have to try to talk louder. The reality is impossible to escape: all-but 4-0 last Ashes (to go with their 4-0 whitewash by India), 3-1 last time in Oz and a ODI whitewash at the hands of England in between that. They have a clueless captain who leads them to endless defeats, and a batting order that can't play outside their own country, and have a terrible record against their Ashes rivals. We all remember what happened the countless times these two teams have met in the recent past, and who is the better side is indisputable. If Aus don't win more than 1 of the 5 days of this 1st test they will lose the series (surely they can put in 1 day of good performances?). What happens to crowd attendance numbers in Australian cricket stadiums when the national team starts to lose ain't pretty.

  • khansa06 on November 20, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    Bailey, faulkner and johnson will be the match winners for aussies.....hopefully Lyon will be at his best, which is still average but better than long hops. Anyway, Poms are in for a surprise.....cause aussies just returned from a tour playing the best team in world cricket ...only wish Bailey was the skipper and not ("bold" for the sake of being bold) Clarke.

  • WeirPicki on November 20, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    I think the English batsmen will feast on the Australian bowlers. Johnson is only in the side due to injuries, Siddle is big hearted but limited, Lyon is ineffective leaving Harris as the only top class bowler.

  • brisCricFan on November 20, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    I'm looking out over the Gabba grounds as we speak, cloudy but no rain in sight today. Will be at the ground tomorrow for the start of play and expect a lot of movement early for the bowlers. Still, no-one needs reminding that when you win the toss, you don't send the opposition in at the Gabba.

    England batsmen have all made runs on tour but honestly they are against third string lineups and don't count for much, albeit confidence building.

    For Australia, Harris is looking good and (touch wood) injury free. Mitchell Johnson is on fire and in his recent red-ball game bowled with sustained control and aggression. Good signs. The Aus batting though is far from settled and unless the openers can gel (a dasher and a stayer), that could expose a weakness. Not convinced a less than 100% fit Watson is a good choice.

    All in all I think the Aus bowlers have what it takes to unsettle the otherwise patient English lineup. Similarly Anderson and Broad will be a handful if Eng bowl.

  • Mitty2 on November 25, 2013, 23:26 GMT

    LOL yes Byron I think we can "back it up" to the tune of 381 runs. Some of these comments.. Wow... A great read!

  • on November 23, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Everyone talking about Johnson only being in the side due to injury, and pointing out that he wasn't in the top 15 for the touring side, should sit back and take a look at his record. His record in Australia is astounding, and away from Australia is less than great. So more often than not, he won't make the tour side, but will make the home side, there's no surprise there. And to @khansa06, Clarke is regarded as one of the best test captains in world cricket, as opposed to Bailey, who has always struggled with the longer form of the game at domestic level, let alone international, where after making his debut this test, now has an average of 18.5. Classy.

  • left_arm_unorthodox on November 20, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    If Johnson needs to be used "in short, sharp spells", and Harris is prone to breaking down and Watson is unlikely to bowl much, I would not want to be Peter Siddle in this game, seeing as they've gone in without Faulkner. I think there's half a chance Australia finishes with only half a bowling attack and gifts England a draw or more likely a win.

  • on November 20, 2013, 22:58 GMT

    My Aussie Team -1 Rogers -2 Warner -3 Watson -4 Clarke (c) -5 Smith -6 Bailey -7 Haddin (wk) -8 Faulkner -9 Johnson -10 Siddle -11 Harris

    England Team -1 Cook (c) -2 Carberry -3 Trott -4 Root -5 Bell -6 Ballance -7 Prior (wk) -8 Broad -9 Swann -10 Anderson -11 Rankin

  • on November 20, 2013, 22:46 GMT

    830am in brisbane and i am already getting sunburnt! winning the toss could be very important to this game, a huge first day total in the humid sun followed by rain-hit 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings. cmon clarkey, lets win a toss for once

  • on November 20, 2013, 22:04 GMT

    Have to laugh at some comments from the sub-continent here about the Ashes being "3rd vs 5th" in the world! Need I remind anyone here on the results home and away between England and India recently in tests series (yes 4-0 and 2-1) or do you want to continue celebrate beating the mighty West Indies? England are the proper 2nd ranked team in the world by any reckoning, grow up please. In any case, cannot wait for the Aussies v England, will be a close and well fought series to be sure. Just hope Alastair Cook will be given a bit more credit for being a winner as a captain at some point!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 20, 2013, 21:45 GMT

    Australia are great at talking. The thing is, Australia do not have the same skill levels as England. That's why they have to try to talk louder. The reality is impossible to escape: all-but 4-0 last Ashes (to go with their 4-0 whitewash by India), 3-1 last time in Oz and a ODI whitewash at the hands of England in between that. They have a clueless captain who leads them to endless defeats, and a batting order that can't play outside their own country, and have a terrible record against their Ashes rivals. We all remember what happened the countless times these two teams have met in the recent past, and who is the better side is indisputable. If Aus don't win more than 1 of the 5 days of this 1st test they will lose the series (surely they can put in 1 day of good performances?). What happens to crowd attendance numbers in Australian cricket stadiums when the national team starts to lose ain't pretty.

  • khansa06 on November 20, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    Bailey, faulkner and johnson will be the match winners for aussies.....hopefully Lyon will be at his best, which is still average but better than long hops. Anyway, Poms are in for a surprise.....cause aussies just returned from a tour playing the best team in world cricket ...only wish Bailey was the skipper and not ("bold" for the sake of being bold) Clarke.

  • WeirPicki on November 20, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    I think the English batsmen will feast on the Australian bowlers. Johnson is only in the side due to injuries, Siddle is big hearted but limited, Lyon is ineffective leaving Harris as the only top class bowler.

  • hhillbumper on November 20, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    Good luck to both teams but England should win this. If England are ever going to be number 1 then they need to decimate them

  • righthandbat on November 20, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    I think this time both sides are pretty settled. Australia have the home advantage, England have the advantage of having won the last few Ashes. Australia need the likes of a Smith or a Bailey to stand up and do what Ian Bell did in the last Ashes series if they want to really get on top of the England team, otherwise, despite having a pretty decent bowling attack England will probably win the series again.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 20, 2013, 21:09 GMT

    RandyOZ: Welcome back mate! Long time no see. We've missed your accurate, well-balanced comments. Let's see:

    1. "Anderson is not what he used to be..." - yup, absolutely spot on. He had a terrible start to his career, didn't he, but has grown to be one of the best swing-bowlers in international cricket. 2. "Swann won't be effective on these pitches." - Yup, already said as much, and it's up to him to hold down an end and contain rather than attack. If Swann struggles, so will anybody Australia call their spinner(s). 3. "We all know Broad can't take wickets when it matters so who will..." - I didn't know that. Infuriates me that he ain't more consistent between series, but looked to me like he bowled England to a series victory last Ashes. If he doesn't take the wickets, not only do the Australian batsmen get themselves out but Root, Trott, Bell and KP can all bowl a bit to save grace.

    Enjoy the series mate.

  • CosmoCrawley on November 20, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    All this big talk from the Australians is very embarrassing when our Test performances have been such an international joke. I wish they would learn to behave with some dignity and try to improve to the point where they can let the bat and the ball do the talking on the field. England will win the series comfortably, with 3-1 to England being the most likely result. With the loss of Pattinson, Bird and Starc, our squad is weaker than the one that was thrashed by England only a few months ago. Let's see if we can actually win one Test before we start big-noting ourselves.

  • on November 20, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    To the England cricket team have a wonderful game. Kp big man congrats on your 100 th test make it a one of the best ever test you play. Australia good lock let have a great test match,so fans all over the world can see test is the best.

  • Prashantk_geo on November 20, 2013, 19:50 GMT

    The present England side looks more settle and confident to win the Ashes. Australian side is going through a rebuilding phase after they lost many key players, some of them were not handled very well by the team management, even clarke is not a captains material, he is a good player though, doesnt have the ability to gel the team together, personall ego and internal fights is what harming the team. As Cook rightly said, it all depends on the players how they turn up on that day is the key. If the Aussies want to win the series they need to have that strong will, and the belief in themselves. Ideally watson needs to open the batting with warner, rogers can move down, instead of smith bring faulkner(allrounder) in, rest all fine. I have a feeling, if they leave behind personel egos, they might be able to bring back the ashes. Good luck Aussies.

  • JG2704 on November 20, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    Got to love the neutrals coming on here and saying how terribly boring the Ashes series is and yet still having time/inclination to come on here just to say that - and every time. Brilliant

  • RandyOZ on November 20, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    Australia big favourites to wipe the smile off Botham's face. Anderson is not what he used to be and Swann won't be effective on these pitches. We all know Broad can't take wickets when it matters so who will?

  • rickyvoncanterbury on November 20, 2013, 19:05 GMT

    It got under my skin reading some of these comments yesterday, It is now 6 am and only 5 hours till" LETS PLAY" and all of a sudden I do not care what you think about the ashes anymore COMON AUSSIE.

  • SirViv1973 on November 20, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    IMO Eng still have the better team and if they play anywhere near their best then they will win this series. If Eng are off the pace as they were on several occasions during the series here a few months ago then Aus may just be good enough to take advantage. I agree with @JG, I think a lot will depend on Harris staying fit & Johnson finding some consistency, I don't really see any other match winners that Aus can call upon if anything goes wrong either of those guys.

  • on November 20, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    Easy win again for England. As usual, Australia will talk their way up until the their loss then shift the talk again leading up to the second test, then repeat it for the rest of the series. Talk, talk, talk, haven't done them any good for the past couple of years, but they continue to do it. Their tanks is full of talks, and very poor on-field performances.

  • DJAbacus on November 20, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    England are firm favourites to win this series because:

    1) England have a winning mentality whereas Australia have a losing mentality at the moment.

    2) England's batsmen will enjoy the bouncier pitches more than the Australians as the England side are predominantly back foot players.

    3) England's bowlers will enjoy the bounce more than the Aussie bowlers as they are generally taller than the Aussies.

    4) Swann is a better spinner than Lyon.

    5) England are better fielders, hold more catches etc but this is marginal.

    3-0 with 2 draws.....

