Fierce rivalry ready to resume as England head down under

For Australian and English cricketers, the Ashes is the pinnacle. And, after England won the last series 3-2, Australia will be desperate to get revenge when the sides meet this year, starting with the first test on November 23.

Details about the rivalry

The Ashes is one of the oldest rivalries in sport and pits England and Australia against each other. The term came originated in 1882 after the Aussies had beaten England on their own patch. A report stated that English cricket had died and that ‘the body will be cremated and the ashes taken back to Australia’.

Since then, the rivalry grew and the two teams will battle it out for the little urn later this month. November 23 is the date that will be ingrained into the memory of all the Australian and England cricketers. That’s when the first ball will be delivered at the Gabba in Brisbane and it will be a long time coming for the Australians.

Awful preparation for the visitors

Even with the Ashes series months away, England’s plans were thrown into turmoil after key all-rounder Ben Stokes was at the centre of a major incident in the UK. The 26-year old is easily one of, if not the, best player in the squad but was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following a night out in Bristol with teammate Alex Hales.

This prompted the ECB to say that Stokes would not fly out with the squad when they depart whilst the ongoing investigation into the incident continues. That doesn’t mean he will miss the entire series (the final test begins on January 4) but it means he is almost certain to miss the opener.

What can we expect?

The absence of Stokes will do England no favours in their quest to regain the Ashes. That, combined with home advantage has see the Aussies priced up as early favourites to win both the first test and the series overall, although there isn’t much in it.

The nature of the Ashes means that if it’s a drawn series, the urn stays with the holders, so Australia will have to win three of the tests to ensure they get the bragging rights over the next few years.

Either way, we can expect a fiery, passionate and quality in encounter with so much at stake. The crowd will be buzzing and it will be a unique atmosphere, with plenty of England fans once again making the trip.

Then, it will come down to individual talent. England have the quality to still win without Stokes, with captain Joe Root one of the finest players around. However, the Aussies boast several top-class players themselves.

It promises to be a cracker and it should be a great occasion when it’s all underway.

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