Ashes 2021-22: Lots of rain but little practice for England cricketers

England’s first Ashes practice was abandoned after only 29 overs were possible in a three-day tour match between the two visiting teams. Incessant rain and storms restricted play on Tuesday and ensured no play was possible on Wednesday or Thursday between England and England Lions at the Peter Burge Oval in Brisbane’s Bay suburbs.

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England will have another internal tour match at the Ian Healy Oval in Brisbane from next Tuesday, ahead of the five-Test Ashes series starting December 8 at the Gabba.

With more rain forecast early next week, it is likely that England star players Joe Root and Ben Stokes could start the first Test without any practice in the event of a match.

All-rounder Stokes has not played a Test match since March. His last game of any form of cricket was in July, with injuries due to mental health reasons, and he was ruled out of the game.

Stokes was among the first group of England cricketers to begin a 14-day quarantine at a luxury Gold Coast resort in Brisbane on 6 November. The rest of the team, including Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler, arrived after England’s semi-final loss to New Zealand at the Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

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The wet weather could also affect Australia’s preparations, with a three-day intra-squad match scheduled at the Peter Burge Oval from next Wednesday to determine the home team’s final makeup for the Gabba Test.

Australia have kept the Ashes, which they won at home in 2017-18, and retained the urn when the 2019 series was drawn in England.

Australia are looking to win the Twenty20 World Cup but their preparations for the long-running cricket are limited and they are unsure of who will lead the Test side. Captain Tim Paine stepped down last week after details of a text-message scandal were published four years ago. His replacement will be announced later this week.

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