The dawn of the historic ICC Test Championship is underway as cricket's oldest rivalry, The Ashes takes center stage this Thursday. World Champions England host Australia in the first Test at Edgbaston as both teams look to draw first blood in this iconic series. Both sides aren't still fully settled with a number of spots yet to decided.
With Joe Root taking charge for the first time in an Ashes Test at home, the onus will be upon him to get the English out of a batting crisis they have been facing since the tour of the West Indies. Australia will fancy their chances with the likes of James Pattinson and Cameron Bancroft excelling in County Cricket over the past year or so.
With a lot at stake for both sides, here are a few tips to help you pick your Dream11 team.
Squads to choose from
Joe Root (C), Jason Roy, Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Olly Stone and Jofra Archer
Tim Paine(C), David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris, Steven Smith, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle
Playing XI Updates
Joe Root is set to bat at number three, where he scored his career-best of 254 against Pakistan. Jason Roy will open the batting along with Rory Burns, who is under pressure to perform. The likes of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes return to the set-up with Joe Denly likely to play in the middle order. Chris Woakes' sensational spell of bowling against Ireland earns him a spot in the side along with Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali, who is likely to fill an as the lone spinner.
Playing XI: Roy, Burns, Root(C), Denly, Stokes, Bairstow, Buttler(WK), Woakes, Ali, Broad and Anderson
The tourists have already confirmed Usman Khawaja and James Pattinson's involvement in the first Test. This leaves the fearsome trio of Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Starc to fight it out for one spot alongside Pat Cummins. Australia could also opt for an all-pace attack with Nathan Lyon sitting out for the aforementioned. Steve Smith and David Warner return to the Test format and will slot in to the opener and middle-order position.
Marcus Harris should get the nod over Bancroft although his short-leg fielding is highly valued within the Australian set-up. Marnus Labuschagne leads the run-scoring charts in Division 2 of the County Championships with 1114 runs in 10 games. Unfortunately, he is likely to be overlooked for Travis Head while Mitchell Marsh and captain Tim Paine complete the side.
Possible XI: Warner, Harris, Khawaja, Smith, Head, Marsh, Paine(C&WK), Cummins, Pattinson, Starc, Lyon/Hazlewood.
England vs Australia, The Ashes, 1st Test
1st - 5th August 2019, 3:30 PM IST
The conditions are set to be seamer-friendly with overcast conditions engulfing the ground over the next week or so. The weather isn't too great for the latter part of the Test with rain expected to make an appearance.
Fantasy Tips and Suggestions
Wicket-keeper: Jonny Bairstow is the preferred wicket-keeper for this game with his record in home conditions being note-worthy. He even had a wonderful World Cup and would look to bounce back after a pair against the Irish. Tim Paine can also be picked to accommodate more established players in the side.
Batsmen: Joe Root and Steven Smith are two of the best batsmen in the format with averages in excess of 48. While Smith is playing his first Test in over a year, all eyes will be on Root, who captains the side as well. The likes of David Warner and Jason Roy are also good options to have in the side while Rory Burns is an outside option as well.
All-rounders: While Ben Stokes is a must-have in any fantasy side given his ability to utilize reverse swing, Mitchell Marsh is also a viable candidate to fill in as the second all-rounder in the side. His performance in the practice games hold him in good stead as he looks to cement his place in the side for the upcoming Tests as well.
Bowlers: Pat Cummins and James Anderson will spearhead the bowling units for Australia and England respectively. Both of them are worthwhile options to have the side along with Stuart Broad, who was at his best at Lord's against the Irish. He picked 7 wickets last week which should give him the confidence to succeed. Hometown hero Chris Woakes is another option while one of Nathan Lyon or James Pattinson should suffice as the final pick in the fantasy team.
Captain: England captain Joe Root is the early contender for captaincy given his experience and ability to play a big knock. Along with Root, Smith and Anderson are also good options although the nature of the pitch also throws Pat Cummins' name into the hat with his batting ability being a bonus to any fantasy team.
Fantasy Suggestion #1: Jonny Bairstow, Steven Smith, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Cameron Bancroft, Ben Stokes, Mitchell Marsh, James Pattinson, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Pat Cummins. Captain: Pat Cummins, Vice-Captain: Joe Root
Fantasy Suggestion #2: Tim Paine, David Warner, Travis Head, Steven Smith, Joe Root, Rory Burns, Ben Stokes, Pat Cummins, Chris Woakes, James Pattinson and James Anderson. Captain: Joe Root, Vice-Captain: James Anderson