The 2019 Ashes Series gets underway this Thursday, the 1st of August from Edgbaston! The home of one of the greatest Test matches ever played, the first Test between England and Australia is set to be a thrilling one.
We posted our series preview and betting tips earlier in the week, but today we are focusing more on the 1st Test itself, and providing our betting tips for the game below.
England will go into the 1st Test at Edgbaston as slight favourites to win at around $1.97 at most outlets. They will likely start as favourites for all five Tests, however, we think Edgbaston might be the one they are most worried about, especially if the pitch plays anything like it did in the recent World Cup.
The Edgbaston pitch has traditionally been one of the most spin friendly pitches in England, with spinners averaging just 28.08 there since the 2002 season, the fifth lowest average of any international pitch in the world.
England will be banking on a pace and swing heavy attack throughout the series, with a four pronged pace attack of Anderson, Broad, Woakes and Archer likely to start. The all-rounder, Moeen Ali, is the only spinner in the 14 man squad, which could hinder the English at Edgbaston.
The batting line-up looks set but there are still some concerns over the top three which currently has just 11 Tests combined experience. The English middle/lower order could carry a large load in this series.
Likely England XI for Edgbaston Test
1. Jason Roy
2. Joe Denly
3. Rory Burns
4. Joe Root
5. Ben Stokes
6. Jonny Bairstow
7. Jos Buttler
8. Moeen Ali
9. Chris Woakes
10. Stuart Broad
11. James Anderson
While Australia’s bowling line-up looks pretty solid with any combination of pacemen and Nathan Lyon set to play a big part, there’s still massive concern over their top six. Four of the positions in the top six are still well and truly up for grabs just a few days out from the 1st Test, which can’t be a promising sign.
Even when Australia has had what looked to be a fully cemented batting line-up heading into an away Ashes series since 2005, they have still failed miserably, and with so much inexperience in the squad this time around, it’s hard to see it going any differently. Only Steve Smith and David Warner have had any type of success in England, while most of the top six candidates have never even played a Test in the UK.
Harris or Bancroft to open? Labuschagne or Khawaja at three? Wade of Marsh at six? There are so many different combinations of the Australian top six, this is how we see it playing out for the 1st Test at Edgbaston, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Aussie selectors go a completely different way.
Likely Australia XI for Edgbaston Test
1. David Warner
2. Cameron Bancroft
3. Marnus Labuschagne
4. Steve Smith
5. Travis Head
6. Matthew Wade
7. Tim Paine
8. Pat Cummins
9. Mitch Starc
10. James Pattinson
11. Nathan Lyon
If Australia is going to be competitive in this series, they need to take advantage of the more spin friendly conditions in Edgbaston and get Nathan Lyon into the game. They have a massive advantage with arguably the best Test spinner in the world in their ranks and while he might not play a massive part for the rest of the series, he can help get Australia off to a strong start here.
In saying all of this, however, it’s still too hard to look past the English here. Regardless of how spin friendly the pitch plays, there’s no doubt that the ball will still swing and seam early in the innings, which makes it almost impossible to back the Australian top order against the likes of Broad, Anderson and co.
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