Can England maintain its recent run of cricketing success over Australia with an Ashes 2013 win? The home nation has taken victory in three of the last four series, including a famous triumph on Australian soil during the 2010/11 competition.
The Baggy Greens will certainly be plotting revenge. Not only have the visitors failed to claim the iconic urn on English soil since a 4-1 victory in 2001, the rugby union side recently lost a fiercely competitive series to the British and Irish Lions on home territory, the first time this has happened since 1997.
Old rivalries never die. The Ashes 2013 promises plenty of drama between July 10 and August 25, as both nations compete for one of sport's most recognisable trophies. When can you catch the action? Who is considered favourites? Bleacher Report has you covered.
First test—July 10-14: Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
Second test—July 18-22: Lord's Cricket Ground, London.
Third test—August 1-5: Old Trafford, Manchester.
Fourth test—August 9-13: Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street.
Fifth test—August 21-25: The Oval, London.
Australia were the first to name their 16-man squad, as confirmed by ESPN on April 24.
Australia—Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Chris Rogers, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird.
England confirmed their first test squad on July 6, as reported by BBC Sport.
England—Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, James Anderson, Graham Onions.
As of July 8, odds produced by Skybet suggest bookmakers believe England's home advantage will pay dividends once again. Australian backers could be on to some decent money if they spend an optimistic sum of cash.
To win the series—England 2/5, Australia 4/1, Draw 13/2.
To win the series 5-0—England 16/1, Australia 200/1.
While the bookmakers believe there is a good chance of England emerging from the series unbeaten, realistic fans know these odds are a tad optimistic. The hosts will be looking to complete three consecutive Ashes wins for the first time since 1977-81, but they will need to overcome significant Australian firepower if that is to happen.
Michael Clarke will lead from the front during his Australian captaincy. He will be determined to overcome the nation's disastrous 4-0 series loss to India earlier this year and must produce his finest batting form right from the start. Shane Watson also needs to prove his worth after posting a number of disappointing displays in India.
England possess phenomenal bowling power that can easily adapt to any situation. The likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graham Onions ensure the home crowd will be confident of embarrassing their old foes once more. As suggested by former Ashes hero Steve Harmison during an interview with The Independent, the performances of Kevin Pietersen will also play a huge role in how this series turns out.
It is certainly a good idea to back England for this one, although a whitewash should be reserved for the more gutsy optimist. Australia are under real pressure to regain the Ashes after a six-year wait and will be wary of letting the country down once more. Which key men will excel for their nation?
Who do you think will capture Ashes glory this year? Let me know in the comments section and be sure to discuss the series with me on Twitter: