The 71st edition of the Ashes takes place in England over the coming six weeks.
Australia arrive in England in possession of the legendary urn, but it is the English who come in as favourites to retake the biggest prize in world cricket.
England are on a huge high after claiming World Cup earlier this summer, but they come into the Ashes with a different squad including a different skipper with Joe Root the man in charge of the Test squad as Eoin Morgan does not feature in five-day squads.
And Root is making sure that there is no hangover.
“Coming after the World Cup is something we addressed as a squad,” said Root.
“We knew that after such an emotional final in particular, that it was important we got our heads around this week and what was to come.”
Australia are looking to claim a first test series win in England for 18-years, and they will do it for the first time in over a year with banned trio Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft playing together for the first time since being banned for ball tampering.
“That’s all in the past,” Paine said. “I think everyone is rapt to have them back, that’s the emotion. Everyone is excited to have two of our loved teammates back in, and ‘Bangers’ three.
“Having all three adds not only to our team but knowledge of English conditions. Bangers has played a lot of cricket over here now and the other two are two of the best players in the world. We are thrilled from a cricket aspect, we are thrilled from a team aspect to have those guys back in around our group.”
|England Ashes Squad||Australia Ashes Squad|
|Joe Root (c) Ben Stokes (vc) Moeen Ali James Anderson Jofra Archer Jonny Bairstow (wk) Stuart Broad Rory Burns Jos Buttler Sam Curran Joe Denly Jason Roy Olly Stone Chris Woakes||
Tim Paine (c, wk) Pat Cummins (vc) Travis Head (vc) Cameron Bancroft Marcus Harris Josh Hazlewood Usman Khawaja Marnus Labuschagne Nathan Lyon Mitchell Marsh Michael Neser James Pattinson Peter Siddle Steve Smith Mitchell Starc Matthew Wade (wk) David Warner
The five-match season begins in Birmingham at Edgbaston before heading to Lord’s Headingley, Old Trafford and then wrapping up at The Oval in London in mid-September.
— The Cricket Blues (@thecricketblues) July 25, 2019
We also got the overall prospective from the Bookmakers from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann
“The first Ashes Test starts at Edgbaston on Thursday and neither side have had an ideal preparation with Australia having more questions than answers after their Probables v Possibles game at Southampton earlier in the week when 17 wickets were taken on the opening day.
“David Warner’s second innings 50 showed he was a class apart from his team-mates and the Baggy Greens’ opener is too big at 11/4 with BetVictor to be the Aussies top scorer in the Series – indeed he looks too big at 5/1 with BetVictor to be the Series top run-scorer. Warner finished just one run behind Rohit Sharma in the race to be the World Cup top-scorer and he has a real appetite to score big runs.
“Jofra Archer is 3s at BetVictor to be the top England Series bowler and he has the X Factor – raw pace – that could decide the destination of the prized urn. Archer – last seen twerking with the best of them in Barbados – has had more of an Ian Botham preparation for the Ashes than many at Lords would have wished for.
“After their sensational – but lucky – win in the ODI World Cup I wonder if England can follow up in the Ashes. You must go back to 2001 for the last time Australia won the Ashes on the road but I worry about the frailty of the England top order and there is an awful lot expected of Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes – who all must return to the heights they hit in the 50-over competition if England are to regain the Ashes.
“It pains me to say it, but Australia look the value at 7/4 with BetVictor.”