With the Ashes nearly upon us, you now have the chance to turn your cricketing knowledge into £1million.
Our Ashes Predictor is now open to join until the start of the first Test, which takes place in Brisbane on November 23. Answer 10 questions on some of the series’ key events including who will score the most runs, record the best bowling figures in an innings, score the fastest hundred and plenty more.
If you manage to correctly predict all 10 multiple choice questions, you’ll get your hands on the £1million Jackpot Bonus.
If you miss out on the £1million, there’s still plenty to be won in the prize fund, determined by the number of players that join each pool. To win first prize, you must accumulate the most points, with each correct answer scoring a point which is multiplied by the figure in brackets. So if you select an Australia 5-0 win at x7 and they manage the whitewash, you’ll add seven points to your overall tally.
But to scoop the £1million, there’s no margin for error as you must correctly predict every single question correctly.
Here’s a look at how you could be turning £2 into £1million:
Question 1: What will the Ashes score be?
There are 15 options available, ranging from an Australia 5-0 win, to the series ending in a 1-1 draw. An Australia 3-1 series victory is the most likely outcome according to the bookies, which is x4 in our question. A 4-1 win for the hosts follows closely, while the most likely England win is a 3-1 victory, at odds as long as 16/1, or x8 in our pool.
Question 2: Which of these batsmen will make the most runs in the series?
You have 11 batsmen to choose from, with David Warner, Joe Root, Alastair Cook and Steve Smith all x2 to score the most runs. You’d expect this to go to an Aussie with the hosts as big favourites to win, which leaves it between Smith and Warner.
While Smith averages more than 68 with the bat at home, Warner is the bookies favourite to follow up the same feat he achieved last time Australia hosted the Ashes, in which he scored two hundreds and averaged more than 58. A dangerous proposition at home with 14 of his 20 centuries scored down under, the Aussie opener could well be the batsman to watch in question two.
Question 3: Which of these bowlers will take the best bowling figures in a single innings during the series?
All the front line bowlers are available to choose from for this question, with James Anderson, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc leading the way at x2. The last four bowlers to take the best figures in an innings have all been seamers, with Stuart Broad taking 8-15 in 2015. Three of the last four series have seen an Aussie take this crown, although both Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris have since retired.
It’s a tough one to call, especially with Hazlewood and Starc returning from injury. Maybe a left field pick is Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon x3, which might be a good shout on wearing fourth and fifth day pitches.
Question 4: How many individual hundreds will be scored in the series?
There are seven options in question four, starting with 8 or fewer at x5, up to 14 or more at x4. Since 2001, the range is between four and 12 but it’s usually higher in Australia, where conditions are in favour of batting. The amount of individual hundreds in the last four series down under have been 11, 12, 12 and 12. Both these options are x2 but 13 at x3 can’t be ruled out in excellent batting conditions, and considering the Australia v Pakistan series earlier this year saw nine hundreds scored, which only featured three Tests.
Question 5: What will be the highest innings total of the series?
Here you have 10 options, ranging from 475 or fewer at x6, to 675 or more at x5. The other eight options go up in 25 run intervals, with 551-575, 576-600 and 601-625 all having the lowest multiplies at x2.
It’s worth bearing in mind that since 2001, this has ranged from 477 to 674, with 566-8 declared the highest innings total in the 2015 Ashes. The last two Ashes tours down under have seen series high totals of 570-9d in 2013/14 and 644 in 2010/11, while last winter, Australia recorded a home season high of 624-8d against Pakistan. With captains more reluctant to bat on as they used to, it’s fairly unlikely we’ll see a score of 650 plus, so your best bet could well be 576-600 or 601-625.
Question 6: What will be the lowest innings total of the series?
This question refers to completed innings only, starting with 75 or fewer at x3, up to 251 or more at x10. Since 2001, this has ranged from 60 to 162, while in the 2015 Ashes, the Aussies made a series low of just 60.
England recorded a series low of 136 four years ago, while Australia were bundled out for 98 at home back in 2010. Although both teams have batting deficiencies, it would be surprising if either side were bowled out for under 100, leaving 101-125 or 126-150, both at x2, favourites to come through for you.
Question 7: How many 5 wicket hauls will there be in the series?
Ranging from 3 or fewer at x6, up to 10 or more at x4, this question focuses on how many times a bowler will take five or more wickets in an innings. Since 2001, this has ranged from three to 11, with nine occurring twice. The last two series down under have seen five wickets being taken in an innings seven times, while the last Ashes in 2015 had six. This is a tough one to call with both teams having plenty of batting issues, although conditions should still be be very good for them. Either 7 or 8, both at x2, look like sensible selections.
Question 8: In how many balls will the fastest century of the series be scored in?
This is probably the most volatile question in our Jackpot, with nine options to choose from. The lowest bound is 54 or fewer at x8, which is how long it took Brendon McCullum to smash a ton against the Aussies last year.
The fastest Ashes century was hit by Adam Gilchrist in 2006, during Australia’s 5-0 whitewash. With Warner around, any option is possible, especially considering he scored a century off just 78 balls earlier this year against Pakistan, and an 82 ball ton against the West Indies a year earlier. That would make 71-80 and 81-90, both at x2, the most likely but as mentioned before, it could be one of at least five options!
Question 9: How many wickets will the highest wicket taker get in the series?
Only one Australian bowler has taken the most wickets in the last four Ashes series, which was Mitchell Johnson’s mind boggling 37 in 2013/14. That figure is a clear anomaly, with 21, 24 and 26 the highest amount taken in the other three series. If that’s anything to go by, it’s a case of take your pick from 20 (x4), 21 (x3), 22, 23, 24 (all x2) or 25 (x3) in our question.
Question 10: What will be the highest individual score by any batsman in any one innings?
Another tough question to finish off our Ashes Series Jackpot. This has ranged from 148 to 250 since 2001, with Steve Smith making 215 two years ago. The highest score was just 148 in the last series in Australia, while Alastair Cook made an unbeaten 235 four years before that.
In favourable batting conditions and at least four world class batsmen on display, a double hundred could well be on the cards, leaving the likes of 201-225, 226-250, both at x2, great options.
Aside from our Series Jackpot, we’ll be running a Series Fantasy Pick 5 and one for each Test, as well as Match Pools and daily Predictors which should keep you busy over the six weeks!