England will be seeking to secure only their second Ashes triumph on Australian soil in 31 years as the famous foes prepare to write the latest chapter in cricket's greatest rivalry.
Much of the pre-series talk has centred around the participation, or otherwise, of star England all-rounder Ben Stokes after his late-night incident in Bristol in September.
Away from the speculation over Stokes' potential involvement, England's problems regarding their top order persist - with numbers two, three and five still yet to be claimed with any degree of conviction by numerous contenders.
Here, we take a look at the touring party and what they have to offer, starting with one man who was dropped during the last Ashes tour but is now guaranteed his place in the side...
Joe Root, England captain. pic.twitter.com/tU9afeZ7zF— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 6, 2017
Joe Root (capt, Yorkshire) - Age: 26, Tests: 60, Ave: 53.76
Succeeded Alastair Cook as Test captain following the 4-0 defeat to India at the end of 2016. Scored 190 in his first innings as skipper against South Africa at Lord's to set England on their way to a 3-1 series win. Questions were asked of his leadership as West Indies chased down 322 on day five at Headingley in August, and England will hope the monumental challenge of a tour Down Under so early in his captaincy career will not affect his status as the side's best batsman.
Alastair Cook (Essex) - Age: 32, Tests: 147, Ave: 46.33
Now unburdened by the weight of the captaincy, England will be hoping Cook can put in performances akin to those that provided the backbone of that 2010-11 win. Seven years ago, Cook made three hundreds in amassing a scarcely believable 766 runs at 127.66, although as skipper last time Down Under he could only muster 246. Various opening partners have come and gone in recent years, but the unflappable Cook is too single-minded to let that affect his own game.
On this day last year, Alastair Cook became the first Englishman and youngest player ever to reach 10,000 Test runs! pic.twitter.com/vicgpTl9zi— England Cricket (@englandcricket) May 30, 2017
Mark Stoneman (Surrey) - Age: 30, Tests: 3, Ave: 30.00
A long-respected figure on the county scene, Stoneman finally earned international recognition on the back of four centuries and 1,156 runs at 60.84 for Surrey in 2017. His transition to the Test-match arena did not go quite as planned - 120 runs from five knocks against West Indies is hardly 'pick me' form. However, Stoneman was retained for the Ashes tour - amid a paucity of other options - and impressed in England's warm-up matches, albeit against modest opposition.
James Vince (Hampshire) - Age: 26, Tests: 7, Ave: 19.27
England's decision to select Vince was greeted with surprise by many. Given a run of seven Tests last year, he scored only 212 runs without a fifty and his 2017 county form was far from outstanding, with 626 runs at 32.95. Nevertheless, the selectors have clearly seen something in Vince, who looks set to take the number three spot as England decide to keep Root at four.
Dawid Malan (Middlesex) - Age: 30, Tests: 5, Ave: 23.62
First called up against South Africa in July as England attempted to solve their conundrum at number five. Struggled against the Proteas, but did record a couple of half-centuries against West Indies in the subsequent series. His Test-match mettle will be severely examined by Australia's barrage of quicks, with Malan seemingly in pole position to feature ahead of Gary Ballance at the Gabba.
Gary Ballance (Yorkshire) - Age: 27, Tests: 23, Ave: 37.45
A big mate of Root's, Ballance has been in and out of the side after making his debut against Australia in Sydney at the end of the last Ashes tour. Four hundreds in his first nine Tests represented a hugely encouraging start, but since the home series with New Zealand he has averaged just 19 in 12 appearances. A broken finger cut short his participation in this year's home Tests, but struggles elsewhere in the top order could see him earn another recall.
Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire) - Age: 28, Tests: 45, Ave: 39.77
Has developed immeasurably and any lingering questions over whether he or Jos Buttler should be given the gloves have long since disappeared. Since his maiden century at Cape Town in January 2016, Bairstow averages more than 50 across his 24 Tests. Could be promoted to help solve England's top-order problems - something he says he is happy to do - and his wicketkeeping has improved at the same rate as his batting. Australia will face a man at the top of his game.
Ben Foakes (Surrey) - Age: 24, Tests: 0, Ave: N/A
Alongside Mason Crane and Craig Overton, Foakes is a Test novice. His performances for Surrey in the 2017 County Championship - where he scored 680 runs at 42.50 - earned him a maiden call-up, but with Bairstow as England's undisputed number one, he will only be handed a first cap in the event of the Yorkshireman suffering injury or being selected as a specialist batsman.
