The build-up to the 2013/14 Ashes Series came to an end this morning as Alastair Cook’s England side kicked off their bid to retain the Urn in Brisbane.
The build-up has been slightly quieter than usual, more than likely due to the fact we’ve seen back-to-back series this year, and I think most people know what to expect from both sides.
Australia line up with a more settled side than the experimental unit they selected over here, and I think that will help them enormously.
Their skipper Michael Clarke tried his best to stoke up the pre-series mind-games by predicting the England line-up, and I don’t think he’ll have been far wrong.
I’ve stuck my neck out and gone for a 2-1 Australia win.
I’m basing that on their home advantage and more settled side. I hope I’m proved wrong though, and I certainly could be as it’s not an easy one to call once again.
Sports editor Andy Bloomfield
Who will win? England will retain the Ashes.
And the score? I think in the last Ashes Series the Aussies showed signs of improvement, so I’ll go for 2-2.
Man of the series? Kevin Pietersen for me.
Key men? England - James Anderson, Australia - Peter Siddle
Deputy sports editor Martin Dowey
Who will win? England’s all-round side is better than the Australians. I think they’ll prove their class again.
And the score? I’m confident so I’ll go for 3-0 to England.
Man of the series? James Anderson will have a huge role to play if England are to retain the Urn.
Key men? England - Joe Root, Australia - Shane Watson
Sports reporter Daniel Gregory
Who will win? Australia. If they can keep Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson fit then I think they’ll be able to do some damage.
And the score? I think it will be another close series, but I’m going with home advantage and a more settled Australian side to take it 2-1.
Man of the series? Ryan Harris. If he can stay fit I think he’ll fire the hosts to the victory.
Key men? England - Jonathan Trott, Australia - Michael Clarke
Reporter Rhys Howell
Who will win? England.
And the score? I’m backing England to take the series 2-1.
Man of the series? I think England’s Ian Bell will have another strong series with the bat.
Key men? England - Alastair Cook, Australia - Ryan Harris