England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge July 9, 2013

Ashes can make heroes and history

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Match facts


Wednesday, July 10, Trent Bridge
Start time 1100 (1000 GMT)

Big Picture

The length of the build-up to an Ashes series is unparalleled in cricket. It begins the day after the last Ashes series is completed and it grows into an obsession for several months before the off, a period in which former England or Australia cricketers are invited to offer up a prediction on a daily basis and past series are lovingly dwelt upon for the umpteenth time.

This time, it is different; this time England and Australia have not five, but ten Tests to contest as they are faced by back-to-back Ashes series which will end in Sydney in early January. By the time it is all over, heroes will have emerged, careers been forever tarnished and the pantomime baiting between England and Australia fans - not forgetting the media - will have been exhausted.

For the most casual cricket followers in England and Australia, the Ashes remains their only connection with the sport. Cricket becomes a topic of conversation in the unlikeliest of places. But by the eve of the first Test, real cricket lovers are beside themselves with impatience for the talking to stop and the series to get underway.

Finally, in the bright-white gentility of Trent Bridge, it will, amid confident forecasts of hot, sunny days. It is true that England and Australia are only ranked three and four in the world, but it will be captivating nonetheless. Are England now so well analysed and programmed that it could affect their ability to think on their feet if things go wrong? Can Darren Lehmann's arrival as Australia coach be anything more than a temporary uplift that will dissipate once the quality of the sides is tested? We are about to discover the answer.

Form guide

England: WWDDD
Australia: LLLLW

Players to watch

Graeme Swann is an ebullient sort of fellow and he could be forgiven ahead of the Trent Bridge Test if he burst into song, one of his favourites perhaps when he fronts the Nottingham-based band Dr Comfort and the Lurid Revelations. Swann, fully recovered from a second elbow operation, has never had more favourable conditions on his home ground. The forecast is for sunshine galore, Australia are packed with left-handers - and have a left-armer to create footmarks - so he will never have a better chance of attending to a paltry return at Trent Bridge of three wickets at 65 runs apiece.

For Australia, James Pattinson is a source of considerable excitement. He is a combative, talented quick bowler, eager to avenge England's treatment of his older brother, Darren, a Nottinghamshire stalwart whose sole England Test cap against South Africa in 2008 was widely condemned in the media. Trent Bridge is the perfect ground on which to uphold the family honour.

Team news

After the cut-throat decision to drop Nick Compton, the one space still to be decided is that of the third quick behind James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Steven Finn is the man in possession, but with reverse swing likely to be a key weapon Tim Bresnan, who has 15 wickets in two Tests on the ground, is firmly in the picture. Graham Onions is the outsider but bowls very well to left handers.

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

Michael Clarke was coy about his final XI, but continued to suggest that Australia would be comfortable selecting David Warner despite his lack of recent cricket. His place will have to come in the middle order with Shane Watson and Chris Rogers, whose previous Test came in 2008, confirmed as the opening pair. The fast-bowling attack could comprise various trios, but Ryan Harris and Jackson Bird appear likely to miss out.

Australia (probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Chris Rogers, 3 Ed Cowan, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Phillip Hughes, 6 David Warner, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Peter Siddle, 10 James Pattinson, 11 Nathan Lyon

Pitch and conditions

Both attacks are bracing themselves for a demanding bowling experience on a benign surface in what for England are comparatively warm conditions. Chris Read, the Nottinghamshire captain and former England keeper, has warned that traditional swing and seam has been less prominent this summer. Expect big first-innings scores, bags of reverse swing and spin and Broad turning red in the heat faster than most.

Stats and trivia

  • Tim Bresnan has taken four or more wickets in a Test on five occasions - and three of them have been at Trent Bridge, scene of the first Test

  • Billy Cooper, the Barmy Army trumpeter, who will not be allowed to play at Trent Bridge, was thrown out of The Gabba in 2006/7 for playing the theme tune from Neighbours. Four years later Brisbane changed its tune and he was made part of the official entertainment package on the first day.

  • England have not won the opening Test of an Ashes series since 1997 at Edgbaston. That series ended 3-2 in Australia's favour

Quotes

"I think psychologically we're in a much better place, the only danger is that we'll be too laid-back. The Aussies will fight, there's no doubt about that...but if we score the runs we're capable of then we'll win comfortably."
David Saker, England's Australian-born bowling coach, shows no sign of split loyalties.

"I've read it will make or break my reputation as a captain. Personally, I don't feel like that. "
Michael Clarke, Australia's captain, plots an early escape route in case things go awry.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | July 10, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    The Mother of Cricket, the Titanic and epic contest is to begin today !! Can't wait. Wish I soon see a test tri-series played between Aus, Eng and SA. Even that will come a close second to the Ashes !! Nothing , no show-pony stuff can match Test Cricket !!! Lets the Game begin !! Play !!

  • POSTED BY cric_J on | July 10, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    FINALLY , it is July 10 ! The players and the fans are all geared up for this saga of 10 tests over the next 7 months .

    Sleepless nights are going to become a routine and crossed fingers will be a regular sight to avoid poor weather and injury scares. There'll be butterflies in the stomach and nails between the teeth.

    Similar situations will have the opposite camps and their fans praying for opposite outcomes. Everyone will have their hearts in their mouth for the bowl to be caught (or not) , for an edge to be (or not) , for the bowl pitching in line to hit the stumps (or not) , for the batsman's bat and the bowler's front foot to be behind the line (or not) , for the on field umpire's decision to stand in case of DRS (or not).

    So let's see who comes out on top. My bet : England 2-1 or a more unlikely 3-1. Another bet : It won't be a whitewash and Australia are going to be a better team tan most make them out to be.

    Cheers to the teams and the contest. Bring it on !!

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | July 9, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    Well folks, here we are! We sit on the eve of one of the most anticipated and exciting series in the cricket calendar. Who would have thought two great cricketing nations would fight over the embers of burnt bails?

    @ Can choir boy Alistair, Cook up a storm? Can Joe settle down and become Rooted to his new opening form? @ Jonathan knows this will not be a Trott in the park; everybody anticipates KP bringing that extra spark! @ Ian has had his say, and agrees Bell's will be ringing; Jonny Bairstow - will short bowling keep him singing!? @ Prior to this series, Matt has been quiet and cool; Tim Bresnan is no damn fool! @ Stuart: please, we want to see that Broad smile; only bowl short, once in a while! @ Graeme loves the limelight - will there be a Swann-song... James is always amongst the wickets; makes the team And-er-sons proud and strong!

    BRING ON THE ASHES!!!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 11, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    @ ScottStevo - PS Sorry but I don't see that series as a humiliating loss. The first test was but the rest of the series I genuinely fairly was fairly even. I wouldn't call 51 runs over 4 inns a humiliating margin and genuinely thought the drawn test could have gone either way. SA needed 6 wickets with Eng needing a little over 120 with 6 wkts remaining with 2 specialist batsmen at the crease and 1 to come. If it's false optimism then maybe it's from the way your team came back to draw the previous series with SA after the 1st test debacle. Listen , if you read my post earlier in the thread you'll realise that I'm not one who thinks Eng are the bees knees or anything like it but their series results when they became number 1 were better that SA's in 2 years before beating India. If you think that Eng should not have been ahead of SA then please tell me what SA did in the prev 2 years which made them more worthy than England?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 10, 2013, 21:51 GMT

    @martin000 on (July 10, 2013, 9:40 GMT) As great as Ur txt spk is , PrasPunter is one of the proper non jingoistic , self critical Aus (or any country's fans) on these threads

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 10, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    @ ScottStevo - Re the deserving of the number 1 ranking. I presume you are saying that SA deserved it? On what basis exactly? I remember around the time debating with those who said that SA were by far the better side and yet (at the time) they hadn't beaten a top 4 side for some time and had drawn their most recent series vs top 4 sides Aus and India while Eng had beaten both convincingly. So if England were winning series which SA were drawing (bearing in mind it's all done on (I believe)a 2/3 year cycle I think you'll find Eng's results around that time were better than SA's. The previous team between SA and Eng (in SA) was 1-1. If you're saying that a team can't leapfrog another without playing them then surely the ranking would just stagnate. India are ahead of Eng right now even though Eng beat India less than 8 months ago. The rankings system rewards consistency and consistency in winning. That is where Eng were rewarded in 2011 and penalised recently for drawing in NZ.

