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It's just the time of the year when T20 action begins to unfold across the globe, but this time it is going to be different. Australian stars will be busy in a bid to take control in the oldest rivalry in the history of the game - The Ashes. Big Bash League 2021 and The Ashes will be running in parallel and it goes without saying that the latter will draw the biggest share of eyeballs.
The series between Australia and England is the one that even the white-ball fanatics would not want to miss. There has already been plenty of hype surrounding the series and the changes in team selection have reflected that.
The first match of the series is to be played at Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane from the morning of 8th December 2021. As the case has more often than not been, the Ashes 2021 is likely to be yet another humdinger of an affair and you would not want to take your eyes off it even though it is a five-day-long match.
Australia may be coming off a terrific title win in World Cup 2021, but they are nowhere near the team they once used to be, at least in the longer format of the game. This is a relatively young side that has not tasted a lot of success in recent times, but a win here can really prove to be the tonic they so desperately need.
Even though their recent red-ball form has not been optimal, they still have a formidable unit. For this upcoming match and the series, they will be playing with a relatively new team under a new leader in Pat Cummins. Besides Pat Cummins taking up the new role, we are also likely to see Alex Carey make his Test debut following Tim Paine's recent resignation.
It's not all gloomy for the Aussies, though. Their batting unit may not be as good as it once used to be, but it still has plenty of firepower available. Marnus Labuschagne has looked in terrific touch in the recent matches that he has played and will be looking to get into his own. Steven Smith had an ordinary last series by his standards, but he is someone who cannot be ignored, at least in the format he thrives in. Also, with the likes of Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, and Cameron Green available in the lower middle-order, their batting gains in-depth without compromising with the bowling variety.
Their batting may look good on paper, but they will have plenty of issues to address going into the first match of the series. David Warner will have to take care of the ghosts of 2019, but given the form he is in, he would be eager to take on even the bowlers he has historically struggled against. Apart from that, Aussies have plenty of inexperience in their batting unit and might find it difficult against the experienced bowling unit of England.
All in all, the Aussies have a lot of areas they'd want to improve at going into the opening match of the series, but they do have the resources as well. Also, the fact that they are playing at home makes it difficult to write them off. We saw in the T20I World Cup as well that they can fight well with the limited resources as well and if they can play to their potential in this upcoming match, they will be a tough side to deal with.
David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, TM Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Michael Lyon, JR Hazlewood.
England may have not been at their best in the recent matches, they have just done enough to stay relevant in high-voltage contests. Even though they played their last series at home, they did manage to give stiff competition to Indians despite not playing with their full-strength side. They will still be without their full-strength unit, but the return of Ben Stokes is certainly making them look a lot stronger unit than the one that hosted India a few months ago.
It's been over eleven years since England last won Ashes on Australian soil, which they did under the captaincy of Andrew Strauss. That win was laid by a superb batting effort and that is something they will need this time as well. Having said that, bowlers will have a massive role to play, especially in conditions that won't be favorable to fast bowling as those are in England.
England generally thrives more in the swinging conditions and the performance of their bowling will arguably decide the course and the outcome of this series. They have some of the splendid exponents of red-ball fast bowling, but the lack of a reliable spinner can be a bottleneck if the surface does not offer much assistance. On the batting front, however, they do look a formidable unit, at least on paper.
This English side is clearly not the best one ever, but it certainly features a handful of great cricketers in James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Joe Root, and Ben Stokes. They would want to capitalize on their strengths and take advantage of the lack of depth of the Australian unit. It will be imperative for their youngsters to step up their game and match the experienced players and if they are able to do that, beating them is going to be an exceedingly steep challenge.
Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, JE Root, BA Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, CR Woakes, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Jack Leach.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team lineup for the 1st Ashes Test that is to be played between Australia and England. Don't forget to check back the latest updated team lineup right after the toss.
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The oldest and one of the biggest rivalries of Test Cricket is set to kick off in less than 48 hours. The return of Ben Stokes strengthens the visitors and the Aussies will be led by a new captain in Pat Cummins. But, they do that the home advantage. England have much-needed depth and experience, but given that Australia are playing at home, they are hot favorites here. Almost all their players are coming off red-hot outings in Sheffield Shield and will be looking to replicate that at the top level. Considering all the reasons stated above, betting on an Aussie win should be the way to go here.
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