Bookies back Australia for 1-0 Ashes lead

Cape Town - The 2017/18 Ashes series between hosts Australia and holders England gets under way at the Gabba in Brisbane on Thursday.

This will be the 70th series played between the two nations, dating back to the first skirmish in 1882 - some 135 years ago!

Unbelievably, the overall series result in the 69 played to date is tied at 32 wins apiece with five drawn series'.

However, the win-loss ratio in Ashes Tests stands at 130 wins for Australia to 106 for England, with 89 draws.

Ashes series' are all about the stats - and there are plenty to keep cricket historians occupied for days.

Australians have made 264 centuries in Ashes Tests, of which 23 have been scores over 200, while Englishmen have scored 212 centuries, of which 10 have been over 200.

Australians have taken 10 wickets in a Test on 41 occasions, Englishmen 38 times.

Australian legend Don Bradman holds the record for the most Ashes runs scored (5 028), while his compatriot Shane Warne has taken the most wickets - 195.

But how will the latest battle pan out?

Leading South African bookmakers BET.co.za have Australia to get the series off to a winning start, having installed the home side as 13/20 favourites to go 1-0 up in the five-Test series.

England can be backed at 51/20 while the draw is on offer at 71/20.

An Australian victory would likely mean an Australian man of the match and skipper Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc are all on offer at an attractive 7/1.

The first ball will be bowled at 02:00 SA time in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

Ashes schedule:

November 23-27, 1st Test, Brisbane

December 2-6, 2nd Test, Adelaide

December 14-18, 3rd Test, Perth

December 26-30, 4th Test, Melbourne

January 4-8, 5th Test, Sydney

Teams for the Gabba:

Australia

David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (captain), Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon

England

Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Dawid Malan, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes

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