Can England stop the Aussies in their backyard?
Two days before the first Ashes Test, Australia have named their playing XI, a sign if anything of their confidence going into the series. They have odds of 1.37 to win the first Test, and on the back of how they fared in England in 2019 and their dominant home record, those odds are hard to fight.
On paper, England are a strong side, but miss prominent names like Jofra Archer. Ben Stokes is just back from a lengthy hiatus and the batting line-up as a whole is weak. England have odds of 3.01 to win the game, but that will take some doing, especially given how they struggled even at home against India recently.
Australia have the edge on recent record
Since 2019, England have lost 13 Tests and won just 14. On the other hand, Australia have won 10 and lost just four. At home, Aussies have lost just two matches since 2019. England, on the other hand, have lost half of their away games, although those included tough sub-continental tour.
RECOMMENDED BET: Back Australia at 1.37 to win the first Test, given their dominant home record, especially against England!
Head to head, Australia have won 14 and lost 11 Tests since 2010. Five matches have been drawn. But the biggest stat that could shudder England fans is Australia’s home record against England. At home since 2010, Australia have won 10 and lost just three Tests.
Keep an eye on…
Steve Smith: Steve Smith has come back fresher and hungrier and has spoken about finding his rhythm from 2014-15 back. The Australian middle-order batter will also be the vice-captain of the side and is bubbling with confidence. Expect him to have a great start.
James Anderson: James Anderson is often criticised for his away record, but in his twilight years that is changing slowly, but steadily. Anderson will be England’s lynchpin on this tour and will be tasked with keeping Australia’s dominant batters quiet.
TIP: Marnus Labuschagne is in good form and has odds of 5.09 to be Australia’s top batter.