The eagerly anticipated Ashes series of 2013 gets underway at Trent Bridge on Wednesday with England the red hot favourites. For a change, the weather is set to be similar making it almost a certainty that this first Test match will go off with a bang.
England currently hold the urn and Alastair Cook’s side are expected to keep hold of it at the end of the five-Test series against an Australian side that has had far from the ideal build-up. Punch-ups in bars, ill-discipline, injuries to key players, retirements among the old guard and a new coach put in place just weeks before the first ball is bowled in Nottingham and many would think this is the England of old preparing for the biggest series in world cricket, not the Australians.
The fact is, the Aussie’s are no longer the powerhouse of world cricket they once were. Sure, they have talented players such as Michael Clarke who would walk into most sides around the world; and emerging young quick bowlers like James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc but the new-breed of fast, hostile Australian bowlers have shown that they are prone to injury. Should these bowlers pick up their seemingly inevitible knocks and Clarke have a recurrence of the back injury that has plagued him since childhood, this Australian side could be calling for the assistance of Mr Warne and Mr Ponting to come out of the commentary box like in previous series’.
England, on the other hand, are in perfect shape. They have a solid batting line-up bolstered by the return to fitness – and seemingly form – of Kevin Pietersen, and one of the best bowling attacks in world cricket led by Jimmy Anderson. If you put the two sides down on paper, there’s only one side you can see winning this Ashes series…
So chuck some meat on the barbie, put a few tinnies in the fridge and sit back and watch the ride – COME ON ENGLAND.
- What are the Ashes and why do they matter? (bbc.co.uk)