What England’s Final Warm Up Told Us About Their Ashes Hopes

It’s likely England will be doing a bit of soul searching following their final warm up game ahead of the First Ashes Test this week.

The final warm up, against a Cricket Australia XI, finished a draw as the Three Lions bowled 75 overs for just one wicket.

The Australians are of course favourites with the bookies for the First Ashes Test on Thursday, and they will have learnt plenty from the last England warm up…

Lacking that je ne sais quoi

It’s pretty clear England are missing Ben Stokes. He’s one of those players who can lift the team with both bat and ball and has a fiery aura in the same way both Flintoff and Botham did.

It’s clear they lacked that bowler on a flat wicket who could turn the game on its head, evidenced by the vast amount of time they spent out there for just one wicket.

It is thought Stokes could be cleared by police this week however, and he could be available for at least some of the series, which would be a huge boost for England.

Players are coming back from injury

The good news is that during the warm ups, both James Anderson and Jake Ball spent some valuable time in the nets.

It’s thought Anderson has overcome a virus and had three spells in the nets as he looks to get back to full fitness.

Anderson will be England’s key bowler this winter and is at 9/2 in the Ashes top bowler odds.

Meanwhile, Ball is getting back to 100% following his injury in the warm ups and could play a role in the First Test in Brisbane.

Valuable Time in the field

Despite England’s long day in the field being far from ideal, it is good preparation should any of the Ashes series go that way.

A batsman’s time in the middle is vital to preparation, but so is being able to concentrate for long periods of time in the field.

The likes of David Warner and Steve Smith may well produce some fine batting displays over the series, the latter is in fact favourite to be Ashes top scorer and having that patience and taking chances when they do come will be huge.

It could well turn into a very long series for England, but it will be even longer if they fail to take their catches when they do come along.