Ashes predictions – does anyone think England will win?

Neither Australia skipper Steve Smith or England counterpart Joe Root have captained in an Ashes Test
Australia v England, first Ashes Test
Date: 23-27 November Time: 00:00 GMT Venue: Gabba, Brisbane
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and the BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Full coverage

The Ashes get under way in Brisbane on Thursday, with England looking to defend the urn they won on home soil in 2015.

Australia, who whitewashed the tourists 5-0 when England last toured down under in 2013-14, are clear favourites to win, but England have triumphed in four of the past five series.

Test Match Special commentators, cricket journalists and pundits give their views on what will happen this time around.

Jonathan Agnew, BBC cricket correspondent

Australia have been invincible against England in Brisbane and Perth for the best part of 30 years, but I’ve got high hopes for the tourists in Adelaide. The day-night format and the pink ball could make James Anderson and Stuart Broad more effective than they would be if it was a normal game. I can’t see many draws and, though I’m saying Australia will win by two matches, I wouldn’t be surprised if England come through better than that.

Prediction: Australia 3-1 England

Michael Vaughan, captained England to Ashes victory in 2005

We’ll have a much better idea of the direction of this series after the first Test. If England get blown away in Brisbane, it could deja vu from their last tour. However, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the weather may help them at the Gabba and I feel they will win a Test on the tour, either in Adelaide or Melbourne. They won’t win in Perth or Sydney, so at the moment I can’t see them winning the series.

Prediction: Australia 3-1 England

Vaughan’s guide to surviving the Ashes down under

Graeme Swann, Ashes winner in 2009, 2010-11 and 2013

I don’t think this Australia team are as good as they are trying to make themselves out to be, and England are stronger than we have been led to believe. I don’t know where, why, or when, but I do think England will win the series.

Prediction: Australia 1-2 England

Jim Maxwell, ABC commentator

England have to find a way to resist Australia in the first Test. If they can get out of it with even a draw, they are in the fight for longer and they can get to Adelaide’s well-grassed pitch. Still, their batting is so light that the Australia pace attack will make a mess of them. That doesn’t mean that Australia’s batting is without problems, but I think the home side are more likely to get wickets, faster.

Prediction: Australia 4-1 England

Phil Tufnell, played in five Ashes series

These are two batting line-ups that do not look to be very strong, up against two good bowling line-ups. Therefore, even though there might be bad weather around in Brisbane, I can’t see many draws. It’s always difficult to beat Australia in their own back yard, but England can retain the Ashes.

Prediction: Australia 2-2 England

Vic Marks, former England spinner

England very rarely win series in Australia. I can see them getting one in Adelaide if they get the opportunity to bowl at the right time, and somewhere it will rain to give us a draw. It could be set up for a thriller in Sydney, with Australia 2-1 up, and England not quite pulling it off.

Prediction: Australia 3-1 England

Australia beat New Zealand in the inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide in 2015

Dan Norcross, Test Match Special commentator

I’m not optimistic. England struggle and when Australia get ahead they can make things pretty horrible for a touring sides. However, Australia’s back-up bowling is pretty weak, so it could go one of two ways. Any sort of injury to the Australia bowling attack could lead to England being competitive in a tight series. If they stay fit, Australia will win big.

Prediction: Australia 4-0 England

Isa Guha, Women’s Ashes winner

It’s hard to make a prediction because so much depends on the outcome of the first Test. Australia have a very good bowling attack who know exactly what to do in these conditions. However, like England, their batting line-up is very unpredictable. I like that Mark Stoneman has made runs for England and they have a strong middle order – Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali will step up in the absence of Ben Stokes.

Prediction: Australia 2-2 England

Lawrence Booth, Wisden editor & Daily Mail cricket writer

Australia’s bowling attack is better suited to these conditions. In Mitchell Starc they have the best left-arm swing bowler in the world, Josh Hazlewood is the most accurate in the world and Pat Cummins is the fastest. Steve Smith and David Warner will score enough runs to make up for deficiencies elsewhere. England’s top five is weak and over-reliant on Joe Root. They have a stronger middle order, but that is the only area where they have the edge.

