Joe Root and Pat Cummins will be opposing skippers in the upcoming Ashes series
Joe Root and Pat Cummins will be opposing skippers in the upcoming Ashes series

The 2021-22 Ashes series starts in Brisbane on Tuesday night as England look to win in Australia for just the second time in almost 35 years.

The old enemies meet for the first time since they played out a thrilling 2-2 draw in 2019.

And there are plenty of storylines to follow this time around. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the next battle for the urn.

Who is in possession of The Ashes?

Australia hold The Ashes despite the last series in England ending in a draw.

The last time they hosted the contest in 2017-18, they thrashed England 4-0 with the visitors only avoiding defeat in the Fourth Test in Melbourne.

If a series is drawn, the last team to win outright retains the little urn.

Therefore the hosts come into this edition in possession, with England desperate to wrestle back the famous Victorian relic.

Read more: The best batsmen to have graced the famous series

What is The Ashes schedule?

First Test — December 8-12 (Brisbane)

Second Test — December 16-20 (Adelaide)

Third Test — December 26-30 (Melbourne)

Fourth Test — January 5-9 (Sydney)

Fifth Test — January 14-18 (TBC)

Australia retained The Ashes thanks to a 2-2 draw in England in 2019
Australia retained The Ashes thanks to a 2-2 draw in England in 2019
Read more: Five best encounters between England and Australia

How can you watch The Ashes?

Just like the last time England played in Australia, BT Sport have the broadcast rights.

They have not sent a team of commentators Down Under due to coronavirus and are operating a hybrid commentary team.

That means for the majority of the series English viewers will hear the Aussie commentary, except when Michael Vaughan is in the box when they will use their own talent in the UK.

That is due to the accusations levelled at Vaughan in relation to the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal that has rocked English cricket.

Will fans be at The Ashes?

There will be fans at all of the games, though there is always a chance that can change due to the pandemic.

But there will not be as many England fans as normal. With very few, if any, likely to travel from the UK, support for the away side will be limited to expats in Australia.

Who are The Ashes captains?

Joe Root leads England for the second time Down Under and knows this series could define his captaincy.

While Root's position was never in doubt, nobody expected Pat Cummins to lead Australia into the series.

Previous skipper Tim Paine resigned last month as a result of a sexting scandal from 2017 which became public in recent weeks.

Fast bowler Cummins has played 34 Tests but never as captain and will lead his team with Steve Smith as his vice-captain.

Which England players will star?

Ben Stokes heads to Australia for the first time in seven years
Ben Stokes heads to Australia for the first time in seven years

If England are to upset the odds and claim a first series win in Australia in a decade, they will need skipper Root and talisman Ben Stokes to be at the top of their game.

Root has enjoyed a phenomenal year with the bat, making six Test centuries, including two doubles, and amassing 1455 runs.

Stokes’ form is less clear with the all-rounder returning to the England set-up for the first time since he took an indefinite break from the sport in July.

With the ball, veterans Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad are playing in their fourth away Ashes series, while Mark Wood will provide much-needed spice to the seam attack.

The absence of Jofra Archer is a blow for Root’s side given his raw pace and ability to get steep bounce.

Which Aussie players will star?

If England do not find a way to disrupt Smith’s rhythm and stop him scoring runs for fun, it will be a long series.

Ahead of him in the order at No3 is Marnus Labuschagne, who has the ability to bat for long periods and put big totals on the board.

And their much-vaunted pace attack will have England’s batsmen quaking in their boots.

Skipper Cummins, seamer Josh Hazlewood and left-arm quick Mitchell Starc will work in tandem with experienced off-spinner Nathan Lyon in a stellar line-up.

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