  • gsingh7 on November 20, 2013, 18:21 GMT

    boring series after few months again. last ashes was an absolute snoozefest with bell playing like trott or cook. kp failed in last ashes and he is only batsman in england side who plays a good brand of cricket. others are run accumulators and bores us cricket fans a lot. nobody likes to see repetitive matches between number 3 and 5 test sides. whereas in few weeks we will have tests between top 2 sides in test cricket - india and sa. still wishing best team to win ashes.just want kp or bailey to play at high sr to return some interest in ashes.

  • on November 20, 2013, 18:21 GMT

    How many times have we seen this from Australia before? All talk, no show. They got used to talking when they were winning but somehow have stuck to the habit. Sri Lanka is the only team they have beat in a test- let alone series, since Jan. They argue about so much confidence and how this side is so settled- but honestly, if my team had a batting order with Steve Smith as a specialist batsman at no.5, I'd be far from confident. Add to that the unpredictable Johnson, whose last good performance in a test match was years ago and is in the side because the first and second choice seamers are injured and Nathan Lyon, who has never won a match for Australia and struggled even in spinner's haven that is India, and you have a team that is representing Australia more out of lack of other options than choice. Then they have Hughes who can't bat against seam, swing or spin and Warner- a t20 specialist forced to play test cricket again for lack of options. But don't stop talking themselves up!

  • FreddyForPrimeMinister on November 20, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    Lots of boring comments from fans of countries not even involved in the Ashes. The Ashes is the biggest Test series in the world, bar none, regardless who is number 1 or 2 in the rankings at any one time. It's certainly not India v Pakistan whose rivalry is political not sporting, so please get over it and stick to commenting on articles which are relevant to your country.

    As for Eng/Aus fans, please respect each other. There is far too much one-eyed prejudice on both sides and stupid, arrogant, ill-informed predictions. (Beefy's 5-0 is presumably a tongue-in-cheek riposte to Glenn McGrath but does England's media no favours.) For what it's worth, I think it's going to be an incredibly close series if Clarke/Watson stay fit and Bailey can transfer some of his ODI prowess into the Test match arena. Equally Johnson could be the man to make or break the series as well as his own Test career. Dangerous but fragile! If Eng's top order rediscover their form, I'm going for 2 or 3-1 to Eng.

  • CodandChips on November 20, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    Love ashes series especially in Aus. This should be really close. Don't buy any extreme optimism. Aus batting is on the rise and their bowling is excellent. They will be hoping that Clarke, Watson and Harris stay fit and Johnson fires, and for the good of the contest, I sort of do. England are declining and past our best. Many of our players are over 30.

    I think Eng should pick Finn to take 20 wickets but will go with "safer" option of Rankin. I kind of hope Bairstow gets a chance, so we don't risk Prior, and so we get a look at JB keeping.

    Good luck to Carberry and Bailey on debuts. Both have faced challenges. Bailey came in to the Aus T20 team as captain and despite criticism has done really well (semis in WT20) and lead the ODI team well recently. Carberry has come back from his illness brilliantly.

    Good luck also to KP on his 100th match. Also remarkable that both captains will make their 100th appearances in the 3rd test (hopefully).

    2-1 either team. Hopefully England!

  • Harmony111 on November 20, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    @JG2704:

    ---" one person started it all by coming on here with pointless comms about how boring Ashes cricket is. No one was talking about anything other than Ashes up until then which is how it should be"---

    Well he too was talking about Ashes, right? His view lies on the other side but contextual nevertheless. If he finds Ashes boring & finds some other series exciting, that is his subjective opinion but he has the right there.

    Also, I'd argue that that person did not quite start anything. He merely carried on from what we have read during the prev ODI series. Have you read those comments?

  • Cpt.Meanster on November 20, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    Here we go again. Another irrelevant Ashes series within the span of a few months. If this isn't crazy then I am not sure what is. This series has very little significance or bearing for people outside of England and Australia. But for the English and Aussie cricket fans, these next 2 months will be war. Anyway, England are favourites here. That should make the English fans feel good about their team. After all there isn't any significant differences between both teams since the previous tour a few months back. Australia will have home support and could spring in a surprise or two. But, overall, England have the personnel to best them. I say this mainly because this is test cricket. If this was an ODI or T20 series, I would have written off England totally.

  • Srini_Indian on November 20, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    As much as I hate Ashes and england, I'd really like to see aussies lose and fall to #7 in rankings. That would be fun.

  • on November 20, 2013, 17:30 GMT

    @milepost - If we go by the probable teams, both sides have seven test century makers but while Australia collectively have scored 36 centuries, England have 86. Three England players have scored 20 centuries or more against Australia's sole contributor. If you take a closer look at the teams, you'll see where eddiehemmingswobble is coming from:

    Australia: Rogers (1), Warner (3), Watson (3), Clarke (24), Smith (1), Haddin (3), Johnson (1)

    England: Cook (25), Trott (9), Pietersen (23), Bell (20), Root (1), Prior (7), Broad (1)

    Not that this will decide the outcome or is an absolute guide to what will happen, but the advantage lies squarely with England.

  • gsingh7 on November 20, 2013, 17:21 GMT

    personally i think aus dont have what it takes to win test series against top sides. their recent test series vs sa(0-1), india(0-4) and england (0-3) shows that they are a long way from competing with top 3 sides in test cricket . while in odis they are second best to world champions india only. england are 3rd in icc rankings and will remain so if they draw or lose to aus. but aus can slide to number 6 or 7 if they lose . so aus must regroup to stop the slide and they have zero wins in last 9 tests. may the best team win.

  • Chaffers on November 20, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    5-0 for me.

    No spinner, only one decent bat who has a dodgy back and a scattergun attack which has been made even more scatty with the addition of that tattooed clown.

    Up against an average batting side with Anderson, Broad, Tremlett and Finn they would lose heavily, against England's batting lineup it will take a miracle.

    Trott and Cook for big runs.. I just can't see anyone in the aussie side who could get them out. Bell might not even get much of a bat.

  • GRVJPR on November 20, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    With starting of Ashes, tomorrow we will see players hurting cricket by questioning the integrity of umpired by making use of most funny tool ever invented in game called 'DRS'. More harm from Ashes to Cricket awaited. Big Yawn Ashes.

  • 2.14istherunrate on November 20, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    A series win by 3-0 would me again.It must be very tense on both sides leading in to this game, but Australia can talk themselves up all they like; it's out on the pitch it all takes place whatever the hype and I see distinctly a few cracks in Austalia they have tried to paper over but which advertise their presence loudly. For starters Warner's mind and mouth. That loose cannon is warming up for a round or two already. Can Clarke feel completely secure with Bailey already in the side and waiting in the wings? Watson know he has maybe one Bresnan free Test till the heat's back on.Johnson-so beloved by the barmy army-can he keep it all in or will the strain start to show? And how soon?soon? Then there is Harris' body, Siddle's predictability just 3 months down the line. There is plenty there and more for England to work on psychologically, physically and everything else. Who else can fall out with Clarke? Over what? Also this is KP's 100the Test and he is out to prove a point.

  • milepost on November 20, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    Posted by eddiehemmingswobble on (November 20, 2013, 15:40 GMT), did you know Australia had more individual century makers in the last series? Probably not because it makes your comment look a bit silly really.

  • eddiehemmingswobble on November 20, 2013, 15:40 GMT

    Difference between these two team is the batting. On the bowling side they are fairly even with England perhaps in front with a quality spinner like Swann. But in batting they are worlds apart. England have a number of Century makers at any time, Australia do not. That will be the difference. Warner is a short from player promoted to test cricket because of a lack of stock. His form against quality test teams is woeful. Watson and Clarke are the only proven batsmen against quality test teams. That will hurt Australia against a very good side like England.

  • whoster on November 20, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    The one area where Australia can threaten England is with their bowling, but only if Harris stays fit, and Johnson bowls consistently well. Those are two big question marks though. There's still a wide gulf between the sides in terms of experience and stats, and the fact that most of the England side will be made up of players from the last successful tour is a big advantage to have.

    If Clarke's jittery press conference yesterday was anything to go by, he's well aware of what a massive task his side face to get the Ashes back.

  • Nickoshot on November 20, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    Looking forward, The worry for Australia with the bowling is if Johnson doesn't fire then that will put more stress on the other bowlers. Siddle will be great, he will run in all day but Harris? Not sure his body can take the strain. Aus must hope if Johnson doesn't fire then Lyon does or else they may need another pace bowler but the third test and even with the talent in reserve resources are looking a little thin.

    England don't normally start series well so if Aus can capitalise and get 1 in front, given how a dominate England played a Perth last time. They could nick the series with a bit of rain or a very flat pitch

  • Llka on November 20, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Anyone rembr m clark in a press conference after they lost 2nd test.this series will be jst like that.

  • Harmony111 on November 20, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    Ok, time for my prediction.

    Eng weren't in peak form in the Ashes & still won 3-0 albeit at home.

    Aus went there with a lot of pomp, we all remember what Patto had to say for avenging his bro's plight but Patto didn't even last 5 tests. Aus seemingly had better #9-10-11 than #1-2-3. Not only this, it seemed someone had fed the Aussies some potion that had reduced their IQs to less than 50 given the way they used DRS. We all saw how Warner, Hughes etc used DRS.

    Many Aus fans were pleased to see a mere 0-3 scoreline. It was claimed they have SEVERAL quality pace bowlers but save Harris others weren't too impressive. Aus batting was quite worse.

    For now, Aus have 3 World Class players - Clarke, Warner & Mitch (hopefully). These fire together & Aus should win that match.

    For Eng, Cook, Trott, KP, Bell are winners with Root coming up nicely. JA will have his mandatory good spells + Swann to help. Broad is like Mitch IMO.

    Eng should win this 3-1 or at least 2-1. 4-1/5-0 is improbable.

  • cloudmess on November 20, 2013, 14:38 GMT

    I just hope Australia have some energy left to play cricket after all the hot air they've expounded over the last 6 months, protesting that they are actually really better than England, if it wasn't for x=y=z etc, and despite a 2-8 scoreline from last 3 Ashes.

