After a build-up overshadowed by controversies and Covid-19, Australia and England’s highly anticipated Ashes series gets underway on Wednesday in Brisbane. Justin Langer’s side are the favourites to win the first Test and to retain the urn (win the series).
We’ve created three bets to take as both teams will look to get off to a winning start at the Gabba.
Despite everything that has gone on, Australia remain the favourites to win the Ashes. England have won once in their last eight series down under while the last two are a combined 9-0 scoreline in favour of Australia. The visitors have not won a Test at The Gabba since 1986 and have only come out on top there on four occasions. Joe Root’s team has only won four of their 12 Tests in 2021.
The hosts will still be licking their wounds after losing 2-1 to India in their only Test series of 2020/21 home summer, and with no Test cricket under their belt since then, they’ll be relying purely on their familiarity with The Gabba, where India ended their 32-year unbeaten Test run at the venue.
Australia are also not short of prolific run-scorers as far as Brisbane Tests are concerned. Their top three Test scorers of the last decade in Brisbane have all made the XI. David Warner (4 centuries and an average of 61.86), Steve Smith (3 centuries and two 50s and an average of 60.91) and Marnus Labuschagne (399 runs from 4 innings at 99.75) will all be key to Australia’s fortunes in this series opener.
I’m putting my money on Australia to win the first Test in Adelaide.
The world’s number one ranked Test bowler is also now Australia’s captain. It will be interesting to see how Cummins copes as captain but I’m backing him to have another fantastic Test series despite the added responsibility and pressure.
Pat Cummins was magnificent last season when others started to run out of steam against India and this time he’ll be scrutinised as more than just a bowler. The 28-year-old unquestionably sits among the world’s premier fast bowlers, he’s taken 164 Test wickets at an average of 21.6 in 34 matches which is a fantastic record. I see Cummins having a great first match as captain.
Like Cummins, Joe Root is the captain of his side and also the number one ranked Test batsman in the world. This is not a big surprise considering how good Root was in the Test series against India on home soil. England’s captain has had a fantastic year in Test cricket, scoring 1455 runs at an average of 66.13 in twelve Tests in 2021. He is 333 runs short of breaking the record for most runs in a calendar year.
Even though he only averages 38.00 and has never scored a century in Australia, I still back him to be England’s top batsman, especially considering how poorly the other English batters have been playing in recent Tests. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being the leading run-scorer in the series.