After scaling one peak, England will be eager to win another and it is the Ashes. The Three Lions won their maiden World Cup in cricket last week at Lord’s in a controversial final and now they play arch-rivals Australia in a five-Test series at home starting August 1.
The Kangaroos haven’t beaten England in their den since 2001 though they have the Ashes under their possession at the moment by the virtue of 4-0 win Down Under in 2017-18. Overall, the two old foes in cricket have played 346 games with Australia winning 144 to England’s 108 while 94 games have been drawn.
One of the key figures for England in the Ashes will be their veteran spearhead James Anderson. The right-hand pacer, who will turn 37 this month, had suffered a “low-grade calf-muscle tear” during a County Championship game on July 2 but is expected to be fully fit by the time the prestigious series is here.
The Ashes this year is likely to be even more competitive with the return of David Warner and Steve Smith in the Australian side following the Sandpapergate scandal. The two players are likely to face a hostile reception from the home crowd during the red-ball series.
Anderson is now the pacer with most Test wickets (575 from 148 games) after he eclipsed Australian great Glenn McGrath (563) during the home series against India last year. He has played the most number of Tests against Australia (31) taking 104 wickets at an average of 34.55 with five fifers and one 10-wicket haul. It is only against India that he has taken more wickets (110 in 27).
“We meet up on Monday and at the moment I feel good. I will keep bowling and we will monitor it,” Anderson was quoted as saying by BBC. “If it comes to Wednesday and I’m fit to play then great, but if not I will work towards being fit for the Ashes.”
Team needs to re-focus on Tests, feels Anderson
Anderson, who was part of England’s World Cup squad in 2015 and played his last ODI game in that tournament, called his country’s World Cup victory “amazing” but also cautioned that the team now must “re-focus” on the upcoming Test series.
“It’s a really exciting time for English cricket. I think it was an amazing final and the reaction to it has been phenomenal. It’s time to re-focus on to Test cricket. We realise the dangers that the Australian team bring to Test cricket, so we’re going to have to be fully focused on that,” he added.
Anderson last played against Durham in the County Championship Division Two on June 30 where he took two wickets. He did not bowl in the second innings of the drawn game. England will play a one-off Test against Ireland at Lord’s from July 24 before the big one kicks off.
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