Sport Cricket Cricket: England to wrest back the Ashes in Hope and Glory quest
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Cricket: England to wrest back the Ashes in Hope and Glory quest

England skipper Joe Root will hope to build on the World Cup success. Photo: Getty
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English cricket is on a high after the thrilling home World Cup triumph, but now comes the biggest challenge of the European summer.

Australia, playing at home, smashed England 4-0 in the 2017 Ashes series, although the subsequent ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town brought some renewed questioning of Australia’s tactics.

The First Test begins on Thursday night (AEST) at Edgbaston, Birmingham, with England’s 14-man squad for the five-Test series featuring an emphasis on bowlers like one-day World Cup hero Jofra Archer, who could make a big impact.

RORY BURNS

Age: 28

Tests: Seven, Ashes Tests: 0

Playing role: Left-handed batsman

Test batting average: 22.28, Ashes batting average: N/A

Called into the England squad after Alastair Cook’s retirement left a gap at the top of the order. The Surrey opener has yet to make the position his own.

JASON ROY

Jason Roy
Jason Roy has form in putting Australia to the sword in the one-day arena. Photo: Getty

Age: 29

Tests: One, Ashes Tests: 0

Playing role: Right-handed batsman

Test batting average: 38.5, Ashes batting average: N/A

A central figure in England’s limited-overs squad. The opener made five and 72 on Test debut against Ireland last week.

JOE DENLY

Age: 33

Tests: Three, Ashes Tests: 0

Playing role: Right-handed batsman

Test batting average: 24.16, Ashes batting average: N/A

Debuted earlier this year and scored two centuries for Kent in county cricket to ensure he wasn’t dropped from the Test side. Yet to nail down his spot in an unsettled top three.

JOE ROOT (captain)

Age: 28

Tests: 81, Ashes Tests: 19

Playing role: Right-handed batsman

Test batting average: 49.03, Ashes batting average: 42.78

Expected to resist the wish of coach Trevor Bayliss for him to bat at first drop. One of the best batsmen in the world, he will be a key wicket throughout the series.

BEN STOKES

Ben Stokes England
England all-rounder Ben Stokes has also had his share of controversy. Photo: Getty

Age: 28

Tests: 52, Ashes Tests: 9

Playing role: All-rounder (left-handed batsman, right-arm paceman)

Test batting average: 33.89, Ashes batting average: 30

Test bowling average: 31.92, Ashes bowling average: 33.07

England’s star of the World Cup final was recently promoted to vice-captain. Will be determined to make his mark after missing the previous Ashes series through suspension.

JOS BUTTLER

Age: 28

Tests: 31, Ashes Tests: Five

Playing role: Right-handed wicketkeeper-batsman

Test batting average: 35.87, Ashes batting average: 15.25

Once thought of as a white-ball specialist, Buttler has brought his range of shots from the shorter format and turned himself into a useful Test batsman and gloveman.

JONNY BAIRSTOW

England mainstay, wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow at training. Photo: Getty

Age: 29

Tests: 64, Ashes Tests: 14

Playing role: Right-handed wicketkeeper-batsman

Test batting average: 36.24, Ashes batting average: 28.16

One of England’s mainstays in the middle order and one of few to fire during the 2017-18 Ashes, when he scored a ton in Perth. Coming off a pair in the one-off Test against Ireland.

MOEEN ALI

Age: 32

Tests: 59, Ashes Tests: 10

Playing role: All-rounder (left-handed batsman, right-arm off-spin bowler)

Test batting average: 29.55, Ashes batting average: 27.76

Test bowling average: 36.24, Ashes bowling average: 65.94

Expected to be England’s main spin option but a disappointing World Cup, during which he was dropped, has put his place under pressure. Will be keen to improve on a terrible record against Australia.

CHRIS WOAKES

Age: 30

Tests: 27, Ashes Tests: Five

Playing role: Right-arm paceman

Test bowling average: 31.06, Ashes bowling average: 53.72

Snagged 6-17 in the final innings of England’s win over Ireland. No certainty to play at his home ground of Edgbaston.

STUART BROAD

Age: 33

Tests: 127, Ashes Tests: 27

Playing role: Right-arm paceman

Test bowling average: 28.77, Ashes bowling average: 30.01

Enjoyed one of the best spells of his career during the 2015 Ashes, taking 8-15 as Australia was rolled for just 60. Would be a tough call to drop him but was axed in Sri Lanka and the West Indies during the English winter.

JOFRA ARCHER

Jofra Archer had a break out World Cup and now steps up to the Test arena. Photo: Getty

Age: 24

Tests: 0, Ashes Tests: 0

Playing role: Right-arm paceman

Test bowling average: N/A, Ashes bowling average: N/A

Was rested after he played a key role in England’s World Cup triumph, having snared 20 wickets. Capable of generating express pace and fully expected to debut at some point in this series.

JIMMY ANDERSON

Age: 36

Tests: 148, Ashes Tests: 31

Playing role: Right-arm paceman

Test bowling average: 26.93, Ashes bowling average: 34.55

England’s all-time leading wicket-taker has claimed 575 Test scalps. Expected to return from a calf injury in the first Test.

SAM CURRAN

Age: 21

Tests: 10, Ashes Tests: 0

Playing role: All-rounder (left-handed batsman, left-arm paceman)

Test batting average: 31.81, Ashes batting average: N/A

Test bowling average: 30.05, Ashes bowling average: N/A

Debuted at age 19 and named man of the match in his second Test. Recently returned to form with two half-centuries and a six-wicket haul against Australia A.

OLLY STONE

Age: 25

Test: One, Ashes Tests: 0

Playing role: Right-arm paceman

Test bowling average: 9.66

Early part of his career was blighted by injuries. Showed glimpses of his immense potential – and pace – on debut against Ireland.

Tomorrow: The 17-man Australian squad