Venue – Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham
Date: Friday, June 16 – Tuesday, June 20
First Test BetXchange Odds:
Overall Winner BetXchange Odds:
The Ashes is arguably the most important series of Test matches in world cricket. The term came about after Australia beat England at The Oval in 1882. This was their first Test win in England, leading to The Sporting Times declaring that it was the death of English cricket with “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.” England vowed to “regain those ashes” the very next year – which they did – and a small urn, allegedly the ashes of a wooden ball, was presented to the team by a group of women in Melbourne. The rest is history.
This series also represents the first knocking of the 2023-25 ICC World Test Championship. While this will not be on the minds of the players – it plays second fiddle to the historical rivalry – it is worth noting as Australia won the 2021-23 version of that tournament just a couple of weeks ago over India in England.
Australia has form. They also have been a nemesis to England over the last decade. England hasn’t beaten the Aussies in a Test series since 2015. Series in Australia have been nothing short of miserable, with England losing 4-0 in 2017/18 and 2021/22. Their last series at home ended in a draw, with the countries splitting the five-Test Ashes series 2-2 in 2019. Those results are why Australia is favored to win this series, even with it being in England.
This is a different England. The last Ashes defeat down under was a massive catalyst for change in the English approach to Test cricket. England played too timidly for their players, waiting for something good to happen rather than forcing positive outcomes.
This England has a much more aggressive style. They have won 11 of their last 13 Tests by playing attacking cricket. They want to overwhelm a team with both the bat and the ball, playing strokes you wouldn’t typically see in a Test match and taking full advantage of their swashbuckling stars.
The big selection choice was Stuart Broad over Mark Wood in their bowling attack, along with Ollie Robinson and Jimmy Anderson. Ben Stokes is confident he can add to the bowling attack despite e a long-term knee injury, which will only improve the captains’ options.
Australia is keeping England guessing. While their batting lineup should have no surprises, their bowling options are guarded until the toss. Pat Cummins will lead their pace attack – he is the captain, after all – but which two out of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood, and Scotty Boland will join him is being kept under wraps.
Starc has the wicket-taking ability to keep the team balanced against England’s big bats, but Boland took five wickets against India while Starc gave up expensive overs. Boland has never been chosen for a Test when all the pace options are available and healthy. Is this his time?
I love England at 15/10 to win the series. I think they have the right mix of talent and attitude, and the fact they are on home soil is a big deal.
I like Cummins (3/1) to be the leading Aussie bowler in the first Test markets. He is the only one I would be confident picking, as he is the only pacer guaranteed a spot.