The day has arrived. The eagle has landed. The trumpets have blown. The bugles have been sounded. And Australia will take on England at the Gabba in Brisbane to revive the oldest rivalry in cricket. The Ashes begins from tomorrow, November 25.
Watch the Australia v England 1st Test live on Star Cricket in India and Channel Nine in Australia. Also watch the Australia v England 1st Test highlights on the same channels after the game.
For a change, the Australian team will not go into the series as favourites, despite what the bookies say. Form issues, fitness challenges, wayward bowlers and probably the biggest debate over the choice of spinners since Shane Warne walked into the sunset has left the team a tad less focussed than before. Apart from the unrealistic 5-0 prediction from Glen McGrath, not too many have wagered in favour of the home side with one punter putting a quarter of a million quid on England winning the urn.
England, on the other hand, have gone about their business methodically. The arrangement of three warm-up games before the first Test match of a series is almost anachronistic and yet, England played against South Australia, Western Australia and Australia A – winning two of the games. They sent their main fast bowlers to Brisbane before the third practice game in order to allow them to adapt for the Gabba Test, but in a surprising tactic, ensured that the same set of batsmen played in all the three warm-up games.
Ashes 2010, Australia v England 1st Test Score at Brisbane:
Ashes 2010, Australia v England 1st Test Timings at Brisbane:
The first Ashes 2010 Test of the Australia v England series will start at 0000 hours GMT.
It will probably be one of the more important venues in recent times as far as the Australians are concerned. It is their Fort Knox, a place where they haven’t lost a game since 1988 and will look to protect their reputations. However, it will work both ways, an English win here could almost push Australia back to the point of no return given their past record here.
England were beaten in both the previous games played at Brisbane. However, they can probably take heart from the fact that Lord’s was also their big Achilles Heel against Australia and they had managed to overturn their abysmal record at the Mecca in the previous Ashes. Will the Fort fall down as well?
If there is one thing that there will not be too many surprises in, it has to be the playing elevens. England were cocksure about their playing eleven from the word go and the warm-up wins only propped that decision up.
Andrew Strauss will partner the newly-confident Alastair Cook at the top of the order and the pair will be followed by Kevin Pietersen, Jonathon Trott, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood. KP’s bad form has not yet receded completely but the management will hope that the enormity of the occasion will bring out the best out of him. Collingwood also had had a bad summer but will look to continue with the form he exhibited in the warm-ups.
The English bowling line-up will have James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn and Graeme Swann. The others should hold up but how the young Finn manages to perform will go a long way in deciding the result and the continuity of this four-pronged attack.
Australia had their fitness scares with some of those they will go in with – Simon Katich, Michael Clarke and Peter Siddle – but for now, most are fit. Clarke got a late clearance to play after suffering from a degenerative back while Siddle will go into the side after having missed months of cricket.
Xavier Doherty is in line for his Test match debut.
Players to look out for:
There isn’t too much doubt that Pietersen will be one player to watch out for England. The spin of Swann will also be looked at closely. For Australia, Ricky Ponting’s batting and captaincy is in line while it could be make-or-break for Mitchell Johnson – not too many recover from back-to-back Ashes mauling.