Prediction: Australia 3-1 England

Alison Mitchell, Test Match Special commentator

The sides are closely matched, especially when you compare the less experienced members of their batting line-ups. Australia have a very strong bowling attack, so England have to get through the new ball and make Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins come back to bowl third and fourth spells. The rain that is around in Brisbane might help England get a draw and set them on the way to retaining the Ashes.

Prediction: Australia 2-2 England

Simon Mann, Test Match Special commentator

If Australia keep their main bowlers fit, I fear for England because their batting is fallible. The Tests themselves will be quite close but, without Ben Stokes, I’m not sure England will be able to cope with Australia’s pace attack and the spin of Nathan Lyon, who is underrated. England can come back into it if the Australia bowlers do not stay fit.

Prediction: Australia 4-0 England

Ashes: England pick Jake Ball as Australia call up Glenn Maxwell

Australia v England, first Ashes Test
Date: 23-27 November Time: 00:00 GMT Venue: Gabba, Brisbane
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and the BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Full coverage

England have named seamer Jake Ball ahead of Craig Overton in their side for the first Ashes Test against Australia in Brisbane.

Ball, 26, has recovered from the sprained ankle he suffered on 10 November and which kept him out of England’s final warm-up game last week.

Australia have called up all-rounder Glenn Maxwell as cover for opener David Warner, who has a neck problem, and Shaun Marsh, who has a sore back.

The first Test starts at 00:00 GMT on Thursday at the Gabba.

England will name their batting order on the morning of the game.

England team: Joe Root (capt), Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Jake Ball, James Anderson.

More to follow

Vaughan’s guide to surviving the Ashes down under

Ashes 2017-18: Michael Vaughan’s guide to surviving the Ashes down under

BBC Test Match Special summariser and former England captain Michael Vaughan gives his advice on how to survive an Ashes tour in Australia, including ways to deal with the local media and how to master the conditions.

How to follow The Ashes 2017-18 on the BBC

It will be hostile, but don’t be scared – Root’s message to players

Opener Mark Stoneman has only played only three Tests
Australia v England, first Ashes Test
Date: 23-27 November Time: 00:00 GMT Venue: Gabba, Brisbane
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and the BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Full coverage

England captain Joe Root says the first Ashes Test will be “hostile and intimidating” but that his players should not be scared of Australia.

England could field an inexperienced team for the first Test at Brisbane’s Gabba on Thursday (00:00 GMT), as they attempt to retain the Ashes.

They were beaten 5-0 on their last tour of Australia in 2013-14.

“You have a chance to do something that not many people do,” said 26-year-old Root. “That should excite you,”

Of England’s top five at the Gabba, opener Mark Stoneman has played three Tests, only two fewer than number five Dawid Malan. James Vince has been recalled to bat at three after playing seven matches in 2016.

The one space in the bowling attack will go to either the uncapped Craig Overton or Jake Ball, who has played three matches.

All-rounders Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali have never played a Test in Australia.

“You want to make sure they are prepared and know what to expect,” said Root.

“It will be hostile and perhaps slightly intimidating, but that shouldn’t scare you.”

Five of the England team set to line up in the first Test were in the squad on the last tour down under.

“That happened four years ago,” said Root. “England have won four of the past five Ashes series.

“We have a lot of guys that won in England in 2015 and have very fond memories of that.”

Root says much of the talk in the build-up to the series opener in Brisbane has been “irrelevant” – but Australia have been keen to remind the visitors of their last tour.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon said England’s batsmen were “scared” and talked of wanting to “end careers”, while pace bowler Josh Hazlewood wants to reopen “scars”.

“I am not sure that scars is a great tag to put on it,” said Root, who will lead England in an Ashes series for the first time.

“I don’t think that the guys who played then will have much baggage going into this one.”

In 2013-14, pace bowler Mitchell Johnson took 37 wickets as Australia destroyed England’s batting.

Four years on, only three players remain for the hosts – Lyon, captain Steve Smith and opening batsman David Warner.

Lyon has said he hopes Australia can end the careers of some of the England players and would like Root to be dropped, as he was for the final Test in 2014.

