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Australia v England
Brisbane Cricket Ground, November 23-27, 2017
1st Test - Australia v England Test Series 2017/2018
|England 1st Inn||302 all out|
|Australia 1st Inn||328 all out|
|England 2nd Inn||195 all out|
|Australia 2nd Inn||0/173|
|England won the toss and elected to bat.|
|Australia win by 10 wickets|
|Australia||Over: 50.0 RR: 2.97|
The Ashes are finally here. Australia go in as heavy favourites, but England will be no pushover in the biggest cricket series on the calendar. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage of Day 1 at the Gabba from 11am (AEDT).
The time for talk about selections, form and Sheffield Shield cricket is over. It’s now time to stand up or fall down, with the first Test crucial in the series, especially with the unpredictable day-night Test to follow in Adelaide.
Australia go in at the Gabba as heavy favourites, and it’s not hard to see why. They haven’t lost any of their last 28 Tests at the venue and have only been beaten by England four times out of 20 attempts.
It’s an amazing record, yet Australia’s selections and form aren’t confidence-inspiring. While Usman Khawaja has reeled off some strong Shield performances, David Warner has struggled and is now hampered by a neck injury, Cameron Bancroft is on debut and Steve Smith has been scratchy at best for New South Wales.
Peter Handscomb’s poor start to the summer has been swept under the carpet, and then there’s the selections of Shaun Marsh and Tim Paine, neither of which make a great deal of sense.
Australia’s bowling attack is their strength, with Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood ready to strike fear into the English batsmen in much the same way Mitchell Johnson did during the last home Ashes series. But no fifth bowling option to complement the spin of Nathan Lyon only asks more questions of the selectors.
England aren’t without their own problems, though. They have been poor in their tour games, struggling to get on top of a Cricket Australia XI side in Townsville.
It’s little surprise. Running down their batting order, the only players which will fill you with confidence are Alastair Cook and Joe Root, with youngsters filling the rest of their order.
Jonny Bairstow will be under pressure behind the sticks, as will first choice spinner Moeen Ali, who is widely tipped to struggle in Australian conditions.
New ball bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson will be the key to their Ashes charge. If they can strike early and expose Australia’s vulnerable middle order, then England will be on top early in the match.
Australia should win this first Test. In fact, at their fortress, they should win convincingly. It’s hard to see England putting up much of a fight, but there is a real element of the unknown. A good start from Anderson and Broad might put the Aussies under pressure.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of Day 1 of the 2017-18 Ashes series from 10:30am (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
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