Live Cricket: The Ashes

Wed Jul 10, 10am-7pm, Sky Sports Ashes

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Back in 2005, English cricket fans were gently hopeful. In 2009, they were bullish. But in 2013, they’re positively triumphalist. In fact, this is probably the first Ashes series since 1989 which England will begin as overwhelming favourites. The result in 1989? Four-nil to Australia. And trust us, England were lucky to get nil. So throw the form books out of the window, forget about the hilarious, Walkabout-brawling, coach-sacking hi-jinks of the current Australian tourists and enjoy; this is a sporting contest that almost always sees players digging deep and finding fresh reserves to their skill and nerve.

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.


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