This is going to be a bowler's Ashes.
Ashes-holders Australia have not won a match of any kind at Edgbaston since 2001, while England have won their past 11 internationals at the Birmingham ground. The elbow problem, picked up while playing in the Bangladesh Premier League, was for a time considered problematic for Smith's return from the ban, but he revealed that it brought with it a far deeper struggle.
Opening pair Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad will be reunited as the record-breakers look to fire the hosts to glory against old nemesis Australia, with captain Joe Root to bat at three.
Cameron Bancroft has impressed in County cricket. "But to endure the scrutiny of the last 14 months, I think he's had a pretty good dress rehearsal as well". "But I don't get the final say so we'll have a team put out at the toss". But it has been well documented this week that Root's average is significantly higher batting at four than at number three.
England team for first Ashes Test: Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Root (capt), Joe Denly, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
Those contributions lower down the order in what looks likely to be overcast, bowler-friendly conditions at Edgbaston, could sway a tight first test of a close-run Ashes series.
"They've got this Duke ball that's going to swing a lot". I thought they were brilliant. "There's probably three to be fair, Starc, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood, for one spot", Langer said. "They should know how to bowl and they're under pressure to get me out", Roy told Daily Mail.
James Pattinson is the latest addition to this 2015 image of The Backstreet Boys, aka the Australian bowling line-up.
The southpaw went through a series of rigorous fitness test which included a series of 10 twos on the Edgbaston outfield before spending 45 minutes in the nets.
The dust had nearly settled on the Ashes by 2005, with Australia winning eight consecutive series from 1989 to 2002-03.
However, he was not convinced with Darren's case since his father said he is a proud Aussie and Gooch found it hard to expect a proud Australian to become a passionate Englishman in a day.
Furthermore, both can bat, with Woakes averaging nearly 30 in 45 test innings for England, while Archer's first-class average is over 30. "Whether it's new ball or reverse swing he's so unsafe".
Stokes, who shared the Rajasthan Royals dressing room with Smith during this year's Indian Premier League, has noted their change in approach but would not be surprised to see things flare up in the heat of battle.
Moreover they have a strong squad balanced in batting and bowling and recent events - the World Cup triumph and the victory over Ireland albeit not without a few shocks - should be enough to raise the level of their confidence. "If he plays on Thursday, with the overhead conditions, he'll be a real handful".