Posting just a few hours before the first England v Australia Test begins at Trent Bridge.
Like most observers of the current scene, I find it hard to predict an Australian win in the 5 match UK series. The best I'd hope for is perhaps one win and some resolute resistance by the visitors which might give them heart for the return bout here later this year.
England are a fairly settled team, strong in all departments: even their fielding is better than Australia's. But they are not infallible, as their recent struggles to avoid defeat to New Zealand show.
Australia have been in turmoil since (and perhaps before) the on and off field debacles in India earlier this year. The fast bowling seems to be its strongest suit as the batting is an unknown quantity, even it seems to the new coach Darren "Boof" Lehmann. As I post this the selectors have only named the opening pair: Chris Rogers is restored to the eleven after a single appearance some years ago and will be partnered by Shane Watson, whose wish to open has been granted.
Apart from Michael Clarke, head and shoulders above everyone else (despite his back problems) it's anyone's guess who will fill the other three top order positions; my choice would be Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes and Steven Smith. Not the most confidence inspiring group, but who else deserves to replace them? David Warner...not in my book (for the time being at least). I thought that Smith gutsed it out in India and was surprised that he wasn't named in the original squad. I don't share the same optimism about the other two, but if Australia are going to be competitive they're going to have to lift a notch or two.
We shall see...must start the fire so I'm ready for a long night - whoever gains the upper hand.