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | July 10, 2013, 13:55 GMT

    @clarke501 You don't think England have gone into series overconfident? Pietersen admitted he was out of shape for the Pakistan series. Morgan was all over the place. Tremlett wasn't fit but got himself picked for a match. Strauss had done nothing to arrest his decline. They had no plan against spin whatsoever - just look at how Strauss and cook, 2 top order batsmen, not tailenders, were time wasting to avoid facing Abdur Rehman in that series. Hardly the sign of players who had done their preparation and were taking the opposition seriously going into a test series, is it?

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | July 10, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    Urn stays in England with more humiliation for the Aussies this year. Khalid

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    ok i am not expecting 2005 Ashes but still it will be some great contest....dont even think that England is favourite.

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | July 10, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Certain posters may make disparaging remarks but we "...knowledgeable cricket fans.." need no reminding. This is THE TEST SERIES. It was 100 years ago; it is now and it will be when we are all pushing up daisies.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | July 10, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    The Mother of Cricket, the Titanic and epic contest is to begin today !! Can't wait. Wish I soon see a test tri-series played between Aus, Eng and SA. Even that will come a close second to the Ashes !! Nothing , no show-pony stuff can match Test Cricket !!! Lets the Game begin !! Play !!

  • POSTED BY cric_J on | July 10, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    FINALLY , it is July 10 ! The players and the fans are all geared up for this saga of 10 tests over the next 7 months .

    Sleepless nights are going to become a routine and crossed fingers will be a regular sight to avoid poor weather and injury scares. There'll be butterflies in the stomach and nails between the teeth.

    Similar situations will have the opposite camps and their fans praying for opposite outcomes. Everyone will have their hearts in their mouth for the bowl to be caught (or not) , for an edge to be (or not) , for the bowl pitching in line to hit the stumps (or not) , for the batsman's bat and the bowler's front foot to be behind the line (or not) , for the on field umpire's decision to stand in case of DRS (or not).

    So let's see who comes out on top. My bet : England 2-1 or a more unlikely 3-1. Another bet : It won't be a whitewash and Australia are going to be a better team tan most make them out to be.

    Cheers to the teams and the contest. Bring it on !!

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | July 9, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    Well folks, here we are! We sit on the eve of one of the most anticipated and exciting series in the cricket calendar. Who would have thought two great cricketing nations would fight over the embers of burnt bails?

    @ Can choir boy Alistair, Cook up a storm? Can Joe settle down and become Rooted to his new opening form? @ Jonathan knows this will not be a Trott in the park; everybody anticipates KP bringing that extra spark! @ Ian has had his say, and agrees Bell's will be ringing; Jonny Bairstow - will short bowling keep him singing!? @ Prior to this series, Matt has been quiet and cool; Tim Bresnan is no damn fool! @ Stuart: please, we want to see that Broad smile; only bowl short, once in a while! @ Graeme loves the limelight - will there be a Swann-song... James is always amongst the wickets; makes the team And-er-sons proud and strong!

    BRING ON THE ASHES!!!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 11, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    @ ScottStevo - PS Sorry but I don't see that series as a humiliating loss. The first test was but the rest of the series I genuinely fairly was fairly even. I wouldn't call 51 runs over 4 inns a humiliating margin and genuinely thought the drawn test could have gone either way. SA needed 6 wickets with Eng needing a little over 120 with 6 wkts remaining with 2 specialist batsmen at the crease and 1 to come. If it's false optimism then maybe it's from the way your team came back to draw the previous series with SA after the 1st test debacle. Listen , if you read my post earlier in the thread you'll realise that I'm not one who thinks Eng are the bees knees or anything like it but their series results when they became number 1 were better that SA's in 2 years before beating India. If you think that Eng should not have been ahead of SA then please tell me what SA did in the prev 2 years which made them more worthy than England?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 10, 2013, 21:51 GMT

    @martin000 on (July 10, 2013, 9:40 GMT) As great as Ur txt spk is , PrasPunter is one of the proper non jingoistic , self critical Aus (or any country's fans) on these threads

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 10, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    @ ScottStevo - Re the deserving of the number 1 ranking. I presume you are saying that SA deserved it? On what basis exactly? I remember around the time debating with those who said that SA were by far the better side and yet (at the time) they hadn't beaten a top 4 side for some time and had drawn their most recent series vs top 4 sides Aus and India while Eng had beaten both convincingly. So if England were winning series which SA were drawing (bearing in mind it's all done on (I believe)a 2/3 year cycle I think you'll find Eng's results around that time were better than SA's. The previous team between SA and Eng (in SA) was 1-1. If you're saying that a team can't leapfrog another without playing them then surely the ranking would just stagnate. India are ahead of Eng right now even though Eng beat India less than 8 months ago. The rankings system rewards consistency and consistency in winning. That is where Eng were rewarded in 2011 and penalised recently for drawing in NZ.

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | July 10, 2013, 13:55 GMT

    @clarke501 You don't think England have gone into series overconfident? Pietersen admitted he was out of shape for the Pakistan series. Morgan was all over the place. Tremlett wasn't fit but got himself picked for a match. Strauss had done nothing to arrest his decline. They had no plan against spin whatsoever - just look at how Strauss and cook, 2 top order batsmen, not tailenders, were time wasting to avoid facing Abdur Rehman in that series. Hardly the sign of players who had done their preparation and were taking the opposition seriously going into a test series, is it?

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | July 10, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    Urn stays in England with more humiliation for the Aussies this year. Khalid

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    ok i am not expecting 2005 Ashes but still it will be some great contest....dont even think that England is favourite.

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | July 10, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Certain posters may make disparaging remarks but we "...knowledgeable cricket fans.." need no reminding. This is THE TEST SERIES. It was 100 years ago; it is now and it will be when we are all pushing up daisies.

  • POSTED BY martin000 on | July 10, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    @PrasPunter, I can see the excitement in ur comments.. I think u hav jus now got out of ur hibernation as the ashes starts... In Btw, much more important tournments lik world cup, champions trophy etc.. got over and ur team got trashed everywhere.. Ashes is just another test series (ofcourse a bit more exciting comparing to other series or the ODIs tat ur team plays) but stop giving too much hype

  • POSTED BY thebrotherswaugh on | July 10, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    Swanny may well prove to be the difference between the two teams. The contributions from both WK will also play a big role - Prior will be his ever-reliable self, catch everything that comes his way & chip in with a healthy 35+ average for the series and get the runs that really count - if Haddin can do the same, it will be a huge boost for the Aussies. I don't reckon there'll be that much between the two sets of bowlers, but ENG batting should prove far more effective in home conditions (Clarke & Smith to do well, and Cowan will do well). My 'crystal ball' tells me ENG 2-0 or 3-1. I just hope I'm very, very wrong.

  • POSTED BY Nigels on | July 10, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    Pietersen is going to have a field day.....!

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | July 10, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Ashton Agar to bowl the Ball Of The Century

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    On the Aus side i'm looking for at least two of Hughes, Rogers and Smith to come out and make some big runs in support of their captain, Haddin too i'm sure is going to chip in with some aggressive knocks and I think the likes of Siddle, Starc and Patto can add on very well at the end if there is a platform set for them. With the ball it has to be Patto and Siddle, they will both pitch the ball up and get late nibble, in my opinion they are both ideally suited to what is about to come. On the fringes, if guys like Starc and Watto can do some damage along the way they may just swing a match or two, but it has to be Clarke, Rogers, Haddin, Patto and Siddle to lead us to the point where the rest can add some pain.

    Thankfully the time for talk is finally over, bring it on!!!

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    ENGLAND has better chances to clinch ashes...best of luck to kevin and james

  • POSTED BY Simoc on | July 10, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    Now that is a shock. Agar in won't help Lyons confidence a lot. And Jim Maxwell had Lyon down as one of three dead certainties to play.

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    Woah!? What!! Agar making his debut - now that's a surprise. Good luck son!

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    @AJS007 - most accurate prediction I've read.

  • POSTED BY ShanO111 on | July 10, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    THANK GOD....... ASHES-The best of Cricket...... I am sick of these nonsense T20 leagues and no good ODI's. England vs Australia in whites on the cricketing field for 5 long days is just too less, i could enjoy even 10 days with 8 looooong innings........... I dont know i'd still be saying so et the end of next January.......;) The pace bowling with Anderson, Finn, Siddle, Pattinson, Starc on display is a treat to watch on any day and to combat these with the likes of Clarke, Cook, KP, Trott, Bell, Watson is a treat to watch......... The most i am looking forward to is to see Pattinson rise to the occasion and give us the glimpse of greats of the past, "the build, the passion, the pace he generates" is just awesome......... Hope Austalian batsmen show some steel so that we can see some good contests instead of dead rubbers........ Come on Boys, give us the reason to keep watching Test Cricket........

