About the Match
Traditional rivals England and Australia will meet to fight for the Ashes title when the 5-match test series starts with the first test on 8th July at Cardiff. It was a clean 4-0 sweep for Australia when England visited down under establishing an emphatic series win. England has redeemed its position to some extent with the help of fresh talents while the Australian squad too has been revamped quite a bit to add new blood. The first test will provide a glance at how the tough series will shape up in the coming days and both teams will be ready with all their weaponry to start on a winning note.
Cook is a determined Captain and has a proven player in Ian Bell, who is capable of taking the battle to the opponent; Gary Ballance has matured and looks solid in the middle order whereas Jos Buttler is present to stand guard behind the wicket and also take care of stabilizing the innings with some gust batting.
Stuart Broad can enhance the fortunes of the team with his pace attack while Jimmy Anderson is composed and has the required mettle to thwart the defensive tactics of the Aussies. Steven Finn and Ben Stokes have their unique skills to pick up wickets while Youngster Mark Wood’s impressive wicket-taking abilities were there for the world to see when he debuted against the Kiwis last month.
Moeen Ali is a proven all-rounder who has been turning the ball with devastating effect to cause a slide in the opponent’s batting line up; he has the capability to penetrate the defense of the Aussies and also contribute with the bat. Adil Rashid has come into the squad and would definitely have the edge against the Aussies. Overall, this is a rejuvenated team with some good performances in recent times and will need to come out all guns blazing to avenge their previous defeat.
Michael Clarke has led the team from the front in all forms of the game and along with winning performers like Smith, Haddin, David Warner and Watson the batting line-up looks quite formidable. Steven Smith started his batting uptrend in series against India and hasn't looked back since.
Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Johnson have added lethal strength while Fawad Ahmed and Josh Hazlewood provide variety to the attack. Watson is quite stubborn to attack the opponent in any condition and Warner gives good company to build a solid innings.
The Aussies would definitely try to dominate the game with their skills and some verbal duel to upset the opponent, a tactic that they have successfully used many a times against England. Under the aggressive leadership of Michael Clarke combined with their lethal bowling led by Starc and batting carried by Smith, they can breach the defence of any team and bounce back in a game from any bad situation. They will surely present England the biggest challenge they've faced in recent years.
Having beaten England comprehensively in the previous encounter on home soil, Australia has the psychological advantage over the hosts. England have grown in confidence with their recent victory over New Zealand in ODI series and excellent performance in longest format too. Australia looks much stronger a side on paper and therefore we think that irrespective of the ground conditions, they are bound to come out with flying colours and win the first match.
Steve Smith has been in tremendous touch and is improving even more game after game. Such is his stature that he is being compared to the likes of Sir Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar. Its a long way to go for him, but judging by the form he's in, he will be a tough nut to crack. We think that he will be Australia's top scorer in the first test.
Australia Top Batman - First Innings:
Steven Smith, 4.00 @ Bet Victor
The main reason for the rise of English cricket after a massive downfall is one of their younger players. Joe Root is still pretty young in the squad, but is now a very important member. He as scored heaps on runs for England in recent times and we think that Root will once again get more runs than any other for his team in the first test.
England Top Batsman - First Innings:
Joe Root, 4.333 @ Bet Victor