This series will pit the immaculate conservative Alastair Cook against the dangerous gambler Michael Clarke. On paper, England should win easily; their batting looks solid and seasoned, their pace attack sharp and incisive, their spin superiority unarguable. But Australia shouldn’t be underestimated – Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson represent a raw but formidable bowling attack, Clarke’s a peerless run gatherer these days and their new coach Darren Lehmann should infuse them with a dose of no-nonsense Aussie derring-do.
This will be closer than anyone thinks. Sadly, the Ashes will, once again, have no live free-to-air TV footprint whatsoever. Those without Sky will have to rely on the estimable ‘Test Match Special’ while looking out for C5’s nightly highlights package.