Ashes 2019 | Picture: ECB.co.uk

Test cricket’s biggest rivalry is about to get underway when England take on Australia in the first Specsavers Ashes Test which starts tomorrow from Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Australia hasn’t won a game at Edgbaston since 2001 when Steve Waugh-led Australian side won by an innings and 118 runs. After that, in 3 attempts Australia has failed to register a single victory.

In Ashes 2005, England defeated Australia in a thriller, by 2 runs.  Andrew Flintoff, adjudged man of the match, starred with bat and bowl in the second innings turned the game on the 4th day.

In Ashes 2007, in the 3rd Test at Edgbaston, the match ended in a dead rubber after Rain and bad light played spoilsport. 

In Ashes 2015, James Anderson and Steven Finn’s 6-wicket haul in the first and second innings respectively saw the Three Lions win the game by 8 wickets. Joe Root and Ian Bell chased 124 after losing quick wickets.

Edgbaston has always been a venue where a particular middle-order can make a difference.

Australia will welcome Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft to the test for the first time since the ball-tampering incident in South Africa last year.

The Three Lions are the clear favourite going into opener with a better batting depth than the Aussies. The team from down-under has had their issues in the middle overs and could line-up with a strong batting depth.

Matthew Wade is likely to make the playing XI but won’t keep the wickets in the presence of Captain and wicketkeeper batsmen Ti m Paine. Wade, who has been on a scoring spree for the year or so, has been included in the squad ahead of Alex Carrey, who was Australia’s unsung hero of the World Cup. Wade had impressed in domestic cricket as well as recent Australia A tour in England.

The hosts, on the other hand, posses a tremendous batting depth with the likes of bowlers Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes contributing down the order very often, with Woakes averaging almost 30 in 45 Tests.

Earlier today, England has picked their playing Xi for the Edgbaston Test.

England’s Playing XI

Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Root (captain), Joe Denly, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

Rory Burns will open the innings alongside Jason Roy, who is fresh from last week’s half-century on his Test debut against Ireland. Captain reliable Joe Root will swap places with Joe Denly to bat at number three.

The batting doesn’t end there for England with Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Jos Buttler followed by Woakes and Broad aiming for some handy contributions.

“It will come down to which team bats the best. England’s middle-order is so strong, and I expect them to get the majority of the hosts’ runs,” said England’s former assistant coach Paul Farbrace.

 

 

 

 

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