The Ashes have begun in earnest and at the time of writing, England have opened the series by winning the toss and opting to bat first at the Gabba. Australia are bidding to regain the urn on home soil to match their efforts of the last series down under when the Aussies whitewashed Alastair Cook’s team. Mitchell Johnson was the key cog of the emphatic victory, taking 37 wickets in the five matches at an average of 13.97. The Baggy Greens are looking to Mitchell Starc to be the heir apparent this time around, with both players sharing similar traits.
— Gulf Daily News (@GDNonline) November 7, 2017
A lot can happen over the course of an Ashes series, therefore, it’s worth tracking the latest cricket advice to ensure that you’re up to date before delving into a punt. Injuries and a lack of form always seem to play a part over the course of a campaign along with the occasional off-the-field incident.
The pressure will be on the Aussies to rise to the occasion, especially their youthful pace attack. Starc has been up and down during his career, while injuries have also held back his progress. Johnson too had his problems with consistency, but when he found his peak form, he proved to be unplayable in two series against South Africa and England, tearing through both batting line-ups.
Starc has hinted at that ability during Australia’s series against Sri Lanka last year. The 27-year-old took 24 wickets in three matches, including a devastating spell of bowling in Galle. He took 11 wickets in the game and 6-50 in the second innings – his best Test figures – although it was still not good enough to drive his side over the line.
The left-arm quick has not been able to reach that standard in the Test match arena since. He has averaged above 30 in the three series since his side were beaten in Sri Lanka. Starc has had his moments in individual matches, but has lacked the consistency over the course of the series. For Australia to run away from England in the series, he has to follow in the footsteps of Johnson, while Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins will have to fill the complement Ryan Harris role.
— Sky Sports Cricket🏏 (@SkyCricket) November 7, 2017
Starc ran through Western Australia in a Sheffield Shield contest, taking two hat-tricks. He used the yorker that has been such a deadly weapon during his limited-overs career to strike with regularity. The 27-year-old will be desperate to use that attribute to great effect, although he will have to use it sparingly given the nature of Test match cricket.
England’s batting line-up outside of Cook and captain Joe Root are inexperienced and have not had a great deal of success during their limited time in the middle for the Three Lions. Starc has an opportunity to strike at the top of the innings against Mark Stoneman and James Vince to put the tourists under pressure. The series will come down to which bowling attack is able to capitalise on the weaknesses of the opposition. If James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes get the better of Starc and company, Australia could be heading for their fifth defeat in the last six Ashes series. The paceman must rise to the occasion for Steve Smith’s men.