The Ashes series is less than a week away and the England XI for the first test looks certain to see Joe Root opening with Cook, followed by Trott, KPego, Bell and Bairstow. Barring injury Matt Prior is certain to keep wicket and bowlers Swann and Anderson are inked in. All three are proven world class players who consistently produce the goods. There is a little doubt about Broad’s fitness but he should play. Finn is currently in pole position for the final bowling place but Onions bowled well in the practice match and the selectors could go for a ‘horses for courses’ selection at Trent Bridge.
It was inevitable that Root would open for England sometime soon but does this put more pressure on the captain? He now has a young, inexperienced opening partner and who knows what will happen. In truth whoever he opens with, Alastair Cook is expected to score runs and if he has a good series England will always be well placed.
The Aussie team is less certain but we’re sure to see Watson, Clarke, Haddin and Siddle, all of whom are genuine test players at the very least. I don’t believe any Australian team is as bad as some press have been reporting recently and they will compete. England have to find the form they showed in India once again and cannot perform like they did in New Zealand. I think the first test is crucial and if England win they will retain the Ashes comfortably. However an Aussie win against the odds will set up a much closer series.