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5 big predictions for Ashes 2017/18

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Last Updated on 7 years by Charbel Coorey

We are less than two days away from the biggest Test series on the calendar! Which way will it go?

Things are really heating up in the lead up to the Ashes opener in Brisbane, with Nathan Lyon leading the chorus of how England still have scars from 2013/14 in Australia, and are ready to “end careers”. It may have been a little over the top, but what it has done is added more spice to what could be a very interesting and passionate series.

Both England and Australia have had some batting concerns in recent times, so which batting line up will crack first?

Here are my 5 big predictions for the Ashes:

Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc will take 50+ wickets between them

It’s a big call, especially considering Hazlewood and Starc will be two of a four-man attack, and are both injury prone.
However, both are incredible bowlers, and are in good form. They are arguably the most dangerous opening pair in the world, as they have the ability to take wickets anywhere. Josh Hazlewood maintains a consistent line and length, and extracts excellent bounce. Mitchell Starc will be sure to complement him well with searing swing and pace, and has the ability to replicate what Mitchell Johnson did in the last Ashes in Australia.
In Mitchell Starc’s last First-Class match, he took two hat-tricks in the same game. I see England having to work really hard to deal with Starc and Hazlewood, even on the flat Australian tracks, as they have the skill to take wickets on these pitches.
What might fire Hazlewood up in particular is former England batsman Rob Key labelling him as a “poor man’s Anderson”. I can’t wait to see how he reacts.
Josh Hazlewood & Mitchell Starc will be a handful for England

James Anderson and Stuart Broad will both average 30+ for the series with the ball

James Anderson and Stuart Broad are England’s biggest weapons with the ball, and need them both to have a big impact if they are to retain the Ashes.
What’s worrying though is their inability to move the Kookaburra ball in Australian conditions. Their respective records reflect this, and with pitches in Australia getting flatter over the last few years, Broad and Anderson might not be as effective as the England media suggests.
James Anderson will go down as one of England’s finest ever bowlers, but his record in Australia leaves plenty to be desired. In 13 Tests down-under, Anderson has taken 43 wickets at 38.44, which is 14 runs more than his home average. He is now 35 years of age, and with Australian pitches flatter than ever before in the last few years, it might be a challenging series for Jimmy.
Stuart Broad fares a little better in Australia, with 23 wickets in 7 Tests at 32.13. He has been a fine bowler for England, and is just 12 wickets away from the magical mark of 400 Test wickets. But, the question is, what is different about Broad and Anderson this time around that will see them improve on their Australian records?
James Anderson hasn’t had it easy in Australia

Steven Smith will be the Ashes’ series leading run-scorer, outplaying his counterpart Joe Root

Steve Smith boasts a ridiculous record at home. In 24 Tests in Australia, Smith has scored 2,403 runs at an average of 68.65, and averages 69.02 as captain.
England will have plans to try and unsettle him, but Smith will want to hold that Ashes urn so badly. His unorthodox techniques opens up plenty of run scoring opportunities, and with the ball coming on to the bat nicely in Australia, it will play right into his hands.
With England’s inability to move the Kookaburra ball as much as the Duke ball, I expect to see Smith play a massive role in the series. He will top the run scoring charts (500+ runs).
In regards to Joe Root, he is a fine player but unproven in Australian conditions, averaging 27.42 in 4 Tests. He was very young back in 2013/14, and has grown into a fine player since. However, a big question is how his technique (preferring to play back) will work in Australian conditions this time around. 
Steve Smith has an incredible record at home

Jonny Bairstow will be England’s leading run scorer

Another big call, with the likes of Alastair Cook and Joe Root in the England line up.
I believe Cook and particularly Root will have decent series, but the rise of Jonny Bairstow has been something to behold.
Averaging just 24 in his nine Ashes Tests, Jonny Bairstow has since taken off in his Test career, scoring 2,113 runs at 47.00. He has become a very crucial part of this England team, and I believe he’ll have a big series.
Jonny Bairstow has been great since the last Ashes

Australia will win the Ashes series 3-1

The Australians have been on fire in home series over the last 5 years, only struggling against South Africa during this period. England, on the other hand, have a host of players who haven’t had it easy in Australia and could be without Ben Stokes for the entire series.
Australia know these conditions, and their team is full of players who have excelled at home. Despite questionable selections such as Shaun Marsh and Tim Paine, I expect Australia to win the Ashes 3-1. England’s win will be under lights in Adelaide in the 2nd Test.
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Agree or disagree with my predictions? Leave a comment!
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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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