Opinion: Aussies will win Ashes

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Attention is quickly turning to the Ashes - and Australia are really looking like the favourites.

Mitchell Starc is in red-hot form, having taken two hat-tricks in the same match recently, while England have lost Steven Finn to injury. Finn's replacement, Tom Curran, though, is an exciting prospect. While his masterful slower balls won't be a big requirement in Test match cricket, his pace will be key.

England's squad, in general, seems a bit light. The 16-man collective features relative rookies in Curran, Mason Crane, Ben Foakes and Craig Overton. Dawid Malan and James Vince, meanwhile, haven't played much international cricket.

Pressure, too, is placed squarely on the shoulders of Mark Stoneman. He has to show, quickly, why is in the touring party ahead of a slew of other capable contenders.

On paper, this really is a thin squad - Gary Ballance and Jake Ball included. Alastair Cook, Joe Root, James Anderson and Moeen Ali are going to have to carry a lot of the runs and wickets.

Ben Stokes' participation - or lack thereof - remains in the balance. If he doesn't get a gig because of his well-documented problems off the field, Chris Woakes' stocks will rise substantially.

Over in the Aussie camp, Ryan Harris has stated the current pace trio of Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are stronger than the threesome he formed with Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle back in the day.

That's a big statement, with some credit, but you'd still take Johnson ahead of Starc and Harris before Cummins. Siddle, compared to Hazlewood, yes, wins the race.

This will be a huge series for Cummins, who was dangerously close to tripping down the same road as Shaun Tait. He has managed to avoid being pigeonholed as a short-format specialist, though, and injury problems of the past are exactly that - history. Here's hoping nothing flares up.

Pre-Ashes hype will always come with a lot of trash talk, but it's out in the middle that'll ultimately count. Australia just seem a cut above at the moment - and primed to capitalise against opposition a long way from home for an extended period.

It's going to be a cracker of a tour either way, with a couple of four-day finishes anticipated, particularly when they get under lights in Adelaide in December.

Even serious cricket fans are hard pressed to wake up really early - or stay up particularly late - to watch the Aussies and English battle it out in Sydney and surrounds. But it'll be well worth it.

The views expressed above are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Hollywoodbets.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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