The Financial Express

The greatest cricketing rivalry - Ashes 2021 begins

| Updated: December 10, 2021 16:30:21

Photo: ESPNcricinfo Photo: ESPNcricinfo

When you think about the biggest of rivalries in cricket that have continued for centuries and to this date, The Ashes unarguably tops the list. 

England and Australia, two of the best cricketing nations have locked horns in Australia for the 72nd Ashes series as fans all around the world await a series of the highest intensity with the quality of cricket on the show being high.

The first day of the first test is done with England bowled out for only 147, thanks to debuting captain Cummins’ destructive bowling performance.

While the Ashes has just begun and plenty of actions to follow, we take a look deeper into the rivalry. 

In the 71 times the two sides have played each other, Australia have won 33 times, England 32 and the rest 6 have been drawn.

Australia, who are the current holders of the Ashes, will look to defend the urn against a determined English side led by Joe Root. Australia won the Ashes in 2017/18 by a 4-0 margin and the following one that took place in 2019 was drawn 2-2.

The Australian Test side have taken a new step forward as far as captaincy is concerned as Pat Cummins is captaining the side for the very first time after he was made the captain when Tim Paine quit last month. 

On the other hand, English skipper Joe Root has made his ambitions quite big prior to the series as he feels that this Ashes series might define his career.

When it comes to recent form in red-ball cricket, England have won 2 matches in their last 10. Since 2010/11, England have managed to win just 1 match out of the 10 matches they played in Australia.

In the battle of recent form in Test cricket, Australia are the clear winners winning 6 matches out of the last 10 they played.

The individual head-to-head battles that the Ashes will provide is enough to make the series even more compelling.

The Smith, Warner vs Anderson, Broad is one such battle. In the 2019 Ashes series, England seamer Stuart Broad dismissed David Warner 7 times whereas Warner could only manage 36 runs from his bowling. 

In home conditions, however, Warner averages more than 50 against them. Steve Smith, one of Australia’s most important batters, has an impressive stat against Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad averaging 45.20 and 152.00 against them respectively.

Joe Root, England’s captain who is already a man on a mission to regain the Ashes, will look to lead from the front. Root’s batting against the Aussie quicks in the likes of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc is another match-up of interest. 

Although Root averages 38 with the bat in Australia, the last time he toured there he averaged 47.25. Root’s opposite number that is Australia’s captain Pat Cummins has had the better of him as Root averages a modest 17.75 getting out 4 times to the bowling of Cummins.

However, against the other bowlers in the Australian attack, Root averages 48.00 against Nathan Lyon, 49.50 against Josh Hazlewood and 78.00 against Mitchell Starc.

The return of English all-rounder Ben Stokes will also be a big plus point for the England side as his services with bat and ball will be vital for them to give a tough fight to Australia.

Overall, to go with the touch of history and rivalry that has continued between these two sides over the years, the individual battles against certain players make the Ashes one of the pinnacles of Test match quality in world cricket.

[email protected] 

Share if you like