Top 5 Reasons England Can Win The Ashes

- 16:08, 10th August 2015

With Australia a best price 1/5 to retain the Ashes this summer there's no doubt which way the series will go as far as the bookmakers are concerned but there's plenty of reasons English fans should be buoyant going into the first Test on July 8th. Tom Powell picks out the top 5 five reasons England should be confident this summer...

#1 - English cricket is climbing out of a hole...

On March 9th, following a 15-run loss to Bangladesh at the Cricket World Cup, English cricket was at its lowest ebb. The one-day team was showing no signs of improvement, the Test side was struggling to recapture its 2013 form and there was plenty of negativity behind the scenes. But four months on and the aura around the game is completely different. The Test draw in the Windies showed some positives (Cook's century, Anderson's record-breaking effort and Root continues to thrive) and following that England showed a new attacking intent in the Test series and then ODI series with New Zealand, a side very much on the up. Fans are excited to watch England again and are even forgiving them as long as they show positive intent, that's certainly something England can take into this summer's Ashes.

#2 - Australia have struggled on English soil...

It's definitely worth noting that it has been 14 years since Australia won an Ashes series in England. Two year ago England were comprehensive 3-0 winners and many of the personnel from that series remain for this summer's Ashes, namely Cook, Anderson, Broad, Bell and Root while nine Aussie squad members were also present two years ago. English conditions favour England (unsurprisingly) with the hosts relying on swing while Australia favour bouncy pitches which was clearly evident in the previous Ashes series which Australia won 5-0. By no means does this mean Australia can't cope with English conditions but it's a different proposition for them and something they will have to adapt to quickly.

#3 - Joe Root...

Arguably, the world's two form batsmen will be on show this summer, Steve Smith for Australia and Joe Root for England, but we're focusing on the latter. The Yorkshire right-hander is at the top of his game at the moment, in all forms of cricket, starring for England in the recent ODI series win over New Zealand (two centuries) and decent scores in the Test series (98 and 84) and if he's on form in this series England have every chance. Only Ian Bell managed more runs for England in the 2013 Ashes series and Root also benefits from preferring to play on the back foot which will help against Australia's fearsome, bouncing attack led by Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc. It's also worth noting that eight of Root's 12 international centuries have come on home soil (five of his six Test centuries as well) so he thrives in English conditions.

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#4 - Unknown quantities...

Although I've mentioned above that there are a handful of players for both sides that took part back in 2013, I think it plays into England's hands that they have a decent amount of players that Australia will know little about. Gary Ballance will come in at three and boasts an impressive Test average in his short career to date while Moeen Ali, Adam Lyth and Jos Buttler are two more players that the tourists have yet to take on. In the bowling department, the emergence of Mark Wood over the last few months offers Australia's batsmen a different proposition to Anderson and Broad while Stokes (though he played in the 2013/14 series) is another who has come on leaps and bounds in the past two years.

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#5 - Don't believe the odds...

While Australia are worthy favourites given they are the second best side in the Test rankings they are too short in the betting in my opinion and England's chances are better than the odds suggest. Much is made of the quality in Australia's squad but England can match them player for player. Alastair Cook is back in form while Ian Bell and Gary Ballance while out of form are more than capable of hitting big scores. England bat long with Moeen Ali coming in at eight so there are plenty of runs in the hosts' likely starting eleven. In terms of taking wickets, James Anderson and Stuart Broad's credentials speak for themselves, especially in home conditions with the only question mark being England's spin option. Overall, if you look at the two sides player for player there's little to choose between the sides so perhaps backing England at 3/1 is the way to go.

England To Regain The Ashes @ 4/1 – BET NOW

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