  • CricLover316 on November 20, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    @ Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug- Lol.. At your name. Your're right, he needs a hug. He really needs one. Now, I said 2-1 England,but really hope Aus do well. They just need to pull down Eng from "Cloud 9". I dont think its going be as easy as it was last time. As I said it depends on Oz Bowlers more than Batsmen to do the job. Atleast a Couple of Oz batsmen will deliver for sure. I am looking forward to seeing how Bailey plays at the Test Arena and am really impressed by Ryan Harris. Great chance for Khwaja to silence the Critics as well. The last Ashes, It was indeed a close contest last time,unlike the score 3-0 which did not reflect it correctly, but thats what matters. Isnt it ? I hope they use Smith as a bowling option as well. He needs to bowl more.

  • calcu on November 20, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    Yeah, way to go aussies! Give the poms a thrashing to remember.

  • Kit_Silver on November 20, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    Just England's ability to collapse in the first innings of a new series to worry about. Avoid losing the first test and everything will be okay.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on November 20, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    @criclover316, yeah good comments. I think as well we have seen both teams start in a fidgety way first test of a series so even if either team has good day here or there this match might not tell us about the whole series. Despite the 3-0 scoreline Australia did play very well at times and (arguably, please let's not start this again), were in match winning positions. So if Australia were as bad as some of you would have us believe, that shouldn't have happened. But it did and here we are. I think there's no doubt both teams have a chance to beat each other. Should England do that more consistently? Yes. But, I'm hoping Australia take those chances they create and get on top. England start with the advantage of needing to only draw the series so if Australia are a hope they must start strongly.

  • balajik1968 on November 20, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    Firstdrop, what I feel lacking in this Aussie attack is the lack of a spinner who can provide the crucial balance to their bowling. Australia may have played better cricket, but England won the key moments.

  • on November 20, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    I'll Back Australia to Deliver.. With the Lights of Bailey & Mitch its Gonna be an Awesome Series!!

  • on November 20, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    It is Pat Hpward, who should be nervy, No?

    "..., not least, the industrious team performance manager Pat Howard, anointed by the Argus review as the single point of accountability for the performance of the national side..."

    "SINGLE POINT OF ACCOUNTABILITY FOR PERFORMANCE"? Oh,my... Oh,my... How can he be ... if the boys in the middle do not perform... if it happens that way (hope not) a whole lot of guys have to take responsibility... including the Captain.

    In such an eventuality (again, hope not) don't sack Howard; change his title to "NON-PERFORMANCE MANAGER" ! That's all...

  • VVSR92 on November 20, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    Australia relies too heavily on clarke & watson, they need to get support from the likes of rogers & bailey to post a big total on board. The biggest challenge for both the sides would be to maintain the fitness of the bowlers who are in firing form. Though england are favorites , having the ashes in asutralia makes it a closer contest between bat & ball. Hoping for a cracker of a seris ahead!

  • BounceTrack_BULLY on November 20, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    The England Team looks like a settled one. I feel the lack of experienced players could impact the performance of the Australian team.

  • Nisarg.Vadiya on November 20, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    Always felt excited about summers down under. First such summer in nearly 2 decades without Ponting. As a neutral (Indian) Ashes is the next closest rivalry to Indo - Pak series to follow.I think if Australia wins this one; it would be as good a miracle as England win in 2005.

  • ChrisMarx on November 20, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    It's funny, I used to back every and any team that played against the Aussies, but now I really hope they bring down this English side a notch or two. I'm not sure they can do it though. Test matches are won by resolve and application as much as skill and talent and I'm not convinced that there are enough batsmen in the Aus line-up to guts it out when the going gets tough. Lots of quick scorers and some marvelously elegant stroke players in the team, but you need a few mongrel fighters inbetween all that pedigree as well. Pup can't do it on his own and he really needs some of his team mates to lift themselves if they want to take back the Ashes.

  • tuffersmagic on November 20, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    @First_Drop - yeah you could say that the english batsmen aren't where they were a couple of years ago, but not many batsmen had a good time of it last summer. Certainly think that Cook has dropped off a bit since he became captain, which seems to happen a lot. But i think if you look at the aussie batting line-up, the only player i'd swap for any of them would be clarke (and maybe watson). That's on cricketing ability alone as they both seem to be pretty divisive figures in the dressing room! Like i say, if johnson and harris are firing and on form, then any top batsmen will find it tough against them. Problem is that they've not been there consistently for Aus in the last few years. Agree broad has been average for a lot of his career, but he seems to be in a good groove at the moment, so expecting more from him this time round. And he's now an experienced bowler with over 200 test wickets and a proven matchwinner (and non-walker).

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 20, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    So are England going to wait until the toss to announce their team or what? Anticipation is killing me - who are they going to pick as third seamer, and what reasoning for their decision? I've been quietly praying that somewhere, secretly, the ECB are covertly flying Onions over and he'll be the final bowler!

  • on November 20, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    No excuses for the aussies this time. They've had good couple weeks of shield plus trainings as well as an ODI series in India (not sure how that helps). However, if they want to show the Poms that they still got it; it cannot be more perfect than now. Aussie lineup for tomorrow:

    1. Rogers 2. Warner 3. Watson 4. Clarke 5. Smith 6. Bailey 7. Haddin 8. Johnson 9. Siddle 10. Harris 11. Lyon.

    Faulkner as 12th man.

    I was tempted to go with an all seam pace attack especially in conditions where Shane Watson can only bowl a couple of overs. However, it's too much of a gamble to play 5 days without a proper spinner.

    Seam Attack: Harris and Johnson to open, Siddle to contain (workhorse), Watson as gaps filler between spells.

    Spin: Lyon to hold one end, accumulating maidens and allowing the fast bowlers to rest. Smith to bowl short legspin spells at the end of day 3 and 4 as well as Clarke to bowl if really needed

  • kevaldedhia813 on November 20, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    Bowling of australia is still on same lines. cant see with this bowling attack australia can win. you need to have some changes. Johnson - just bowling fast doesnot help, need wickets. Ryan - He is left alone hope he gets some company. Siddle - not sucessful offlate. Lyon - he need a good coach.

    playing an extra bowler would have been huge advantage. Needed to have an extra bowler or an allrounder. why copeland or hogan are not in side or given a chance. all rounders like moasis faulker and allenby left out for no reasons. allenby had great season with glamorgan. selection should be done on merit.

    Lack of good spinners is another reason australia has lost its cricket. Need to hire good asain spinner as coach like england has done.

  • team_india_no1 on November 20, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    I will feel Australians have played well even if they manage to 'win' 1 test (on ability not luck) because England would seize all the crucial moments in the series with the kind of form they are in. Individual performance will not help Australia. Australians will have to play as a team and also think in terms of beating England comprehensively if they just try to match England they will lose the crucial moments for sure.

  • First_Drop on November 20, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    @tuffersmagic - England bats seem to be on a downward trend. Talk of dropping Trott, Root with a growing question mark over his head, Cook underperforming - the only batsmen who can hold their head high is Bell. Is it them, or quality Aussie bowling? For me, there are 2 quality bowlers in England's ranks - Jimmy and Swann. Broad is unreliable as is Finn. Tremlett is only there because of what he achieved last time around. I expect Rankin will make his debut, but yes, england's bowling looks weak. It was weak last time around, but the aussie batting was far weaker.

  • First_Drop on November 20, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    @Prashant_geo: Clarke seems to be a great tactician, but not sure of his man management skills. As regards a settled lineup, injury is in large part t blame for that (re: bowlers), but I think the batting lineup is starting to look a bit more comfortable as well. Rogers, Clarke, Smith, Watson look settled, but I'm not sure about Warner and, of course, Bailey may make his debut (though I'd rather go with Faulkner). I can't agre with much else you've suggested though - drop Smith? Move Rogers (a career opener) down the order?

  • Englishmanabroad on November 20, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    Still wondering what Watson brings to the team, other than talk and bravado. I see that he is an economical bowler, but...

  • Pippy_the_dog on November 20, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    I hope we do some pace and bounce. Dull pitches are what will kill test cricket. It was a shame that so many turgid pitches were produced over here this summer. I suspect a bit of pace will suit England's batting line up.

  • tuffersmagic on November 20, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    It all depends on harris and johnson for me. If harris breaks down physically, and johnson mentally (which doesn't take a lot), then it'll be all over. If they manage to stay in a groove then i think the bowling line-ups are pretty evenly matched. I also worry a bit about tremlett as a third bowler - he looked well short of pace in the warm-up games. But a lot of the England top 6 are due runs, and OZ is a pretty nice place to bat so i'd expect cook, trott and prior (and KP) to improve on their performances this summer. Like all aussie / english cricket fans, can't wait for it to get underway now, hoping for an exciting series with 2 good teams going tit for tat. England to win it though, 3-1. Just because they know how to win. Aus have forgotten how to.

  • JG2704 on November 20, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    Meety on (November 20, 2013, 11:21 GMT) It's an intriguing one.As I said I don't follow Aus domestic cricket but how has Bailey been doing and what about Hughes? I didn't feel he was too bad in England? It sometimes seems to me that Aus seem to chop and change too much whereas Eng do the opposite.Still I always said they should stick with Bell lol Look forward to it

  • PoundOfFlesh on November 20, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    This past Ashes hinged on 3 key decisions which all went England's way. It also exposed the flaws in the much touted DRS. I would not put my money on England yet.

  • Prashantk_geo on November 20, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    The present England side looks more settle and confident to win the Ashes. Australian side is going through a rebuilding phase after they lost many key players, some of them were not handled very well by the team management, even clarke is not a captains material, he is a good player though, doesnt have the ability to gel the team together, personall ego and internal fights is what harming the team. As Cook rightly said, it all depends on the players how they turn up on that day is the key. If the Aussies want to win the series they need to have that strong will, and the belief in themselves. Ideally watson needs to open the batting with warner, rogers can move down, instead of smith bring faulkner(allrounder) in, rest all fine. I have a feeling, if they leave behind personel egos, they might be able to bring back the ashes. Good luck Aussies.

  • Harmony111 on November 20, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    @trumpoz:

    ---"Big Mitch to decimate England in 1 test and the lose form completely. "---

    Ha Ha Ha, I may or may not agree with the rest of your comment but I do feel that you are bang on about Mitch there. Quite hilarious. I can even visualize this happening. Mitch bowling a 152 kmph demonic ball to Cook or KP or Trott & sending them to hospital & then going for125-0 runs in the next test match by bowling boundary balls outside the off stump to Bell et al.

