The Ashes 2019: England's first Test against Australia in Opta numbers


Captain Joe Root has left pace bowler Jofra Archer out of his team for the opening clash against arch-rivals Australia.

"That first morning of any series is when you want to stamp your authority as a team with bat and ball", he said.

The crowd were early with their chanting mostly aimed at the disgraced Australian trio of David Warner, Smith and Cameron Bancroft, with the Australians in attendance happy to grin and bear it.

"You can't feel your way into any Ashes series - you have to hit the ground running".

It was taken in good humor, perhaps a sign of the more cordial approach to the game taken recently by Australian cricketers in the wake of a cheating scandal in South Africa previous year that led to harsh sanctions for then captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opening bat Cameron Bancroft.

Warner and Bancroft were roundly booed when they came out to bat.

David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who shared a match-clinching stand in the first Ashes test in Brisbane in 2017, can expect boos in Birmingham due to their later bans.

The 24-year-old fast bowler, who took 20 wickets in the World Cup, was included in the squad for the five-match series, due to commence at Edgbaston on Thursday.

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When confronted with the pitch - which has a healthy covering of brown grass on top of a rock-hard surface - Paine said he expected it would suit Australia's express pacemen more than England's quicks. In fact, this is the series that the two countries are obsessed with, to the extent that they even plan their entire calendars around the Ashes.

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But the truth is, Broad's performance deserved capping off with his first five wicket haul in England since his dreamlike eight for 15 in the Trent Bridge Ashes Test four years ago.

"For the last, while we have longed to have something to play for that gives proper context to Test cricket", du Plessis said in a press release from Cricket South Africa. As they say, you can't buy experience at the supermarket.

The World Cup came home in July - I'm not convinced the Ashes will be coming home in September! I needed to be in my own house, in my own bed and be with the family to recharge my batteries.

Ben Stokes' highest score in four innings in Birmingham is 21, while Jos Buttler eked out a 38-ball 9 in the 2015 Ashes, before adding 0 and 1 against India last summer. The last Test match he played was against New Zealand in February, 2016. The left-hander played a knock of 84 runs in the final and finished with 465 runs in the tournament.

For England, a home season billed as the most important in a generation started brilliantly with their impressive run to a first men's World Cup title. The final will be remembered for ages as neither the 50-over nor the subsequent super over action could separate the teams.