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    Nobody know what happend in next few days and who will play a good cricket will win this year's ashes series. Best of luck to both teams.

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    @Landl47, I'm not sure what to think of the Bresnan versus Finn selection, personally i'd leave out Broad. Bresnan is the one out of four of these guys who never lets his head drop, being hot sunny like it is I think he could end up being one of the better bowlers. Finn has the potential to be a great bowler, far more threatening than Broad from my perspective. Broad to me is England Mitchell Johnson, awesome or innocuous, never in between, if he drops his head, particularly in the first innings when there is little turn for Swann then it will be an uphill battle for an Anderson + Finn duo. Bressie lad might be able to take up the slack, but only if he can get it reversing. If England get their selection right here, whatever combo that is, then they will be tough to bat against.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 10, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    @Harmony111 on (July 9, 2013, 23:34 GMT) So do you have any comms on the series itself ? BTW could be a number of reasons why there are so few comms inc the fact the weather is so good here right now

  • POSTED BY fatier on | July 10, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Ashton Agar making his debut,just like I predicted.Great pick

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    England are definite favourites, but they would do well not to underestimate the ability of the Aussies to bounce back.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | July 10, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    @JG2704, Think you'll find England skipped from 3rd to first without playing team #2, which is why I thought it underserving as it was based purely on rankings, rather than beating the side most knew were the better team - which they went on to prove whilst in England. Also, the draw "which could've gone either way" was only ever looking like an English loss, although I understand your optimism! It was an humiliation as they coasted through you with consumate ease, hardly having to get out of 2nd gear. As an Aus fan, it proved that even against high quality swing bowling, a little application and perseverence can go a long way - and I hope some of our top order have watched that and seen that it can be done. The other noticable thing was watching a few English bowlers lose their patience rather quickly when it wasn't going their way. Big ask for Aus to emulate this, but it's not in the realms of impossibility. V excited now, bit nervous too! Aus desperately need a solid day1. Smith in

  • POSTED BY AJS007 on | July 10, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    1st TEST SCORECARD: Aus 999/9 dec. S.Watson 444, M.Clarke 333 n.o. p.siddle 111 n.o. J.Anderson 5/555, G.Swan 3/333. Eng. 111 All out, K.Pietersen 99 n.o. J.Pattinson 9/9, P.Siddle 1/99 and 222 all out K.Pietersen 99 n.o. I.Bell 121 S.Watson 1/151, J.Pattinson 9/9

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    I think the Aussie had made wrong selections for this tours, by seeing pitches in CT just expect how swann can trouble the aussie lefties( Hughes,Cowan, warner, paine,Starc,Rogers,pattinson,) they could have selected some good right hand batsmen like Doolan, Ferguson. Apart from these the should play Faulkner and smith in the squad upright!!!!! Lefties will left aussies from the context!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    aussies all the way... expecting a hard fought series which australia will win

  • POSTED BY Priyavrat96 on | July 10, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    Australia team likely to be in First Test:- Watson,Rogers,Hughes,Clarke(c),Khawaja,Faulkner,Haddin(wk),Harris,Starc,Siddle, Lyon

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 10, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (July 10, 2013, 5:53 GMT) You have all angles covered with this post I see. So if Eng beat Aus convincingly then it's just because Australia are poor and if Aus beat Eng or if it's even a close thing you can come back on here and say Eng aren't as good as they thought they were etc etc. Heaven forbid either team getting credit if they do well in this series from this popular poster.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 10, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    @ScottStevo on (July 9, 2013, 20:31 GMT) England deserved their number one ranking at the time. Their form was better than SA,Aus and India and they beat the then number 1 side India 4-0 to attain the ranking. Yes India were poor but no balanced cricket fan up front could envisage 4-0 to either side. And no SA did not deserve the number 1 spot until they got it. They let too many opportunities of winning series (Aus at home as an example) become draws. Eng were more ruthless at the time of beating India. I think most genuine Eng fans don't believe we're as good as you make out and most Eng fans recognise our vulnerabilities and yes thrashed in UAE but humiliated by SA? We were thrashed in one of the tests but the other 2 (one which was drawn) could have gone either way

  • POSTED BY fatier on | July 10, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    If it's a dry pitch,play Khawaja and Smith.!

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | July 10, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    IN: Smith OUT: Warner

    An excellent decision, which I think was decided days ago. With all the talk of a turning wicket and Clark's back needing to hold up for 10 matches, and Smith's handy form, it really was a no brainer.

  • POSTED BY James_Murphy on | July 10, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    Come on Australia show your potential and put up a great fight. Comments made by Botham, Vaughan and Saker and many others will soon be made to look foolish. Winning 3 Ashes series' out of the last 12 doesn't make England world beaters. They even struggled against the mighty NZ. Australia were poor against India, but apart from that have been fantastic over the last 2 years. This will be a great battle, can't wait. Who will cover themselves in glory? I predict big series' from Starc, Swann and Hughes. Go Aussies. 3-1 Australia.

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    News is Smith is in for Warner.

  • POSTED BY Batmanian on | July 10, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    @PadMarley, the nonsensical phrase 'global event' didn't exist back in 1877, or even 1882. This is the Ashes; the longest standing important international sporting fixture in the world. If you don't like it, you don't have to watch it.

  • POSTED BY heathrf1974 on | July 10, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    NEWSFLASH-The Aussie team is likely to be Australia (likely): Watson, Rogers, Cowan, Hughes, Clarke (c), Smith, Haddin, Siddle, Pattinson, Starc, Lyon.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | July 10, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    Sir_Freddie_Flintoff, Yes the Indian series is so representative of what is going on - we will be playing on exactly the same tracks. How about Australia beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and England didn't? Or you could use the comparisons between home series against South Africa or away series against Pakistan. All those stack in Australias favour. I agree England should start favourites but certainly not a one way street. THe Indian form line is just that we know if AUstralia were to play England in India we would loose. However we are now about to play two series on tracks that represent main stream cricket.

  • POSTED BY Big_Maxy_Walker on | July 10, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    I cant believe they want Cowan at 3. He is a slow opener who will grind the innings to a halt at 3. After nearly 20 matches he averages 32. After a decade in FC cricket he averages less than 40. So I don't see him getting any better as we have seen it already. Usman can at the very least replicate Ed's poor performances, but has a much higher upside. Wish we had a left arm spinner with all the right handers England have. And we do but selectors ignore him. So Lyon will have to never bowl straight, bowl slower and flight the ball more. SMH is reporting Smith at 6 which is good news on three fronts. He has earned it after maturing and improving his game, Warner needs a real punishment for his actions, and Smith is a good player of spin which will help on this pitch as Swann will be used a lot. Those having a go at Swann's avg against Australia should remember the 2009 Ashes where we led most of the stat categories and still lost. England always makes the most of the important moments

  • POSTED BY tony122 on | July 10, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    If pitch is dry then it is advantage Australia. if they are wet/grass or neutral kind it is advantage England. English seam bowlers will be frustrated on dry pitches and Swann will not be able to compensate. Australia meanwhile have hustlers who can take grind it out on dry pitches better. And their batsmen who are technically less adept will find it easier to stick out in dry conditions. Warner/Watto become real threat on dry pitches too. If pitches are neutral- Eng-3 Aus-1. If pitches are wet Eng- 3 Aus-0. If pitches are dry Eng-2 Aus-2.

  • POSTED BY Samdanh on | July 10, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    A few days ago I expressed my thoughts that England would try to neutralise the impact of Aus fast men and turn out flat wickets that would spin from day 2 instead of day 1 like what India did when Aus toured India recently. There was a counter comment that Eng would rather present a wicket that helped fast men of their team. From what I read from this report, it is clear that England is doing exactly what foresaw. That is the only way they can ensure they win the series, as Eng batting is superior to that of Aus, more suited and disciplined to grind out high scores especially on flat/spinning wickets where impact of fast men of opposition could be neutralised from day 1.