  • Meety on November 20, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    @JG2704 on (November 20, 2013, 10:04 GMT) - thx mate. Had some distractions (that somehow coincided with about the 2nd Test Ashes test - funny that!). I would like to think Oz can win - but I am so annoyed that 3 consecutive Ashes now - Oz have been stuffing around in India in the months leading up to the series. India is the worst place to be playing cricket JUST PRIOR to an Ashes battle. It has no relevance to the type of cricket that is played in an Ashes battle. 2nd Ashes in a row we have virtually conceeded home advantage to England. I think KP is the main dangerman - I think it would be too incredible to think that Cook will repeat 10/11 (but who knows). Swann will be more of a force here than last time, as I believe the warmer weather will put more wear into the pitch. I think Swann will be almost irrelevant in the 1st 2 innings - than a real menace in the 3rd & 4th. Anderson will lead the pacers well - but I dunno about the rest. I really dunno about Bailey @ #6.

  • CricLover316 on November 20, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug - I think the Opening Pair of England will do well,unlike the last time. Cook was unable to score big the last time. But looks in good form now. During the last ashes, Opening with Root was too big a Responsibility for him. He's still young and has a long way to go. He plays well at 6. I really want to see what Johnson does as there is alot of Hype about him. I am predicting 2-1 England or it can go either way depends on how well the Aus Bowlers bowl and are able to pick up 20 Wickets. Hope Harris does really well and alot will depend on Warner(I still dont see him as a Test player,he might score a quick 60-70) and also interesting how fit will watson remain throughtout the series.Broad Banners will test him. KP's 100,hope he does well. Lets see

  • rickyvoncanterbury on November 20, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully on (November 20, 2013, 10:47 GMT) I am an Aussie and I have to agree the Saffers and England are the best teams in the world followed by an inconsistent Pakistan. So can you imagine the embarrassment of losing to India, when India cannot win outside of India and cannot beat the Poms at home. In fact the only victory of note has been beating Australia at home, NZ, and the WI. Now that is embarrassing losing to India.

  • on November 20, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    weather is not with australia and first test will be a draw considering weather forecast but if weather do permits there is great chance for australia to be up by 1-0 in the ashes

  • on November 20, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    where is nick compton???

  • on November 20, 2013, 10:55 GMT

    England will win the Series

  • milepost on November 20, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    Posted by GRVJPR on (November 20, 2013, 5:02 GMT), that's funny, you would have had India vs South Africa already if your board hasn't wasted 2 tests on one players retirement. Why come here just to dis the Ashes? I'll be up at 2 in the morning watching. I know I will be called deluded but I think Australia are going to upset England and beat them comfortably. It's just the vibe. I had the opposite vibe last series. Anyone still predicting a 5-0 result to England doesn't watch cricket or is stirring!

  • on November 20, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    Brisbane represents Australia's best chance of the series but even if they win, they will still be underdogs. As for that other venue thought to favour Australia; Perth, all England need to do is drop Swann and field all three of their towering quicks. With their height, they can bowl much fuller there than their Australian counterparts which should make things far more difficult for the Australian batsmen. The other three venues should result in two England wins and a draw, weather permitting of course. To my mind, this is why Clarke was so nervous. He knows that failure to win at Brisbane more or less hands England the Ashes and despite all the talk, Australia is not a settled side.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on November 20, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    Australia will extent its test losses to few more games. If there is any turn, we can see a march towards pavilion. Australians are an average team after the retirements of their main players. They have managed to beat a 7th ranked team SL only. That tells the story.

  • on November 20, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    england need to win ashes to cross india and regain number two spot.australia cid slip from their 5th rank to as far as 7 th if they lose this ashes.

  • whofriggincares on November 20, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    @Land47 as usual a lot of what you say makes sense , England are a very well rounded unit that are hard to beat anywhere. Not sure about England being younger but I suppose Rogers and Haddin up our age averages a fair bit.

    @2mikegattings, great way to show you know nothing about aussie cricket. Whether you expect flat tracks or volatile green tops or even spin friendly dustbowls (like in England) the fact is the Gabba will play like the gabba ,the Adelaide oval will play like the Adelaide oval and perth will play like Perth etc etc. The pitches here get prepared the same way no matter who the opponent is or what our or our opponents strengths or weaknesses are.This is fact and no matter what the trolls say you cant change fact. One very respected cricket journo even said in an article this year that we may very well be the only country that doesn't doctor pitches to suit our strengths. Say what you want about the state of aussie cricket but we never have and I hope never will.

  • Buckers97 on November 20, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    And that is where you are wrong Arun Bose!!!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on November 20, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    @landl47, good unbiased comments as always. I might disagree slightly and give Australia the series win though. Agree with numerous other comments, if you are here to slate Ashes cricket perhaps save it for another forum, I can assure you there are some very passionate fans from both sides here and we love it! Only player performances matter now and as Cook said in the last series cricket isn't played on paper so stats and past results are meaningless. Form is the only clue and both teams seem to have come into some.

  • on November 20, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    For all those who think one side or another will win, start backing a draw. Violent storms on the Gold Coast this week are typical of summer storms in SE Qld. No amount of drainage is going to deal with massive hail storms. Love to think that we will escape unhindered but thats unrealistic!

  • First_Drop on November 20, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    @abaljik1968 - I agree with some of what you are saying, but dont agree that the aussie attack is 'reasonable'. Even michael Vaughan called them 'World Class' and underrated. Harris is one of the best 3 bowlers in the world. Faulkner, though he may not play as he is considered an all-rounder, has a better First Calss bowling average than anyone else in the series. Siddle, though perhaps not the most talented of bowlers, makes up for it with a huge heart - and he always seemt o take wickets. But I do agree that there is still a question over the batting - though it looked to have improved markedly in the last half of the last series. I live in London and the comment I often hear from Poms is that the Aussies played the better cricket in the last 3 matches...e.g. a winning position in each match undone by either the weather, a batting implosion or a sporting declaration to seek the win. Apart from that, if Ian Bell hadn't played 'out of his skin', then England would've lost....

  • on November 20, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    @Ausie_the_Great- Which rankings do you follow? Is it ICC or ITT? England are ranked no.3 and Australia no.5 in test team rankings according to ICC.. Are you really a cricket "fan"?

  • rickyvoncanterbury on November 20, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    @ Imsrk first off, I think it would be a lightweight battle if they are 6 and 7 not a heavy battle, secondly you do not play every team at the world cup or champions trophy, thirdly it generates more revenue for who ? cannot speak for the English legs of the Ashes but I have seen the barmey army generating plenty of revenue. fourthly it cannot be an overrated series until the series is over can it. so you got everything wrong, so I suppose if you know nothing the next best thing is trolling.

  • on November 20, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Barry Glynn- Ashes has no importance ouside England/Australia. And have you watched test matches played in subcontinent in last 20 yrs? England/Australia were thrashed in all series played in India (may be 1-2 odd exception).

  • JG2704 on November 20, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    Re Australia , I feel much depends on the fitness of Harris and the form of Johnson. Yes Johnson became a laughing stock with some Eng fans due to some of his waywardness last time down under but also in the test Australia won (by a thrashing) he reeked havoc with the ball and was unplayable. I don't follow Aus cricket so not sure how his domestic form is but I like Faulkner as a fighting character. I also used to like Hilfenhaus but I'm guessing he's finished as far as int cricket is concerned

  • on November 20, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    @Barry Glynn- Your team is unable to win on those same sub-continental wickets where spinners rattle ur batsmen.. Is it imcompetency or simply arrogance that you are degrading those pitches? If spin bowling doesn't matter then why does ICC hasn't banned it? You can't play spin and ur excuse is pitches are boring?? Do you remember the Kolkata test match of 2001 against "Australian team of that era"? Where India won after facing follow-on? Has Ashes produced such matches? Ashes is the most boring and worthless test series between two home town bullies and nothing else.. It may be the oldest test series but nothing great.. India vs Pakistan is the contest which the "World" wants to watch eagerly.. but bcoz of politics in both countries it doesn't happen often..

  • JG2704 on November 20, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    Back to the Ashes - as that's what this thread is supposed to be about. I have a bad feeling that Australia will regain the Ashes but it wouldn't surprise me if it went as big as 3-0 either way. Much depends on how you read into what happened in the last series. Eng fans will say that their batsmen (with exception of Bell) will not be so lame with the bat whereas Aus fans will say their lameness was due to good Aus bowling. As for England I still feel we have a couple of possible weak links in Carberry and the 3rd seamer. I don't like making predictions re ind players but I fancy Trott to have a good series. I see in the Oddschecker he was listed behind Cook,KP and Bell for highest scorer

  • First_Drop on November 20, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    Any comments belittling the series are of no relevance or benefit, and I suspect, if you are belittleing the series, you don't really get / understand the meaning of 'Ashes cricket' - so pls leave it off this thread for the real Ashes fans. Hopefully, it'll be a super tight series with some great cricket and very few questionable umpiring decisions.

  • JG2704 on November 20, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    @Meety - Nice to see you back on here - hope all is good

  • JG2704 on November 20, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    @Harmony- If you look at the comms with both eyes you will see that one person started it all by coming on here with pointless comms about how boring Ashes cricket is. No one was talking about anything other than Ashes up until then which is how it should be. It would be nice if for once you channelled your hostilities equally towards those who are slating Indian cricket and those who are slating Ashes cricket.

  • JG2704 on November 20, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    @satishchandar - I'm not sure I agree with you there. Australia will have taken alot out of that series despite the 3-0 scoreline. Also thing some of our selections aren't great

    @GRVJPR - Cricket lovers aren't forced to watch anything they don't want to , just as they aren't forced to comment on it - unless there's something lacking

  • JG2704 on November 20, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul - Playing better cricket is generally what helps win cricket matches. If words won cricket matches and you were in the Australian side there'd be no point in England turning up because there's nothing in Eng's favour.

    @ rajuramki -If we're going to stretch things then it could have been 5-0 to Australia (had they played better in the 2nd test) or 5-0 to England had they played better in the 3rd and 5th tests and as far as I know the media didn't take part on the field of play in any of the tests. And yes England aren't a great side. I'm guessing they're currently 3rd behind India after India beat WI. 3-1 would have been a fair reflection on the series. Eng winning the 3 which they won (and let's not forget if looking with both eyes) that Aus would have been down and out in test 1 if it weren't for a couple of highly unlikely last wicket partnerships

  • Mr.Blacksmith on November 20, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    @Ausie_the_Great! Austrailia are at no. 3 in test rankings? infact they are at no. 5. don't over-rate this ausie team, this series will be in favour of England atleast 4-0.

