Positive Gabba record points to a home win in the first Ashes Test
To paraphrase an old cliché, all the talking can finally stop and battle can commence.
Except where cricket, and especially the Ashes, is concerned the talking both on the field and off is all part of game.
Expect plenty of sledging between the adversaries when the first Test gets underway at The Gabba, either between the players or the crowd and Stuart Broad.
A few cross words aren’t the only guarantee for this game, as history indicates that siding with Australia at odds of 13/8 to win or the slightly safer 4/5 option in the draw no bet market will earn a return.
The Australian habit of starting their Test match summer off well in Brisbane is bordering on becoming a ritual, as they last lost a Test match there 24 games ago, in 1989.
During that time the baggy green wearers have won 17 Tests and when you consider that Australian cricket hasn’t been at its peak for a couple of years, two draws and a win over England, South Africa and New Zealand in the last three games there respectively proves there’s something in the water at the Gabba that helps raise the Aussies’ game.
If Michael Clarke’s men have a stack of positive scorecards to flick through for inspiration, Alastair Cook’s do not when it comes Test match tours.
In their last 13, England have developed a slow-starting trait and have only won the first Test of a series once during that run, against a Bangladesh outfit that have triumphed just four times in their 81 Test history.
Of the 12 first Tests they’ve failed to win, seven have been defeats and their record at the Gabba since their last victory reads played six, drawn two and lost four.
Should that theme continue, the sledging will only get worse.