The Ashes series is nearly upon us. There’s been no shortage of controversy with the Australian selectors recalling Shaun Marsh for the umpteenth time and, quite out of the blue, Tim Paine. There has also been no shortage of advice coming from former players and just to make it obvious that it was the Ashes series Glenn McGrath has predicted a 5-0 win to the Aussies!!
Michael Clarke hopes David Warner backs up his threats to get sledging again and hating the opposition. Just when we had started to think that he was a decent bloke Clarke wants him to start acting like a boof-head again!! Amazing how the Aussies revert to type when things start to go against them. Number 5 ranked side in the world. How are we going to change that? Oh yes lets start abusing and hating the opposition again. Why can’t they just back their ability without always reverting to petty on field dramas? Brendon McCullum created a wonderful aggressive brand of cricket, which proved popular throughout the world. No sledging, just aggressive cricket with bat and ball. And they have nowhere near the talent the Aussies have. Lets hope Steve Smith pulls his players into line and just backs an aggressive brand of cricket without the cheap digs and words.
It should be an intriguing series with some doubts about both batting line ups. England have 3 places in there top 6 that will have players yet to establish reputations. It’s exciting but very risky particularly when you see the class of the Australian bowling quartet. On the other side of things Australia have not picked an all rounder at 6 so go in with just the 4 bowlers. England will no doubt look to target Nathan Lyon so that the 3 quicks, all with recent injuries, have to bowl more overs than they would hope.
Australia will look to get stuck into a very inexperience batting group and will feel if they can expose Joe Root early then part of the job will be done. But in the recent past the England lower order has excelled. No Stokes but still have 2 excellent all rounders in Ali and Woakes batting at 7 and 8. Can Moen Ali cope with the extra bounce as he has a perceived weakness against the short ball? How he copes will be a key to the series because, in form, he is a game changer with the pace he scores his runs at. England also have a heavy reliance on Broad and Anderson but another key player will be Chris Woakes. He has taken some time to get back to his best after injury but the early signs on tour have been promising.
The form guide suggests a close series. Australia at home are a different beast and I expect Warner to look to make a very early statement of intent at the Gabba. If the wicket is a traditional Brisbane track with pace and bounce then the Aussies go one nil up. The series then moves to Adelaide for a day night game. I suspect England will have their best chance of a win here, as their bowlers will be happy with seaming conditions. The problem will be can their batters do enough? It’s a must win game and I expect England to just do enough to win this one. By the time the show rolls into Perth who knows what the sides will look like. Can the Australian bowlers stay fit? Will Ben Stokes be hurried back into the side? I can’t look any further than the first two games as so much might have changed. Stokes would make a big difference to the side so predictions will stay at the first 2 games for now.
The Australian women have reclaimed the of Ashes and how fitting that the most well known player should excel in the crunch Test match. Elysse Perry scoring an excellent double hundred. It’s been great to see the support the girls have been getting all over the country and cricket for women is now well and truly growing.