  • balajik1968 on November 20, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    On balance, we have to back England for this series. They have most of the bases covered; the bowling attack is balanced, the batsmen are in the middle of their prime years. The Aussies have a reasonable fast bowling attack; it is the batting which is looking brittle, with Clarke the only class bat. The rest of the batting looks iffy. Warner has'nt really established himself. As for all the talk it is just that. Other teams have long ago wised up to this. Right now, this Australian team's bark is worse than its bite.

  • Brightonbumpkin on November 20, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    @imrsk with all due respect, why did you read the article and feel the need to post such a negative comment if the series is overrated and apparently of no interest to you? I have been led to believe that the Ashes is followed around the world, not just England and Oz. If you don't like it, don't follow it. As a lover of cricket I have an interest in all series (except India vs SL one dayers!), but nothing tops the excitement of the Ashes. Particularly a series which could easily go either way.

  • Fourworldcups on November 20, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    No nerves at all. We'll win this series comfortably and it will be all the sweeter for the one sided analysis and whining from England fans. Bring it on.

  • warneneverchuck on November 20, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    This could be heavy battle as these two teams are really like no. 6 and 7 and very similar to eachother

  • Llka on November 20, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    This series is between two medicore teams who cant win outside there home conditions.

  • warneneverchuck on November 20, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Events like WC and champions trophy r far better tournaments than this so called series wher team plays against all opponents unlike palying against one team. Not to mention it also generates more revenue

  • warneneverchuck on November 20, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    This is the most overrated series of all time nothing more than that

  • INDSlider on November 20, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    There could be a heavy battle between these two teams as these are really like No. 2 (Eng) and 3 (Aus) test ranking teams.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 20, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    The anticipation very much booming; another great Ashes series, once again looming. Changes to both teams since the last encounter; lots of chat about Mitch Johnson with his nasty bouncer. Carberry seems to have nailed an opening spot, pushing Root down into his middle slot. Debut for George Bailey? Is he ready for test cricket really? I hope Australia play Lyon - test cricket needs a spinner; any of these players could be a real game winner!

    Still some doubt over England's 3rd seamer position; Finn should get the chance, in my conviction. Wicket-keeper gloves up for grabs anyone? Prior if fit; but Bairstow could be fun...

    Has the game started yet...

  • Harmony111 on November 20, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    @Valavan:

    As usual, it is hard for you to follow the thread even for a short while. When India lost to Eng last year, indeed I was frustrated cos I thought we would win. This shows I/We care for tests too so what's your point there? You are confused from the outset.

    I never said India would win 3-0 or 5-0. In fact I had said 3-0 would be very difficult cos Eng bat well and won't give 60 wickets. As for ODIs, if Eng losing a series 2-3 (after 0-5 & 0-5) is consolation for you what can I say?

    Be factual and show me where did I run down Eng or Aus Teams here.

    @Cricket_Man:

    Ind Cricket comes into it cos the Eng-Aus Fans say deprecating things about it even here when an Ind fan comments on the Ashes & whether it is over-hyped or not.

    The problem with Eng-Aus fans is that they are unable to show how the Ashes is carrying the game forward. It is a legacy but that's it. 100+ yrs of Ashes gave us how many nations? It is T20 that is globalizing the game but then they attack Ind Cricket.

  • on November 20, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    Let us analyse when last Aussies talked a lot... why back in the series against India!! The Ind bowlers were horrible and the grounds worse.... what happened... Aus lost the series, period!! A lot can be said about IFs and BUTs! At the end of the day they are just excuses. What i see is that it all boils down to a good selection panel. Indian success has coincided with a bold and strong selection panel. That is the real problem everywhere. A good team composition gives the team confidence and as always cricket is all a game of confidence as much as technique and technicalities!! Hope Aus rediscover a good selection committee which brings them back to a level of competition, coz right now, frankly they are not there!! I see England winning the Ashes again, though the scoreline may not reflect a nil score for the home team.

  • Valavan on November 20, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    @CricLover, India won WC 2011 so did Windies won WT20, so dont limit World Champion tag to India. Windies also World Champions, this forum is about Ashes. GOT THE POINT mate. Kepp your irrelevant stories in some other forum. cricinfo please publish.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on November 20, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    @ Barry Glynn on (November 20, 2013, 7:59 GMT) I am with you Barry, I hope they only bowl 10 to 15 overs as well because Swans 55 overs on tour for 3 wickets and 162 runs. shows spinners are probably not needed as much as on those slow wickets of India and England.

  • Yuosufahmed on November 20, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    @ Deep Banerjee: How could you generalize your Indians ignorance of ashes? Do you think you Indians represent all the other cricketing nations. We have SL, Pak, Ban, NZ, WI, SA and even a lot of Indians who love ashes. As a Sri Lankan, I myself love ashes and I know all our SL cricketing fans love ashes.

  • trumpoz on November 20, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    Damn I love Ashes cricket. My prediction is 2-1 to England or a 2-2 draw. Steve Smith to cement his spot this series and Big Mitch to decimate England in 1 test and the lose form completely.

    Bring on the first ball tomorrow!

  • on November 20, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    Carberry is doomed to be a one series (May be one or two test) wonder.

  • on November 20, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    steve superman smith needs to score century in this test...and i think james faulkner is the one who deserves to be in the eleven..coz he is a better bowler than johnson and much better batsman than dave warner(first class/as dave is my fav limited over cricketer)..best of luck austraila..(y)

  • on November 20, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    @sir_ivor, I actually agree with you, take nothing away from South Africa, they are extremely hard to bowl out, and have a great captain, and bowling attack led by the best Fast Bowler. What happened against Pakistan for South Africa and England is really the difference between the 2 sides. India should be required to Win in England, SA or Australia before being able to be #2.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on November 20, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    since a famous Indian cricketer retired, I think there fans need a hug and cuddle, and a dose of reality, sure Australia V England is not the be all and end all, but at least over the decades both teams have shown they can play away from home, oh no ... I feel the need for another cuddle.

  • Meety on November 20, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    @Sir_Ivor on (November 20, 2013, 7:21 GMT) - too true. At the moment, there is only one side that can loosely be labelled great (too short a span to be an alltime great team) & that is Sth Africa. There are 3 or 4 teams well below them that are good & are able to win matches when things go their way. Those teams are (in no order) England, India, Pakistan & Oz. Just below that notch is Sri Lanka. @Rajesh.Kumar on (November 20, 2013, 6:37 GMT) - I know where you are coming from, but I don't entirely agree. There are often scorelines like 3-1 or 4-1, & the history is the biggest aspect, but the quality of cricket is still high.At times during the 80s Oz & England were nearly cellar dwellars - so far behind the WI it wasn't funny - but they were great contests. This series is not a battle for Test cricket supremacy - but as you sort of said - it doesn't matter!

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 20, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson *should* have played in the away Ashes. The fact that he didn't was more to do with poor selection than anything else. Johnson was in great form leading up to the Ashes and it is still something of a mystery why he was omitted. Australia did well in the away Ashes and, but for rain and losing the toss, almost certainly would have won the series. England's luck can't hold and in foreign conditions their chances of a victory are slim. That being said, their best chances are in Sydney and Melbourne and with a bit of luck they could finish 2-2. But their chances in Brisbane are slim to none. If England do win in Brisbane, against expectations, then they should retain the Ashes.

  • Beertjie on November 20, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    Agree @Big_Maxy_Walker on (November 20, 2013, 3:01 GMT), I'll settle for a drawn series right now. In itself that'll be a big step in the right direction. A good Shield from certain "candidates" can then set the tone (with a return to fitness and form from injured quicks) for the next round in a couple of years. Get the structures right and play first class cricket on decent pitches and we'll be back with a bang soon enough. I don't expect a drawn series to lead to complacency, so the changes are bound to continue. It's just that too many Ashes defeats will be tough on the Aussie psyche!

  • on November 20, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    God, I do hope Smith and Clarke bowl 10/15 overs an innings, easy pickings!!!

  • on November 20, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    Deep Banerjee The Ashes is THE most important series in cricket. It's the oldest and most historic and produced many memorable matches. Unlike the sub continent for example, that has produced countless draws and boring matches on drab low boring excuses for a cricket pitch. Bring it on!

  • Shaggy076 on November 20, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    Arun Bose; you are giving it importance by commenting on an article dedicated to this series. If the world thought it had no importance then they wouldn't comment.

  • Cricket_Man on November 20, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    @Deep Bannerjee Your comment is very insulting to the cricket fans. The article is made for the lovers of Ashes cricket to read. How can you speak on behalf of all the cricket fans who aren't English or Australian? I am a Pakistani and I am eager to see the first bowl being bowled tomorrow. None of us can speak on the behalf of anyone else except ourselves. It seems that you are upset that Indian cricket is not getting the spotlight on Cricinfo. If you don't like the article then don't read and don't comment on it. Please publish Cricinfo.

  • CricLover316 on November 20, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    @Valavan- So you got a Crystal ball and you know whats gonna happen in Ind-Sa Series. Why dont you bet your house on it and see what you get after the Series is over. Regarding the Ashes, the only reason it Ashes made any news last time was because of the DRS Controversies and the behavior of the players.

  • Yuosufahmed on November 20, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    We are waiting for Ashes which is the world greatest and most important test series. Congratulations both Ausies and English! My wishes for Ausies.

  • MichaelBurton on November 20, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    @Valavan: I applogise on behalf of all arrogant fans from my country. We accept that ashes is important to you as much as IPL for us Indian.

  • on November 20, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    Am really confused,2005 -supported Eng 2007 Eng 2009-Eng(LOST) 2011-Eng 2013 -Australia !(LOST) 2013(Aus:Eng)--confused but amazing battle will be for sure

  • Cricket_Man on November 20, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    Harmony's comment is totally not fitting the topic. The topic is about the ever-intriguing Ashes and one should stick to it. Why does Indian cricket have to be brought up into every topic which is in no way related to Indian cricket. You don't want to be told what to do but on the other hand you want people to continuously appreciate India for winning a World Cup after god knows how many years. Be positive in life and stop thinking that everyone is conspiring against Indian cricket.

