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Ashes storylines to watch: Stuart Broad and David Warner set to renew hostilities

The 2023 Ashes series starts at Edgbaston on Friday as resurgent England take on Australia, who outclassed India in last week's World Test Championship final.

A fascinating series is in prospect, with England 8/5 to defeat the 10/11 Aussies, and we have picked out some of the main storylines to watch out for during an epic five-match contest.

WhatAshes Series 2023
WhereFive Test matches at Edgbaston, Old Trafford, Headingley, Old Trafford and The Oval
WhenSeries starts 11:00, Friday 16th June
How to watchSky Sports Cricket & Sky Sports Main Event
OddsEngland 8/5, Draw 11/2, Australia 10/11

Warner bidding to bounce back from 2019 woes 

Depending on the result of the toss at Edgbaston on Friday morning, we may not have long to wait for the most eagerly-anticipated match-up of the 2023 Ashes. 

Australia opener David Warner will be desperate to make up for a shocking series in England in 2019 but his nemesis Stuart Broad is looking forward to another crack at the left-hander. 

Broad dismissed Warner seven times in 10 innings in the 2-2 draw four years ago as the Australia batsman, a legend of the game with 25 Test centuries to his name, scraped just 95 runs in five Tests. 

Incredibly, 61 of those runs came in a single innings at Headingley and Warner's other nine scores were two, eight, three, five, nought, nought, nought, five and 11. 

He is 9/1 to be the Top Batter in the series but, as well as Broad, he also has England's record Test wicket-taker James Anderson to worry about this summer.  

Anderson was sidelined by injury after bowling only four overs in the 2019 Ashes but he is 12/5 to be England's Top Team Bowler in the series with Broad, who took the honours in 2019, 10/3

Crawley faces huge challenge against new-ball attack 

Warner isn't the only opening batsman under pressure as Zak Crawley needs to cement his place at the top of the England order. 

The 25-year-old Crawley has a modest average of 28.3 after 34 Tests, despite converting his maiden century into a mammoth 267 against Pakistan in 2020. 

He is 13/2 to score England's First Team Century of the series, as he did in December's tour of Pakistan, rattling to an 86-ball ton on day one of the first Test.  

Crawley will be encouraged to play his shots despite the quality of Australia's new-ball bowlers and he is 10/1 to score the Fastest Series Fifty. His last four Test half-centuries have been rapid, coming off 36, 38, 47 and 39 balls. 

Hosts desperate to end Smith's run glut in England 

England were hammered 4-0 in the 2021/22 Ashes series in Australia but they did manage to keep the Aussies' star batsman Steve Smith relatively quiet. 

Smith made 244 runs in eight innings with a top score of 93 but he warmed up for the Ashes with a century in the WTC final against India and is 13/5 to be the series Top Batter.  

His last 10 Test scores in England are 143, 144, 142, 92, 211, 82, 80, 23, 121 and 34, and paceman Jofra Archer, who troubled Smith during a blistering spell at Lord's in 2019, is sidelined for the hosts. 

Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson each dismissed Smith twice in the 2021/22 Ashes and Josh Tongue, who pinned him lbw in a County Championship game in May, is in England's squad after an impressive Test debut against Ireland. 

England will have plenty of plans for Smith, who has scored double-centuries on his last two Ashes tours, but the Aussie great is 5/6 to score over 435.5 series runs, having passed that mark in just his fourth innings of the 2019 Ashes. 

All-rounder Green hoping to upstage England legend Stokes 

Two other interesting subplots for the series are the clashes between England and Australia's premier spinners and all-rounders. 

Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon needs just 13 more Test wickets to reach 500 – he is 5/6 to take 20 & Over in the series – while England have been forced to bring Moeen Ali out of Test retirement after an injury to Jack Leach.  

Moeen has had a tough time against Australia, picking up just 20 wickets in 11 Tests at an average of 64.7, although most of the damage came in 2017/18 when he claimed five scalps for 575 runs in the series down under. 

Ian Botham, Andrew Flintoff and Ben Stokes have written their names into Ashes history and young Australia all-rounder Cameron Green will be hoping to follow suit this summer. 

England skipper Stokes is 16/1 to be Player of the Series, despite doubts over how much bowling he will be able to do, and Green, who should play a big part with both bat and ball, is 16/1

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