With an asterisk next to their World Cup “win” and just avoiding embarrassment against the Irish there’s never been a time to face them in the Ashes also known as Christmas for Cricket fans.
If anything it’s the only Cricket that truly matters.
It’s fair to say a fair bit has happened since Australia’s 4-0 Ashes victory back in 2017-18 and there would be nothing better to break Pommie hearts than a win on English soil.
Much like Brexit, the conditions are looking bleak ahead of the First Test in Edgebaston but hopefully, we’ll get a fair bit of play in the first Test.
This Ashes series is looking good for both teams’ prospects and along with a few fresh faces and welcome returns of favourite sons like Smith and Warner we’re in for some epic nights of Ashes Test Match Cricket.
We’ve studied the form and have come with a preview to try and find a winner for two for you ahead of the First Test.
It was August 2001.
Alien Ant Farm topped the charts with their cover of “Smooth Criminal”, Ansett was still flying, the World was yet to experience the horror of 9/11, Big Brother debuted on TV and Australia won a Test at Edgebaston and an Ashes series in England.
It has been a long time since the Aussies got the job done in the mother country.
The Poms will have a bit of strut about them after their World Cup win and their comprehensive victory over the Aussies in the Semi-Final and the likes of Joe Root, Johnny Bairstow and Moeen Ali will be up and about.
There are many questions for the Aussies.
Will Dave Warner and Steve Smith be able to cope with the abuse from the crowd/barmy army?
How will Michael Neser and Matty Wade fare?
Can Australia’s bowling attack cope with the slow pitch conditions?
How’s Ussies fitness going to hold up?
Which Australian team will show up?
The Aussies have been unreliable of recent so backing a winner in this one is hard but with the prospect of rain and the fact I can’t bring myself to back England, I’m happy to take the draw at $5.50.
Let it rain, so I can make it rain as such.
Dave Warner will have no problem with the English crowd giving it to him this series.
In fact, he’ll love it more than an OLED TV and it will only spur him on.
The man has experience with English conditions which makes this a good bet.
For most of the World Cup, Warner was excellent averaging 65 runs with a white ball and was known to be pretty darn good in the previous series back in England.
You can always rely on Warner to get runs and that’s exactly what he will do.
In his profile on the England Cricket website, Root says “I don’t sleep at all during Test matches. It is a nightmare. Actually, it is not a nightmare because at least having one of those would mean I’m asleep.”
As much as I’d like for him to experience a real-life nightmare, I think he’ll want to put in a solid captains performance and no puns intended step up to the crease this first Test.
With a batting average of 49.51 in Test Matches, you can expect a solid performance from the English skipper especially if he returns to the number 3 spot in the batting line up.
There’s a case for Jason Roy who’s been in form of recent and even to back the likes of Johnny Bairstow but when in doubt, take the captain to deliver for England in the First Test.
He was quiet in the World Cup but Pat Cummins has a history of great performances in the Ashes.
He’s also the number one Test Bowler in the World and in the previous Ashes series he got himself a lazy 23 wickets and a memorable performance in Sydney taking eight.
If the pitch at Birmingham is going to be slow, you need the best to get the job done and Cummins is the man for Australia.
Joffra Archer is set to make his Test debut and will add some much-needed flair and attack with the English bowling line up.
However, sometimes you want to play it safe and not get caught up in the hype.
As much as Joffra is an exciting Cricketer, I’m going to back in Jimmy Anderson to take the most wickets for England.
He’s the no.2 fast bowler in the World and of a very similar ilk to Glenn McGrath in his twilight years.
Jimmy is favourite in this market for a reason and at the price of $3.50 I’m happy to back in the veteran.