Ashes 100-1 Countdown: 2 Days Until the Ashes
The wait is almost over. There’s only two days until the action gets underway in Brisbane and writing 100 Ashes articles in 100 days has been a long and enjoyable slog. There’s not much more to say apart from picking a composite XI as a way to understand which way the series might go. Now that Australia’s ballooning 17 man squad has been trimmed down to a respectable 13, along with England’s almost certain starting lineup, we can decide who we’d have in our dream XI.
1. Andrew Strauss – Arguably the pick of the captains and most definitely in the top two openers both on form and strokeplay.
2. Shane Watson – It could only be Watson with an average over 50 ever since that Edgbaston test and an ability to score at a good rate. A handy 5th bowler in this lineup too.
3. Jonathan Trott – Has cemented the number 3 spot for England with guile and a lot of runs
4. Ricky Ponting – Don’t worry, Punter is just moving down the order. Without a doubt the most talented batsman in either side. Will have too score a lot of runs to leave a legacy untarnished.
5. Michael Clarke – A Test average of 50 and a solid technique that suits Australian conditions. His back might be a concern but he’s a quality batter.
6. Ian Bell – Up against the likes of Hussey and North you might think this one is an easy decision and you’d be right. The big century against Australia a was pure class and that has been the mould of his batting ever since coming back into the side.
7. Matt Prior – Arguably edges Haddin in both glovework and batting.
8. Stuart Broad – He’s the one bowler that Australia seem to fear and he has a belief and ambition greater than the other English bowlers. Conditions will suit him with both bat and ball.
9. Mitchell Johnson – Never has any man been able to win or lose a test match in so short a space of time. But you have to have him in for the X Factor ( worst cliche ever!)
10. Graeme Swann – Most complete spinner in world cricket right now, this one was an absolute no brainer.
11. Ben Hilfenhaus – Australia have strength in depth in the fast bowling stocks but this one was a straight shoot out between Hilf and Bollinger for my money. Ben Hilfenhaus edges it for me.
Can count themselves very unfortunate: James Anderson (in favourable conditions would be up there with Steyn, Zaheer and malinga for best quicks in the world), Kevin Pietersen (2nd most talented batter on display), Dougie Bollinger (will cause England troubles)
So there we have it. The Ashes composite XI comprises of 6 Englishmen and 5 Australians which once again provides us with an indicator of just how close this series is likely to be. Who would you pick?
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