  • POSTED BY VVBHAT on | July 10, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    I predict 2-2. England are no better than Aussies. Aussies lost against a completely different team than the one that played against the England. So there is no point in comparing the two series to judge the result of Ashes. Both team look equally strong and only difference to me is the quality of Swann which the Aussies dont have. I really do not know how Johnny Bairstow can be a test player. He is definitely the weak link.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | July 10, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    it will be 5-0 to Aus.There i have said it.This is the greatest team to have come to these shores and all we have is poor batting and weak bowling to match them. Please Australia don't continue your recent test form and give us another whitewash like you inflicted on India. Hang on,that seems wrong.You did win over there didn't you.I mean this is the greatest fast bowling attack ever

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | July 10, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster, can you make similar predictions about the weather in Melbourne now ? We dont care about whether you like test-cricket or not.

  • POSTED BY PadMarley on | July 10, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    Well its true honestly that test cricket is THE thing!! But its funny that fans of these two countries think Ashes is still such a global event where the whole cricketing world goes crazy of.. lol . Isnt this like 2013, and so many things have changed in cricket?? :-)

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | July 10, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Now I don't really care about the all the Ashes hype. It's another series for me. But as a knowledgeable cricket fan, I do know strong teams when I see one. England are strong, Australia not so much. It should be a comfortable victory for England, with a draw in one of the games. Can't see England beating Australia 5-0 because I don't think England are THAT good but it will be at least a 3-0 result. Australia may win one of the games or we could just have a draw. 3-0 and 3-1 looking likely scorelines in favour of England. Not a fan of test cricket, but will catch all the wickets, fours and sixes in my highlights package.

  • POSTED BY skilebow on | July 10, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    I can't wait! Think England look stronger but bowlers win games of cricket and so if the ozzie quicks hit their straps it could get interesting. Hope its a close series that England win!

  • POSTED BY AltafPatel on | July 10, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    hehe. History, you meant the team who even coudn't draw a single test in India out for 4, can be part of history !! ya, but thats sure, new records might get created, without doubt they all by Eng...

  • POSTED BY hotcric01 on | July 10, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    England too much depend on Andeson.If he gets injured,they will be in a big trouble(Same as Steyn for SA)

  • POSTED BY LAKingsFan on | July 10, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    For some reason I couldn't think it's going to be England all the way. I think it will be closely fought series for many reasons. With Clarke in, we're in for a one of the closest Ashes. Couldn't wait. Will cricinfo.com telecast ashes in US?

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    England is Favorite but you never underestimate the kangaroos as they always fight till the end.

  • POSTED BY hotcric01 on | July 10, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    England are still favorites to win as 2-1.But if Aussie batting gets on top,even they would win as 2-1.But being too much reliable on Ed Cowen will cost them.They should play Khawaja insted of him.Even Smith or Faulkner are better options than him.

  • POSTED BY cric_J on | July 10, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    Regarding the confusion between Bres and Finny , I'd probably go for Bres in this match. Three reasons for that :

    1. Bres has done pretty well in his last 2 tests at the ground (he was simply splendid against India and I still remember his delivery to get Dravid in the second innings). And I'm a firm believer that a player who has done well at a particular ground in the past should be given a look in , unless he is pathetically out of form.

    2. Inspite of the shining sun and the less seam friendly behaviour of the pitches this season , it is well known that Trent Bridge has ALWAYS been one of the most conventional swing assisting grounds in the world. And Bres is surely better at getting that.

    3. He batted well in the warm up and is a better bat to Finny.

    On the other hand , lack of conventional swing and Bres will struggle. After Jimmy ,Finny is the best in the England team when it comes to reverse swinging the bowl. And as per the article reverse swing may be key in the match.

  • POSTED BY AJ_Tiger86 on | July 10, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    England beat India 2-1 in India, and Aussies got HUMILIATED 4-0 there right after that series. That tells you everything you need to know going into the series.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | July 10, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge, that is about the nicest comment I have ever read from you about Australia! "A decent seam attack", and about the closest to a balanced view as I think you can manage (which isn't a criticism, by the way!). I agree, it is the greatest sporting contest on earth, and it's going to be a hoot to watch, whoever you support. Bring it on.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | July 10, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    ...although with Warner in the team, I am eager to see what the Barmy Army get up to when he walks out with the bat. Perhaps rainbow wigs worn as beards, and an a capella rendition of "Hit me with your best shot"? I am now officially excited.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | July 10, 2013, 4:02 GMT

    I must say, after having a look at that English probable, it's one of the strongest English batting lineups I can remember seeing in an Ashes series. KP, Cook, Trott, Bell, Prior, and a few very handy tailenders. If they can maintain that lineup, and Root & Bairstow live up to their potential, Australia are going to have some long days in the field. This is probably why I'd prefer to see four Aussie quicks (plus Lyon) in the starting XI - the bowling workload has potential to be huuuuge! Bird would be a nice addition in this instance - can bowl all day, does just enough with the ball to keep challenging batsmen...ah well, we'll see how it turns out!

  • POSTED BY ssss8888 on | July 10, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    I would have selected Usman Khawaja instead of Ed Cowan...Cowan doesnt seem to be in form at the moment... Khawaja is anyday a btr player than Cowan

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | July 10, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    @ pat_one_back You wrote, "Aus ... dominated prior to injuries striking." Its a tired baseless excuse, & ignores the truth.

    Test 1: SA lost Duminy before he took the field, & played with 10 players.

    Test 2. SA lost Philander, used a 2nd string bowler, & missed Duminy's spin. Kallis' 3rd ball, a perfect yorker, dismissed Cowan. 2nd over he ripped out Ponting, so stunned he fell on his arse. 9 balls later Kallis was injured. cricinfo commentary: "Kallis looked like South Africa's best bowler this morning, & then there's his batting …" SA now had 4 injuries, incl the greatest all-rounder of our time.

    Pattinson conceded 41 for 0 wickets, bowling 9 of 82 overs - not Clarke's 1st choice.

    Kallis: 158 tests, 12980 runs, 282 wickets, all-time great. 2 in 9 balls. Injured, scored 104. Pattinson: 7 game rookie took 0, scored 71. SA 4 injuries - Aus 1.

    Aus' test 3 attack was selector's choice. Blame them for Hastings. The "Aus lost due to injuries" excuse ignores reality. Its a whinge!

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | July 10, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    I'd be happy with that Aussie starting XI, however like others here, I'd rather see Steve Smith in at 6, rather than Warner. Smith showed patience and a positive attitude against the spinners in India, and played a few handy knocks in his tour games. Why Dave Warner? He's had little game time recently, and didn't exactly stamp his authority on the India series. As much as the me from 2 years ago would laugh at this, I think Steven Smith has deserved to come back into the middle-order ahead of Warner. If Warner hits a triple in a session at Trent Bridge, I'll happily eat my shoe. I know this is just a probable XI by the cricinfo team, however I hope the selectors have their eye on Smith rather than Warner. Having said this, I think this is going to be a much tighter contest than it would have been without Legmann on board. Batting is still a little thin-looking for Australia, but I think their attack is equal to the English attack, and we're in for an excellent bowling display!

  • POSTED BY InfiniteWhite on | July 10, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    This talk about fragile Aussie batting..What about England's? It's no better than SA's, is it? SA's batting looked ordinary when Patto was fit, so as long as he's fit he will run through England's batting line-up.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | July 10, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    @ScottStevo: "England have pretty much done nothing since the last Ashes". LOL, other than being the number 1 test team in the world for 12 months and convincingly winning a series against India in India. Which is a lot more than you fellas have done. You call us arrogant, I reckon you lot just can't accept the fact that England are better than you in all 3 formats of the game. Which is why a lot of Aussies on here keep posting about their dominance, which ended 8 years ago by the way.

  • POSTED BY pommy80 on | July 10, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    Should be a great series between to great rivals. Expecting England to win 2 or 3-1, and it wouldn't surprise me if Australia win the first test.

  • POSTED BY TeamSelector on | July 10, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    Happy to see the return of the 'Big Game' KP, but totally disagree with Root opening the batting. If Watson is going to bowl, then Warner should play @ 6. However if Watson plays a batsman only, then Smith should replace Warner @ 6. I wonder, who is England's fifth bowling option?

  • POSTED BY heathrf1974 on | July 10, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    Ryan Harris should be in the side at the expense of Siddle or Starc. He is our best bowler. Steve Smith should also be batting at number 6 at the expense of Warner.

