Australia v England – 1st Test Match
Nov 21st-25th, The Gabba, Brisbane
The First Test could and should set the series up one way or another; if the Aussies can get into the English top order again and then find some consistency in their own batting effort, then they could nick a win and force England to take them seriously – this could mean a terrific series and one which could end up all-square, 2-2 in my mind as there will probably be one drawn match along the way
If England bat as well as they can, then there is no chance of the hosts taking 20 wickets and they will go to Adelaide one down and playing catch-up all series – this could mean a fourth consecutive series loss to the Poms which won’t go down well here!
So, a big match as always and one which will have both sets of fans wondering as neither will be as confident as they will no doubt make out – the English will be wary after being run close (way too close in their mind) a few times in the recent English summer; whilst the Aussies will know they are just a decisions away from being able to compete, and given a good run of health and the odd superlative performance, they can win a couple of Tests and enjoy some victory celebrations for a change in this historic match-up
Teams > No surprises this time around it seems so there won’t be Agar-tweets filling your Twitter timelines; the Aussies look to be going with Bailey at 6 with Faulkner the likely 12th man. I’m guessing Watson will bat at 3, Smith at 5 and Warner will be opening with Rogers
It seems that Prior will pass a fitness test for England so I expect Carberry to open with Cook, Root to bat at 6 and the vacant bowling spot (with Bresnan being injured) looks likely to be filled by Tremlett although there may be a surprise sprung here by the selectors
The Brisbane Cricket Ground at Woolloongabba will host as usual – the weather forecast is for plenty of heat and humidity (around 30 C and 60% humidity) with possible storms, especially on Friday and Sunday. The rain chance is above 50% so we will probably lose time to the inclement weather and if it’s a batting track then this could be a slow, tame draw. However, it could also provide decent bowling conditions. The last Test here saw plenty of runs and not many wickets and it was the same the last time these two met here so although it promises to be a decent track with a bit of bounce, it could well be in the batter’s favour.
The toss will be fairly crucial as always; in the recent Ashes series, England won the call 3-2 and each time, the toss winner batted first – we shall see how it pans out this Summer
This could well be one of the best chances of a win for the Australians, along with Perth. A buoyant, lively crowd should ensure a decent atmosphere and with some early wickets if bowling, or some boundaries flying off Warner’s bat if going in first, will see the confidence rapidly rise and they could set their stall out for a cracking and competitive series.
Prediction > if the weather is a bit indifferent and the pitch as good as in recent times then a draw looks favourite. Otherwise I think the Aussies will have enough to crack the series wide open and hand England a rare defeat.
Expecting Warner to provide crucial quick runs at the top and Steve Smith to continue his progression as a test cricketer. Harris should find enough juice in the pitch to cause some trouble too. England need to avoid their habit of becoming 30 odd for 3 which seemed to happen a lot last series, and will need KP to be at his calmest rather than the jittery version that occasionally appeared (get on the next dismissal, run-out, market if so!)
Easy to pick England as the better all-round and more solid team but I really think these Aussies could get into them a bit and prove that there is less of a gap than people may think between these two teams.