Schedule:

1st Test             August 1st to 5th                       Edgbaston

2nd Test           August 14th to 18th                  Lord’s

3rd Test           August 22nd to 26th                Headingley

4th Test           September 4th to 8th              Old Trafford

5th Test           September 12th to 16th             The Oval

After the excitement of England winning the 2019 World Cup in a Super Over, cricketing attention now turns to the Test Match format, and the Ashes. Over £95m was matched on the outcome of the final, and while we can expect volumes to be smaller for each Ashes Test, interest will remain high for the rest of the summer.

Having won the last 4 Ashes series on home soil (winning 50% of all home matches during the same period) England are favourites, although they have drifted during the previous week, best priced at 10/11 with Bet 365. You can take Australia at 9/5 with Blacktype; or a drawn series is available at 7/1. Australia are 11/10 to retain the Ashes with Blacktype who seem keen to oppose the tourists.

England have only won 4 of their last 10 Test Series, and while the ODI team are ranked number 1 in the world, the test side are a side in transition and only ranked 4th, one above Australia.

Both sides have had interesting preparation for the 1st Test. England warmed up for the series with a 4 day Test win against Ireland, however Butler, Stokes and Archer were all rested, while Wood is side-lined by injury. Despite being 1/5 favourites pre match, England made only 85 batting first, after an opening runs line of circa 425. However, Irelands batmen were skittled for 38 when set 182 to win at Lord’s. Their score being the 7th lowest in Test history. Not since 1907 have a side won when having made such a low first innings score. Jack Leach was matched at 200.0 to top score in England’s 2nd Innings!

We got an idea of whom England will select with Roy set to open while Denly continues at number 3. Woakes, Broad, Jordan, Curran and Stone will fight for 2 available bowling slots. Joe Root heads the betting for Top England Series Runscorer at 5/2.

While the likes of Warner, Smith and Starc were busy with the white ball, test players Hazlewood, Pattinson and skipper Paine have been getting used to English conditions on the ‘A’ tour. Therefore, expect Australia to hit the ground running. The Baggies Greens final exercise has been an internal trial match, featuring a Graeme Hick XII v Brad Haddin XII on a lively surface at Southampton. The Australians requested seamer friendly conditions to help preparations but only 2 fifties were scored on a surface captain Tim Paine labelled ‘boarding on dangerous’. They have since selected their 17 man Ashes squad, with Bancroft the main beneficiary from the trail match. His 93 not out earning him his first call up since his ban. Australia are likely to pick 3 from Starc, Pattinson, Hazlewood and Cummins to play along side the sole spinner, Nathan Lyon.

Steven Smith at 9/4 and David Warner at 3/1 are the favourites to top the scoring charts for Australia.

Possible 1st Test Line-ups:

England: Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Denly, Joe Root *, Jonny Bairstow +, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson

Australia: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine *+, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon

The ECB have chosen an older Dukes ball for the series, with a more prominent seam, not the Duke ball being used in this year’s county championship. “It is felt that the 2017-18 specification Dukes ball on test match pitches has produced highly entertaining cricket that has helped promote the test format,” the ECB said in a statement. The ball should suit the England seamers more, and provided the weather stays predominately dry we can expect results. England 3-1 and a 2-2 Drawn series head the betting at 7/1 with Ladbrokes and Betfred respectively, while England 3-2 is best priced 8/1 with Ladbrokes.

Given favourable bowling conditions predicted during the series, a sell of Batsmen series runs at Sporting Index should be considered. During the last home Ashes only 4 batsmen scored over 400 runs (Smith 508, Rogers 480, Root 460 and Warner 418). Selected quotes are Roy 330-350, Burns 290-310, Denly 290-310, Root 450-470, Warner 425-445, Khawaja 330-350 and Smith 460-480 which all seem a touch on the high side if recent patterns continue.

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