Just 82 days after England celebrated with the ashes trophy at the Oval. Now we’re less than a week away from the start of the first test in Brisbane, as Australia aim to win back the urn for the first time since the 2006/07 series.
Due to the fact that Australia are co-hosting the 2014-15 cricket World Cup next winter, the series has come around extremely quickly with little time for England to celebrate retaining the trophy and with the added fear that viewers may not be quite so excited over the tournament with such a small wait for the return series, with it bringing less anticipation. The excitement may be lessened even more so with England having won 4 of the last 5 series. With the underdog nature having gone, will England be too complacent or will they come out triumphant this winter?
When it comes to England, bowling does not appear to be a problem, and it’s the batting that is an area of concern for players and fans alike. We struggled with big batting scores in the summer, and The Barmy Army will be hoping that Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott will go back to the types of scores they were getting last time the Ashes was hosted in Australia. However, similar things could be said about the Australian line-up and with these similar strengths and weaknesses it is likely that the series will be close with the bowlers cancelling each other out. England must be particularly wary of Ryan Harris, the fast bowler who Australia’s stand out performer in the summer series. If he is kept fit then it will by no means be easy for England’s batters.
One major worry for England would be the injury worries over Matt Prior. The vice-captain and fantastic wicket-keeper now has bags of experience of the Ashes and has proven himself as one of our top batsmen. This would be a huge loss for England and put a small doubt in the belief of retaining the trophy for the third time in a row. Jonny Bairstow shouldn’t be underestimated as a replacement, however he does not have the experience often needed at crucial times in such a huge tournament. Kevin Pietersen has also had injections for a knee problem and will need to be nurtured carefully to ensure he can perform to his best ability.
So who do we think will win this famous cricket trophy this time? Australia have an excellent record in Brisbane and England will need to counter this attack as soon as possible to stop them getting too far ahead too quicky. England will have the psychological advantage after winning this summer, but get too cocky and this could turn into more of a negative than a positive. Overall, it will be a very close series, and although Australia will have the home advantage and be better suited to the conditions, we believe England have the quality and should do just enough to retain the trophy.