Ashes 2017-18 : Australia, England eager to take early advantage at Gabba

Cricket Oldest rivals faceoff in first Test of five-match series from Thursday in Brisbane

Australia and England are ready to take early advantage in the Ashes 2017-18 as they clash in the first Test of the five-match series starting from Thursday in Brisbane.Coming into this series, both teams are having series problems, but by the look of it, Australia will start as firm favorite.It is the same venue where Australia haven’t lost since 1988, whereas England have not won there since 1986.

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After host of changes, Kangaroos will be depending heavily on captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner in the batting department, who is expected to start after recovering from neck injury sustained while training on Tuesday. Left-handed batsman Shaun Marsh can also play a crucial part, as he replace Glenn Maxwell in the all-important middle-order slot.

In the bowling department, however, the home side looks at ease in the presence of star pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, who will be accompanied by off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

For England, things looked far from settled at the moment. The absence of star all-rounder Ben Stokes left a big gap to fill in the playing eleven, and so far there is no player to player replacement available for him.In the batting department, the team will be relying on captain Joe Root and veteran opener Alastair Cook to provide stability from the top. Whereas in the lower department, presence of reliable wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow and all-rounder Moeen Ali gives England edge over the hosts.

In the bowling department, veteran pace duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad will share the responsibility of leading the attack, and they will be supported by fellow pacers Jake Ball Chris Woakes and off-spinner Ali.

The pitch is expected to assist the pacers, just like it always do at the Gabba, whereas the weather is expected to stay fine for most of the match. Ashes 2017-18 will certainly be a closely contested one as both sides are coming into  the series on back of decent performances.

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