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Cricket-Ashes enemies enter battle after difficult build

FILE PHOTO: Ashes 2019 - Fourth test - UK and Australia
FILE PHOTO: Cricket – Ashes 2019 – Match 4 – England vs Australia – Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, England – September 7, 2019 Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates beating England’s Joe Root with teammates. Action images via Reuters / Carl Recine

December 3, 2021

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – As the Australian and England players gather out onto Gabba’s lush lawns next week for their first Ashes test, they may be relieved that the spotlight has turned to cricket after the stalemate. The scandal hindered their preparations in the lead-up.

British cricket has been rocked by the nL1N2S2214 racism saga in Yorkshire, with Azeem Rafiq questioning captain Joe Root for denying he ever testified to any county issue.

Australia enters a series of five tests with new captain in the fast bowler Pat Cummins after Tim Paine resigned over a nL1N2SH038 ‘sexting’ scandal that has lay dormant for more than three years.

A ball has yet to be thrown but both sides are bruised and may not be able to deliver the thrill of the drawn 2019 series, the first time Australia has retained the Ashes in England in nearly two years. decade.

Neither team is currently the top tennis player in the world in the tests and each will rely heavily on aging champions, hoping they can go back in time to make up for the shortfalls elsewhere. .

As the home team, Australia is a good candidate to retain the throne for the second consecutive match, a feat that this country has not achieved since 2002/03 when the team Steve Waugh’s win the eighth consecutive streak.

Not losing to England in Brisbane since 1986 and in Perth, the venue for the fifth test, since the 1978/79 tour, Australia has reason to feel confident about a home win, four year after the 4-0 win in the 2017/18 series.

DOUBT SWIRLS

However, a lot of doubt revolves around the hosts, especially around the new leadership dynamic between Cummins and his lieutenant Steve Smith.

Cummins is under pressure to do his usual job of bowling, less than a year after the lauded Australian speedster was knocked out by India this past summer in his home country.

He and Smith inherit a team with many of the same questions raised after a 2-1 defeat in the series.

Senior players, including pacemaker Mitchell Starc and key player Nathan Lyon, are under scrutiny after a poor comeback last summer, while key players Smith and David Warner are struggling with the perception that their best days are behind them.

Although number three Marnus Labuschagne was solid, Australia’s shot looked shaky.

Neither the opener Marcus Harris nor the middleweight smasher Travis Head could be grounded, while underrated goalkeeper Alex Carey, who will replace Paine in at least the first two tests, is yet to be confirmed. prove.

He hopes to exploit that vulnerability to win his first Ashes series in Australia since the 2010/11 season.

But in reality, their current lineup is far from Andrew Strauss’ winning outfit.

Aging Aging

James Anderson, who dominated the 2010/11 season, is on his fifth Ashes tour at the age of 39, while fellow warhorse Stuart Broad is on his fourth.

They will be delighted to feature Ben Stokes, who missed out on all-round player support during the 2017/18 season.

However, Jofra Archer’s absence through injury is a major setback, given the value of raw pace to Australia’s tough players.

Root said Britain would draw inspiration from India’s upset over Australia but he can only dream of the batting talent the South Asian nation has brought Down Under.

Barring Root, not a single hitter in England’s 17-man squad has averaged above 40.

Much will depend on how well England can start at Gabba, the match that kicks off the series on December 8, where Australia traditionally sets the tone with a crunchy debut win.

Emerging against Brisbane with a draw would be a virtual victory for England, and rain at Gabba is highly likely to aid their cause.

They then hope Anderson and the athletes can deal damage with the pink ball in the second test.

A win under the lights at the Adelaide Oval would prove invaluable, and allow England to dare to dream about claiming this streak.

Following the traditional Boxing Day competition in Melbourne and the New Year’s test in Sydney, Perth is scheduled to host its final match from 14 January but Western Australia’s strict COVID-19 regulations could forcing the organizers to move the match to another city.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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Huynh Nguyen

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