The 2015 renewal of cricket's most intense rivalry, The Ashes, gets underway when the first of five tests commences on 8 July and will end on 24 August.
Forget World Cup disappointment and the finer points of the Duckworth-Lewis Method, England host Australia in five fantastic venues across Wales, London and the Midlands for one sport’s smallest but most prestigious trophies; the Ashes.
From 8 July, punters can strap themselves in for some top Test cricket with the Aussies having already named a 17-man strong touring party in their bid to keep this honour.
There are players aplenty in their ranks to make hosts England worry. Australia skipper Michael Clarke and wicket-keeper Brad Haddin are old hands when it comes to the Ashes, and have both experienced joy and woe in this most intense of cricket competitions.
All-rounder Steve Smith’s promotion up the Aussie batting order to number three, a position previously held by iconic captain Ricky Ponting, is an intriguing twist.
You could be forgiven for thinking Australia are the Mitchell men, with three players on their roster sharing that first name. Their bowling attack will come from fast left-armers Johnson and Starc, while there is also the all-round ability of Marsh to consider.
Right-armers Ryan Harris, Josh Hazelwood and Peter Siddle offer a slightly more medium pace of bowling open to the Aussies. With such a star-studded line-up, they are worthy favourites to retain against England.
The hosts have undergone a change of coach during the build-up to The Ashes with Trevor Bayliss taking over from Peter Moores. What impact will he have against his native Australia? He must improve recent England fortunes where these keenly contested encounters are concerned.
Whitewashed 5-0 Down Under in the last series over the winter of 2013-14, England will be desperate to put that dismal display behind them against their fiercest rivals, but are a best-price 15/4 outsiders with Boylesports to snatch back the Ashes from the Aussies.
One Day International captain Eoin Morgan appears to have rediscovered his form at just the right time, but hands skippering duties over to Alastair Cook for this tasty Test series.
Joe Root’s batting has improved during the ODI series with Australia’s neighbours New Zealand, meanwhile, and he remains one to watch for the hosts.
Sky Sports 2 is the home of cricket, and full coverage of all five Tests can be found there (Sky Channel 403). The SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff kicks this year’s Ashes off in style between 8-12 July.
From there, the series moves on to the hallowed turf of Lord’s in London on 16-20 July. A week’s break then follow before the third Test at Edgbaston, Birmingham begins on 29 July and ends on 2 August.
England and Australia take in Trent Bridge, Nottingham thereafter (6-10 August) before the series’ climax once again in the capital at The Oval (20-24 August).
The Ashes 2015 series England v Australia fixtures and results
First Ashes Test, Cardiff: Wednesday 8th to Sunday 12th July
Second Ashes Test, Lord’s, London: Thursday 16th to Monday 20th July
Third Ashes Test, Edgbaston, Birmingham: Wednesday 29th July to Sunday 2nd August
Fourth Ashes Test, Trent Bridge, Nottingham: Thursday 6th August to Monday 10th August
Fifth Ashes Test, The Oval, London: Thursday 20th August to Monday 24th August
All odds were correct at time of posting.