It’s Bazball time for the new WTC champions as they face an exciting, new-look English side – the ultra-aggressive and entertaining rebrand under new skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.
The 5-match 2023 edition of the Ashes that begins Friday, June 16th is two gruelling months long and runs through to July 31st. This is one of the most anticipated series in a while especially since the Aussies, fresh off the 209-run hammering inflicted on a full-strength Indian side at the WTC Final take on aggressive and unpredictable hosts in their signature hard-hitting, never-back-down playing style.
The last series in Australia ended 4-0 with minimal resistance and 17 months on from that winless tour (12 years since England last won a Test Down Under), the hosts look to regain the Ashes for the first time since 2017 and it’s definitely not the same side Australia dominated back in 2021/22. England have won 10 in 12 games since then.
Also, first-time Ashes captain Ben Stokes’s side has enjoyed a superior record in the past five home series against the Aussies, four of which were won and the last, in 2019, drawn. Before this, in 2005 with a 2-1 series victory, England had regained the famous urn for the first time in 18 years in what is widely rated among the team’s greatest achievements in the longest format.
They however run into an Australian side that are now the only team to have won at least one of each: five ODI World Cups, two ODI Champions Trophies and one T20 World Cup with their WTC win over India. And going into the opening game with the adrenaline and confidence sky high puts Australia way ahead on the odds charts we reckon.
Recent Series Results
2013/14 (in Australia) – Australia won 5-0 2015 (in England) – England won 3-2 2017/18 (in Australia) Australia won 4-0 2019 (in England) – drawn 2-2 2021/22 (in Australia) Australia won 4-0
Australia bowled a googly before the start of the WTC Final by announcing former Zimbabwe captain and England head coach Andy Flower as a consultant for the English summer. Having Flower on their team for the Ashes is a masterstroke given his extensive coaching experience in England. He was the English head coach from 2009 to 2014 and also served as the team director of the team earlier. England won 3 Ashes series under him.
England have an ace up their sleeves as well, recalling the retired but much active Moeen Ali to their squad for the first two Tests as a replacement for Jack Leach who has been ruled out of the series with a low back stress fracture. Ali had retired from Test cricket in 202 and has not played first-class cricket since. Apart from the Indian T20 League he has been a part of England’s limited-overs squads with the Bangladesh tour in March 2023 his last. Apparently he agreed to come out of retirement after discussions with Ben Stokes, Brendon McCullum and managing director of England Men’s Cricket, Rob Key.
Aussie skipper Pat Cummins has confirmed that Josh Hazlewood, who missed the WTC Final with side soreness would be fit for the 1st Test. This puts the champs in a quandary given Scott Boland’s show in the WTC Final. Playing Hazlewood could probably see Mitchell Starc, who was underwhelming at the Final, sit out.
Total – 356 England – 110 Australia – 150 Drawn – 96
When it comes to The Ashes, Australia has the upper hand. They’ve won 140 of the 340 matches to England’s 108 victories and 34 series to England’s 32. Both England and Australia have held the Ashes for a record eight consecutive series, England doing so between 1882–83 and 1890, while Australia achieved the feat from 1989 to 2002–03.
1st Test – Friday, June 16 at Edgbaston, Birmingham 2nd Test – Wednesday, June 28 at Lord’s, London 3rd Test – Monday, July 06 at Headingley, Leeds 4th Test – Wednesday, July 19 at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester 5th Test – Monday, July 27 at Kennington Oval, London
*All games at 10.00am GMT/3:30pm IST
England’s Record in the Ashes at Each Ground
Edgbaston P15 W6 L4 D5 Lord’s P37 W7 L15 D15 Headingley P25 W8 L9 D8 Old Trafford P30 W7 L8 D15 The Oval P38 W17 L7 D14
England: Ben Stokes (captain), Ollie Pope (vice-captain), Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Dan Lawrence, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Mark Wood, Matt Potts, Josh Tongue, Moeen Ali