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Australia To Make Winning Ashes Start At The Gabba

November 22, 2017

The Ashes begins on Thursday as Australia will aim to get off to a strong start at fortress Gabba against England.

The Baggy Greens are unbeaten in their last 28 matches in Brisbane. Their last loss at the ground came back in 1989 against Sri Lanka. In that time the Aussies have won 21 of their matches, including five victories over England in seven attempts.

Steve Smith will be determined to continue that record against the old enemy. Australia were given a scare this week by David Warner, who injured his neck in practice. However, he has insisted that he will be fit to take his place at the top of the order.

The Aussies will need Warner to be fit and firing as their batting unit outside of him and Smith looks suspect. England will be desperate to capitalise on any advantage they possibly can to end the Baggy Greens’ dominance in Brisbane.

Joe Root’s men have problems of their own with their line-up. Ben Stokes’ absence leaves a hole, which will reportedly be filled by Jake Ball, elevating Moeen Ali up the order to number six. The batting line-up has been shaky for a good while now. As a result, there will be a lot of nervous energy in the early stages of the contest as both sides size each other up.

We’ll now break down the best betting markets for the opening match of the series.

Australia’s Top Batsman

Smith will be eager for a fast start

The Aussies need a strong start from their captain, especially given Warner’s injury issue. Smith has been one of the most dominant batsmen in the game over the past three years. The 28-year-old has an outstanding record on home soil, averaging in the 60s. He has scored 434 runs in four Tests at the Gabba, with two centuries. Past Australian captains have previously made strong starts at the ground to set the tone for the series.

Ricky Ponting made 196 in the 2006/07 series on his way to guiding his team to a 5-0 whitewash of the Three Lions. Smith will be determined to emulate the greats of the past as he seeks to put his stamp on the team. Australia have not been on form in Test cricket in 2017, losing to India and drawing last time out against Bangladesh.

Smith has impressive despite the issues the Aussies have faced, scoring three centuries in four matches. The 28-year-old has a decent record against England and will be looking to get on top of James Anderson and Stuart Broad from the off. If he gets off to a strong start then Root and company will have a tough time stopping him. Back Smith to top score at odds of 3/1  with Bet365.

England’s Top Batsman

Much like Australia, England need their main man to fire from the off at the Gabba. Root had a nightmare tour of Australia last time out as he endured the worst spell of his illustrious career. The 26-year-old was dropped for the final Test of the series to take him out of the firing line following his struggles. He averaged 27.42, scoring just one half-century in the process. As a result, Root has a point to prove and will be determined to banish his demons.

The Yorkshireman displayed no ill-effects of inheriting the captaincy over the summer. He played well against South Africa and the West Indies to guide his side to victories. The issue that has plagued his recent career has been his inability to convert his 50s into hundreds with greater regularity.

Whereas Smith has 20 centuries and 21 half-centuries, Root has 13 hundreds and 32 fifties. He will be reminded of that fact throughout the series and the Yorkshireman will want to capitalise on the favourable batting conditions.

Root is a player for the big occasion and will be determined to start on the front foot. Back him to lead the way for England at odds of 13/5  with Betway.

Australia’s Top Bowler

Mitchell Starc has been getting all of the attention ahead of the series. The 27-year-old took two hat-tricks for New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield and appears to be in prime form. However, his Test record outside of one excellent series against Sri Lanka has not been great. The left-arm quick has not had a great deal of success at the Gabba, taking 14 wickets in his four matches at 31.82.

As a result, Nathan Lyon could be the surprise package. The 29-year-old could come to the fore, especially if Australia win the toss and elect to bat first. That would allow him to take advantage of the deteriorating pitch to put England in trouble in their second innings.

Lyon has a good record in Brisbane in his six matches, striking 26 times at an average of 27.46. He could be forced to do a lot of bowling over the course of the series due to the Aussies’ lack of an all-rounder. Therefore getting into an early rhythm at the Gabba will be an important factor for the rest of the winter. Back him for value to lead the wicket column at odds of 5/1  with 888Sport.

England’s Top Bowler

Broad will look to continue his hold over the Aussies

Broad had Australia on the ropes at the Gabba last time out in Australia. He tore through their top order, only for Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson to save the Baggy Greens. That was a decisive moment in the series as England had crushed the Aussies on home three months prior. Haddin’s knock turned the momentum, despite figure of 6-81 for Broad.

The Ashes always seem to bring out the best in the 31-year-old. He has not been in the best form in 2017, struggling for rhythm against South Africa and the West Indies. However, the atmosphere of the first Test may be the spark he needs to get back to his best. He was one of the few England players to emerge from the whitewash series with credit. Broad took 21 wickets at an average of 27.52 and he carried that momentum forward to 2015 when he tore through the Aussies again.

A large portion of the Australia team did not play in that series. However, Smith and Warner will be aware of his abilities. A magic spell from the paceman is always just around the corner, therefore backing him to get England firing at the Gabba at odds of 10/3  with Bet365 is a solid punt.


It’s hard to look past Australia’s formidable record at the Gabba. The pitch and the atmosphere in Brisbane seems to suit their style of play. Smith’s men will be looking to put England under pressure from the off and with uncertainties over members of the batting unit they should be able to thrive.

The Baggy Greens’ are not infallible and will need to produce a strong performance to knock off Root’s men. However, they should be able to secure the win at odds of 8/11  with Bet365.

Tips Summary

Australia To Beat England First Test
Thursday 23rd November 2017 – Monday 27th November 2017
Odds: 8/11

Steve Smith To Be Australia’s Top Batsman
Thursday 23rd November 2017 – Monday 27th November 2017
Odds: 3/1

Joe Root To Be England’s Top Batsman
Thursday 23rd November 2017 – Monday 27th November 2017
Odds: 13/5

Nathan Lyon To Be Australia’s Top Bowler
Thursday 23rd November 2017 – Monday 27th November 2017
Odds: 5/1

Stuart Broad To Be England’s Top Bowler
Thursday 23rd November 2017 – Monday 27th November 2017
Odds: 10/3

  • Australia
  • cricket
  • England
  • Mitchell Starc
  • Steve Smith

    About the author

    Eric Roberts
    Eric Roberts

    Sports Journalist

    Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.