Ashes 2019, England vs Australia: Preview, stats, and other interesting things
The Ashes flame is already burning blue after Aussie captain Tim Paine claimed Edgbaston would not make his top 15 most intimidating ground in the world.
England might still be gung-ho over their ridiculously thrilling World Cup victory a fortnight ago but the next challenge awaits them: the historic Ashes rivalry against Australia that begins on Thursday.
Both the teams are high on confidence: England, who bounced back strongly after a horrendous first day in the one-off Test against Ireland; Australia, the victors of the previous Ashes series and the hungry Kangaroos, who are back to full strength, especially with the banned trio David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, and Steve Smith returning to the squad.
Steve Smith in the 2017/18 Ashes:— ICC (@ICC) July 29, 2019
Batting average: 1️⃣3️⃣7️⃣.4️⃣0️⃣
High score: 2️⃣3️⃣9️⃣
Will Australia's leading batsman in Test cricket have a similar impact in 2019? pic.twitter.com/81skRXhYxi
England captain Joe Root would most likely step up to bat at No 3 to bolster England’s struggling top order. The 28-year-old averages 48 from 60 innings at No 4, compared with 40 from 40 innings at first drop. Meanwhile, Root denied Jofra Archer his debut with Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes as preferred XI at Edgabston.
▪️ 148 Tests— ICC (@ICC) July 30, 2019
▪️ 575 wickets – Most for a fast bowler in Test cricket ????
▪️ 27 five-wicket hauls
▪️ 3 ten-wicket hauls
▪️ 32335 deliveries ????
Happy birthday, Jimmy Anderson ???? pic.twitter.com/2CS32bNoQI
Australia opener David Warner was hit in the nets but is expected to be fit for the match. Justin Langer, the coach, has indicated that Usman Khawaja and James Pattinson will be in the XI.
For one, the ICC World Test Championship will begin with this match after years of vetoes and false starts. Teams collect points over a two-year cycle, with the top two playing in the final at Lord’s in June 2021. There are 120 points available in each series, so winning a match in a two-Test series is worth more (60 points) than if there are five matches (24 points). But there’s the risk of losing the same as well!
Meanwhile, there’s been a change in ICC’s approach to slow over-rates. Instead of suspending the captain, a team will lose two points in the Test Championship for each over they were short of the required rate.
Number of matches to be played by each team in the ICC World Test Championship 2019-21— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) July 31, 2019
16 South Africa
14 West Indies
13 New Zealand
13 Sri Lanka #WTC21
Also, for the first time players will have their name and number on the back of their shirts—as it has been the norm in limited-overs cricket for decades—in Test cricket, starting with this Ashes series.
Now, on to some interesting stats:
8 — Rory Burns and one-day run machine Jason Roy are expected to open the batting against Australia’s fearsome pace attack on Thursday. They are England’s eighth different opening partnership in the past three years and the 16th since Andrew Strauss retired in 2012.
71 — This is the 71st time that England and Australia face each other in an Ashes series that started at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1882.
33 — Australia have a series advantage as they’ve won the Ashes on 33 occasions compared to England’s 32. There have been five draws.
195 — Shane Warne has taken more wickets in Ashes Test matches than any other player. Glenn McGrath (157) is next on the all-time list.
5,028 — Most runs scored by a batsman in Ashes Tests, Sir Don Bradman (1928-48) at an average of 89.78 in 37 matches.
19 – Bradman, again. For most centuries scored in Ashes Tests.
364 – The highest score in a single Ashes innings, made by England’s Len Hutton at The Oval in 1938.
England: 1 Jason Roy, 2 Rory Burns, 3 Joe Root (capt), 4 Joe Denly, 5 Jos Buttler, 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 8 Moeen Ali, 9 Chris Woakes, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson
Australia (possible): 1 David Warner, 2 Cameron Bancroft, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Steve Smith, 5 Travis Head/Mitchell Marsh, 6 Matthew Wade, 7 Tim Paine (capt & wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 James Pattinson, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Peter Siddle/Josh Hazlewood.
Here’s the full schedule of the series (All matches start at 3:30 PM IST):
Aug 01 (Thu) - Aug 05 (Mon): England vs Australia 1st Test at Edgbaston, Birmingham
Aug 14 (Wed) - Aug 18 (Sun): England vs Australia 2nd Test at Lord's, London
Aug 22 (Thu) - Aug 26 (Mon): England vs Australia 3rd Test at Headingley, Leeds
Sep 04 (Wed) - Sep 08 (Sun): England vs Australia 4th Test at Old Trafford, Manchester
Sep 12 (Thu) - Sep 16 (Mon): England vs Australia 5th Test at The Oval, London