Root was once a team-mate of Lyon at Adelaide club Prospect.

“The more talking that guys do going into a series, the more pressure they put on themselves,” said Root.

“One thing Australia did well last time was talking up certain things and they delivered. This is a completely different tour and we have to make sure we don’t give them that opportunity this time.”

England are without Ben Stokes after he was arrested in September on suspicion of actual bodily harm following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub.

The all-rounder is in the UK awaiting the outcome of a police investigation and has been made unavailable to play for England until further notice.

“It’s very difficult to replace him,” said Root. “It’s more important that our guys bring the best version of themselves and not try to replicate something he would do.

“He is a big presence and brings a lot to the table. If you ask any captain in the world they would want him in their squad, but for our team it would not be natural for someone to try to be Ben Stokes.

“It’s an opportunity for someone to do the special things like Ben can do.”

Shiv Thakor: Derbyshire sack all-rounder following sexual exposure conviction

Shiv Thakor has also played for Leicestershire and England Under-19s

Derbyshire have sacked all-rounder Shiv Thakor after he was found guilty of two sexual exposure charges.

The 24-year-old was found guilty last week of exposing himself to two women on a housing estate near Mackworth, Derbyshire in June.

A Derbyshire statement said: “The club expects the highest standards of behaviour from its staff and is opposed to sexual harassment in any form.

“Thakor’s contract has been terminated with immediate effect.”

Thakor will be sentenced on Friday.

Women’s Ashes: England draw series after Wyatt century beats Australia

Danni Wyatt became the first England batter to score a Twenty20 international century
Women’s Ashes: Third Twenty20 international, Canberra
Australia 178-2 (20 overs): Mooney 117*, Perry 22*, Brunt 1-25
England 181-6 (19 overs): Wyatt 100, Knight 51, Jonassen 2-25
England (2pts) won by four wickets; Australia retain the Ashes with multi-format series drawn 8-8
Scorecard

Danni Wyatt scored England’s first Twenty20 International century to help her side chase a record 179 and draw the multi-format Women’s Ashes series.

Beth Mooney hit an unbeaten 117, the second-highest score in women’s T20s, as Australia posted an imposing total.

Wyatt hit two sixes and 13 boundaries in a 139-run stand with Heather Knight (51) to rescue England from 30-3 and win by four wickets in Canberra.

Australia had already retained the Ashes but the series finished 8-8.

The hosts dropped both Wyatt and Knight twice in a sloppy fielding display, with the former taking advantage to score her first international century and first by an England batter in the shortest format.

A tale of two centuries

Prior to this game, there had only been four centuries in women’s Twenty20 international cricket – two of them struck by West Indies star Deandra Dottin.

The fifth was majestic, Mooney dispatching England’s ragged bowling attack to all areas of Manuka Oval with exceptional power and guile, her 19 boundaries the highest ever by a man or woman in Twenty20 internationals.

The 23-year-old smashed four in a row to finish the innings, taking Australia to 178-2 and seemingly on the cusp of victory.

England floundered in response as Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor were both caught trying to attack every delivery and a nervy Nat Sciver was run out by Elyse Villani’s sharp throw.

Wyatt rode her luck – dropped on just 14 by wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy and 54 by Megan Schutt – but punished the increasingly panicked Australian bowlers with a series of hefty drives over cover.

With Knight proving perfect foil, Wyatt raced to 100 off just 56 balls and though she fell to Delissa Kimmince without adding to her century, the 26-year-old had done enough to steer England to a historic victory.

More to follow.

Malahide to host Ireland’s first Test match when they play Pakistan in May

Pakistan have played several one-day internationals in Ireland in recent years

Malahide will be the venue for Ireland’s first men’s Test match when they face Pakistan next May.

Ireland and Afghanistan were given Test status in June when they became the 11th and 12th full members of the ICC.

Pakistan were confirmed as Ireland’s first Test opponents last month for a match which will start on 11 May.

“We are delighted that Malahide has agreed to host this historic game against Pakistan,” said Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom.

“Even in its short history of hosting our matches, the club has already given us some wonderful memories and we trust that 11 May and its ensuing days will provide many more.

