The Ashes are officially here, with old foes England and Australia facing off in the first test at Edgbaston. We have previewed the match and given you our best bets for the occasion.
England vs Australia Tips
- England to win – 7/5
- Travis Head top Aus batter (1st inns) – 4/1
- Harry Brook to hit the most sixes in match (was 10/3) – 4/1
Friday 16 Jun, 2023
One gets the feeling that this Ashes series might not only be pivotal for England (7/5), under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum but also for Test cricket as an entity overall.
T20 cricket is king and the big sides are playing fewer and shorter test match series, in order to squeeze in some more of that lucrative short format dollar.
However, excitement is building amongst both sets of fans, all five venues are completely sold out and two of the best test sides in the world are about to lock horns. So let’s enjoy test cricket while we can and get stuck into the most high profile of series.
Australia (13/10) enter this series as the 10/11 favourites to win the five match contest, partly as a result of their hugely impressive 209 run win over India in the World Test Championship.
However, the baggy green haven’t won in England since 2001 and they come up against a side that are chock full of confidence, having won 10 of their last 13 matches, playing a brand of cricket the world has never seen before.
‘Bazball’ has the potential to change the way the red ball game is played and if it succeeds again here in the Ashes, maybe there is a future for test cricket after all? Just not as we originally knew it.
England have chosen to ask Moeen Ali to step back into his whites from retirement, as the direct spin replacement for Jack Leach. The batting order looks nailed on and they are sure to pick Anderson, Broad and Robinson for the first test.
England XI (probable):
Ben Stokes (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root.
The tourists only real decision seems to be which of the four man pace attack to leave out. Scotty Boland has made himself almost undroppable, so could Australia do the unthinkable and drop one of Starc or Hazlewood?
Australia XI (probable):
Pat Cummins (captain), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith (vice-captain), David Warner.
England to win – 7/5
Just as in my Ashes Prop Bet Preview, I was really on the fence about this selection. Having been ultra confident about smashing the Aussies, just a few weeks ago, with their terrific victory at the WTC sending shivers down my spine.
The Australians not only don’t look scared of facing up against Bazball, they look like they are going to absolutely relish the challenge!
Sending over multiple players to get preparation in county cricket looks an inspired move and the likes of Smith and Labuschagne will have nothing to fear here.
Not only that but despite possessing one of the best fast bowling attacks in the world in Anderson, Broad and Robinson, England do look a bit one paced without a Wood or Archer and will need to do their work with the new ball.
Moeen Ali as a replacement for Jack Leach is another negative for the hosts but I’m going to fly in the face of all I’ve just said and pick out an England win at Edgbaston.
I’ve doubted this side too many times in the last 18 months and they have made me eat my words, with a positive, no fear attitude and some simply astonishing attacking cricket.
This England batting line up is strong enough and aggressive enough to rescue England from any potential sticky spot and I think they can bully their way to another win here.
Travis Head top Aus batter (1st inns) – 4/1
The 29-year-old had an up and down start to his test career, scoring a maiden hundred against Sri Lanka in Canberra, before being dropped in 2020/21.
Head was soon recalled and hasn’t looked back – scoring over 2500 runs in just 37 tests, at an average of better than 47.
The Adelaide native hit an amazing 163 in the first innings against India last week and looked in frightening touch.
With England doing their best work with the new ball, it seems prudent to pick a player in the middle order.
Harry Brook to hit the most sixes in match (was 10/3) – 4/1
Brook had a fairly torrid time of things in the IPL, after an initial superb century for Sunrisers Hyderabad, looked to catapult him to worldwide domination.
The Yorkshireman has faced just SEVEN balls of red ball cricket in the last four months and could really have done with some preparation on English wickets for Yorkshire.
However, the 24-year-old has shown his class since he came in to the England side, scoring four centuries at an average of 80+ and is perfect for the brand of cricket Stokes & Co. play.
In four tests in 2022, Brook hit 12 sixes and has 20 in just 11 test innings. If he spends any time at the crease this boost could very well land.