The debate over whether or not the 2021/22 Ashes will take place in Australia is over and the series is going ahead. But the England squad selected to head Down Under are being given a slim chance at best to regain the urn.
Having suffered a 4-0 demolition on one of their last forays to Australia in 2017/18 when losing the Ashes to the Baggy Greens, a similar fate awaits this time around for Joe Root's men if the latest betting odds have things correct.
We have taken a look at the Ashes betting markets in the build up to the series and they only point to one thing – a comfortable victory for Australia and a third straight series where the urn has remained Down Under.
Australia are around 1/3 with most leading bookmakers and favourites with Australian betting tips site Bets.com.au to win the five-match Ashes series, which starts on December 8 with The Gabba in Brisbane currently down to host the opener although internal border closures could yet result in a rejig to the planned schedule.
England are a big price of 9/2 to cause an upset and defeat Australia in their own backyard, while a drawn series is available to back at 13/2.
History is stacked against England, who have won just once Down Under since back in 1986/87. That one victory came in 2010/11 during a run of three series successes for a dominant England.
Since then, England have suffered a 5-0 whitewash in Australia in 2013/14 and lost 4-0 last time they toured in 2017/18 with the other test on that tour drawn.
England have failed to win a test in Australia since ending a 3-1 victory with success at the SCG in Sydney in 2011.
Root's side are 9/4 outsiders to end that wait for a win in the opening test of this year's Ashes. Australia, who won by 10 wickets in the last encounter at the Gabba, are 6/10 favourites with a draw in Brisbane priced at 5/1.
Some of the England squad will head to Australia to quarantine following the completion of the T20 World Cup, with the demands of playing in a bubble likely to be another big hurdle for the tourists to overcome after Australia rejected ECB suggestion to move first Ashes test to Sydney.
They were poor in a similar scenario in India when losing 3-1 away from home despite winning the opening test of a four-match series. England also trail India 2-1 in a home series, although there remains one game to play of the curtailed series.
Root did lead his side to a 2-0 victory in Sri Lanka prior to the India tour, but back at home England lost 1-0 in a two-match series against New Zealand and have found things a little bit of a struggle in test cricket of late.
The squad to tour Australia is missing star man Ben Stokes, although he could yet be flown in, as well as injured bowlers Jofra Archer and Sam Curran. Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood have made themselves available after being given quarantine and bubble restrictions assurances.