England XI for the first test: Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Root (c), Joe Denly, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Johnny Bairstow (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson.
That batting line-up looks painfully average but it's a hell of a bowling attack they've picked. Root batting at 3 instead of 4 should help us out. Get on top of Broad early and his head will drop, Woakes and Anderson are always going to be threatening, Ali is just meh with the bat and ball.
Our XI is looking like it's going to be: Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade/Marnus Labuschange/Our Lord and Saviour, Tim Paine (c), Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood/Peter Siddle. Names in bold are locks, the bowler who misses out of Hazlewood and Siddle will most likely be 12th.
First overseas tour for a long time where I've felt like we've got a genuine shout at winning, our batting line-up is streets ahead of theirs on paper, just need the lads to fire.
That England top order looks flaky apart from Root but there is some power in that middle order with Buttler, Stokes and Bairstow.
On the Aussie side as harsh as it is on Harris I think Bancroft opens with Warner. Old wounds have healed it might seem and the balance they bring is good. Khawaja bothers me but deserves first crack at 3, the wall at 4, Head and Wade at 5 and 6, Paine at 7, Cummins, Pattinson, Lyon and Hazelwood round out the XI.
Think that number 6 slot is the biggest red herring. Do we go with a guy who can bowl overs if needed like Marnus/ Mitch or trust that Wade as a batter only without the keeping concern.
On the pitch it seems that Edgbaston will be win the toss and bowl first wicket. Fielding team looking to expose the top orders early.
Talk about a cricket revival in England, they win the WC and will probably win back the Ashes (only cos its over there). Shit for us but good for the game considering the sport was almost at its death bed with the general public over there.