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The Ashes 1st Test tips: England can make strong start

One of the most hotly anticipated Ashes series of recent times commences at Edgbaston with the first Test on Friday with England and Australia ready to renew their rivalry.

Liam Flin's 1st Ashes Test Tips

England to lead first innings @ 20/21

A first-innings hundred to be scored @ 10/11

Nathan Lyon top Australia wicket-taker @ 15/4

Odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and subject to fluctuation.

Setting the scene…

The last Ashes series in 2021/22 ended in humiliation down under for England, who were thumped 4-0, but under the stewardship of head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, the Test team has undergone a transformation.

Now playing an ultra-aggressive style of cricket dubbed 'Bazball' by many, there is optimism in the England camp heading into this summer.

But Australia will be in high spirits too after winning the World Test Championship final against India earlier this month.

They won the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston in 2019 by 251 runs and will be hoping for a repeat when these rivals square up in the Midlands for the series opener.

England to lead the first innings @ 20/21

Although the 2019 series in England finished all square, Australia breezed to victory in the opener at Edgbaston, declaring on 487-7 in their second innings.

But when these teams reconvene in Birmingham this month, it is likely to be a much tighter matchup with England 6/4 to start the series with a win and Australia 13/10 to go 1-0 up.

There are arguments to be made for both sides with England in terrific form in the format, having won 11 of their 13 Tests under McCullum.

It remains to be seen how Australia will handle the 'Bazball' approach, although they themselves have looked in good nick, crushing India by 209 runs in the World Test Championship final on Sunday.

The Aussies also have a settled group and the better of the two bowling attacks with England set to be missing Jofra Archer and Jack Leach for this series.

Until we have seen more from both sides, it is tough to settle on a result and for the Edgbaston Test, punters may want to resist backing either side.

Liam Flin's Tip:

England's aggressive approach with the bat could mean they come unstuck late down the line in this series but with a fast start expected, they could be worth a bet at 20/21 to establish a first-innings lead.

A first-innings hundred to be scored @ 10/11

While it is hard to pinpoint a result in the opener, one thing England fans have been promised by skipper Stokes is fast and aggressive cricket.

Stokes has suggested in the past his team are willing to risk defeat in pursuit of victory and while that means draws could be at a premium in this Ashes series, it could also result in plenty of high scores.

The pitch has been prepared to Stokes's liking at Edgbaston with a flat batting track expected and in the first couple of days of the Test at least, it should fancy the batsmen.

In the 2019 series at Edgbaston, Steve Smith made 144 for Australia in his first innings, while Rory Burns contributed 133 in England's first innings, so a bet on a first-innings century in this Test could be worth consideration.

Liam Flin's Tip:

The early stages of the Edgbaston Test will favour the batsmen and England and Australia both have the willow-wielders to capitalise, making a first-innings century a value bet at 10/11.

Nathan Lyon top Australia wicket-taker @ 15/4

While the Edgbaston pitch could favour batters in the opening days of the first Ashes Test, as it progresses, the heat will likely dry out the pitch and offer more to the spinners on display.

For England, the absence of Leach has meant Moeen Ali has been called out of Test retirement but he could be a bit raw and Nathan Lyon is undoubtedly the premier spin option involved.

Fast approaching his 500th Test wicket, Lyon has caused England plenty of problems in Ashes series gone by and in the 2019 match at Edgbaston, he took 6-49 in the second innings.

That was a devastating performance and he has indeed taken 12 wickets at 20.75 in his last two Edgbaston showings.

Liam Flin's Tip:

Lyon will be one of the most dangerous bowlers in this summer's Ashes and the spinner can make the most of a dry pitch in the first Test at Edgbaston. Back him to be Australia's top wicket-taker at 15/4.

Liam Flin's 1st Ashes Test Tips

A first-innings hundred to be scored @ 10/11

England to lead first innings @ 20/21

Nathan Lyon top Australia wicket-taker @ 15/4

Odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and subject to fluctuation.

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