“We would like to thank the club’s members for their continuing hospitality.”

Ireland’s first Test – or is it?
Ireland’s women have played one Test – also against Pakistan – in Dublin in July 2000, when the Irish won by an innings and 54 runs.

Malahide chairman Ciaran Keohane said that the north Dublin club are “looking forward” to welcoming both teams.

“This is a great showcase not only for Irish cricket, but for Malahide and the wider Fingal area,” said Mr Keohane

Pakistan were top of the Test match rankings as recently as last year before slipping back after the retirement of captain Misbah-ul-Haq and senior batsman Younis Khan.

They are currently third in the Test match rankings.

Ashes 2017-18: England’s Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Jonny Bairstow try their hand at street cricket

Before heading out to Australia for The Ashes, England stars Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes rock up in Sparkhill, Birmingham to take on a group of young street cricketers at their own game.

Who will come out on top?

How to follow The Ashes 2017-18 on the BBC.

Ashes: England’s Ben Stokes has let a lot of people down – David Warner

Australia vice-captain David Warner has scored 20 centuries in 66 Test matches
Australia v England, first Ashes Test
Date: 23-27 November Time: 00:00 GMT Venue: Gabba, Brisbane
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and the BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Full coverage

Australia opener David Warner says that England all-rounder Ben Stokes has “let a lot of people down”.

Stokes, 26, was arrested in September on suspicion of actual bodily harm after an incident outside a Bristol nightclub.

With the first Ashes Test due to get under way on Thursday at 00:00 GMT, Stokes remains in the UK awaiting the result of a police investigation.

“It’s disappointing for the England team and the country,” said Warner.

“I would have loved for him to be out here because I know what a competitor he is. He’s a world class player.”

England will be without Stokes for the first Test in Brisbane, with the Durham man made unavailable for selection by the England and Wales Cricket Board “until further notice”.

“He knows he’s made a mistake and it’s about him getting that respect back from his players and fellow countrymen,” added Australia vice-captain Warner, who himself was suspended in 2015 after punching England batsman Joe Root on a night out in Birmingham.

On the prospect of Stokes joining the England team at some point during the five-Test series, the left-hander added: “Firstly it’s up to the English police.

“If he does come out here we’ll wish him well. We’re all sportsmen and we’re trying to achieve the same thing, that is to win. I wish everyone good luck.”

Warner only faced two deliveries in the nets on Tuesday after suffering a neck injury during fielding practice.

He said that his neck felt “stiff”, but that it was unlikely to prevent him from playing in the first Test.

From England’s perspective, former captain Alastair Cook said the tourists have accepted it is “unlikely” that Stokes will join the tour.

“You can’t always pin your hopes on one guy,” said Cook.

“If there is a bonus of him making the trip at some stage, that would be great, but I can honestly say it hasn’t been spoken about in the changing room.”

Lyon comments ‘made Cook chuckle’

Alastair Cook averages 49.53 in Test cricket in Australia

On Monday, Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon said he hoped the hosts could end the careers of some of the England players.

Cook, who was England skipper when they were beaten 5-0 four years ago, said the comments “made him chuckle”.

“It’s really strange,” said the opener. “Nathan was the first person I saw when I got to the ground and I had a really nice 10-minute chat with him – he was asking me how my kids are.

“All the talking will stop very quickly and it will become a normal series after about two hours of play. We’ll be talking about cricket rather than the off-field stuff.”

Cook is one of five members of England’s 2013-14 touring party set to play at the Gabba on Thursday, with Australia fielding three survivors from four years ago.

In that series, England’s batting was decimated by Mitchell Johnson, who took 37 wickets.

“Mitch was outstanding, one of the best periods of bowling I’ve ever faced, and he was backed up by Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle,” Cook, 32, added.

“But they are no longer playing, so in that sense it is irrelevant. England have won four of the past five Ashes series – you can look at that how you want.”

Lyon aims to ‘end careers’ of England players

Mitchell Johnson was player of the series in the 2013-14 Ashes, with 37 wickets and three man-of-the-match awards
Australia v England, first Ashes Test
Date: 23-27 November Time: 00:00 GMT Venue: Gabba, Brisbane
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and the BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Full coverage

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon hopes Australia can “end the careers” of some England players during the Ashes series.

