It is that time of the year again when familiar foes England and Australia clash for the coveted urn in one of cricket’s most historic tournaments ever and both teams have got plenty to prove. With the first test less than a week away, let us preview one more edition of this classic rivalry, known as the Ashes.
Australia: Looking to set away record straight at the Ashes
Australia have failed to win a test series in England for the last 14 years and the 2015 Ashes is perhaps their finest opportunity to rewrite that record. Ever since winning the test series against India, Australia are on a high. From the World Cup to the recently concluded test series against the West Indies, the Kangaroos have gone from strength to strength showing glimpses of what their predecessors brought to the table. Michael Clarke and his boys will be raring to take a shot at the under-performing Poms and the likes of Steven Smith, Mitchell Johnson and David Warner will form the crux of Australia’s arsenal at the Ashes.
England: Underdogs despite playing at home
England on the other hand are in the middle of a transition period. With a new look side that has a fine mix of youth and experience, the hosts will look to get their combinations right ahead of the first test. Their woeful world cup campaign capped off by a test stalemate against New Zealand hasn’t done much to boost their confidence. Despite being familiar with the conditions, they are the underdogs heading into the Ashes. Captain courageous Alastair Cook has his task cut out and he is expected to play to his strengths. There will be heavy dependence on the senior players like Stuart Broad, Ian Bell and James Anderson to deliver and they will look to hold the first line of defense against the mighty Aussies.
Despite both sides being blessed with quality pacemen, spinners might well be the ones who play the difference makers. Both Nathan Lyon and Adil Rashid are presented with a golden opportunity to turn the tides and the battle between the two will perhaps be the highlight of the tournament.
Squads for the Ashes 2015:
England – Alastair Cook (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Adam Lyth, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes,Mark Wood.
Australia – Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazelwood, Mitchell Starc, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Marsh
Australia to retain the Ashes with a 4-1 margin.