  • warneneverchuck on November 20, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    Eng without players from SA is no better than zim or BD.

  • warneneverchuck on November 20, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    @ valavan I can understand your frustration though of never winning odi WC and couldnt make even semis in a recent WC in asia wher u cant beat even BD and ireland that shows how good your team is

  • Rajesh.Kumar on November 20, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    Team Australia is a bit like team Pakistan these days: both teams have excellent bowlers, but their batsmen are out-of-form/have-beens/not-good-enough. So Australia has a good chance in this Ashes if their batting clicks, unlike what happened in their last two test series. You cannot win matches on a consistent basis, unless your batters begin to score runs. Attitude, aggression etc. are no substitutes to the skill. If task of scoring runs as well as taking wickets falls on bowlers as what happened to Aus during their India tour, then the results will be not too different. But, this time, one hopes that Aus batting will click, because if they can't score runs at home, then where else can they do that?

  • CricLover316 on November 20, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    @ Valavan- You obviously wont care about World Champion,because you're Team has never been ONE. He was simply pointing out the fact that "Cricket would not survive without ashes" is a nice way to be delusional. I can respect the fact that, Eng-Oz rivalry has been a Historical one. May be thats the reason some fans from other countries might watch it or comment here. But for you or anyone else to say other forms of Cricket or other teams dont matter or you try to degrade them, would not be acceptable to their fans. To say that Cricket revolves around your country or the Ashes,then you're kidding yourself. You dont come in other forums to hype your players, but some of the fans do, to degrade other players for the silliest of reasons. Regarding Ashes,I'm excited. Lets hope its better than the last time in terms of Competition.

  • on November 20, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    Ashes is just a bilateral test series between England and Australia, I don't understand why the world give it so much importance? A test series or an ODI series between India and Pakistan is what the world waits for eagerly cz they are real-life rivals and not just on a pitch.. Unlike two white teams with no skill to face spin bowling walk around the earth as they are the only teams who know and understands and plays cricket..

  • Sir_Ivor on November 20, 2013, 7:21 GMT

    Rowan Tyson, I am afraid I cannot bring myself to agree with you that England deserve to be the No 1 team. You mention that England lost to South Africa for want of team spirit, against South Africa at home. Can Australians not say the same about their losing to India away ? Then you imply that losing to Pakistan in the desert was an aberration. In the same desert, South Africa drew the series by a massive win in the second Test. If there had been a third Test, it is reasonable to assume that they would have won the series. The fact of the matter is that England have won three consecutive Ashes series when Australia are no longer what they were because more than half the team has retired. That has given England the belief that they are in their pomp right now like the West Indies and Australia were once.This Australian side is capable of putting it across England. More so at home. England does have a good team but others are also good. So let us wait and see a decent series.

  • on November 20, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    I do not understand this hype with Ashes.. I mean except from Aus/Eng fans nobody cares about this useless series!!!

  • on November 20, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    i am the greatest fan of australia team...and i hope that australian team will win the ashes.....

  • Meety on November 20, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    My response to the heading is True & yes with a caveat. Oz cricketers are doing far too much talking & not enuff delivering. It is a waste of time trying to needle England in the press - they are vastly more experienced & should easily brush aside BS. Can Oz walk the walk - yes, but will they win the key moments is more important. Last summer (not expanded upon in the article) - Oz played the better cricket on the whole than the Saffas - but lost 1nil. In England - Oz had the potential to have been leading 3nil after 3 tests - but were 0-2. They certainly can beat England - they certainly can win the series - but they have to show a level of consistency not seen in a couple of years. Playing at home is a big help. BTW - any reference to the Gabba pitch of the last 2 or 3 seasons is useless - this pitch will be fast & bouncy - the weather has been typical SE QLD. Oz will be tougher than in England - but will it be enuff?

  • Valavan on November 20, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    @Harmony111, really then why you were so much frustrated when india lost 2 - 1 to england after lot of talks last year. You were pushed to tears and waiting if India would win the T20 series, but again Morgan's last ball six broke your heart, then you predicted 5 - 0 in ODIs but again india managed only a 3 - 2 win. It has become a habit of few arrogant ignorant indian fans to run down other teams. please save your energy to post in SA vs IND where Phil and steyn look to break through the defences of India's top 7. cricinfo please publish.

  • Rahul_78 on November 20, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    With the weather around the GABBA, talks of Hard and Bouncy pitch and Watto not able to bowl much. It is very likely that Aussies will go in with Faulkner instead of Lyon with Smith and Clarke rolling their arms over for 10-15 overs. Infact Smith can be used cleverly by Clarke against KP and Bell early in their innings. Aussies will need extra insurance in Faulkner's batting ability if they bat first. Anderson and Co will come hard at them. The contest will be decided between English bowlers and Aussie batsmen's. Clarke needs to score a century in the 1st test to set the ball rolling. Get a feeling this might be a closer series then the last one in England.

  • warneneverchuck on November 20, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    Someone made a joke of the year that cricket is surviving bcoz of ashes.

  • Valavan on November 20, 2013, 7:00 GMT

    @GRVJPR and @Harmony111, whats your point here. Who cares about World Champion, if you mean India is a World Champion then Windies also, does that count, what counts is just in front of eyes, ofcourse we and aussie fans here to cheer our respective teams, we are not in SA vs IND forum and hyping KP or Bell or Anderson there. @GRVJPR, when Tendulkar can be bigger than game, why not Aus or England who invented the game. All your comments are completely irrelevant to any of the article. cricinfo please publish.

  • Cricket_Man on November 20, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    It is important for both the teams to have a positive start to the series because the first match sets the tone for the series. I would be supporting Australia. For me the two most important things that the Aussie team should demonstrate tomorrow are aggression and the intent to win at all cost. Aggressive captaincy and aggressive body language can make a huge difference to this Australian side. It would be interesting to see how the Australian media and the crowd treats the England team especially Stuart Broad. If Australia can manage to shake the opposition's confidence level then I think they can easily win this Ashes which won't be a surprise to me. It is redemption time. Good luck Australia.

  • on November 20, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    I like Cook's comment there at the end. Looking at the England XI, and extension Squad(with Finn, Rankin, Ballance and even Buttler), it's a shame they are not Number 1 in tests, they must be very disappointed the team-spirit cost them against South Africa in England last year, If Cook was captain then, I have no doubt it either wouldve been closer, a draw, or an England victory. They also must be disappointed with the test series against Pakistan as well. It will be interesting to see how the rankings change after this series. Australia have a few good players, but right down the XI, one-by-one, The English team is much better, and having a captain like Cook makes players want to play with him, knowing he's a cool guy. Australia on the other hand have this epicly insecure Clarke with a bad back, who can't even slip to spinners these days, with a poor track record.. It will be big miracle if Australia win, especially if England live up to their potential.

  • Harmony111 on November 20, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    The attitude of a few of the fans here is actually quite hilarious. On their own, these fans have concluded that ONLY they are carrying cricket forward by playing Ashes after Ashes after Ashes. They make fun of T20s, they make fun of ODIs, they make fun of the current World Champion & World #1, they even make fun of the cricket that is played in the house of the current World Champions & #1.

    So for them, the only cricket that matters is that that which is played in their own homes yet when the Current World Champions win important ICC Titles there, they say that that too does not matter. Very weird logic indeed.

    Guys, Indians love Cricket - any form, any place. When we watch Ashes, we do it cos we see the game being played and not cos we have any special affection for Eng or Aus (huh). A no of Indians even watched that wretched SLPL, imagine !!!

    Do not crib or tell us what to do or not to do. We got brains to grasp T20s, ODIs & Tests alike, unlike you folks.

  • sachinisawesome on November 20, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    @ PrasPunter As much as I love Ashes and respect it saying that cricket will not survive without ashes is wrong. Apart from AUS and ENG fans nobody really cares much about Ashes. Though I really love the intensity between rivals. And Ashes brings the best out of the both team. For a neutral the rivalry is great like coz u r not supporting a particular team. I feel ENG is a better team at the moment and they will win narrowly but I would love if AUS can win. Go AUS & ENG entertain everybody. Peace.

  • Rajesh.Kumar on November 20, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    The thing about Ashes is that it more about history and emotions, and less about the quality of cricket. For example, all the Ashes which I have read about have been one-sided (except may be the one played in England in the 1980s in which Mike Brearly was the captain), and produced results like 5-0, 3-0, 3-1 etc. That is one team dominating the other one completely. I hope Aus batsmen perform better in this Ashes than they did in India during their 4-0 whitewash. During that series, the Aus top order was conspicuous by its absence, and most of the runs were scored by the bowlers, with one of the bowlers almost getting a century in India. I think it was Mitch Stark. And then in England spinner Agar also almost got a century. Hopefully, Aus batters will perform this time.

  • Harmony111 on November 20, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    The snobbish nature of a few of the fans here is actually quite hilarious. On their own, these fans have concluded that ONLY they are carrying cricket forward by playing Ashes after Ashes after Ashes. They make fun of T20s, they make fun of ODIs, they make fun of the current World Champion & World #1, they even make fun of the cricket that is played in the house of the current World Champions & #1.

    So for them, the only cricket that matters is that that which is played in their own homes yet when the Current World Champions win important ICC Titles there, they say that that too does not matter. Very weird logic indeed.

    Guys, Indians love Cricket - any form, any place. When we watch Ashes, we do it cos we see the game being played and not cos we have any special affection for Eng or Aus (huh). A no of Indians even watched that wretched SLPL, imagine !!!

    Do not crib or tell us what to do or not to do. We got brains to grasp T20s, ODIs & Tests alike, unlike you folks.

  • pitch_curator on November 20, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    @ PrasPunter - "Without ashes cricket will be nothing" Oh really? I didnt know this. BTW can you tell me how many people watch the ashes and how much revenue it generates? I want to compare those numbers with an India - Bangladesh series...

  • landl47 on November 20, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    @bonehead_maz: the MCC stopped organizing England cricket tours at the end of 1996. The side for test matches has always been called England, but the touring party was called the MCC.

    The ashes have been played for since 1882, in Australia and England.

