The oldest rivalry in cricket is all set to begin in England from June 16. England and Australia are going head-to-head in the first Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham. England have started their home summer in a brilliant fashion. They comprehensively defeated Ireland in a one-off Test at Lord's in London. Ben Stokes will continue to lead the English side in the Ashes 2023. Australia, on the other hand, are coming off a convincing 209-run win over India in the World Test Championship final. Australia haven't won an Ashes series in England since 2001 and Pat Cummins will be eyeing a series win this time around. Read the full match preview, pitch report & every detail about England vs Australia 1st Test match with Dream XI team prediction in our fantasy sports segment.
The Stokes-McCullum era began with a bang last year and all eyes will be on the hosts when they face Australia at home. England are currently playing a fearless brand of cricket and their players have really stepped up in recent times. They will be hoping to keep performing in a similar manner and start their home Ashes series with a win. The Australian management has got a selection headache ahead of the first Test at Edgbaston. Scott Boland was sensational with the ball in the WTC final and it will be interesting to see who they go with against England as Josh Hazlewood is 100% fit now.
The pitch at Edgbaston is a balanced track. The pitch isn't a green top, but there is a thick covering of grass on it, which means that it's conducive for seam bowling. On Monday, it was cooked under sunlight, but the very next day, the strip was under the covers due to heavy rain. The seamers will get enough assistance from the surface and batting won't be easy on the first two days of the Test. The batters will have to work hard to score runs at this venue. Expect an even contest between the bat and the ball in the first Test.
Temperatures in Birmingham are expected between 14 and 26 degrees Celsius. Rain is, however, predicted from Day 2 onwards.
Talking about the recent form, England have won four of their last five test matches, whereas Australia have won two out of their five.
The hosts have won 11 of their first 13 Test matches under the Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum partnership, but this will prove to be the sternest challenge so far. 'Bazball' has been a total success, with England adopting a brutal batting style that has blown most sides away. Moeen Ali has said he would not have come out of Test retirement to play in the Ashes for any other England captain than Stokes. He has answered England's call after Jack Leach was ruled out of the series with a back injury. The hosts have a number of concerns to deal with as Jofra Archer has also been ruled out for the summer after a recurrence of a stress fracture in his right elbow.
There are also concerns over Stokes' knee, with the captain's ability to bowl yet to be determined. Although he bowled some overs in practice, there is no confirmation. England have already announced their playing XI for the 1st Test. Jimmy Anderson, Ollie Robinson, and Stuart Broad will lead the bowling attack.
The following is a list of England players who can make a massive impact in the Ashes 2023:
Australia played without Josh Hazelwood for the World Test Championship against India but Boland showed his potential. Hazlewood is fit now so it will be up to Cummins whom he wants at Edgbaston. This will also be David Warner's last Ashes series as the opener plans to retire from all forms of cricket within the next year. Australia will start with full confidence as they defeated India in the WTC Final recently.
Labuschagne, Smith & Head are in great form and there will be Green and Carey in the middle order to strengthen the batting lineup. The pair of Steve Smith and Travis Head scored centuries each in the WTC Final. If Khawaja finds his form back, then it will be very difficult for England to stop the Aussies.
The following is a list of Australian players who can make a big difference to the outcome of the Ashes 2023: