The First Test of the Ashes is now just around the corner. In his latest preview of the series, Jamie Pacheco talks us through five events that will pretty much definitely happen during those five days in Brisbane...
"The problem with Broad over the years is that he always thinks batsmen are out when he’s the one bowling."
The captain winning the toss will bat
In the last seven First Tests of an Ashes series, the captain who won the toss chose to bat. And as mentioned in a previous article, on each of the last six occasions, they went on to win the Ashes. You need to go back to 2005 for the last time the side who won the toss didn't go on to win the series. Although Australia did of course win the First Test at Lord's.
For interest's sake, looking at those last six First Tests, England won the toss in four of them.
But that of course isn't going to fool the Betfair Sportsbook odds-compilers, who make it 10/11 the pair on Steve Smith or Joe Root getting the chance to make the all-important decision.
The commentators will mention the absent Ben Stokes during the first session
It's the elephant in the room, isn't it? Alongside England's inexperienced and quite frankly, questionable (in itself partly due to Stokes' absence) batting line-up, it's the major talking point going into the series.
With each day that passes without any progress in the police in the police investigation/court case, the participation of Stokes in the Ashes is looking less and less likely.
If England bat first, the likes of Nasser Hussain, Michael Atherton and David Gower will probably mention that Jonny Bairstow and/or Moeen Ali are batting a spot higher because of Stokes not being there. If England bowl first, they'll probably say that after 15-20 overs, this would be the time the Durham man would normally be coming on to bowl. You simply can't get away from the subject.
A promotion up the order is one of the reasons why Bairstow is rated third-favourite to be England's top runscorer in the series at 6/1 with the Sportsbook. Only skipper Joe Root (13/8) and Alastair Cook (9/4) are shorter.
An Australian player will get out in the 90s
Not as likely as some of the other entries on this list but remarkably it's happened in each of the last three opening matches of an Ashes series during Australia's first knock. In England two years ago Chris Rogers was out for 95, in 2013 it was Brad Haddin who failed to reach his century after making 94 and most famously of all, in 2013 it was teenage debutant Ashton Agar who scored a brilliant 98 batting at 11 before getting out. On all three of those occasions, no Australian batsman reached 100 in their first dig.
It all makes it worth looking out for a price on no century being scored when Australia bat for the first time.
Stuart Broad will review a decision and the batsman will remain not out
Love him or hate him, Broad is integral to England's chances of regaining the urn as a senior player with plenty of Ashes experience. And rather like the similarly divisive figure of Ian Poulter often saved his best for the Ryder Cup, so Broad has put in some of his best performances in this particular contest.
The problem with Broad over the years is that he always thinks batsmen are out when he's the one bowling. Whether he thinks he's heard an edge or is sure that ball was cannoning into middle and off, he's not shy to urge skipper Root to review. More often than not he's wrong and Root will have his work cut out convincing his strike bowler that it's not worth turning to DRS.
Someone will make a reference to the 'Gabbatoir'
Australia famously have a brilliant record at the Gabba in Brisbane. A combination of conditions that favour their players and an almost vicious atmosphere that Graeme Swann this week described as 'feral' have contributed to it being nicknamed 'The Gabbatoir' where the best teams in the world go to die...well...lose.
At one stage Steve Smith or David Warner in a TV interview, a commentator live on air or an Aussie fan holding up a banner will make reference to the ground's moniker. It's 1.84/5 that England will be slaughtered at the Gabbatoir.
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