Our rival columnists slug it out ahead of the first Test.
Strewth Robbo, yer flamin' galah!
G'day Robbo, it's been a long time - how are ya mate?
Not so bad - looking forward to the Ashes immensely. I've been waiting for it all summer.
What's your prediction, mate?
I'm gonna stick me neck out and go for a 2-2.
Well I've had a saver on 2-2, but most of Davo's hard-earned wonga is going on 4-1 to the Aussies.
There's no chance of that happening, not in this climate. We've always got rain on our side.
All right, you've talked me down to 3-1.
That's more sensible in my opinion. I think a lot depends on how the first Test goes. If your lads kick off good and strong and Warney concentrates on bowling it straight and avoids getting in to any mischief off the park then you'll be fine.
OK Dizzy, get warmed up
But I'm hoping they'll all pick up the Gillespie bug and dolly it down for our lads to cream it to the balcony.
Nah. Dizzy will come good. How can a man with hair like that not perform?
Do you know what's taken his mind off the job - his bit-part in Pirates of the Caribbean.
He's much better looking than Johnny Depp.
Well I don't know about that, although I doubt Johnny's bowling is up to much.
Nor's Dizzy's at the moment! It was nice of the ECB to give us a home Test to kick off with though - you haven't beaten us at Lord's since about 1705.
I know. I was there when Nasser and Thorpey smashed it around for about 300 in the first Test a few years back - but that was at Edgbaston. I don't know why we play into your hands over and over again.
It's bad enough that we've played enough cricket for your lot to get their eye in - Ponting and Gilchrist were doing nowt up to last week.
Yeah well done the ECB - I suppose you'd have been at Lord's the last time England won there wouldn't you you old b****r?
Will it be tricky for Ricky?
Oi steady! Me dad might have been there. He claims to have been at every sporting event that was ever held in the early part of the 20th century - even the ones before he was born.
Personally I'd like to dig up Lord's and turn it into a big ploughed field like the surface England batted on against the West Indies and just cross our fingers.
That might work, but if you'd sorted your scheduling out and put the Test matches on first you'd be 2-0 up by now.
Exactly, instead we start with a Mickey Mouse Twenty20 match, which was very enjoyable, but you did get the sense that we were using all our luck up too early. Put a fly-slip in and he gets four catches and you're thinking we don't need this now, we need it later on.
But I still think we've got a chance. I'm a bit suspicious of the Australians talking up our bowlers, mind, I don't know what that's all about. And Warney basically picked Pietersen for us by talking him up at Hampshire.
Well yeah, that's another great move by the selectors - getting rid of your best player in Thorpe and bringing in a South African - what's that all about?
Well we've got no pride when it comes to pilfering other countries for international cricketers.
Well yes - Andrew Strauss, another South African, Geraint Jones - Papua New Guinea. And where's your captain from, India? Oh sorry, that was your last captain.
Well, you know the history of English cricket - a load of posh blokes from all around the colonies, so we're just keeping up that tradition, that's all. Plus we've got a nice Lancastrian lad in the middle who might turn you over a few times.
Ready, Freddie go!
Freddie Flintoff could be important for you guys.
He'll be vital. His bowling's going great, I just hope he can tonk you around a bit. We've really got a chance if he's on his game.
And what about those spinners?
Listen, Ashley Giles has managed to convert himself from an absolute no-hoper in to one of the most boring and effective bowlers in Test cricket. We're very proud of him.
He's learnt that he can only bowl on leg stump over the wicket and it'll be driving you lot mad. I can see Gilchrist losing his rag and taking a big swipe on the fourth day.
In fact, the more I talk about this the more I think we can do it. Change that prediction - make it 3-1 to us!
No chance! Talking of spinners, Shane Warne has been up to a bit of mischief as usual.
Yes, he's been bowling a few googlies off the pitch as it were but he always seems to keep his mind on the job when it counts.
Warney's a man after me own heart really - all the best spinners like a pint and a fag. Tuffers was another champion of that.
He should have been Australian!
Drink, smoke, take wickets - what more do you want from a professional sportsman?
They don't make 'em like they used to
Well two out of three ain't bad - Tuffers definitely drank and smoked.
Steady on, he had his moments. Well, two moments actually.
What I do hope is that we get to bowl first.
You better hope Vaughany learns his lesson from the first Test of the last series. Hussain wins the toss, makes the wrong decision - game over.
You've got a few nice pacemen this time, though. I'm liking the look of Harmison, although I reckon we can get on top of him by carting him to the fence a couple of times early doors.
The most important fielder for Harmison is third man. I reckon we'll get a few of your lads out down there. Hayden's looking a bit ropey and I hope Langer's century was a blip - although I doubt it was - and if we can get through the top order we've got a chance. I'm just glad Symonds isn't in the Test team.
I also like the look of Simon Jones - he was the nude centrefold in Cosmo magazine recently. He was second choice - they actually asked me to do it first but I had to knock 'em back because they didn't have a big enough lens.
Well you can't get all that gut in one shot I suppose.
Anyway, this series is as close as it's going to be for a few years. And if we don't do it this time, we'll definitely win back the Ashes in two years' time because you've got no bowlers coming through.
Well there's only one thing we Australians like better than a good contest - and that's a beer. I'll have a beer to mark the start of the Ashes, what about you Robbo?
They definitely don't make 'em like they used to
I'll be drinking long before the start so I've got a nice nostalgic haze hanging over me and if I narrow me eyes I can see Botham hooking it for six.
Well may the best team win - and I'm pretty sure that will be Australia.
Well I hope the best team doesn't win - so that'll be an England victory, then.
Good on yer Robbo! Speak soon, mate.