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire) - Age: 30, Tests: 44, Bat Ave: 34.66, Bwl Ave: 37.32
Has established himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet, despite continuing to refer to himself as "a batsman who bowls a bit". Moeen has proved himself far more than that, finishing off South Africa with a hat-trick at The Oval before his unbeaten 75 followed by a five-wicket haul clinched the series at Old Trafford. Ben Stokes' likely absence means Moeen - a key cog in a formidable engine room that has driven much of England's recent success - will move up from eight.
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire) - Age: 28, Tests: 18, Bat Ave: 32.14, Bwl Ave: 30.60
Perhaps England's most under-rated operator, Woakes has established himself among England's best frontline seamers and also proved his ample ability with the bat on more than one occasion. Arguably the best number nine in world cricket, Woakes is likely to move up a place in the event of Stokes' absence, and will be asked to step up to the role of premier all-rounder, leaving England the option of selecting another out-and-out seamer.
Ben Stokes (Durham) - Age: 26, Tests: 39, Bat Ave: 35.72, Bwl Ave: 33.93
Included in the squad despite the ongoing police investigation after he was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm on a night out in Bristol during the ODI series against West Indies in September. The ECB announced in October that Stokes would not travel "at this stage" and the saga has been a most unwelcome distraction for the touring party. Stokes' participation - or otherwise - could make the difference between glory and failure for England.
James Anderson (Lancashire) - Age: 35, Tests: 129, Ave: 27.39
Anderson's record speaks for itself. England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker became just the third seamer after Glenn McGrath and Courtney Walsh to pass the 500 mark. He averages a less than impressive 36 with the ball against Australia, but England will hope for a repeat of his stellar 2010-11 series, when he took 24 wickets at 26. Still fit as a fiddle at the age of 35, the gruelling five-match schedule should pose few problems and his new-ball partnership with Stuart Broad will be pivotal.
Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire) - Age: 31, Tests: 109, Ave: 28.81
The man Australians love to hate after his refusal to walk during the 2013 Ashes Test at Trent Bridge. Broad was given a predictably hostile reception when he returned Down Under later that year, and his time with Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League is unlikely to have appeased many Baggy Green supporters. Nevertheless, a man with 388 Test wickets cannot be underestimated, and Australia are more than aware of his propensity for game-changing spells. He famously took 5-37 at The Oval in 2009, while a fantastic return of 8-15 at Trent Bridge in 2015 will live long in the memory of those who witnessed it.
Jake Ball (Nottinghamshire) - Age: 26, Tests: 3, Ave: 114
Made his debut against Pakistan in July 2016, having impressed for Nottinghamshire in removing both Root and former England opener Adam Lyth twice, as well as Ballance and Bairstow, in a County Championship fixture against Yorkshire in May of that year. His three Test outings to date have yielded just two wickets, but he has become a regular fixture in the one-day set-up and could see plenty of action over the coming weeks.
Craig Overton (Somerset) - Age: 23, Tests: 0, Ave: N/A
Something of a surprise selection, Overton is competing for the fourth seamer role in Stokes' absence. He took 46 County Championship wickets at 22.39 in 2017 and his Somerset coach Matthew Maynard says he has matured after some "childish, petulant" incidents during the earlier stages of his career. His Ashes inclusion comes two years after he was banned for two matches by the ECB for allegedly directing a racist remark towards Ashar Zaidi - allegations Overton denied.
Mason Crane (Hampshire)- Age: 20, Tests: 0, Ave: N/A
One of three uncapped players in the squad, many were surprised to see Crane chosen ahead of fellow leg-spinner Adil Rashid. Crane made his international debut in a Twenty20 against South Africa in June but with England likely to select Moeen as their sole frontline spinner for much of the series, the 20-year-old could find himself carrying the drinks for long periods. No stranger to Australia despite his tender years, Crane became the first overseas player to represent New South Wales in 32 years when he made his Sheffield Shield debut in March.