Graeme Swann retired in the midst of England’s 5-0 defeat in 2013-14, Kevin Pietersen was discarded after the series, and Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior hardly played again.

“Being part of that squad, seeing Mitchell Johnson scare them, was unbelievable,” said Lyon.

“We knew that they were broken. Hopefully we can recreate history.”

The first Ashes Test starts in Brisbane on Thursday.

And, on a day when Josh Hazlewood said Australia want to “open scars” in the England team, and the tourists’ James Vince claimed the hosts are putting themselves under pressure, Lyon also said:

  • He wants to get England captain Joe Root dropped
  • All of the England team were scared in 2013-14, and Prior wanted to go home – a claim the former wicketkeeper has described as “laughable”
  • Hazlewood is the best bowler in the world
  • Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are bowling more quickly than Johnson
  • England have no chance of winning, even if Ben Stokes plays a part in the series

Prior laughs off Lyon jibe

Four years ago, England arrived as the Ashes holders but were decimated by Johnson, who took 37 wickets in the series.

Lyon, one of only three of the current Australia side who played in 2013-14, said “one to 11” of England’s team were afraid of the left-armer’s bowling.

“I was standing at leg slip and I nearly had to push a couple of guys back towards the stumps,” added the 30-year-old.

“Matt Prior wanted to fly home before the third Test in Perth and he was one of their senior players. He was scared. It was four years ago. I think he’s all right now.”

Wicketkeeper Prior was dropped after that match and only played four more Tests.

The former Sussex player said: “I have no idea where this has come from. It is wholeheartedly untrue. It is completely ridiculous and all I can do is laugh.

“I think Nathan Lyon has got other things to worry about without thinking about me. I hope the first Test goes really well for him because otherwise I’d suggest he’s concentrating on the wrong things.

“I will be watching with interest to see how he goes. I hope he lets his cricket do the talking now.”

Matt Prior made 107 runs at an average of 17.83 on the 2013-14 Ashes tour

Lyon wants to get Root dropped

England skipper Root, then on his first tour of Australia, was left out of the final Test in Sydney in January 2014 after averaging 27 with the bat.

Lyon, who played club cricket with the Yorkshireman in Adelaide, said: “It would be good to get him dropped again.

“There’s a lot of scars for the English guys, especially coming over here and now we have two 90mph bowlers in Starc and Cummins, not just one.”

Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood will form a three-man pace attack, supported by Lyon’s spin.

While Starc and Cummins both bring express pace, Lyon said the skills of Hazlewood make him even more dangerous.

“He can swing the new ball in and out, he can seam it, he can bowl fast, he can bowl a nice bouncer, he can reverse an old ball,” said Lyon, who has played 69 Tests.

“His consistency, the pace he bowls at and the way he controls the game is incredible. In my book he’s the number one bowler in the world.”

Lyon believes Starc and Cummins can have the same impact as Johnson.

“I won’t get into the nets to face them because they are way too quick for my liking,” said Lyon.

“They are definitely bowling quicker in the nets than Johnson did. I saw [captain] Steve Smith land on his backside the other day. Johnson didn’t do that.”

England like ‘kittens’ without Ben Stokes – Sir Viv Richards

‘England couldn’t even win the Ashes with Stokes’

England are without Stokes, who was arrested in September on suspicion of actual bodily harm following an incident outside a nightclub in Bristol.

The all-rounder remains in the UK awaiting the outcome of a police investigation.

“It’s a loss for international cricket,” said Lyon. “You want to play against the best players in the world and he’s probably the best all-rounder in the game.

“They have got some classy players, like Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes, who can stand in, but I don’t even think England can win the Ashes with Stokes.

“If I thought that, I might as well walk away now.”

For England’s part, Root said last week that some of the Australia players were “talking a load of rubbish”.

At the Gabba on Monday, batsman Dawid Malan said: “We as an England team are going about our business quite quietly and letting the Aussies do the talking.

“If they want to make comments then they have to back it up. We are just going to stick to what we do and see what happens at the end of five Tests.”