Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Can Ponting afford to lose Ashes series?

Andrew Strauss' England tour Australia with their best chance of success in a quarter of a century. Pundits, experts, and former players on this side of the world are all resoundingly in accordance that Strauss and his team will bring home the urn. The first part of this blog will look at England's chances, and assess whether the overwhelming optimism surrounding the team is justified, before looking at the other side of the all-important coin, and see that England would underestimate at their peril the ability, and most importantly hunger, of the Australian side and its talismanic, yet controversial leader Ricky Ponting.

Pundits and former players in England seem in clear agreement that England are a superior side to Australia, so much so that they will win the series on their opponents' own soil. Former captains Gatting and Vaughan have confidently predicted England victories while Jonathan Agnew expects a 3-1 triumph, looking at Swann's ability and the frailties of the Aussie batting line-up, Michael Hussey and Marcus North in particular, as deciding factors.