Deadline: August 1, 2019 at 3:30 PM IST
Venue: Edgbaston, Birmingham
Pitch and predictions
Rain will play spoilsport on the first, fourth, and fifth day. Captains will look to bowl first, so they can come out to bat on sunny days.
As is the case with most grounds in England, there will be lateral movement at Edgbaston. Wickets will tumble at regular intervals if the batsmen don’t know where the off-stump is. Select as many fast-bowling all-rounders as you can.
Probable XI for England: Jason Roy, Joe Denly/Rory Burns, Joe Root (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Probable XI for Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine (c & wk), Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood/James Pattinson
We have opted for a fantasy team on the basis of players’ impact, recent performances, and credit points.
You can also check players’ performances in the last 5 matches. Tap on the players’ names to get the data while making your fantasy team.
My 11: Jonny Bairstow (wk), Steven Smith, David Warner, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Sam Curran, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Starc (vc), Pat Cummins, Stuart Broad, James Anderson (c)
Players to watch out for
44 of James Andersonn’s 575 wickets in Test cricket have come at Edgbaston — all this at a stunning average of 22. He has just turned 37 and is in the best of his fitness. Will he reach 600 wickets this Ashes? He will be playing at home, where he has taken 64% of his wicket. The milestone seems fairly possible.
His new-ball partner Stuart Broad has sniped up 29 wickets in 7 matches at Edgbaston. He recently took 7 wickets against Ireland at Lord’s, surpassing Dale Steyn’s tally of 439 wickets.
Steven Smith was the No. 1 batsman in Test cricket when the ban for ball-tampering was imposed. It’s been 16 months since he played the format, and such is his genius that his ranking has dropped only three places. Without any iota of doubt, he will be the player to watch out for in the 2019 Ashes.
David Warner too will be back. He isn’t the batsman he once was. He is far more patient and focussed. He was the highest run-scorer in the 2019 IPL and the second-highest in the 2019 World Cup.
For England, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root will have to hold the fort. Root took a few tips from former Australia captain Ricky Ponting on how to convert half-centuries into daddy hundreds, and Bairstow was an aggressive as ever in the World Cup.
Pitted against them will be the Australian pace duo of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins: one swings the ball fiercely, while the other does not get bored bowling in the corridor of uncertainty.
There are three terrific all-rounders. Ben Stokes does not need any introduction. Sam Curran has been rescuing England even in the face of adversity. Then there is Australia’s Marnus Labuschange: he scored 3 hundreds and three fifties and took 8 wickets in the last 6 County Championship matches.