  • on November 20, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    England will win hands down

  • on November 20, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    @Ausie_the_Great- Really, Aus is a great test side? Then why they faced a drubbing in India this year, They lost the series like 4-0 whitewash...Why Aus, SA or Eng can't play spin? When these sides comes to India, all of a sudden they all get scared by spin bowling.why's that? Mate, Aus is a bunny in front of spin bowling..India proved it.. Ha ha..

  • heathrf1974 on November 20, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    England have a better side, but Australia are hopefully improving (especially batting). I would like to see a close series whatever the result.

  • on November 20, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    I cannot see australia winning the series with their batting lineup , the best they can do is to draw the series which in my view will be the final outcome and england will retain the urn ..... england on the other hand are a good side but noway they are a great side like some people claim to be ,,, put them against south africa and we will know wat their place is which is a very distant second place ....

  • Nutcutlet on November 20, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    Not the least interesting aspect of this series is the behind-the-scenes battle of minds between Lehmann & Flower. DL: the instinctive gambler-with-guts, the agitator, full of the try-something-new, creative mind set, versus AF: the cerebral arch-strategist, the man who attends to minute detail, plots & plans with painstaking care, leaving nothing to chance as far as humanly possible. Motivation on both sides is never an issue in an Ashes series; there is Test cricket & there is Ashes' cricket. It's where Test cricket began and for all the razzmattaz that can be found elsewhere, there is no price that can be put on an Ashes' series victory. It is not necessary for those in other countries to understand; some do, some don't. Ultimately, this is an in-house rivalry, unmatched in the world of international team sport & of course, of the greatest cricketing significance -- as it has been for the last 131 years.

  • rocknrola on November 20, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    Always enjoy test matches between (Aus-Eng-SA). If the matches are close contests like Aus-SA series it doesn't matter who wins or loses. Current Aus team may be weak in our sub-continent pitches but they are still stronger in their home conditions. So I think, it's an even contest and may be bit favorable on Aussie side. Love to watch Cook, KP and Clarke batting.

  • on November 20, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    England has got the advantage as they are performing well. They have a balanced team and this Australian side is not that Australian side that we used to know during the times of Steve Waugh. Australia does not have an aggressive bowler like Glenn McGrath. They even do not have openers like Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden. These two batsmen were rock solid. Anyways, I hope to see an exciting Ashes series this summer.

  • INDSlider on November 20, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    @ GRVJPR: Aus, Eng and SA test matches are exciting to watch. Your Ind vs. SA is one sided if play in a fast bouncy pitches. I don't know why you people understand this simple truth of overhype. Pure ignorance or negligance?

  • PrasPunter on November 20, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    @GRVJPR, we never asked you to follow the Ashes. You can stick to the sort of games that your much-fancied team plays rather than getting onto a forum that is irrevelant to you.

  • Rowayton on November 20, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    I think landl47's summing up is very fair - however, don't forget 2005 when the situations were reversed and who won that? Now, if Jimmy Anderson stands on a ball in Perth...

  • warneneverchuck on November 20, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    Another boring 5 test series within 6 months. Who cares

  • ravi_hari on November 20, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    Though it is an overdose- back-to-back Ashes, any series between arch rivals is interesting. It would be intersting to see whether England can retain the Ashes with 4 in a row wins. It is interesting to see whether Aussies can finally make a turn around. The future of a few players is at stake in this series. All of them are from Aus. Clarke - if he fails to win this he might loose captaincy and probably be dropped from the side. If he fails in this series, we will not see Watson again in tests. Same is the case with MJ. If he gets injured again, that wil be the end of Harris. Haddin is definitely playing his last Ashes tests. So by the end of this series we will know what is Aus all about. It is an uphill task for them. Not only is England in form and very strong in all departments, they are a cohesive group. Aus look more disintegrated. Unless someone knits them together they will fall like 11 pins. They should atleast draw the series to keep home record intact and earn respect.

  • GillyRakesh on November 20, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    Surely this ashes wont be lik the 2006-07. But am pretty sure that the OZs will take back the urn and the 2015 world cup too...

  • INDSlider on November 20, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    This is definitely a tough task for us. Aus along with SA and Eng are the 3 best test teams in the world. I am pretty sure Aus will win this by either 3-2 or 2-1.

  • xylo on November 20, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    England will win the series, no doubt about that. CA have shown no clarity of thought by including Bailey based on his form in the shorter version. He is unlikely to score runs in tests, and CA have risked denting his confidence .

  • itsallhappening on November 20, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    My selection (and prediction) for England in less than 30 words: If England Cooks and Stokes a Broad Root, Finn and Swann, it will give Bell the Trotts and unBallance England on the way to relinquishing its Prior Rankin!

  • GRVJPR on November 20, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Ashes has done more harm to test cricket than anything has. It has over hyped two teams and made them bigger than the game itself. It is sad that India vs South Africa test series is not on at the same time as ashes and cricket lovers are forced to watch the most boring and yawning series ever in test history. A big 'Yawn' to 'Ashes'.

  • PrasPunter on November 20, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    @GRVJPR, as much as you dont care about Ashes, we really dont care about the what the most hyped team on the earth for all practical purposes does. Without Ashes, cricket will be nothing, unlike the poor games that your board sets up.

  • 2MikeGattings on November 20, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    England have a steely resolve about them these days. They have also have had much the better of recent contests and will not have been especially bothered by the build up. Australia are diminished and brittle. They will need to grow to win, but instead the side is full of quick fixes. I expect a series of flat pitches to benefit a batting line up better suited to ODIs than 5 day games. England will back their top 6 to fill their boots against a bowling line up weakened by injury.

  • on November 20, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    Australia should take heart from the fact that of the three tests they lost one was because of cheating by Broad. Yet in another they were very much in winning position before in a rush of blood batsman after batsman threw their wickets away. Playing Mitchel will be a big risk. He can go from sublime to ridiculous in a matter of minutes.

  • on November 20, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    I believe England walk away with the Urn. The wealth of experience they have in the batting order is perhaps the best in the world at the moment. Only SA can come closer to it. Their previous outing had the representation of almost same players which is an added advantage. Their knowledge of conditions cannot be undermined as well. The bowling department's experience is no less when compared to their batting. Broad was in stupendous touch in England and if he carries his form he can be lethal. Overall the balance of England looks perfect from the experience standpoint and can overpower Aussies if they play to their potential. The primary concern for Oz is their inexperience more than anything. If the contest needs to be even, Oz have to punch above their weight and ought to win every single crucial moment session after session over five days.

  • on November 20, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    australia will win if mitch johnson fires so as england will win if kevin pieterson scores..

  • Shaggy076 on November 20, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    The last 3 summers at home the Australian test team has been very good, only losing to the team that is clearly #1 in the world. With thrashings of most other countries including India. They had two years of really good cricket at home and abroad, starting after losing that test match to New Zealand. Then all the good form fell apart in India and never recovered by the series in England. They have now had time to reflect on the derailment and a return to the same form of last summer will make a very competitive series. Of course Australia can win and there recent home form suggests its closer to 50/50 rather than England being odds on favourites (all though they are deserving of being labelled favourites). Bring the series on - Gabba, Adelaide and Perth in the first 3 tests - two of our favourite grounds.

  • Ishfaq333 on November 20, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    This is not at all relevant to the Ashes but I must speak my mind. I am an ardent Sri Lankan fan and the reference to team as minnows is very very sad - but don't get me wrong truly justified. Can't believe we are in this state...

  • class9ryan on November 20, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    The article speaks the real truth about Australia, but I don't agree on comments that Finn, Tremlett or Broad are much better than Mitch. Mitch has really done no wrong in last few months from the O D I series in England. I believe he's the one bowler who might be bowling long spells alongside Siddle due to his sheer strength. Would have loved to see James Pattinson at the Gabba or M C G but I don't think he's gonna recover till then. I hope Harris stays fit for atleast 4 Tests or else the Aussies might be under serious trouble.

  • mzm149 on November 20, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    England cannot beat Australia at least in Brisbane and Perth. It will be 3-1 or 2-1 or 3-2 in Australia's favor.

  • on November 20, 2013, 5:04 GMT

    While I think it is unbelievable that people have been suggesting that Australia can win this series, I don't think this English side is of the calibre of the one that toured here in 2010/11. Mitchell Johnson may well leak runs, he has done so in the past, as has been well documented. On this occasion he won't be expected to lead the attack and he will definitely be able to bowl with some freedom knowing that Harris or Siddle (possibly Watson, also) will tie down their end. I do recall Michael Carberry and Jonathon Trott jumping around in the ODIs in England. Time will tell whether MJ will be the matchwinner that we have seen him be in the past, but if one thing is for certain, it's that there won't be too many full deliveries to Trott and Carberry. 2-1 England

  • satishchandar on November 20, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    England are favorites by a big margin.. If you people remember, last Ashes was one of England's worst with Bell alone shining high.. Still they made it 3-0. If England can get their act right, it is going to be very tough for Australia.

  • GRVJPR on November 20, 2013, 5:02 GMT

    My God, when will this most boring drama on earth "Ashes" finish. A big 'Yawn' to Ashes. Looking forward to India vs South Africa.

  • CamH on November 20, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    I would like to see a media blackout on Australian players in the two weeks leading into a test match. Whilst I would love to see them do well the rubbish that the Australian players spout in the media is embarrasing. Feels like a little bit of a false sense of optimism has been seeing into Australian fans. A rational view says that England have 8 very high quality, experienced test cricketers in their team all within the prime output years of 25 to 33. Carberry, Root & 3rd seamer being the only players outside that cohert. Australia has Clarke, Harris and Siddle as walk up starts & every other spot has a question mark. Rodgers - great fighter but he is 36, Warner has potential but is very inconsistent, Watson is a chronic underperformer, Smith is on the right track but hardly consolidated in the side, Bailey on debut has a poor first class record, Haddin averages 23 with the bat over the last 3 years & drops catches, Mitch could be brilliant or & Lyon keeps getting dropped.

  • venkatesh018 on November 20, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    All the Aussie hype is irrelevant. England are odds-on favourites to win and anything else will be a huge upset.