Tom Curran (Surrey) - Age: 22, Tests: 0, Ave: N/A
A late call-up after Steven Finn suffered a tour-ending injury prior to England's first match in Australia, Curran is the eldest of two brothers who have starred in county cricket for Surrey. Both he and younger sibling Sam, 19, have been tipped for bright careers at the highest level and cricketing talent certainly runs in the family; their late father, Kevin, played 11 one-day internationals for Zimbabwe. More of an out-and-out bowler than Sam, a hugely promising all-rounder, Tom Curran has already played four limited-overs matches for England and took 3-33 on his Twenty20 debut against South Africa in June.
|Wolves defender Jonny suffers knee injury|
|Holmes to meet with Sharks amid NFL switch talk|
|LeBron made 51 points ´look easy´, says Walton|
|McGuire signs four-year deal with Cowboys|
|Bears beat Vikings to extend NFC North lead|
|Peng overcomes Davis in Houston final|
|Kerr says this has been his toughest stretch as Warriors coach|
|LeBron scores 51 in Lakers´ win, Warriors fall to Spurs|
|Win more than Djokovic? Let´s chill out – Zverev|
|Steelers´ rally highlights wild day of close, last-minute finishes|
|Modric not worried about Ballon d´Or|
|Saints pull away for blowout victory over Eagles, extend winning streak to nine|
|Martinez laments loss of control by Belgium|
|Logano claims first NASCAR Cup championship|
|Luis Enrique delighted with attitude of Spain´s squad|
|Stevens tells Celtics to get ´tougher´|
|Griezmann: Being Messi´s lieutenant played a part in rejecting Barcelona|
|Curry proud of how Warriors handled Green-Durant incident|
|Courtois: Belgium thought Nations League job was done|
|Howell ends 11-year title drought to deny record-breaking Rodgers|
|Robben dismisses Bayern title talk|
|Huge blow for Redskins as QB Smith breaks tibia and fibula|
|Switzerland 5 Belgium 2: Seferovic treble crowns incredible comeback|
|Titans DC Pees taken to hospital during Colts game|
|Spain 1 Bosnia-Herzegovina 0: Debutant Mendez spares Morata´s blushes|
|Peterson goes sixth on rushing touchdowns list|
|Titans QB Mariota suffers elbow injury|
|Djokovic hails much-improved Zverev|
|Arnautovic refuses to discuss West Ham future after Austria win|
|Redskins QB Smith carted off after gruesome ankle injury|
|Jaguars shut down Jalen Ramsey trade rumours|
|Classy Zverev revels in victory, hails defeated Djokovic|
|Forget the Nations League was ever invented, jokes Northern Ireland boss O´Neill|
|Magnificent Zverev claims ATP Finals title|
|Mahrez double fires Algeria to 2019 AFCON|
|Mbappe hoping for French winner of Ballon d´Or|
|Northern Ireland 1 Austria 2: Last-gasp winner denies hosts maiden Nations League point|
|Teenager admits assaulting Wales great Thomas|
|Browns deny Condoleezza Rice is candidate for head coaching job|
|Koeman: Netherlands not favourites for Germany clash|
|Dalic ´not sad´ but blames fatigue for Croatia relegation|
|Proud Southgate hails England hero Kane as world´s best goalscorer|
|Last-gasp Exeter penalty try shatters Bristol|
|Mbappe dismisses talk of Cavani-Neymar rift|
|Keita will do ´great things´ for Liverpool – Mane|
|Mourinho needs time to fix Manchester United - Veron|
|Southgate sees progress as England reward loyal support|
|Miller hungry to ´knock out a Brit´ after Dinu demolition|
|Yasir, Hasan put Pakistan in control with five-wicket hauls|
|England´s resilience delights Kane as Three Lions secure Nations League Finals spot|
|Kane proves Nations League importance to England in Wembley decider|
|Muller, Hummels still important for Germany, says Low|
|Tevez in line for start in Copa Libertadores final second leg|
|England 2 Croatia 1: Kane able to secure Nations League Finals spot|
|It doesn´t sound real - Molinari stunned by 2018 exploits|
|Wales legend Thomas victim of alleged homophobic attack|
|Marquez crashes again as Dovizioso wins rain-interrupted Valencia GP|
|Warriors owner denies taking sides following Green-Durant spat|
|Alisson can become a global great, says Dida|
|The Sunday Seven - 7 Key Opta facts for NFL Week 11|
|Teen driver ´fine´ after sustaining spinal fracture in F3 crash|
|Willett wins first title since Masters triumph, Molinari tops Race to Dubai standings|
|Southgate overcomes ´stigma´ of being sacked to thrive with England|
|Anthony to Lakers ´not a question for myself´, says LeBron James|
|Warriors´ Stephen Curry staying ´cautious´ with injury recovery|
|Gunter hopes Bale can help family jet in to witness Wales record|
|Root pleased to practice what he preached|
|Tianjin Quanjian threaten action after Modeste returns to Cologne|
|I had to stop Kemba getting 70! – Jimmy Butler reflects on dramatic game-winner|
|Molinari wins Race to Dubai|