Ashes 2013-14: Kevin Pietersen to lead England defence in Brisbane
First Ashes Test: Australia v England
Venue: The Gabba, Brisbane
Date: 21-25 November
Start time: 00:00 GMT
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary from 23:30 GMT on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave and via the BBC iPlayer Radio app, BBC Sport website & BBC Sport app; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary on BBC Sport website, app & mobile devices
England will attempt to win a fourth consecutive Ashes when the five-Test series starts in Brisbane at 00:00 GMT - with key batsman Kevin Pietersen being hailed as their best ever player.
The contest between the two sides is one of sport's greatest rivalries with the two sides competing for a symbolic urn.
The history of the urn dates back to 1882
when following England's first defeat by Australia on home soil at The Oval in August, the Sporting Times carried a mock obituary of English cricket, which concluded that "the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia."
When Ivo Bligh captained England to victory on the return tour to Australia a few weeks, later he was given a small terracotta urn as a symbol of the Ashes.
The current Ashes series will see England play games in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne before the final Test, which begins on 3 January in Sydney.
Both countries have won 31 Ashes series each although Australia have won 123 of the 314 Tests between the sides, with England's victory tally standing at 103.
Bright start for the First Test
If England were to win the Ashes in Australia this winter, it would be the first time in more than 80 years that England have won successive series down under.
Apart from Prior, England's main selection issue is the choice of a third paceman with Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin all fighting for one place, although none of the trio have stood out in England's three warm-up games.
Ashes captains look forward to first Test
Finn has taken more wickets, with 11 compared to Rankin's seven and Tremlett's one, although the Middlesex man's economy rate of 4.44 is higher than that of Rankin (3.21) and Tremlett (3.94)
"I am confident that whoever we pick will do a good job for us," added Cook.
"They are here because they are very good bowlers and the confidence of knowing they are playing might do them the world of good."
"I don't think he'll be at 100% and be able to bowl 25 overs in the first innings of a Test match," said Clarke.
"But he has improved every single day. I'm really confident he'll be able to bat at his best, and do a job with the ball."
Michael Clarke (captain), Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Steven Smith, George Bailey, Brad Haddin (vice-captain, wk), James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon.
Alastair Cook (capt), Michael Carberry, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Matt Prior (vice-captain, wk), Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin, Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes, Monty Panesar.
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