Poll: Which batsman can lead the way in the Ashes opener?
The Barmy Army are getting their trumpets ready, the groundsmen are making the final alterations to the pitch, and the two teams are undoubtedly fired up and ready to go – the Ashes is here.
As England and Australia prepare for their mammoth clash at Cardiff’s Swalec Stadium, we want to know who you think will take the bull by the horns and lead the way with the bat.
The honours have been split evenly over the last six series, with three Englishman and three Aussies top-scoring in the opening Test, but how will this one unfold?
Which of these five will have the most joy with the bat in Wales?
England will look to their captain to lead by example and build on their last Ashes success in England in 2013.
Some better performances have started to creep into the opener’s game this year, with four half centuries and two centuries from his last six Test innings, and it will be key to build on that in Cardiff.
A major part of the ‘new era’ of English cricket, Root could have a lot of responsibility on his shoulders as he looks to lead a revival for the hosts.
He has top-scored for England’s opening innings in three of the last six Tests that he has featured in, and with his price boosted to 5/1 to do the same again, will be a popular option for a big day.
Smith top scored for Australia in the opening innings of two of the five Tests last year, and is 3/1 to outscore his team-mates in their first batting experience in Cardiff.
The 26-year-old has arguably improved since the last Ashes series as well, coming into this fixture in unbelievable form. He has recorded a century in the opening innings of five of his last six Baggy Green Tests.
Australia’s dangerous weapon (both on and off the pitch for Joe Root), Warner dominated the England bowling attack the last time the sides met.
Bagging a total of 523 runs Down Under in the five Tests, the Sydney Thunder batsman smashed his way to two centuries, including one in the opening contest in Brisbane.
The man who leads the visiting charge may have been fourth in the table for most runs scored by an Australian 18 months ago, but he still outperformed every Englishman.
He was however out for a duck in the opening Test when he last set foot on these shores for Australia, and the likes of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad will be hoping for a repeat again.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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