The 72nd edition of the Ashes series is all set to begin on 8th December 2021 at the Gabba in Brisbane. The last Ashes series which took place in 2019 resulted in a draw. Both the teams won two matches each and it will be interesting to how the series pans out this time around.
Also, the last time when England visited Australia for an Ashes series, they suffered a 4-0 whitewash. The fans would be hoping that they deliver a better performance in the upcoming series. And for that to happen, skipper Joe Root has to score plenty of runs in the tournament. He has been in the form of his life and is likely to play a key role in the series. Another man to watch out for will be Ben Stokes.
He will be making his comeback after taking a break from all forms of the game, citing mental health concerns. Everyone knows what he did when Australia toured England last time for the Ashes series. With England not being in the best of forms in Test Cricket, he needs to step up to the plate and make a significant impact.
Besides these two, England will be banking on Jos Buttler to bat well while batting in the lower middle order. His returns in Test Cricket of late doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence but the wicket-keeper batsman is coming into the series on the back of exceptional performances in the T20 World Cup.
Test Cricket is a different ball game though and perhaps one can’t fully trust Buttler to have the same impact in the white-ball cricket. James Anderson has also been rested for the first Test in a bid to make him fully fit for the pink-ball Test in Adelaide. Stuart Broad will lead the pace attack, which will also have the likes of Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, and Mark Wood.
Australia, on the other hand, have named their playing XI ahead of the first Test. Marcus Harris, who has been in pretty good form, will open alongside David Warner. Their two big bets in the middle-order, Marnus Labuschagne, and Steve Smith will take the number three and fourth position.
Interestingly, Trevis Head got the nod ahead of Usman Khawaja, followed by Cameron Green and Alex Carey. As for the bowling, the management has persisted with the famed fast bowling unit, comprising Hazlewood, Starc, and Cummins. Spinner Nathan Lyon completes the playing XI.
AUS vs ENG: Weather Forecast and Pitch Report of The Gabba Stadium in Brisbane, Ashes 2021-22, First Test
The first Test, which is set to be played at The Gabba could be affected by the rain in at least the first couple of days. The temperature is likely to be around 30 degree Celsius across all five days. Unfortunately, the game might be affected by rain on frequent occasions across the five-day play.
Given the fact that rain has occurred regularly over the last week, the bowl is likely to swing a lot. Ahead of the first Test, former cricketer Ian Healy analyzed the pitch and expected to have a lot of grass on it. He stated that it would be good if the team opted to bowl first upon winning the toss.
“It’s green … I think this might be a bowl first (pitch). It goes against a lot in our cricket mythology. It’s been overcast, heavy rain last week, there was a big storm again on Saturday night.” Healy said.
“If you get knocked over on day one, it’s still difficult to bat (on) day two, because it quickens up and hardens up, Just don’t be disastrous in the first innings.” he added.