The first Test of the Ashes will begin tomorrow in Brisbane. After Ben Stokes got ruled out of the series owing to the night-club incident and with a dominant record at home, Australia seem to be the favorites to clinch the five match Test series. Nevertheless, despite the fact that England might require a little time to settle down, they for sure have enough firepower to stage an upset.
So with things about to get exciting, here is a look at top three Australian and English players to watch out for when the two rivals meet tomorrow at Gabba Cricket Ground.
3. Cook vs Warner
Both England and Australia possess a world class new ball bowling attack and therefore, openers from both sides have an extremely important role to play.
With 147 Tests and 11,629 runs under his belt, the former English captain, Alistair Cook has to deliver throughout the rubber to ensure that the visiting England side is able to compete in Australian conditions.
Cook who bats with a strike rate of 46.65 will have to play his natural game and frustrate the Aussie bowlers so that England’s lower order batsmen are not exposed early on and so that they have a better chance of exploiting the conditions once the ball grows old and when the Aussie bowling unit finds itself tired and exhausted.
Similarly, for Australia it has to be David Warner who unlike Cook bats with a strike rate of 77.28. Thus, a Warner special anytime during the series is likely to seal the deal for the Aussie boys.
2. Anderson vs Starc
It goes without saying that both sides would want a wicket or two with the new ball to dominate the proceedings. Jimmy Anderson from England and Mitchell Starc from Australia are bowlers with an extra-ordinary record and thus, the spearheads to look at for during the season.
Both bowlers have ample experience of dealing with pressure that Ashes brings with it and know pretty well how to topple an opposition early on.
1. Root Vs Smith
Joe Root will be leading the visitors while Steven Smith will be captaining the hosts. How both middle order batsman perform during the rubber and how well they are able to lead their teams is something that will eventually decide the outcome of the series.
Therefore, the dual between the two skippers is likely to be a major talking point throughout the upcoming Australian season.