  • POSTED BY on | July 10, 2013, 2:04 GMT

    A left-field idea; given the hot weather we've been having here in England, and the clear blue skies, could Eng select a second spinner in Monty?. They won't of course, but I think it COULD happen if this weather continues into the 2nd test. Particularly if Bresnan/Finn prove ineffective in this opener.

  • POSTED BY redneck on | July 10, 2013, 1:41 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge so india and australia both produce the same type of wicket in your view??? interesting??? the way i see it the last 2 ashes series the 09 and the debarcle down under there were 2 pitches that werent flat out of the 10 tests played. the waca and headingly and what was the result of those 2 matches again??? if you want flat, lifeless pitches then i suggest you look no further than your captial city! both the lords and the oval have to be 2 of the biggest feather beds in world cricket!!!! and even the other grounds its only englands soggy weather that puts any life in them to begin with!!!

  • POSTED BY SHER-A-PANJAB on | July 10, 2013, 1:27 GMT

    According Teams line-up(Probable )....Australia has good bowling attack......if AUS batsmen could stay on wicket first 10-15 overs ,then Eng s bowling strength will expose.Only Anderson and Swan can make the damage because Tim and Broad still need help from the wicket to take control over opposition's batting line -up.So Watson ,Siddle,Pattinson,Starc are more dangerous...So not easy for England to win The Historic Series.....Lets see good cricket...!

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | July 10, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    Finally, some predictions- though not of wins and losses. At the end of the series Anderson, assuming he stays healthy, will finally have brought his career average below 30. He's been bowling brilliantly in England this year, after looking out of sorts in NZ. His form will also benefit the other seamers as Aussie batsmen relax after having to use every ounce of concentration to combat Anderson.

    Despite what he says, this is something of a make or break series for Clarke. I've been very impressed with him as a captain on the field, but team unity has not been good off it. If this series goes badly, I'm guessing Boof will make a change.

    Australia's best chance is for Pattinson and Starc to bowl as strike bowlers, not wheel away for 20 overs a day. Siddle and Lyon are going to have to carry a big load. This is one case where Aus might wish they had an extra bowler and if England wins the first test, I think Aus will go to 5-1-5 (unless they do that tomorrow).

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | July 10, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    Just commenting on the sides, the article suggests Bresnan will play for England and Warner at #6 for Aus. If those were the selections, both would be mistakes. Finn is much more likely to take a 5-wicket haul than Bresnan; although of course they won't say it publicly, the Aus batsmen would be delighted not to have to face Finn and deal with Bresnan's whole-hearted but much less dangerous bowling instead.

    As for Warner, if he plays at #6, another left-hander coming in with shine off the ball to face Swann, it will be playing into England's hands. Smith's right-handed and a much better player of spin. Warner opens or he doesn't play, and since we know he's not opening, draw your own conclusions.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | July 10, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    I'm less confident about this series than I was about the 2010/11 Ashes, even though in that series Aus started as favourites and in this one it's England. There are two reasons: the first is the Aus bowling. In 10/11 I didn't think the Aus attack of Hilf, MJ, Bollinger and Siddle would worry England, and they didn't. MJ and Harris bowled well in favourable conditions at Perth, but that win was sandwiched between two innings defeats, with a third one to follow as England posted huge scores. Here Aus has Patto and Starc, who can be genuine wicket-takers if used correctly and not overbowled.

    The other reason is that England don't play well as favourites, for whatever reason. They lost to a Pakistan side they should have slaughtered (and did in the ODIs) and drew with NZ, who admittedly played out of their skins and were soundly defeated in England.

    It all adds up to an intriguing contest. Look for the early overs in each session to be key. Whoever survives those best will win.

  • POSTED BY prosanto on | July 9, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    best team according to my points.. Cowan has lost his place as he is opening batsman.. also Huges is the best sutiable for no 3. u can not take risk with the guy who didnt go for any pracitce matches.. like Warner. Faulkner is a promising guy, he bats he bowls.. and they the hell, Smith is not in best 11. this lad did all the hard work to be in the team..

    1 Shane Watson, 2 Chris Rogers, 3 Phillip Hughes, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Steven Smith, 6 Brad Haddin (wk), 7 James Faulkner, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Peter Siddle, 10 James Pattinson, 11 Nathan Lyon

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | July 9, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    So the preview article of the most awaited series of the year and only 59 comments so far? Mind you we are only ~10 hours away from the start. As per some ppl, Tests and esp Ashes indeed is eagerly followed in some special parts of the world where special ppl live but it seems that while these special ppl have so much special love for the game that they can fly 5,000 miles to watch a 5 day game only 60 odd of them have the passion to actually say something about it. Must be some special passion.

    Before anyone of the usual suspects asks me to move form this place saying that this is about Eng & Aus, I'd ask them preemptively not to keep coming in fora of ODIs involving India and then to tell us how much love they have for Tests, as if we don't love Tests.

    In any case, my comment is based on pure facts. Mere 59 comments for the most prestigious rivalry in the game, superb !!!

  • POSTED BY Divinetouch on | July 9, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    Amith_S

    Battered by India while away from the comfort of your home.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 9, 2013, 23:07 GMT

    too much of hype for this series.. Anw as a cricket lover would love to watch result on the fifth day in a nail biting manner.

  • POSTED BY GrindAR on | July 9, 2013, 22:56 GMT

    Eng won againt mentally fatigued and very young team in India... They may like to give it back in Eng when they visit next... But lets see... track flat still make their own tires flat... cause... the tread and build melts when surface is hot.... :-)..:-)... cause they are built for winter... :-) :-) :-)...

  • POSTED BY neo-galactico on | July 9, 2013, 22:55 GMT

    Never thought they'd be a day when neutrals are rooting for the Aussies to do well. It's as if I'm in a parallel universe where everything is opposite to the one I know in which England are world-beaters (overstatement) and Oz is rubbish (exaggeration). I think Aussies will definitely give England a couple of scares, and hoping for the pitches to aid fast bowling unlike the flatter ones given to SA last year to negate their pace attack. All in all, England should win with relative comfort but hope Aussies punch above their weight and make it a close, exciting Ashes series...

  • POSTED BY shuvo_bba on | July 9, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    Ryan Harris, Usman Khwaja Shouldn't be left out.

  • POSTED BY GrindAR on | July 9, 2013, 22:42 GMT

    Just wanted to see... Eng batting first... regardless of who wins this toss... Cool Cook might need some cold shower to maintain his favorite self. I like Cook and his cool... but I love surprises... :-) a lot :-):-):-).... Bounce back is an option as always as NZ... which is the beauty of test cricket...

  • POSTED BY Moppa on | July 9, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    @king78787, Watson has 60 first class tons?!?!? 250+ is a par score on a "batting paradise"?!?!? Clearly, the Ashes has got you excited! Speaking of which, @Biggus, classic post (connections checked and double checked, love it).

  • POSTED BY Batmanindallas on | July 9, 2013, 22:04 GMT

    What is Philips doing in that line up?

  • POSTED BY Moppa on | July 9, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    If the track is dry and flat, surely Swann is a threat and Smith should play ahead of Warner at 6. I still would have Bird ahead of Starc, but on a dry track Starc is probably more of a threat with his reverse swing.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | July 9, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    @RandyOZ on (July 9, 2013, 18:24 GMT) "Still dont quite understand" - that about sums it up for you doesn't it.

  • POSTED BY pat_one_back on | July 9, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    Aust were supposed to be belted off the park by SA and dominated prior to injuries striking, this series they're fitter and better stocked in support. With Boof as coach and mentor (like Ricky, once he stopped scoring) if a couple of the young blokes can just step into Hussey's boots then Eng will find their mistakes punished far more ruthlessly than NZ could recently. Eng barely scraped through these home & away series and should be more circumspect, pride comes before the fall. Already we're hearing that pitches will be prepared flat & dry to suit Cook batting first & Swann bowling last, hardly shows confidence in Andersen & co v Australia's fit & firing attack. Watch for Lyon, with Hadds at the stumps and DRS in play he's as dangerous as Swann.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 9, 2013, 20:50 GMT

    England Is Favourite For This Ashes

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | July 9, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    @Sunshine_Pom, there it is again - complacency! It's the most overused word in English cricket for 18-20 months! Basically, each time England perform poorly, it's due to complacency. Seriously, 18 months of complacency makes me think - firstly arrogance- that England aren't anywhere near they think they are - which is the hard to hear reality for some English supporters. Other than winning in India (no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination) England have done pretty much nothing since the last Ashes other then swiftly relinquishing the #1 spot they undeservedly received when jumping over the team, that proved so emphatically, rightfully deserved that place when easily walking over this overrated English side. That's not to say England aren't a good side, they're just nowhere near the realms that English supporters would have you believe through their rose tinted glasses, where they weren't whitewashed by Pakistan, or drew with NZ or got humiliated by SA....as they were complacent!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 9, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    surprised if Eng give Australia a thrashing for many reasons

    1 - Aus's thrashing by India shoud bear no influence on this series as Aus did not play spin well and don't match up in the spin dept but that has little relevance

    2 - There were huge tensions around during that period which have certainly at least have calmed and it seems they are in a better state.

