Test matches between Australia and England is a regular affair. However, the upcoming faceoff between the teams is quite exceptional, the first of Ashes 2017. Both the teams have new players changing their old setups with new captains, new bowlers, and new batsmen. While, England is featuring bowlers like James Anderson and Stuart Broad, Australia came up with Nathan Lyon as a top pick. England is travelling without Ben Stokes, one of the heaviest, but the current set up is all comparable to what Australia has. There is a considerable gap in batting ensemble in both the teams. Australia has untested players in batting line up, debuting direct from domestic circuits. On the other hand, England’s order has been uncertain, largely, without experience.
At Gabba, Australia has been always impressive. Still, England has no reason to worry about the pitch condition, with its holistic experience of Australian condition. Players like Alastair, Board as well as Anderson did outplay Aussie bowlers in several early tussles. Against this backdrop, Steven Smith would expect pace and bounce to turnup adequately for Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, his top bets. Cummins will be playing a Test at Gabba for the first time. Also, Lyon’s injury has put more pressure on them. Aussies are particularly effective with the new ball. This would mean, England should try to play batsmen like Cook to stand in competition. Cook’s record has some blips, but most of it back his prowess against quicks.
Australia selectors could not leave out the old guns even if they thought about options. David Warner is back even if with a neck pain. Meanwhile, England went for Jake Ball and Craig Overton. The Gabba pitch is expected to present good pace and bounce after the first day. There is also a chance of rain. Australian captain Steven Smith is betting on the bounce friendly nature of the pitch. He knows, England players struggle against the attack. England did not win a single Test at Gabba since several decades, but Joe Root is expecting a contrasting return this time.
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