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The five big questions for England ahead of the first Ashes Test

Who will claim the famous Urn?

The 2017-18 Ashes are finally here. The first Test takes place the Gabba in Brisbane.

Australia are favourites to win the opener and the Series, with Joe Roots’ England firmly up against it.

The Coral News Team are ready for a scintillating winter of cricket.

Here are the five burning questions for the First Test…

How will Root fare as Captain?

The Tour Down Under will easily be Joe Root’s toughest assignment as England captain.

The Yorkshireman endured a nightmare visit to Oz in 2013-14, so will have personal demons to conquer too.

What’s more, concerns regarding the order of England’s openers heaps the pressure on Root for the next few weeks.

The 26-year-old is so often the man to steer his country out of trouble, and now he may be needed more than ever.

Can England’s rookies hack it in Oz?

It’s time to step up and be counted as far as many of England’s players are concerned.

A whopping 10 of the 17 chosen to go to Australia have never played a Test Down Under before.

It means the likes of Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan, Mason Crane and several others will have to have their wits about them and adapt rapidly to what many believe to be the toughest challenge in cricket.

Australia’s squad is some way short of their finest of yesteryear, but they might be let off thanks to an England side somewhat wet behind the ears on the biggest stage.

Will Moeen Ali or Stuart Broad fill the void of Ben Stokes?

Make no bones about, Ben Stokes’ absence is absolutely huge  for this Series.

It remains to be seen whether the all-rounder joins up later on, but for now, he’s out.

So it’s down to Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad to fill the void.

Both are plenty capable of frustrating with Aussies with bat and ball. Ali in particular should be on a high after an excellent summer in England.

Can England cope with Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins?

Three years ago it was Mitchell Johnson who roared through England’s batsmen with consummate ease and destruction.

England can breathe a sigh of relief that Johnson (37 wickets in 2013-14) and his partners in crime Ryan Harris (22 wickets) and Peter Siddle (16 wickets three years ago) no longer feature.

But Australia still boast plenty of venom in their new-look attack.

Mitchell Starc is the man of the moment and is capable of devastating pace. The 27-year-old has been in good form in Australia’s warm-up matches.

And even if England somehow contain Starc, they must still watch out for Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. It’s a tall order.

Can England respond and support James Anderson?

In a not-so distant future, England must go on without James Anderson.

The fast-paced ace is 35-years-old now, and firmly into the autumn of his career.

Anderson will still have his moments to trip up the hosts, but he must be ably-supported if Root and co are to prevail.

Stuart Broad has done it before Down Under, now the likes of Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali and Jake Ball have to step up.

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