Since 2009, England have dominated the Ashes. As some of the most successful Australian cricketers retired (Warne, McGrath and Ponting to name just a few), England have gained superstars of their own. The England team is now full of quality in every position. With Captain Alistair Cook and Joe Root scoring freely (Carbury is also scoring many runs in the warm ups), Pieterson and Prior steading the ship with the middle order batting and for the latter wicket-keeping at the highest level. Swann and Broad keep the batting going with their improving skills with the bat and also with the ball. And then we have James Anderson, the King of Swing, leading the bowling attack.
Australia hasn’t got the same team they had before. Clarke has struggled to captain a world class cricket side. Their batting isn’t as strong- only Shane Watson the only recognisable danger batsman for the Aussies. This problem is similar in their Bowling line-up. Ryan Harris is their go to man for wickets but with injury problems, he isn’t deemed fit enough to complete what is a tough and challenging Ashes series.
England in the summer produced World Class cricket, destroying the Australians at Lords the most enjoyable memory for an England fan. Australia had some players who put in a good performance in certain games. Who can forget Agar’s debut century in the first test?
This winter though is going to be different for a number of reasons. The Australian coach Lehmann has already tried to get the Australians to get tough and make the tests a tough venue for the England side and especially Stuart Broad, who Australia deemed to cheat when he wouldn’t walk after being given out. The team obviously also want revenge on England, after the embarrassment of the 2010/11 series which England dominated- and the fact England were comfortable for the majority of the summer series.
Ian Botham believes England will win the series 5-0. I can’t agree with that. Although I am predicting another England triumph come the final test in Sydney. Our squad will be stronger and we have got the better cricketers. What we need to get to grips with are the pitches and the atmosphere. The pitches will be better suited to fast bowlers with not as much spin as there is in England. The Australian crowd will also be less supportive of the England team.
I predict a 2-1 win for England possibly 2-2. The tests will be closely fought and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rejuvenated Australia. I can’t see the Aussies winning more tests then England so don’t panic, the ashes will be coming home in the new year.