Cummins or Woakes? Roy or Warner? Who makes our Ashes combined team?

Ahead of the latest five-match series between England and Australia, The Cricketer considers who would make a combined XI between the hosts and the holders

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David Warner

One of the all-time great Australian openers, Warner's impeccable mix of brute force and clever strokeplay make him one of the most attractive yet destructive batsmen in world cricket.

He will not be pleasantly received by the England fans in the five-match series, but that hostility could spur Warner on to even greater things this time around.

A man who plays shots all around the ground, Australia will feel they have a significant advantage at the top of the order compared with their English counterparts just by his mere presence.

Usman Khawaja

Perhaps a surprise selection given that World Cup winner Jason Roy is likely to feature heavily in the series, Khawaja's reputation in Test cricket has grown significantly over the last 12 months thanks to his match-saving heroics against Pakistan in October.

An excellent player of spin bowling and someone who has shown a great propensity of remaining at the crease for significant periods of time, and the composure when he does eventually strike, the only thing that will stop him making an impact on this series is his post-World Cup fitness issues.

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This will be Steve Smith and David Warner's first Test series back following their bans

Steve Smith

The boos may once again ring around grounds in England as Steve Smith takes to the field, yet the World Cup demonstrated he could put all that out of his mind and announce himself once again on the international stage.

Awkward but extremely effective, Smith's proclivity when it comes to run scoring is almost peerless and makes playing the moving ball look incredibly easy despite his unusual technique.

How Australia will hope he can repeat his 2017-18 Ashes performances.

Joe Root

The raw emotion coming from the England Test captain's eyes after thier victory in the World Cup final demonstrated how hard he had worked to reach that goal.

However, Root's attention must now shift swiftly to Test match cricket, in which just like the other formats he has excelled.

Current red-ball form may not demonstrate his brilliance, but Root's composure and guile is something to behold on all stages.

The Cricketer's Ashes quiz: Edgbaston

Ben Stokes

The man of the moment in the World Cup final, Stokes is often England's man for a crisis, but that would do a disservice to the allround qualities of the Durham man.

The allrounder will feel he needs to make up for lost time after missing the last Ashes series Down Under due to the incident which took place outside a Bristol nightclub.

But his success in 2015, particularly that catch to dismiss Adam Voges at Trent Bridge, will be cause for optimism for a player who combines enthusiasm in the field, strokeplay with the bat and the 'je ne sais quoi' with the ball better than anyone in world cricket.

Jos Buttler

Didn't have the finest of World Cups with the bat, but when the pressure moment came Buttler kept his cool and obliterated the stumps to seal England's maiden tournament triumph.

Buttler is not the archetypal Test match batsman, but that ability to strike at a rate of knots makes him one of the best in the business regardless of format.

A very solid choice with the gloves as well, Buttler's serenity in all situations makes him one of the coolest customers in the modern game.

Pat Cummins

When not blighted by injuries, Cummins demonstrated in the World Cup just why he is so highly thought of by the hierarchy.

The abundance of pace that he brings to the attack rubs off on others and brings energy and bounce to even the most lethargic of pitches.

Capable of giving it a good thrash with the bat too, Cummins' stock will likely only increase after the five-match series.

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Ben Stokes will hope to repeat his World Cup final heroics and steer England to Ashes victory

Mitchell Starc

A man who strikes fear into many batsmen because of his gushing ability to deliver the toe-crunching yorker whenever he sees fit, Starc's control of both pace and swing make him an incredibly valuable asset to the Australia side.

The undisputed leader of the bowling attack, Starc's tendency to apply relentless pressure on his opponents sees him take wickts in batches more often than not.

The highest wicket taker at the World Cup, you wouldn't put it past him to repeat that feat during the Ashes series, although his workload will have to be managed. 

Stuart Broad

The perfect partner in crime for James Anderson, Broad has helped sustain the England pace attack alongside the Lancashire paceman, and with great results to match.

He overtook Dale Steyn in the all-time leading wicket takers in Test match cricket against Ireland last week, and while the jump to Courtney Walsh in sixth is substantial, the fact that both are so high up in the list demonstrates their consistency as much as their longevity.

He has not been the same with the bat for a while now, but Broad is a man who can cause Australia problems, as evidenced by the 8-15 he took at Trent Bridge the last time Australia toured English soil.

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Stuart Broad went seventh in the all-time Test wicket takers list against Ireland

Jimmy Anderson

Overtook Australia legend Glenn McGrath in terms of wickets taken with the final ball of the 2018 English Test summer, Anderson's 575 Test scalps can only be bettered by spinners Anil Kumble, Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan.

A swing bowler whose persistent nagging of batsmen eventually sees them with their tail between their legs heading back to the pavilion, and despite his preference for conditions conducive to swing, his versatility in operating in whatever surface is thrown up is a guage of his supreme quality.

We are not just talking about an England legend when we speak about the Lancashire swing bowler, we are discussing a true Test great.

Nathan Lyon

Not the name you would expect to be sitting at no.4 in Australia's leading Test wicket takers, but that speaks volumes for the understated yet impactful role that Lyon possesses within the Australia setup.

A player who has endured his fair few ups and downs during his career, Lyon is arguably the best match-winning spinner that either side possesses.

Jack Leach has found it tough at times this summer to extract turn from certain pitches, but if there is one man who can find a way to bamboozle batsman on any given surface, it is Australia's offspinner.

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