  • James_Murphy on November 20, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    There is no bluff this time: Australia are settled and will win the series convincingly. Carberry unproven, Cook out of form, Trott out of form and scared of the short ball and Johnson/Harris, Pietersen injury cloud and ego in the way, Bell in great form, Root suspect against quality line and length, Prior injured and out of form, Broad under the pump in Australia and terrible overseas record... HOME TOWN BULLY, Swann won't be a threat against the right handers and on these pitches, Anderson is quality, and Tremlett ...PLEASE. Looking good for the Green and Gold can't wait. RETURN THE URN!

  • grizzle on November 20, 2013, 4:28 GMT

    Australia will win...IF Mitchell Johnson fires, IF their top order can bat out a few sessions, IF Watto can bowl and bowl effectively, IF Ryan Harris can recapture the form he showed in England, IF Clarke's back holds up, etc. Too many IFs. I think England will win.

  • Vnott on November 20, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    England have to be strong favorites. They have a very well settled team and look more like the Aussies in the late nineties. Aussies are improving and a number of players are starting to play well but there are significant holes still... I do hope Aussies put up a good fight . With Clarke remaining a question mark in terms of form and fitness, i would not put it beyond England to win 3-1 or 4-0....

  • rajuramki on November 20, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    In England , Australia lost the ashes by a margin of 3 - 0 , but it could have been the other way round , if Australia had won the key moments . England is not as good a team as people make them out to be , which is going to be proved this time around . Johnson , Siddle and Harris will be handful for England to handle . The hype created by the media and the experts about England beating Australia by a big margin is totally misplaced . Best of luck Ausralia . Go on and prove the critics wrong .

  • on November 20, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    I like the hostile sendiments towards England amongst the players as this is what is needed to overcome a dominant opponent, however I wish that all these sendiments were kept in house amongst the players themselves as they only serve to strengthen the already steely resolve of the English. I am also more than a little embarrassed by our narky press who have 1. manufactured a non factual story against Stuart Broad and 2. Disrespected a a batting legend. To Kevin Pietersen's credit; he handled himself with more than enough class despite his quite truthful remarks about Brisbane. C'mon Dave; Kev's runs are on the board but you still have a mountain to climb to gain credibility. PULL YOUR HEAD IN!!

  • KeeperWithABat on November 20, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    @landl47 I can't agree with you saying England are tough. When they're in troublesome positons they seem to go into their shells, and many times when Australia was on top of them, the weather saved them. While I agree that England have probably got the upper hand going into this series, I can't look past the fact that Australia will be playing to prove something, and with a homecrowd behind them.

  • Lmaotsetung on November 20, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    Lots of talk coming from the Aus camp both fans, media, players alike. When it's all said and done after the New Year test hopefully England will shut them all up just like they did to India a year ago. What would be even sweeter is the Boxing day test being rendered MEANINGLESS!!!

  • MinusZero on November 20, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    I think England will win the series, but like the previous Ashes, they wont have it all their own way. Mitchell Johnson is a risk, a lot depends on which version plays, the run leaker or the wicket taker.

  • on November 20, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    aus will win this ashes for sure! go ozieeeeeee

  • landl47 on November 20, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    Predicting individual test matches is a mug's game, but over the 5-game series I prefer England, for three reasons; first, versatility. England has batsmen and bowlers who can do well in any conditions. They have grinders and stroke-players and can bowl swing, seam, reverse-swing and spin. Second, consistency. Their batsmen and bowlers, while actually younger than Australia's XI, have more experience and are able to handle situations better. Third (and this is unusual for England) toughness. Cook and Flower are hard men and their attitude has rubbed off on the team. When England was in trouble in the last series, they buckled down and got themselves out of it. Australia couldn't capitalize on its good positions and folded up when England got on top.

    For all his inventiveness and risk-taking, Clarke isn't a hard man in the way Waugh and Border were. His team doesn't play hard-nosed cricket. Warne may like it, but it doesn't win test series. England take the series (at least) 2-1.

  • himanshu.team on November 20, 2013, 3:34 GMT

    the article has the perfect title. Australia were traditionally very good at mind games and talking the opponents down earlier. However, they had the team to back it all up on the ground. they are talking alright till now, but looking at the two teams, I doubt if they can back it up. The top 4 are not so solid and middle order rather weak for Australia. For all the hype about Johnson's pace, apart from Raina, which other batsman did he really trouble in India. England would play bounce better than India and given Johnson's lack of discipline he would give away easy runs. Harris and Siddle will have to bulk of the bowling as others are nowhere are threatening. England on the other hand have a very settled batting line-up. Anderson is arguably the best bowler among the two teams and Broad, Tremlett and Finn are all better than Johnson. Not to mention that they also have the variety with Swann. I don't see Australia regaining the Ashes this time.

  • on November 20, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    it wont be so easy for England this time ...

  • drfarnsworth on November 20, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    England to win on 5th morning, by either 5 wickets or 100-150 runs.

  • on November 20, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    GO AUSSIES! <3 This urn will remain in Australia! I predict 2-1 in favour of Australia. We'll win at Gabba and Perth and probably lose at Melbourne or Sydney. Playing Faulkner would be a better move, coz we have a spin backup with Smith and Pup. But there has to be some backup for the 'very-unreliable' Mitch! I'm sure if they bat second, and their top order fires, the first test will be a success.

  • ShutTheGate on November 20, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    hmm, Brydon since you're writing about past glory at the Gabba don't you think it's appropriate to write about Peter Siddle's hatrick alongside Alistair Cook's unbeaten 235?

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on November 20, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    England have once again shown how to prepare properly for an Ashes series. Arrive early, get in some solid practice matches in the long form of the game, keep mostly quiet in the media and focus on the task ahead. Australia have had just about the worst preparation for an Ashes in recent memory. Got beaten handily only a few months ago in England, played ridiculous ODIs because India said so, picked players only on potential or highlights from many seasons ago, or players who have not even earned it, rested players for no conceivable reason, picked the side 9 days before the first test, have shut up in the media, giving added ammunition to England with boasts and whining etc etc. The list is endless. Australia can only hope for a drawn series at best. I fear it will be 3-5 nil to England. Maybe some real change might happen at Cricket Australia after this instead of the cosmetic changes that have happened recently

  • Bonehead_maz on November 20, 2013, 2:54 GMT

    Can someone please tell me when MCC touring Australia became England doing so ? Or even when the äshes"started being contested in Australia. I'm serious...... I have no idea, yet still look forward to MCC's 5 tests here :)

  • on November 20, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    Aussies, all talk. They will get pumped.

  • on November 20, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    Thats what their strategy has been in the recent past. They talk, they try to put fear in the opposition's brain, try to bring their moral down. But the world is now aware that these are not the might australians anymore. they still have good bowlers but as far as batsman is concerned they are weak and english bowlers will look forward to expose that as much as they can. Australians need a bit more discipline, less fuss with the talks and more action on the feild is what they need. A bit more respect for the opposition and a bit less sledging becuase they can back their slegding up with good batting or bowling. They lost three tests in England and loss four tests in India. I hope that's enough for them to learn that it's about time they start working hard and talk less.

  • slow.mo on November 20, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    An honest preview. But whatever the result might be can't wait to watch the first ball being bowled. Bring it on.

  • slow.mo on November 20, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    An honest preview. But whatever the result might be can't wait to watch the first ball being bowled. Bring it on.

  • on November 20, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    Thats what their strategy has been in the recent past. They talk, they try to put fear in the opposition's brain, try to bring their moral down. But the world is now aware that these are not the might australians anymore. they still have good bowlers but as far as batsman is concerned they are weak and english bowlers will look forward to expose that as much as they can. Australians need a bit more discipline, less fuss with the talks and more action on the feild is what they need. A bit more respect for the opposition and a bit less sledging becuase they can back their slegding up with good batting or bowling. They lost three tests in England and loss four tests in India. I hope that's enough for them to learn that it's about time they start working hard and talk less.

  • on November 20, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    Aussies, all talk. They will get pumped.

  • Bonehead_maz on November 20, 2013, 2:54 GMT

    Can someone please tell me when MCC touring Australia became England doing so ? Or even when the äshes"started being contested in Australia. I'm serious...... I have no idea, yet still look forward to MCC's 5 tests here :)

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on November 20, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    England have once again shown how to prepare properly for an Ashes series. Arrive early, get in some solid practice matches in the long form of the game, keep mostly quiet in the media and focus on the task ahead. Australia have had just about the worst preparation for an Ashes in recent memory. Got beaten handily only a few months ago in England, played ridiculous ODIs because India said so, picked players only on potential or highlights from many seasons ago, or players who have not even earned it, rested players for no conceivable reason, picked the side 9 days before the first test, have shut up in the media, giving added ammunition to England with boasts and whining etc etc. The list is endless. Australia can only hope for a drawn series at best. I fear it will be 3-5 nil to England. Maybe some real change might happen at Cricket Australia after this instead of the cosmetic changes that have happened recently

  • ShutTheGate on November 20, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    hmm, Brydon since you're writing about past glory at the Gabba don't you think it's appropriate to write about Peter Siddle's hatrick alongside Alistair Cook's unbeaten 235?

  • on November 20, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    GO AUSSIES! <3 This urn will remain in Australia! I predict 2-1 in favour of Australia. We'll win at Gabba and Perth and probably lose at Melbourne or Sydney. Playing Faulkner would be a better move, coz we have a spin backup with Smith and Pup. But there has to be some backup for the 'very-unreliable' Mitch! I'm sure if they bat second, and their top order fires, the first test will be a success.

  • drfarnsworth on November 20, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    England to win on 5th morning, by either 5 wickets or 100-150 runs.

  • on November 20, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    it wont be so easy for England this time ...

  • himanshu.team on November 20, 2013, 3:34 GMT

    the article has the perfect title. Australia were traditionally very good at mind games and talking the opponents down earlier. However, they had the team to back it all up on the ground. they are talking alright till now, but looking at the two teams, I doubt if they can back it up. The top 4 are not so solid and middle order rather weak for Australia. For all the hype about Johnson's pace, apart from Raina, which other batsman did he really trouble in India. England would play bounce better than India and given Johnson's lack of discipline he would give away easy runs. Harris and Siddle will have to bulk of the bowling as others are nowhere are threatening. England on the other hand have a very settled batting line-up. Anderson is arguably the best bowler among the two teams and Broad, Tremlett and Finn are all better than Johnson. Not to mention that they also have the variety with Swann. I don't see Australia regaining the Ashes this time.