England and Australia will meet in a Day-Night Test for the first time during the 2017-18 Ashes series. The two teams have enjoyed periods of dominance over 100 years, but the statistics show Australia having an upper hand with 32 series wins while England following them with 31 (the other five having being drawn).
The five Test match series will begin on 26 November in Brisbane, with the Pink ball Test taking place in Adelaide from 2nd December. The Gabba is reportedly set to return to its prized position of hosting the opening Test of the Australian summer.
England has been beaten twice in Australia by the hosts in their last three ashes tour by a complete whitewash of 5-0.
In 2006-07, The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper described the series as “the most anticipated Ashes series ever”.
Andrew Flintoff, England’s captain, called the series,
“The reason we play … we are going over there to play in what could be the biggest series ever so there is an excited group of lads … it is going to be tough. We know that 2005 was something special and whether that can be recreated I am not quite sure … in England each Test match got bigger and bigger and we got a real feeling of what the Ashes was about.”
A major concern was raised in England after a dramatic capitulation just 15 months after winning the coveted urn. As a result, many criticised Andrew Flintoff’s captaincy and the resultant pressure placed on him in lieu of Michael Vaughan being injured. In 2013-14, England suffered the same fate, under Alastair Cook’s captaincy. In doing so, Australia recorded only the third 5–0 Ashes clean sweep in history. With 37 wickets and three men of the match awards, Mitchell Johnson was player of the series.
Although Johnson and other legends of the game like the Waugh twins, Shane Warne, Sir Ian Botham, and Allan border may have retired from the epic battleground but Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson ensure there are still many stories left in the attack of the hosts.
Their present performances in Border-Gavaskar trophy against India makes, the former England quick, Harmison believe that this can be another year for England to suffer from a complete whitewash at the hands of the host.
“I was really impressed with how Australia played against India,” Harmison told BBC Five Live.
“They didn’t give them any respite. They won the first Test and were in the majority of the others.
“In the Australian line-up they move the ball through the air very, very quickly and it caused the Indian batsman a lot of problems.”
Meanwhile, England suffered a 4-0 defeat at the host’s hand with Virat Kohli averaging 109.16 in the five-match series. England’s bowling was not impressive and India hardly was made to sweat!
Whereas against Australia, India tasted their own medicine, Aussies led by Hazlewood, Cummins, Starc had outstanding performances leading to the quick downfall of Indian batsman and Virat Kohli averaging a paltry 9.20 before missing the fourth and final Test due to injury.
“That was down to the Aussie bowling line-up for me,” said Harmison.
“England have perhaps got one, maybe two in (Mark) Wood and (Steve) Finn who are different to the norm which is electric pace through the air, whereas as Australia have a good bunch in Hazlewood, Starc and Pat Cummins.
“I was so impressed by Cummins. If they can get them fit and ready for November when England get there I think their batsman will be a bit fearful. In the past they’ve struggled when Mitchell Johnson hit his straps.
“If England don’t go in with Finn or Wood then the bowling is too much of a similar pace.
“On good pitches with a Kookaburra ball, as it showed last time, we were a bit toothless.
“That could be the difference and it could really hurt England.”
Well , the legacy will continue hoping to see which side cuts the edge and turn the balls to tumble down the middlestumps of each other. It, definitely is gonna be more a battle of the bowlers.