    3 - There seems to be less selection issues here with more fans/press agreeing with the squad

    4 - In the previous series Aus did very well vs SA - much better than Eng and were on top in 2 of the 3 tests

    5 - Since becoming number 1 side in 2011 , Eng have been unable to string 2 decent series together

    If Eng beating India in India and India beating Australia means the result is nailed on then how come Eng only drew in NZ and were lucky to get the draw?

    Obviously it could be that Aus are indeed a poor side without Hussey but although Eng rightly start favourites I think a 1 or 2 test margin is more likely

  • POSTED BY whatawicket on | July 9, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    randyOZ if you say it long and often that swann is rubbish you will start to believe it. you have posted on 3 or 4 threads the same comment Swann has to prove to nobody that he a good bowler. what you need to say are the oz batters good enough. i expect the series will be 1 - 1 with good weather expected for the rest of the summer maybe your new Pakistani leggie might be worth a punt. not heard you talking about him so far

  • POSTED BY Lakpj on | July 9, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    Can't understand why England go for Bresnon over Finn. If the conditions doesn't support quick bowling Finn could still be an attacking option with his bounce and pace. Could be a very exciting series. but I think Eng will win but it won't be a cake walk for them as some people predict it to be.

  • POSTED BY Thefakebook on | July 9, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    The probable line up is similar to mine well but I'd like Steve Smith at no. 6 because he is a natural batting lower down and has a great patience as shown in india. Most importantly he can play spin sorry Dave but you can't!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 9, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    @Colin Barton on (July 9, 2013, 16:13 GMT) It'll never happen.England would rather (over)rest players and risk them being undercooked than think of trying 5/1/5 for any reason. You look at Andy Murray in tennis (and BTW huge congratulations to him) and he has a hectic schedule pretty much all year round. The difference is that he's not wrapped up in cotton wool and has built up a physical strength/stamina.

  • POSTED BY Amith_S on | July 9, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    Well said Sensation. I think Clarke and Khawaja will be our best batsman and Harris and Pattinson our best bowlers. The point folks are forgetting is that Australia are not the stale side they were the last Ashes. Since then we have had away series wins against Sri Lanka and the West Indies, drew against South Africa in SA, pushed SA to the brink in Oz, and hammered India and SL at home. We are a much improved side now and having boof will only make us better. Can't wait for the first ball.

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | July 9, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    If this series is played between the best Eng XI and the best Aus XI then Eng should win, they can even win 5-0. As always Anderson remains Eng's most potent weapon vs Aus and should do well this time too but often the loss of ones biggest strength is the same as ones biggest weakness. If Anderson gets injured in the first 2 tests of this series then Eng would suddenly find their bowling very weak. Of course using IF and BUT one can turn any situation into anything but injuries to players do happen. I am merely talking about a scenario where Eng can suddenly lose a great deal of skill and Aus can suddenly feel they are level with Eng. Aus seem to have some very promising fast bowlers and Eng's pace attack sans Anderson is probably a bit weaker than Aus's. Swann will be imp too but he too is coming back from a surgery I think.

    IIRC McGrath too go injured in the midst of that fab 2005 Ashes, right? What happened after that?

  • POSTED BY Sunil_Batra on | July 9, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    @Mary agree with you, boof will throw 1 or 2 surprises both in batting and bowling and keep England guessing. @sensation also agree 100% wiht you, we might see Khawaja at 3 and Bird in the bowling, Cowan's time is coming to and end and if he does play today then he needs a big century.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 9, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    i cant wait more. getting so much of excitment by houres and houres hurreyyyy

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | July 9, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    @FFL, true, I think it is fair to say that Englad have been the cause of numerous whitewashes. Most notable of course was allowing South Africa to give them a sound thrashing at home. And against Pakistan while they did face some wiley spin, their generally inept and frankly embarrassing batting display from a no. 1 ranked team was also caused by a level of hubris that fittingly led to their record breaking brevity at the summit.

  • POSTED BY Mary_786 on | July 9, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    Can't wait for the first day to start, been waiting 2 years for this, expect 1 or 2 surprises with boof as coach and we could see Smith and Khawaja come in and possibly Siddle dropped for Bird or Harris, boof wil attack with the team selections.

  • POSTED BY ozziespirit on | July 9, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    Let's face it Oz fans: England have been way better than us for a long time, and this time it looks even worse than the times before. Their bowling is better, their fielding is better, and their batting...who can forget Cook and his almost 800 runs last time against Australia...Lyon is going to get smashed, and even getting them 70 for 3 at lunch will still not be enough. The writing is on the wall for Clarke too, he's always been a poor leader of men. Lose this series and it's goodbye to the captaincy.

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | July 9, 2013, 19:11 GMT

    I believe 3 South Africans will be the differnce in the series KP prior and trott. Rest all are not more than average players

  • POSTED BY on | July 9, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    I just love this game! i just want the Aussies to win because of Michael Clarke and also want England to win because of Cook! I just love both of them! Full Class!

  • POSTED BY on | July 9, 2013, 18:46 GMT

    @fatier.. The comparison here has to be done in way that,how both have performed against spin unfriendly conditions and also oppositions that play spin very well. Swann's performance in SA, England,and NZ has been way better than Ajmal's Also Srilanka is one the teams that plays very well against spin. Swann's performance against Sri Lanka has been extraordinary. And Swann was one of the major causes for the 4-0 whitewash by England in India even though his record against India is not so good. Its not only the wickets column that is important. You as a spinner also need to understand the performance of your attack and also be ready to play as a support bowler at times and keep the other end tight even if the conditions have not been supportive which Swann has done extremely well compared to any other spinner. And that is where Ajmal has to improve. Ajmal on his day can any line up, but can he do the support role in tough conditions. May be Ajmal hasn't played enough tests for analysis

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | July 9, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    @Biggus - hey my friend! Here we go again! Your pilot has put on the fasten seat belts sign.... prepare for launch! Been watching this stuff for 45 years now and I'm as excited as ever. This time wombat junior is old enough to enjoy too (RHB) - just as I did with my dad all those years ago. Bring it on!!!

  • POSTED BY GrindAR on | July 9, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    Predicting about half a dozen surprises.... 1. Promising bowlers will perform average... (some will have night mares) 2. Some out of blue guy will be talk of the town in bowling after an un expected opportunity... 3. Tail enders (8-11 downs) will decide the match result for more than 2 matches... 4. There is atleast 2 double hundreds from both teams, probably not from anticipated folks.

    Half a dozen surprises in terms of head count will emerge from these 4 criterias.

  • POSTED BY mrp004 on | July 9, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    This time aus win the ashes just wait and watch aus win ashes 5-0

  • POSTED BY Waseef on | July 9, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    England seem firm favorites here, but I really want the Aussies to put up a fight. They have a strong pace attack and it is up to them to put their team in a good position in the test match. The batting looks fragile with Clarke being the only world class batsman; Watson, Hughes and the others need to step up. England have a well-balanced side with very good batsmen, a strong pace attack and a very decent spinner. To add to that, they are playing at home and their bowlers are known to perform exceptionally in their own conditions. The Poms would certainly want to win all five tests this time!

