Before the start of the Ashes hosts, Australia were the hot favourites to reclaim the urn given they were playing in their familiar conditions and adding that several injuries pegged England before the start of the series.
They did justice to their reputation by putting up a clinical performance in the opening Test at the Gabba in Brisbane to win by ten wickets.
England was good in patches, but their 2nd innings batting cost them dearly, as they were blown away by a sensational piece of bowling by Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon. Openers David Warner and debutant Cameron Bancroft were superb in the 2nd innings, as they chased down 173 with utmost comfort.
The home team will be delighted with the fact that their bid to experiment with Cameron Bancroft paid off rich dividends, as the stylish right-hander was rather unfazed against a quality English bowling attack. He played all around the wicket and looked comfortable while southpaw David Warner was also at his imperious best.
Captain Steven Smith brought up his 21st Test century in the 1st innings which ensured a slender lead for Australia. He has been sensational Test batsmen, and his records is a testimony to his greatness in the Test format. He has the 2nd highest average among batsmen to have played more than 50 Tests and is just behind the Sir Great Don Bradman who is a mile apart with a stunning average of 99.94.
The bowling department wrecked the England attack on both occasions and like expected the Pacers proved too lethal on both occasions. Starc picked up six wickets in the match while Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins returned with three wickets each. Nathan Lyon also contributed equally well bagging three wickets in the process.
Predicted XI: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Steven Smith (c), Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
The visitors applied themselves well in the 1st essay and managed to post a competitive 302 on the board courtesy impressive knocks by James Vince and Dawid Malan. Vince looked in imperious touch, as the ploy to stick with him paid off. He stroked his way to a fluent 82 off 17 deliveries which included 12 hits to the fence.
Opener Mark Stoneman who is yet another relative newcomer in the international arena also chipped in with a half-century but couldn’t quite covert his start. Stuart Broad led the charge for the visitors with the ball in handbagging three wickets. James Anderson also bowled in the right areas and returned with a couple.
The Aussies played them exceptionally the 2nd time around, and the quality bowling attack failed to bag a single wicket in a chase of 173. Skipper Joe Root spent some quality time in the middle but failed to convert his half-century into a big one in the 2nd innings, as England were bowled out for a below par 195.
Predicted XI: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Joe Root, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Just like the start of the opening Test Australia will start as the favourites, but there is a strong gut feeling from a personal front that England will make a strong comeback and will return victorious in the 2nd encounter. They were wayward in the 2nd innings but was impressive in the 1st essay. They would like to think the 1st Test performance as an aberration and make a strong comeback in the 2nd Test scheduled to be played at the Adelaide Oval from 6th December.