By Jim Birchall

As the bi-annual tussle for sport’s most bizarre trophy begins, I briefly examine the series through the eyes of a neutral.

Once again I am torn between supporting our ugly, brash, arrogant older brother, and the teabag loving colonial oppressor.

After the usual sniping and tete-a-tete between ex-players on twitter, the on-field duel begins November 23.

In anticipation of a track at Brisbane as hard as John McClane and drier than Gandhi’s sandal, runs should come at ease. Pressure will come on England’s rookie batting line up.

I foresee a truckload of poles for the pockmarked school bully Starc, and several mid-series retirements from Cook, pretty boy Broad, and Overatedson. The latter occurring when he works out the Kookaburra doesn’t swing under clear Adelaide skies.

England celebrate after clinching the ashes in 2015

By test 3, the Shermanator (Ian Bell) be summoned from a bleak Birmingham and Colly, a la David Steele will be a middle-order mainstay despite being older than Michael Parkinson.

KP will again inform us he should still be part of the three Lye-ons and end up de-friending someone on twitter.

4-0 Australia, with rain in Sydney