Cricket’s oldest rivals England and Australia are set to resume hostilities as they once again fight it out for 2019 Ashes series that is slated to begin from 1st August.
Host England reached an all-time high after winning 2019 Cricket World Cup in home conditions. For home side, they will keen to address their woes in red-ball cricket this home season. It is quite clear that Test cricket has been quite a concern for England since past couple of years.
Earlier this year, England lost three-match Test series to West Indies played in the Caribbean. The batting lineup were dismantled on a lively pitches produced by West Indies for the Test series.
Rory Burns and James Vince will fight it out for the opening slot for the upcoming Ashes series. Since Sri Lanka series, Burns has not produced runs with the bat and recent failure against Ireland will make the most likely player to be dropped from the side for the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston.
Vince has suffered from inconsistency and produced flashy 30s which is certainly not the requirement for a top-order playing in England’s Test setup. He will need to produce consistency with the bat and deliver runs in order to retain his place in the Ashes squad.
Opening batsman Jason Roy played well in the one-off Test against Ireland but certainly he will face his biggest challenge against Australia in difficult conditions. Roy has technical deficiencies but he has all the talent and caliber in the world to become a good player for England in red ball cricket.
England Captain Joe Root has gone through a lean phase over the past 12 months. He will be looking to make improvements to his game in order to find his best form in the upcoming Ashes series. Root is undoubtedly England’s premier batsman in Test cricket and England will be relying heavily on him to do the bulk of the scoring.
Besides, All-rounder Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow will need to focus clearly and do well in this Ashes series. Bairstow’s form has not been upto the mark in Test cricket and he will make a strong statement with the bat in the opening game of the series at Edgbaston.
Wicket-keeper Jos Buttler has looked more relaxed and clear about his game in Test cricket. He has produced decent scores for the side on a regular basis. Buttler is certainly a dangerous player who can change the complexion of the game in space of few overs.
Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes are quality all-rounders that provide value with bat and ball in Test cricket. Sam Curran is another genuine all-rounder who has delivered match-winning performances for the side over the past 12 months.
The big surprise in the England’s squad is the inclusion pace bowler Jofra Archer, who played a big role in helping the side win their maiden World Cup. Archer will be keen to make a big impact in red-ball cricket. Besides Archer, Olly Stone is another express bowler who can produce fiery spells for the side in this format.
The new-ball pair of James Anderson and Stuart Broad will be front-line options for the side for the Ashes series.
On the other hand, Australia have also struggled to produce decent results in red-ball cricket and lost their home series to India last year. David Warner, Steven Smith and Cameron Bancroft make their comeback into the Test squad. The experienced trio will certainly bolster the batting resources for Australia for the upcoming Ashes series.
In this Ashes series, David Warner will be crucial player for Australia at the top of the innings. Left-hander will need to produce big scores if Australia aims to get off to a good start in the five-match Test series.
Former Captain Steven Smith has worked hard in the nets and will be keen to deliver notable scores for the side in this Ashes series. One big positive for Smith is that he holds an excellent record against England in Test cricket. In the previous Ashes played in Australia, Smith topped the batting charts to help Australia regain the Ashes.
Usman Khuwaja, Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh are expected to play in the opening game of the Ashes series at Edgbaston. The big worry for Australia will lack of warm-up games for the players ahead of the five-match Test series that begins from 1st August.
Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne and Kurtis Patterson are also other batting options for Australia for the upcoming Ashes series.
Captain Tim Paine will be hoping that side can adjust well to the English conditions and deliver a decent performance in the opening game at Edgbaston. The big issue for Tim Paine and Head Coach Justin Langer will the playing XI for the first Test.
Peter Siddle and James Pattinson showed excellent form with the bat in the warm-up game at Southampton. Mitchell Starc might not be a first-choice selection for the game at Edgbaston.
Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon are premier bowling options for the side for the five-match Test series.
The opening game of the Ashes 2019 series will be played at Edgbaston Cricket Ground from 1st to 5th August. The second game will be played at Lords from 14 till 18th August. The third and fourth games will be played at Leeds and Manchester. The fifth and final game of the series will be played at The Oval from 12th till 16th September.