There aren’t many sporting events that carry quite the same history, or sense of tension, as the Ashes. One of the most eagerly anticipated dates in the sporting calendar, the Ashes sees England and Australia take each other on in annual test series, with the winner taking home the trophy. In the event of a draw, the trophy remains with the current holders.

The tradition began with Australia’s first test win on British soil, which they managed in 1882, triumphing over England at The Oval. The defeat led one British tabloid to lament that English cricket had died, its body cremated, and the remains taken back to Australia with the victors. The England captain at the time, Ivor Bligh, vowed that he would “regain those ashes” and thus the tradition was born.

Since then, the Ashes has become to focal point of the friendly, good natured, rivalry that exists between the English and Australian cricket teams. Both countries share strong cultural and historical links and both have a fondness for cricket, making them ideal rivals and brothers in arms.

Predicting the outcome of the Ashes is notoriously difficult, with both teams consistently performing to a similar standard. Given the stakes and the history involved, it is hardly surprising that so many pundits and observers of cricket, and sport more generally, like to weigh-in each year with their predictions. Of course, for those who like to bet on sport the Ashes hold a similar stature to manor racing events such as the Grand National.

Who Will Win?

This is the big question, and while opinion remains as divided as ever, there does seem to be a slight tendency towards predicting an Australian win this year. In fact, Australia have won six of the last seven encounters on Australian soil. Not only are they playing with the advantage of being on home turf, Australia are looking particularly strong this year thanks to their strong line up of fast bowlers, who historically have caused problems for the English side.

For those who want to take advantage of the betting opportunities presented by this much-anticipated clash, it would seem that Australia are this year’s favourites. If you like to play the odds and keep it safe then head over to Toals official site to place your bets on the Australian side. Or if you fancy a bit more of a punt and find your faith on the England side unshakeable then why not put a couple of quid on the apparent underdogs? Those who really want to take a spin ln the wild side could even place a bet in the hopes of a rare draw between the two.

What About the Score?

Predicting the exact score is even more of a minefield than trying to decide who will win, but for observers and pundits alike it presents an irresistible challenge. Judging by the way that both teams have performed over the course of the year so far it looks likely that the Australian side will comfortably win in at least 3 of the arenas. England’s resilience and chances of striking back are harder to predict.

The consensus amongst veteran pundits seems to be that a 3-2 Australian victory is the most likely. Some are floating the possibility of a 3-1 victory for the Australians, and some are even less charitable when it comes to England’s chances, proposing that a 4-1 might be on the cards.

Whatever happens, England will certainly have their work cut out for them if they want to put up a serious challenge to what is undoubtedly one of the strongest Australian teams in living memory.

Players to Watch

There are a number of extremely talented individuals taking to the pitch this year.Mitchell Starc is not the fastest bowler to have played in the Ashes, but when he is on form he is one of the most dangerous bowlers in the whole sport. Similarly, Josh Hazelwood is a bowler who has continued to move from strength to strength and is rapidly developing in to one of the best players on the field.

The Ashes continues to be one of the most exciting and eagerly anticipated events in the sporting calendar, this year Australia are the clear favourites but this is a contest where anything can happen.

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