1. ITV Report

Ashes Preview: Alastair Cook ready to resume battle

Alastair Cook and Michael Clarke are ready to contest the urn once more. Photo: ITV

It's nearly time.

The talking's over, and boy has there been a lot of talking, and later tonight the battle for the Ashes will recommence in Brisbane.

For Essex batsman and England captain Alastair Cook, it will be a chance to make history once more after success in Australia in 2010/11 and a comfortable victory this year already in the English summer.

Alastair Cook will hope to lead England to another Ashes triumph this time out. Credit: ITV

"A lot of players in this squad were here in 2010/11 so we've got experience of winning in Australia.

"We're trying to use that to the best of our ability and we know how important this game was last time for setting up the series."

– Alastair Cook, England captain

But the Australian's are a proud sporting nation and they will be aiming to make life very difficult for Cook's men during their stay.

For Michael Clarke's side, the series represents an immediate shot at a revenge.

In typical Ashes tradition, Essex skipper Cook has certainly been the target for plenty of old fashioned Aussie stick.

First, Shane Warne called his captaincy boring, before fast bowler Mitchell Johnson promised he'd be bowling at Cook's head as often as his stumps.

Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson has promised Alastair Cook a bumpy ride in this series. Credit: ITV

But you can understand just why the Aussies are so worried about Cook.

England's series win in Australia two yeas ago was built on Cook's runs, a staggering 766 of them, including 235 not out in the first test in Brisbane.

Returning as captain, he has the chance to win a 4th consecutive Ashes series for England.

The last time they did that, it was under the captaincy of a certain W G Grace.

A repeat of that would go down very well indeed.