England and Australia legends have made their predictions for the Ashes (Picture: Getty)

The biggest series in world cricket starts on Thursday with England hoping to win back the Ashes against rivals Australia.

England have not lost a home Ashes since 2001 and go into this series having lifted the World Cup on home soil earlier in the month.

Australia dominated the last series in 2017-18, however, and have enjoyed a revival after a poor run of form following the ball-tampering scandal.

Will the Aussies come out on top again this summer and take the urn back home, or can England complete a stunning World Cup-Ashes double?

A number of former players have had their say…

Glenn McGrath

The Ashes has been dominated by the home teams for the best part of two decades and, even though Australia have a good chance of ending that this time, the two sides are very evenly matched.

I find it hard to say the team that I back will lose, or even draw, a match and so I do think Australia will win the series, but I’m not sure on the scoreline. 

Steve Waugh

Both sides have 50-50 chance. We’ve come up against some really good England sides in those last 18 years.

We’ve had some tight series and moments when we could have won the series, probably a bit like the other way round for England in that period where they lost a lot. 

Alastair Cook

It will be a tactic for England to play on pitches that produce results, because that is where they have had most success and Australia’s batsmen do not like the moving ball.

I can see there being five results and I think England will sneak the biggest moments, not least because of the runs their lower order can contribute. They will take it 3-2. 

Jim Maxwell

I love speculating about Ashes series and this one in particular. It’s a long time since Australia have won here, but on this occasion I am confident that Australia will win decisively.

On the back of some outstanding batting from Steve Smith and David Warner, who will relish the booing from the terraces, Australia will win 3-1. 

Paul Farbrace

It will come down to which team bats the best. England’s middle order is so strong, and I expect them to get the majority of the hosts’ runs.

I expect Jimmy Anderson to have a fantastic impact and I think Moeen Ali will be key with both bat and ball. I expect England to win 3-2 to round off a memorable summer. 

Matthew Hoggard

I’m going England, 3-2. I think there will be a result in every game. It’s about whose going to score more runs.

Both teams are evenly matched. The bowlers are going to dominate and it’s about who scores more runs. I’m backing us to score one more than Australia! 

Shane Warne

Normally, remember, the Ashes start in June. They’ve played on the grounds and they’re going to be drier.

It’s still been a pretty good summer over there, so I don’t think they’ll seam around as much as we probably expect in the English conditions. It might help Australia. 

Phil Tufnell

There’s bound to be a little bit of rain around, so I suspect that will claim one Test. I’m concerned about the Australia attack.

With the pace bowlers and off-spinner Nathan Lyon, they can take 20 wickets, especially against England’s batting. Having said that, Australia’s batting is flaky in the middle order. I think it will be 2-2. 

Jonathan Agnew

Unless there is bad weather around, I don’t see any draws. The pitches will largely suit the bowlers and the batting on both sides is very fragile.

Therefore, the question is which team can be the most consistent with the bat? It will be 3-2 to someone and, perhaps based on nothing but patriotism, I shall say England will win the Ashes. 

Steve Harmison

England are slight favourites with the home advantage, but I see it a lot closer than people think. 

Isa Guha

After such a disappointing time in Australia last time around, England will be hungry to regain the urn. They had a scare against Ireland, but Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes will come back to strengthen and there is competition among the pace bowlers.

It will be close because Australia have the bowlers, not to mention Steve Smith and David Warner coming back and wanting to prove a point. England will win 2-1. 

Vic Marks

It will be 3-2, because draws are out of fashion, no-one can bat and there are a lot of good bowlers around. Unless the heavens open, we’re in for a cracking Ashes, five results, and the winners only being confirmed at The Oval.

A key factor is whether England can get to about 80-2 in their first innings often enough. If, and it is quite a big if, they can do that, they will edge it. 

Michael Vaughan

I can’t see there being any draws in the five Tests, especially with the pitches we’re expecting and the use of the 2018 Dukes ball. I’m going 3-2 either way.

At this stage, I’ve no idea which way it will go. It could be as simple as whoever gets most runs between England’s Joe Root and Australia’s Steve Smith will deliver their team the Ashes.