ENG vs AUS Match Preview
Ben Stokes will be leading the English team for the first full Ashes series this time around. While there is no doubting the ability of the all-rounder, his injury has weighed heavily on his performances over the past few months. Hopefully, he will be fit enough to bowl here.
England are likely to open with their regular pair of Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett here who will be looking to give the team a solid start here. The hosts have a strong middle order made up of Joe Root, Johnny Bairstow, Ollie Pope, and Stokes. However, all eyes will be on Harry Brook, who has emerged as one of the brightest young stars in English cricket in recent years.
Moeen Ali, who has been recalled as a replacement for Jack Leach can add depth to the batting. James Anderson will once again lead the pace attack here and will be supported by Stuart Broad. Josh Tongue is another exciting find for England and we might see him in action here.
In the spin department, Moeen Ali will be key for England as they lack other specialist spinners in the squad.
Despite Australia's dominance in the WTC Final,The top order didn’t click though for them as David Warner and Usman Khawaja both failed to convert their starts into a big inning. The form of David Warner in particular is a bit of a concern for Australia. The middle order is pretty solid for them as Steve Smith and Travis Head are both in brilliant form.
Smith averages over 100 in his last 8 innings in England. That is an ominous sign for England ahead of the Ashes.
Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Green chipped in too during the last match. However, Australia’s biggest strength lies in its bowling. They have arguably the best bowling unit in the world at the moment. Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, and Scot Boland make up for a formidable seam attack and the team also has Cameron Green to chip in if the need arises.
Perhaps one of the tricky choices will be picking between Boland/Starc/Hazelwood if all are fit. We think Boland will end up sitting out despite his recent brilliance.
Nathan Lyon is a sticky customer and we saw how effective he can be in the last couple of days.
The weather is expected to remain clear and pleasant for the first 3 days but we might see some rain during the last 2 days.
The pitch at Birmingham is considered good to bat on and offers a good amount of pace and bounce. The average first-inning score here is around 310. That said, the quicker bowlers will be able to extract some movement off the pitch as well as through the air. The spinners will be in action towards the end of the match as the rough spots develop.
Marnus Labuschagne: Smith Lite or Smith Plus?
Labuschagne has been a solid performer for Australia in the middle order. In the last 10 matches, he has scored 922 runs at an average of 65.85. He will hope to come out of Steve Smith's shadow in this series and perhaps lead the batting lineup.
There are no updates regarding injuries from either side.
ENG vs AUS Probable 11
ENG Playing 11
- Zak Crawley
- Ben Duckett
- Ollie Pope
- Joe Root
- Harry Brook
- Ben Stokes (C)
- Johnny Bairstow (Wk)
- Moeen Ali
- Stuart Broad
- James Anderson
- Josh Tongue
AUS Playing 11
- David Warner
- Usman Khawaja
- Steve Smith
- Marnus Labuschagne
- Travis Head
- Cameron Green
- Alex Carey (Wk)
- Pat Cummins (C)
- Scott Boland
- Mitchell Starc
- Nathan Lyon
We are backing Australia to win here. They have a very strong bowling line-up, especially when it comes to the seam attack. They are likely to exploit the conditions well. Also, they have some in-form batsmen who can take on the opposition bowling.
Steve Smith: Smith is easily one of the top batsmen in Test cricket at the moment. England is one of his favorite hunting grounds where he scored 1882 runs at an average of 70.70, including 7 centuries and 7 half-centuries.
Nathan Lyon: Lyon enjoys an excellent record in England. In his 14 matches here, he has picked up 50 wickets. He will also bowl a huge number of overs and will have the English batters attack him, thus giving him a chance to pick up wickets.
Joe Root: Root has scored 669 runs at Edgbaston at an average of 60.82, including 2 centuries and 4 half-centuries. As the most successful batter in Test cricket over the last two years, Root will be itching to mark his stamp on the Ashes this time around.
ENG vs AUS Dream11 Team 1
Keeper: J Bairstow, A Carey
Batters: S Smith (C), J Root, T Head, O Pope, H Brook
All-rounders: C Green (VC)
Bowlers: J Anderson, N Lyon, P Cummins