Get the latest information on the first game and watch every ball live from Australia.
Where: The Gabba, Brisbane
When: 00.00 (GMT)
Watch live: Click here to watch on NowTV from Sky!
Captain Michael Clarke kept everyone guessing Wednesday about the final makeup of the Australia team for the opening Test against England, saying the selectors were still discussing it.
Most interest centres on whether spinner Nathan Lyon will play ahead of bowling allrounder James Faulkner in the final 11.
Lyon is favoured given the strong record of spinners at the Gabba, but Clarke said selection debates were still going on. Faulkner was a stand-out for Australia in their last Ashes Test at The Oval in August.
Clarke, who is no longer a selector, said he knew the batting order for the top seven, but would not be disclosing it until just before Thursday’s start of the Gabba Test in Brisbane.
“The selectors are probably talking about it as we speak so it’s probably a question for those guys,” Clarke told his Test-eve media conference, where the team is usually announced.
“I can’t talk about the selection part of it, because I’m not having that conversation right now with the selectors but the wicket looks fantastic.
“I think it looks a really good pitch, I think it’s going to offer pace and bounce for the bowlers and that includes spin.”
He continued: “The Gabba is one of the best Test wickets in the world to play, it… always keeps the bowlers interested and once you’re in, it’s as good a place to bat as anywhere.”
Clarke said his players were keen to resume hostilities with their old enemy just three months after losing the last series 3-0 in England.
“The boys are all extremely excited, there’s been a lot of talk since we’ve returned home from England about this series and I think all the boys are looking forward to finally getting out there tomorrow,” he said.
“There’s been a lot said in the build-up to this series, a lot of speculation about individual players, about teams and about how Australia is going to have success, how we are going to turn it around.
“But for us it’s about coming out and playing our best cricket in five Test matches and hopefully the result will take care of itself.
Wicketkeeper Matt Prior trained with his teammates on Wednesday as England delayed a decision on whether he will play in the opening Ashes Test against Australia.
Prior has been treating a calf strain since the Australia A tour game in Hobart two weeks ago, but indications are that he has been winning his battle.
Captain Alastair Cook could not confirm whether Prior would play in the Gabba Test starting on Thursday, but said he expected to know more later Wednesday.
“Not yet, he’s got the last part of his fitness to go,” Cook told a news conference.
“Yesterday he trained really well and came through all that was asked of him.
“When you are getting close to fitness it’s how you pull up the next day after a strenuous session, that will give us a really good indication and we’ll know pretty soon.”
Prior took part in the England team warm-up on the Gabba with his left calf bandaged. Should he be ruled out, Jonny Bairstow will replace him.