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | July 9, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    Still dont quite understand the Swann beatup. He has a shocking average against on and isnt a threat at all

  • POSTED BY shillingsworth on | July 9, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    Darren Pattinson turned up to play for England and then informed the media that he wasn't that thrilled about representing the country. Hard to understand what exactly brother James is seeking to avenge. Darren Pattinson played 40 odd f/c matches for Notts between 2008 and 2012. Does this make him a 'stalwart'? I think not.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | July 9, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    Although most of us are too busy at work to have the time to watch the Ashes in it's entirety, we still love the feeling of returning home to see the climax of every day's play. England are favorites, everyone knows that, anyone who has watched cricket these last few years and seen Ind v Eng/Eng v Aus knows the quality of England. Knows about James Anderson, Captain Cook, and players like those that have caused whitewashes and thrashings left right and centre of their opponents. Aus have a decent seam attack (which includes the guy chosen to fill the spinners job) and could hit good areas and nip out some earlies: This is England, not the flat pitches of Aus or Ind where batting averages are 10-12 above where they really are. This is the Ashes , the greatest sporting contest on Earth. Let's hope the Oz fans all stay to the end to see this one.

  • POSTED BY king78787 on | July 9, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    Everyone says play no spinner but I say play 2. This wicket will be a batting paradise and 250+ will be a par score. The aussies quicks cannot bowl the best part of 150 overs with only 1 spinner who will go for runs bowling only small spells. Agar, Lyon, Starc, Harris should be the attack. This way there is minimal risk of injury to the main quicks (Pattinson, Siddle) and they will be fresh for Lord's. If the aussies play their best cricket they can this will be close. England are expecting to turn up and win. This could be New Zealand all over again except Austrailia have a form Watson, a guy with 60 first class tons who's in form and the best player of spin in cricket right now.

  • POSTED BY on | July 9, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    Good Luck Australia!

    This will be an exciting series and may the best team win.. although i hope its australia

  • POSTED BY fatier on | July 9, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    No way is Swann better than Saeed Ajmal. No way

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | July 9, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    @Mitty2 You're not going to like this, but as an England fan I must confess it's a bit funny watching Aussie fans having to defend their side from being written off for a change ;). That's been the experience for most England fans since 1987, and even 2005 only provided a brief respite, until we were duly put in our place in 2006.

    While I do expect us to win (partly, if I'm honest, out of bias as a fan), I would bet money it won't be a whitewash, and even 3-1 would take a monumental effort from us. I'm actually surprised so few people are predicting a drawn series because that looks considerably more likely than a one-sided affair.

    It reminds me a bit of when people were dismissive of McGrath's 5-0 prediction for the 2006 series. Obviously he always predicted that, but so many England fans and pundits were saying it was "definitely" not going to be 5-0.

    I'd probably predict 2-1 to either side or a 1-1 draw. It's going to be a tough battle, with Australia it's never anything less.

  • POSTED BY shillingsworth on | July 9, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    @Irishwolfhound - So the press and fans of a particular country suffer from overconfidence. What's new? It's only an 'Achilles Heel' if it is an attitude shared by the only people who matter - the players. Where is the evidence of this?

  • POSTED BY ABARRIVES on | July 9, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    Finally, the time has arrived and at the end of it, heroes will emerge! I feel both the line ups have both tremendous bowling attack. It would be a huge contest between bat and bowl. I feel both bowling line-ups will deliver on most days in this contest in these English conditions. It would be the question of batting line-up standing against it when it pours. Any logical conclusion suggests England have the ability and skills and only this tilts the outcome of battle in their favour, but I have huge expectations of Aussie openers and especially Rogers. Watson needs to be given freedom and his head space and he will contribute but Rogers needs to put up against the new ball and stick it up to the English attack, easier said than done, I know. Its fitting KP and Pup shoot it out at No. 4. Fascinating contest in the offing and Godspeed Aussies!!

  • POSTED BY on | July 9, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    I think Greame Swann is the one who will make the difference in this Ashes. He is best orthodox off Spinner in World Cricket in the last five years. Its his ability to turn the ball in unfriendly conditions makes him come ahead of Saeed Ajmal. Lyon has to go a long way to even equal him. The good thing with Swann's bowling is his stock delivery is the normal off spinner rather than doosra, carrom ball etc as his go delivery which (orthodox off spinners) in test cricket is the most deadliest weapon for a spinner. Swann is the going to be the big difference this time

  • POSTED BY Stark62 on | July 9, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    I'm going stick my head out of the window and say, Aus will win the Ashes!!

    Warner (if he gets to play), Siddle and Pattinson will be the stars of the show, along with some help from Clarke (with bat and ball).

  • POSTED BY nishathn on | July 9, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    In the form guide, does it start with the last match played or end with the last match played?

  • POSTED BY android_user on | July 9, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    Ten tests will definetly make carrier or kill the cartier. Hoping Wato and the other opener gets the gud start . Best of luck australia.

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | July 9, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    I don't know about this, far too many people have been busy writing Australia off. It was what me might diplomatically call "overconfidence" which has been England's Achilles heel in the recent past, one would think they'd be a bit more cautious after losing 4 consecutive tests including one whitewash as soon as they became #1 side, and having the "Fortress England" myth thoroughly debunked when Graeme Smith and co decided to last visit. The Australians love nothing more than proving they're better than the English at cricket, and I don't think England are so talented and in form to warrant this degree of confidence

  • POSTED BY on | July 9, 2013, 17:18 GMT

    My aussie team for Ashes:

    1.Watson 2. Rogers 3. Hughes 4. Clarke 5. Khwaja 6. Warner 7. Haddin 8. Starc 9. Harris 10. Pattinson 11. Siddle/Lyon

    Personally - I don't see Lyon getting more then 2 wickets in the entire test match. He would definitely be a waste. It would be much better to pick Siddle.. with Clarke & Watson as part time bowlers.

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | July 9, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    It will be good to get tucked in. Bat or Bowl. The alluring side of bowling first for Cook will be the prospect of tucking into to the Aussie batting. Yumm! I cannot see too many captains preferring delayed gratification even though conditions and normal practice might say otherwise. I think a go at the soft underbelly might be pleasant.

  • POSTED BY Raki99 on | July 9, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    England should play MONTY, The way he bowlde in india was fantastic, Also Aussie struggled against jadeja recentely. This is no brainer just create a turning track and swann and monty would run over the aussie batting line up.

  • POSTED BY prateeksonagara on | July 9, 2013, 17:04 GMT

    although I am indian fan...but..so.much exited...about this ashes..the differnce will be coach darren lehman..

  • POSTED BY WeeBee on | July 9, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    In my point of view Finn would be a better choice for ashes. I think Style of Finn bowling will create problems for Australian batsman. Pitches will also support Finn. There is only one thing that could change the possibility of not letting Finn into the side and that is a little better batting from bresnan.

  • POSTED BY welovepakistan on | July 9, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    australia doing injustice with usman khawaja......they whll lose ashes becus there bating lineup is just useless. 4-0 for england.

  • POSTED BY Naren on | July 9, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    Considering Australia does not have enough good catchers with the departure of Hussey and Ponting, I would think they would be better of replacing Hughes with Smith.

  • POSTED BY on | July 9, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    @Sunshine_Pom. Anderson swings it sure. But at the same time he is one of the most overrated bowlers on the circuit. He went missing in NZ and did little to trouble the SA batters last year. Even when he gets it right the Oz batters can see him off (he can only bowl so many overs on a given day) and then feast on Malfoy (aka Broad and whoever else they pick). As much as i hate watching Oz do well i think that they will far more competitive than most pundits seem to think and if their batters go well in the first test they will regain the Ashes. But that is a big IF...

  • POSTED BY Mitty2 on | July 9, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    @virgil, that's a humorous comment, thanks for making me laugh. Yes, the reason we have that many openers (when has Clarke ever opened may I ask?) was purely preparation for Anderson and co swinging it in England. Astute logic. Oh and a surplus of openers is definitely inductive of a bare cupboard, I assure you.

    But on a serious note, if Warner plays it will make a mockery of team discipline and selection of performance. Sure Lehmann said there was a 'clean slate' for all, but it is the height of hypocrisy that Warner wasn't sent home and it only sends bad messages that players can get away with these acts and still be selected, and also means that players can be selected on potential and not performance. But team-wise, always thought Warner could make a very good six and him and haddin down there could cause damage. Watson/Rogers will come good I predict, with Cowan adding necessary stability at 3. Clarke to be Clarke at 4, and we simply have to have Hughes defy everyone and dominate

  • POSTED BY Rajeev129 on | July 9, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    Cant see any weakness in England. For Australia, too many openers, only 1 middle order batsman and good tail-enders. Not enough quality in their attack for English conditions. Remember my words, Aggregate of Bottom Five wickets will be surely greater than Top 5 for Oz.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | July 9, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    Agree @Colin Barton on (July 9, 2013, 16:13 GMT) that England would be better off picking Bresnan AND Finn. This would help them keep everyone fresh. I don't agree that Hughes should bat 5. He's an opener who was given #3 and should stay there. Imho he won't start well against Swann, so give him a shot at possibly facing a newer ball. He shouldn't be "protected", but given a few more opportunities and replaced if he fails to come good. As for Cowan, his chance may come as a replacement later in the series. Smith needs to play to counter Swann. My team would be Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Khawaja/Warner, Smith, Haddin,Siddle,Starc, Pattinson, Lyon. Smith is needed to counter Swann, while Siddle is there to balance the potential looseness of Pattinson and Starc as well as add excellent batting form. The toss will be big. Aus needs to win it to have a 50-50 shot.

