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Ashes 2019 Preview & Odds: Will your predictions win you £1 Million for free?

Ashes 2019 Preview & Odds: Will your predictions win you £1 Million for free?
Monday,July 29,2019

The fine cricketing summer is set to continue with the Ashes getting underway from Thursday. If you thought England’s sensational World Cup win was memorable, strap yourselves in for another six weeks of high drama because it’s going to hot up as England look to regain the Ashes from Australia’s grasp.


Batting still an issue for England


While England are now officially world beaters in the one day game, they continue to leave a lot to be desired in the longest form, which was overwhelmingly evident in their one-off Test match against Ireland last week. England’s batting problems have been there for all to see for at least a couple of years now, but hit a new low as Ireland, playing in just their third Test match, skittled out Joe Root’s men for just 85 in under 24 overs - their shortest ever Test innings at home and the fourth time they’ve lost all 10 wickets in a session in the past three years. 


While they fared slightly better in the second innings when the pitch flattened out somewhat under the sun, that was mainly in part down to nightwatchman Jack Leach’s 92 who saved England’s blushes. It was the middle-order that let them down once again with Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Moeen Ali barely able to scrape a run together between them, and although Jason Roy made a breezy 72 on debut in the second innings, his first innings score of five showed he might well struggle against the moving ball against a fearsome looking Australian attack.


Last year’s 4-1 Test series win against India demonstrated that England are still a tough nut to crack at home - much like most teams these days - and will take some beating, winning 10 of their past 14 on these shores. In that series they relied on their lower order to bail them out, much like against Ireland, but in order to retain the Ashes, England’s batting must tighten up. It’s a different story on the bowling front, with plenty of options. The demolition of Ireland in the second innings of last week’s Test proved how difficult the likes of Stuart Broad (4-19) and Chris Woakes (6-17) will be in expected bowler friendly conditions, and they managed to bundle out Ireland for just 38 without main man Jimmy Anderson. The only issue will be trying to get the likes of Broad, Woakes, Anderson and Jofra Archer into the team, although with Moeen Ali the only spinner picked for the first Test, it might not be totally out of the question. 


Predicted 1st Test XI: Roy, Burns, Root (C), Denly, Bairstow (WK), Buttler, Stokes, Ali, Woakes, Broad, Anderson


Will returning stars lead Australia to glory?

The disgraced trio - Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith and David Warner - are all set to return to the starting XI for the first time since being ousted after the ball tampering scandal in South Africa 18 months ago. Given the fact Australia have only won three of their last 11 Test matches, the return of star men Warner and Smith couldn’t come at a better time, although with barely any red ball cricket played between the pair since their ban, it’s not a foregone conclusion that they will fire straight away. 


Like England, Australia have had plenty of middle-order batting issues to contend with and although that will be allayed somewhat, it still exists with the likes of options such as Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne and skipper Tim Paine hardly striking fear into the opposition bowlers. 


The opposite is true however, when it comes to the bowling. Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazzlewood and Nathan Lyon represent a world-class bowling line-up, and if Starc or Cummins need a bit more time to get over their World Cup exploits, then they’ve got a fine replacement in James Pattinson who has plenty of experience of County cricket with Nottinghamshire in recent years. But with just three wins from their past 15 away matches and no series win since 2016 on the road, Australia face a tough challenge to win their first Ashes series in England since 2001.


Predicted 1st Test XI: Warner, Harris, Khawaja, Smith, Head, Labuschangne, Paine (WK/C), Cummins, Starc, Pattinson, Lyon


Ashes predictions:


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With both teams more or less evenly matched in terms of faltering batting line-ups and world-class bowling outfits, expect it to be more of a bowlers series for once. Taking into consideration the more options at England’s disposal in home conditions, and not discounting the likes of Joe Root and Ben Stokes to come good, England are slight favourites to win the Ashes, with a 3-1 scoreline the preferred choice with the bookies


When it comes to highest scoring batsmen, the likes of Root and Smith are obvious favourites. But Ben Stokes at 7/1 certainly can’t be ruled out after his World Cup heroics, and might be needed again to bail England out if they continue to be 30-3 early on in their innings. Anderson, Starc and Cummins are all expected to be among the best performing bowlers, although all three could be slightly struggling with fitness issues ahead of Thursday’s start. For an alternative, maybe Chris Woakes is your man, after his high quality performances with the ball in the World Cup and his six wicket haul against Ireland. In expected bowler friendly conditions, he could well be a handful.


That’s just a little taster of how we think the Ashes will pan out, what do you think? Get your free entry in for the chance to win £1 Million!


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