After winning the World Cup at home, England are now scheduled to play the Ashes against arch-rivals Australia. The opening game is all set to start tomorrow at the Edgbaston in Birmingham, the very venue where the Three Lions beat the Aussies in the 2019 World Cup semi-final. However, the Brits will be a little concerned after how Ireland put them under severe pressure at the Lord’s.
The visitors, on the contrary, have been strengthened with the likes of David Warner, Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith back in the mix. Though, Tim Paine and Co are the current holders of the Ashes, they haven’t won the trophy on English soil since 2001. In fact, the only team that has won an away Ashes since then was England back in 2010. A cracker of an encounter seems to be in the offing.
The first Test of the five-match series between England and Australia will be played at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
The match starts at 11:00 AM local time (3:30 PM IST) (10:00 AM GMT). This game will be live on Sony Six in India. Live streaming will be available on Sony LIV.
The pitch isn’t a green top, but there is a thick covering of grass on it, which means that it’s conducive for seam bowling. On Monday, it was baked under sunlight, but the very next day, the strip was under the covers due to heavy rain. Justin Langer, the Aussie head coach, said that it reminded him on the World Cup semi-final pitch. But the colour of the glass is different.
Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Joe Denly, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
Bench: Jack Leach, Jofra Archer
Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Tim Paine (C & WK), Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Jos Hazlewood, Peter Siddle
Bench: Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Wade, Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Harris
Usman Khawaja has passed the fitness test after his hamstring injury during the World Cup.
James Anderson was seen training in the nets after his calf injury rehabilitation. He is most likely to take the field.
David Warner was hit on the thigh in the nets and was then put on ice. A team spokesperson said that the injury wasn’t serious.
Captain and Vice-Captain Selection:
Captain Options: Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Joe Root
Vice-Captain Options: Chris Woakes, David Warner, Sam Curran
Suggested Playing XI for Head to Head/Small Leagues:
Keeper – Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler
Batsmen – Joe Root, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c)
All-Rounders – Sam Curran
Bowlers – Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes (vc), Pat Cummins, Jos Hazlewood
Suggested Playing XI for Grand Leagues/Mega Leagues:
Keeper – Tim Paine
Batsmen – Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, David Warner (vc)
All-Rounders – Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes (c)
Bowlers – James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Nathan Lyon
Bearing in mind the nature of the strip, it will be advised to not go for spin-bowling options. England’s top and middle order is also not in the greatest of forms and hence, Aussie fast bowlers can be picked.
England are expected to kick-start the prestigious Ashes series with a win.
*Disclaimer: This team is based on the understanding, analysis and instinct of the author. While selecting your team, consider the points mentioned and make your own decision.
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