Man of the Match: Steven Smith
Australia will be favorites to win this opening Ashes Test against England.
Our prediction is Australia to win!
Host England will be looking to draw first blood when they take on old-rivals Australia in the opening Test of the Ashes series at Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Thursday.
For England, there will be plenty of concerns over England’s dismal batting performance against Ireland. It remains to be seen how this batting line-up fare against Australia’s potent pace attack. Captain Joe Root will need to lead from the front and deliver runs with the bat in this Ashes opening Test.
On the other hand, Captain Tim Paine will be pleased with his side’s preparation ahead of the upcoming Ashes series. The side had a solid warm-up game against Australia A and will be well prepared for England in this opening game of the series.
After winning their maiden Cricket World Cup, there will be an expectation on the home side to win this Ashes series as well. But England has been a mixed-bag in red-ball cricket and even lost a Test series to West Indies played in the Caribbean earlier this season.
For England, their main Achilles heel has been their top-order as the likes of Rory Burns, Jason Roy and Joe Denly will need to produce runs with the bat in this game. Swashbuckling opener Jason Roy will face a stern Test against Australia as he is looks vulnerable against the moving ball. The big positive from the previous one-off Test was Roy producing quick-fire half-century in the second innings to help England take a slender lead against Ireland. James Vince could also come into the attention as opening batsman Rory Burns registered low scores in the one-off Test played against Ireland at Lords.
The experienced middle-order consists of Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, who will need to produce the bulk of the runs for the side in this game. All-rounder Ben Stokes was rested for the one-off Test and will need to deliver a notable score in this opening Ashes Test. Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes can contribute with vital runs coming in at no.7 and no.8 in the batting order.
Sam Curran might also retain his place in the side due to his excellent performances in red-ball cricket over the past 12 months. Pace bowler Jofra Archer might make his debut for England in this opening Test. Olly Stone might have to sit on the bench as England will want to see how Archer does in red-ball cricket. Veteran pacer James Anderson is expected to take the new-ball with Stuart Broad. Anderson suffered from a calf injury and missed the one-off Test against Ireland.
Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.
Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Joe Denly, Stuart Broad, Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler, James Anderson, Ben Stokes, Rory Burns, CR Woakes
Captain Tim Paine will be hoping that the side can produce a good show with bat and ball in this opening Test. The last 12 months have not that easy for Australians in Test cricket. They lost their home series to India last year. The visitors will be pleased with the inclusion of David Warner, Steven Smith and Cameron Bancroft, who were suspended from the game for 12 months due to their alleged involvement in the spot-fixing scandal.
David Warner looked in excellent form in white-ball cricket and topped the batting charts for Australia in the recently concluded Cricket World Cup. Pugnacious opener will be keen to do well and make an impression with the bat in this opening Ashes Test.
Former Australian Captain Steven Smith will be keen to do well in this opening game of the Ashes series. Before being handed out a 12-month suspension, Smith was the standout performer for the side in red-ball cricket. The team management will be hoping that Smith can eke out a notable score in this opening Test at Edgbaston.
Usman Khuwaja is expected to be fit for the opening Test at Edgbaston. He did not play the warm-up game and will be looking to do well in this game. Marcus Harris, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne will fight it out for a place in the middle-order. Mitchell Starc also showed his class in white-ball cricket and was the leading wicket-taker in the recently concluded Cricket World Cup. Left-arm quick will be looking to adjust to the English conditions and do well in this opening test. Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, and Josh Hazlewood will be other premier bowling options for this game.
Tim Paine (captain & wk), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris/Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khuwaja, Nathan Lyon, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.
Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, Matthew Wade, Usman Khawaja, CT Bancroft, Steven Smith, David Warner, TM Head
Traditionally, the surface at Edgbaston provides an interesting contest between bat and ball. The weather forecast for the game to be played on Thursday is expected to have showers later in the day.
Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham is going to host the opening Ashes Test between England and Australia. The home side will take heart from the fact that they have an excellent record against Australia at this venue. It was Steve Waugh’s dominant Australian team that last won a Test match at Edgbaston in 2001.
Both the sides will be keen to win the toss and bat first on the surface. The surface tends to deteriorate in the last two days of the Test match. Last year, England managed to beat India by 31 runs in a low-scoring game played at Edgbaston.
After analyzing both the teams, Australia will be favorites to win this opening Ashes Test against England. The big advantage for visitors is that they have a superior batting line-up in comparison to England. With the return of David Warner, Steven Smith and Cameron Bancroft, England will face an uphill task to beat this Australian Team. Expect Australia to beat England in this game.