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England vs Australia | 1st Test | The Ashes | Fantasy Cricket Preview | Test Cricket’s Oldest Rivalry Returns

England vs Australia | 1st Test | The Ashes | Fantasy Cricket Preview | Test Cricket’s Oldest Rivalry Returns

England vs Australia: On March the 15th 1877, the very first ball in Test Cricket was bowled. 142 years later, after the completion of 2352 tests, 2197299 runs, 4146 100s, & 70139 wickets, test cricket has become the bulwark of the sport. And one rivalry that has left every other clash in the dust is the “ASHES”.

The term, the series rather, was originated in a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times, immediately after Australia’s first test win on English soil. The obituary stated that English cricket had died, and “the body will be cremated & the ashes taken to Australia”. The mythical ashes immediately became associated with the 1882-83 series played between England & Australia. The then English captain Ivo Bligh had bowed to “regain those ashes”. The quest to regain the ashes then became a very commonly used phrase.

Since then, 70 Ashes series have been played between the two teams. The Aussies winning 33 & the English one less at 32. Out of the 330 tests played between them, Australia have won 134, while England have won 106. The urn currently is with the Aussies after they decimated the Poms 4-0 at home. The quest for the urn begins yet again. Will Australia retain the trophy or will England’s dream summer continue? All the cricketing fanatics out there, “we’re in for an absolute humdinger of a series”.


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When: 01st August 2019, Thursday

Where: Edgbaston, Birmingham

Kick-off Time: 3:30 PM, IST


The inaugural ICC World Test Championship will resume with the 1st Ashes Test at Edgbaston. England have already named their playing XI for the season’s opener & barring Joe Root who’s scored a multitude of runs, the top order looks extremely volatile. Rory Burns, Jason Roy & Joe Denly have played a total of 11 tests & their overall average is a mediocre 27.27. Joe Root will take the number 3 spot, but his record at one-drop isn’t as spectacular. Root has batted at number 3 40 times & averages 40.47. The right-handed genius has scored only 2 hundreds at this position & his form at the top of the order will decide England’s control on the games.

Root’s one-quarter of the fab four but his conversion rate is the lowest. Root has gone past the score of 50, 57 times, but has scored only 16 test hundreds. Against the Aussies, Root averages 42.78 with 3 scores of over 100 & 9 fifties in 19 tests. Root hasn’t scored a hundred in the last 11 ashes innings & his contribution at number 3 will set the foundation for England.


The English lads were tested in the one-off test against the Irish men, but Ireland’s batting insufficiency was enough to hand England the victory. Against Australia, the status quo will be a different ballgame altogether. The Aussie think tank has stressed upon using extra pace options & are certain to try James Pattinson. Mitchell Starc who was on god-mode in the 50-over World Cup but will miss the 1st test. However, the men in yellow have the likes of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood & Peter Siddle who are wily operators.

Against England, Siddle has picked 73 wickets in 21 tests, 43 of which have come in English conditions. The pacer has also picked 4 5-fors against his arch-rivals.

James Pattinson has played only 2 ashes tests, but the nippy paceman does manage to extract lateral movement & can bowl at 90 mph consistently. Josh Hazlewood can probably put on a blindfold & pitch the ball on the spot all day. Yes! He’s that good. While his chances of playing the 1st test are still 50/50, the lanky pacer will be the man to reckon with in the 5-match test series.

Pat Cummins is the only certainty in the Aussie pace-attack. Since his return to test cricket, Cummins has picked 87 wickets in 19 tests. The 5th most during this period(from 16th March 2017). Cummins at number 9 averages 37.60. He’s also played the 2nd most number of deliveries for batters who’ve batted from positions 8-11(1301 deliveries). Australia can rely on Cummins to hold one end if they lose wickets in a heap.

Most Wickets in Ashes 2017
Player Matches Wickets BBI
Pat Cummins 5 23 4/39
Mitchell Starc 4 22 5/88
Josh Hazlewood  5 21 5/48
Nathan Lyon  5 21 4/60
James Anderson 5 17 5/43


Cameron Bancroft is all set to return to the Aussie XI. The 26-year-old was suspended for a year after the sandpaper saga, but the stylish batsman has calmly gone about things. Bancroft’s selection into the Aussie squad was based on his run-scoring for Durham. In 9 games, Bancroft scored 726 runs at 45.37. Matthew Wade will bat at number 6 & either of Peter Siddle or Josh Hazlewood will feature in the playing XI.

England have already announced their playing XI. Jofra Archer will have to wait to make his test debut. Rory Burns, Joe Denly & Jos Buttler will make England’s top order.



Jason Roy, Rory Burns, Joe Root(c), Joe Denly, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow(wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Chris Broad, Jimmy Anderson.


David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head/Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine(c/wk), Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle/ Josh Hazlewood.


Will be updated soon…


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