Ashes urn
The oldest rivalry in sport resumes once again.

Adrian Back

England's Key Man- Matt Prior: The reigning England Cricketer of the Year, Prior is the glue that holds this team together.

Whether England require quick runs down the order or the stabilising of a creaking inning, Prior has the ability to perform the dual function.

Despite a mini crisis of confidence behind the stumps back in 2008 when he was dropped by England, Prior has been back to his effervescent best both with the bat and the gloves.

He gives confidence to his bowlers, while offering encouragement to the attack and putting a nagging doubt in the mind of the Australian batsman with his friendly sledging. However, don't be surprised if it's a swashbuckling innings that earns Prior the headlines in one or more of the Tests.

Australia's Key Man- Chris Rogers

Australia's opening batsmen have always struck fear into the hearts of English bowlers. Think Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden or Mark Taylor and Michael Slater.

Anything but a household name, captain Michael Clarke will be hoping Rogers can be the tourists' secret weapon

Despite being 35 years old and having just a single baggy green cap to his name Rogers could prove to be masterful selection for his knowledge of English pitches. He has played on the county circuit since 2005 and has a first class average of a shade over 50.

David Warner might be pushing him for selection but it would be typical of the man from New South Wales to show the Aussie selectors just why they were wrong to ignore him for so long.

Matt Prior
Prior scored a memorable hundred to save the third test match for England in New Zealand

Gareth Platt

England's Key Man- Alastair Cook: Captain Cook, the Hammer of Australia last time out, must bludgeon the baggy greens into submission yet again.

During the last Ashes series Cook made 766 runs, a monumental contribution which gave England solidity at the top of the order and blunted Australia's new ball attack (which, to be honest, was pretty blunt to start with).

This time Australia are ready to unleash two fine opening bowlers in Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson, and Cook's ability to steer England through the new ball will be vital if they're to compile the sort of scores which broke Australian spirits last time.

And he'll have to out-think Michael Clarke, one of the most inventive and aggressive captains in the world game.

Australia's Key Man- Nathan Lyon: It's fair to say Australia have struggled to replace Shane Warne since the earl of twirl's retirement six years ago. Xavier Doherty, Michael Beer and Nathan Hauritz have all been given a chance, and each has looked about as menacing as Terry Wogan in a tutu.

Lyon is no Warne, but he's no Beer or Doherty either; the New South Welshman can at least turn the odd ball, and he offers some genuine guile too.

England are likely to prepare turning pitches to help Graeme Swann, so Lyon will have to make some inroads. If he can back up Starc and Pattinson by taking wickets in the middle of the innings, he will give Australia control in the field - and give England's pitch curators something to think about.

Peter Siddle
Siddle took a hat-trick in the first test against England in Brisbane.

Nick Howson

England's Star Man- Jonathan Trott: Alastair Cook may bring the solitude at the top of the order, Kevin Pietersen the glamour to the middle, but there is no doubt that run-for-run, Trott represents the prized scalp of England's world-class batting line-up.

Averaging 86.42 against Australia, with three hundreds - the first of which came on debut - Trott excels against the old enemy.

His Champions Trophy form suggests he can up the rate when required, despite criticism to the contrary, while he can perform the perfect rear-guard.

Australia's Star Man- Peter Siddle: The most experienced member of the Aussie attack brings with him the knowhow of series' both home and abroad coupled with a hat-trick in the first test in Brisbane three years ago.

The Victoria-born seamer took 20 wickets in the 2-1 series defeat in England in 2009 and performances across the globe from Hobart to Mohali suggest he has the ability to be just as fruitful this time around.

A genuine foil for Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson, who are expected to lead the attack, Siddle is battle-hardened for the job in hand.