  • POSTED BY Mitty2 on | July 9, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    @sensation, khawaja is just as bad, if not worse at converting starts than Cowan. He throws his wicket away like Watson at times and to top it off, his form doesn't warrant selection, cowan's form doesn't warrant non selection, and Cowan has more test and English experience than khawaja. Don't get me wrong, I rate khawaja highly, both he and Hughes are our only prospects to get back on top (sad) and we need him, but right now he doesn't deserve selection.

    @sunshine_pom, and England are the most overrated side I've seen in years! Escape with a draw against the eighth ranked side; be dominated and smashed by pak and SA; all bowlers have mediocre/good averages; the batting line up frequently gets bundled out for low scores (almost as much as Aus over the last two years!); and all failures are arrogantly blamed on 'complacency'! SA are about ten times the quality of England, and yet in five tests of recent out record is 1-2, so I do love when there's predictions of 3-1 and whitewashes.

  • POSTED BY Sunshine_Pom on | July 9, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    @Virgil Slade - "Anderson swings it but not enough to warrant so many opening batsmen." You obviously haven't seen Jimmy bowl in England for a while then.

  • POSTED BY ThyrSaadam on | July 9, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    If Australia can negotiate Anderson, and Swann rest of the english bowling is nothing special. Broad, and Brsnan/Finn have to step up. I believe the OZ bowlers need to be given some respect.

  • POSTED BY DylanBrah on | July 9, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    In my opinion Australia are the clear favourates for this Ashes, unless there is some disaster performance by Australia. Looking forward to seeing a double century or two, maybe a triple thrown in there from MJ Clarke. England will have to be at there best to stop a ravenous Pup.

  • POSTED BY Ozcricketwriter on | July 9, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    Big mistake to play Lyon. Bigger mistake to play Hughes. Both will be slaughtered by England. I'd rather Faulkner and Bird for them. Extra bowler, but you don't really lose anything in batting. That gives Australia a chance. The line up suggested gives Australia 0 chance. I'd also pick Harris ahead of Siddle if fit. Oh and Smith ahead of Cowan, though Cowan is a bit unlucky. But having Smith, Clarke and Warner all able to bowl spin adds credibility to the all pace attack.

  • POSTED BY on | July 9, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    Wow, i may be wrong but is this the first time that the top seven batsmen (assuming that they pick this side) have all opened the batting for their country in some format of the game? Is this a reflection of how much swing they think they will encounter because if that is the case then they are seriously overrating the England attack. Anderson swings it but not enough to warrant so many opening batsmen. Perhaps though this is indicative of how bare the cupboard has become in Australia.

  • POSTED BY on | July 9, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    Personally I would go for Bresnan & Finn and drop Bairstow. Given the schedule we have this summer & winter we should look to spread the bowling load as much as possible. Having Bresnan, Broad & Swann at 7,8 & 9 gives us a combined batting average of circa 100 runs - still the envy of most teams in these positions.

  • POSTED BY Sunshine_Pom on | July 9, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    That is the weakest Australian team to tour England in a generation. If we manage to overcome any complacency, and our better players play as they can, then there is simply no way Australia will be heading back Down Under with the Urn. We outgun the Aussies in every department. 3-1 England.

  • POSTED BY welovepakistan on | July 9, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    greatest rivalry of cricket, in my opinion england is clear favriout for this ashes unless some disaster performance by england.....love to see cook scoring hundrids in series!

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | July 9, 2013, 15:52 GMT

    Really excited, as always, at the beginning of an Ashes series despite the fact that we Aussies are the underdogs. The chair in front of the TV has been selected, and all the connections have been checked and double checked. It doesn't get much better than this, all mine to savour from the domain of my comfy chair. I'm feeling a tad more optimistic than a couple of weeks ago and hoping we'll at least put up a fight but I feel our batting will struggle to make the runs to give our bowlers a shot. Nevertheless, for better or for worse, bring it on, love the Ashes.

  • POSTED BY sensation on | July 9, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    i love to see khwaja play instead of cowan b/c cowan is palying sine he debut and score just 1 century as lehman saying that we are lacking player to make centuries.. cowan played 17 test in a row i think nd he just average 32 with 1 hundred.. i believe if khwaja played 17 matches he have played much better than cowan so lehman have to give 4,5 matches on row to khwaja to chk his skill nd temprament..who ever plays i have a well wishes for aussies..

  • POSTED BY sensation on | July 9, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    i love to see khwaja play instead of cowan b/c cowan is palying sine he debut and score just 1 century as lehman saying that we are lacking player to make centuries.. cowan played 17 test in a row i think nd he just average 32 with 1 hundred.. i believe if khwaja played 17 matches he have played much better than cowan so lehman have to give 4,5 matches on row to khwaja to chk his skill nd temprament..who ever plays i have a well wishes for aussies..

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | July 9, 2013, 15:52 GMT

    Really excited, as always, at the beginning of an Ashes series despite the fact that we Aussies are the underdogs. The chair in front of the TV has been selected, and all the connections have been checked and double checked. It doesn't get much better than this, all mine to savour from the domain of my comfy chair. I'm feeling a tad more optimistic than a couple of weeks ago and hoping we'll at least put up a fight but I feel our batting will struggle to make the runs to give our bowlers a shot. Nevertheless, for better or for worse, bring it on, love the Ashes.

  • POSTED BY welovepakistan on | July 9, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    greatest rivalry of cricket, in my opinion england is clear favriout for this ashes unless some disaster performance by england.....love to see cook scoring hundrids in series!

  • POSTED BY Sunshine_Pom on | July 9, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    That is the weakest Australian team to tour England in a generation. If we manage to overcome any complacency, and our better players play as they can, then there is simply no way Australia will be heading back Down Under with the Urn. We outgun the Aussies in every department. 3-1 England.

  • POSTED BY on | July 9, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    Personally I would go for Bresnan & Finn and drop Bairstow. Given the schedule we have this summer & winter we should look to spread the bowling load as much as possible. Having Bresnan, Broad & Swann at 7,8 & 9 gives us a combined batting average of circa 100 runs - still the envy of most teams in these positions.

  • POSTED BY on | July 9, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    Wow, i may be wrong but is this the first time that the top seven batsmen (assuming that they pick this side) have all opened the batting for their country in some format of the game? Is this a reflection of how much swing they think they will encounter because if that is the case then they are seriously overrating the England attack. Anderson swings it but not enough to warrant so many opening batsmen. Perhaps though this is indicative of how bare the cupboard has become in Australia.

  • POSTED BY Ozcricketwriter on | July 9, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    Big mistake to play Lyon. Bigger mistake to play Hughes. Both will be slaughtered by England. I'd rather Faulkner and Bird for them. Extra bowler, but you don't really lose anything in batting. That gives Australia a chance. The line up suggested gives Australia 0 chance. I'd also pick Harris ahead of Siddle if fit. Oh and Smith ahead of Cowan, though Cowan is a bit unlucky. But having Smith, Clarke and Warner all able to bowl spin adds credibility to the all pace attack.

  • POSTED BY DylanBrah on | July 9, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    In my opinion Australia are the clear favourates for this Ashes, unless there is some disaster performance by Australia. Looking forward to seeing a double century or two, maybe a triple thrown in there from MJ Clarke. England will have to be at there best to stop a ravenous Pup.

  • POSTED BY ThyrSaadam on | July 9, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    If Australia can negotiate Anderson, and Swann rest of the english bowling is nothing special. Broad, and Brsnan/Finn have to step up. I believe the OZ bowlers need to be given some respect.

  • POSTED BY Sunshine_Pom on | July 9, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    @Virgil Slade - "Anderson swings it but not enough to warrant so many opening batsmen." You obviously haven't seen Jimmy bowl in England for a while then.