The eagerly awaited Ashes series kicks off Tuesday night, with several key battles set to determine the outcome.
Here, PA news agency takes a look at head-to-head battles that could help shape the all-important First Test.
Ollie Pope v Travis Head
The final pick in each team’s batting lineup, Pope and Team Leader played roughly the same number of Tests, but perception was potential versus experience.
The Pope has been anointed as England’s rising star in the polishing ranks and has displayed shining lights on what he can create, with six half a century and a stunning 135 unsurpassed. South Africa from his 20 Tests to date, but must now start showing consistency seeing the Surrey man averaging over 100 on his home turf at the Oval in first class cricket.
Head, despite being almost exactly four years older, played one test less than Pope and made his debut two months later in 2018. He has a similar record for major innings – seventy. and two hundred, with a best of 161 against Sri Lanka in 2019 – but aided by a more solid score to make his average almost eight times higher at 39.75.
Pope has been sacked eight times in single figures – compared with five, including two ducks, for Head – and worryingly six more times for 12 or less. Australia will certainly aim for those early struggles but if he can settle in, he is likely to play indecisive innings in the middle order.
Mark Wood v Pat Cummins
Wood made his Test debut in 2015 and has been on and off the team 5 days since, averaging 3.5 Tests per year while competing more frequently in the one-day international tournaments where he’s part of the team. of the England team that won the 2019 World Cup.
He often acts as a shield for his speed teammates Jofra Archer, an approach England hope to follow with this series until an elbow injury later pays off those plans and leaves Wood spearheading 90mph for an attack that also features an appearance by James Anderson – take a break for the first test – Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson and Chris Woakes.
Australia has no such concerns as the new captain Cummins is joined by Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. He has shown that he can cede new ball duties to his colleagues while embracing his leadership role, a rarity for a pitcher due to tactical requirements. and physically competitive, but his average of 21.59 – 11 and a half minutes better than Wood – proves his importance to an attack that has plagued England in recent outings. this.
Both have battled injuries of their own throughout their careers but with Cummins in particular looking stronger than ever, the battle over their speed guns and over 22 yards will be intense. attractive and decisive.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/ashes-first-test-preview-battles-b1971372.html Ashes 2021: Head-to-head battle can help shape the First Test