One of the most anticipated Test series of the year, Ashes 2021-22 begins on Wednesday. The first match of the series is scheduled to be played from 8th December to 12th December 2021. As many as 72 editions of the Ashes series have been held so far. Australia have managed to win on 33 occasions, while England have won 32 times.
AUS vs ENG: Match Preview, Ashes 2021-22, First Test
Australia will go into the series under the leadership of a new skipper. After Tim Paine stepped down from the captaincy role, Pat Cummins has been named as Australia’s new white-ball skipper. The home team has already named their playing XI for the first Test against England. David Warner is set to open the batting alongside Marcus Harris, who has shown great form in domestic cricket. David Warner has played 2 Tests in the last 23 months and it remains to be seen how he fares in the series.
For Australia to dominate England in the series, Warner ought to play a big role with the bat. Things get a lot easier for the middle-order if Warner is in top form with the bat. Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne will be the biggest bets in the middle-order. Both wreaked havoc in the previous Ashes series and the team would want them to replicate similar performances. In the absence of the Tim Paine, Alex Carey will don the wicket-keeping gloves.
Australia will go into the attack with their same formidable pace attack, comprising Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. Nathan Lyon has 399 wickets at the moment. One more wicket will help him reach the 400-wicket landmark.
England, on the other hand, have a tough task in hand. They aren’t the best batting line-up in Test Cricket right now, to be honest. A lot of responsibility falls on the shoulders of Joe Root, who has been in the form of his life. Root is yet to score a Test hundred in Australia and averages close to 40.
He needs to have an outstanding outing with the bat if England fancy their chances. The return of Ben Stokes should be the biggest boost for England. Australia would not have forgotten what the English all-rounder did in the last Ashes series. His presence will give the team a lot of confidence.
Notably, England have rested James Anderson in the first Test in order to have him fully fit for the pink-ball Test in Adelaide. The likes of Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood are likely to form the pace attack. It will be interesting to see if Jack Leach makes it into the playing XI or England go with the five-pronged pace attack.