Australia squad - first Ashes Test
Ricky Ponting (captain)
Ponting's captaincy came in for renewed criticism during the recent 2-0 series defeat in India and a third Ashes loss would almost certainly be terminal to his leadership. However, he was Australia's best batsman in India and England will be wary of a player who has excelled against them in the past and has scored more than 12,000 Test runs.
Katich has forged a place at the top of the order after remodelling himself as a dependable opener. A crab-like stance and a steady approach may not make him the easiest on the eye, but his consistency has made him a cornerstone of Australia's batting. Katich has intimated he could retire after the Ashes to spend more time with his young family.
Australia's current player of the year, Watson has finally shaken off his persistent injury problems to establish himself as a key member of the Australia side. That he has done so as an opening batsman is unexpected but also testament to his willingness to adapt. He has averaged 50.44 since moving to the top of the order, while his seam bowling offers depth to the attack.
The left-hander's reliable presence in the middle order has diminished in recent times - he averaged 25.45 in seven Tests prior to this series, barely half his career average of 49.75. However, his appetite for runs - not to mention the big occasion - remains as voracious as ever. England will underestimate him at their peril.
Michael Clarke (vice-captain)
Australia's most successful batsman during the 2009 Ashes defeat in England, Clarke will be one of the most prized wickets again - especially given his excellent record on home soil: he averages 68.44 in his last seven series. His bowling - often neglected - could also prove handy given Kevin Pietersen's troubles against left-arm spin, although there are ongoing concerns over Clarke's troublesome back.
After making a century on debut North has spent the majority of the following 20 months in the Test team attempting to silence calls for his exclusion. His knack of scoring a century when the pressure is on has helped him keep his place, the latest example being Australia's most recent Test in Bangalore. Before that he had failed to pass 20 in six innings.
Brad Haddin (wicketkeeper)
Haddin has not played a Test since March due to an elbow injury and, in his absence, Tim Paine's impressive performances cast a certain amount of doubt on his place in the team. However, he is a reliable scorer of runs of number seven and looks set to be the first-choice Ashes wicketkeeper for the duration of the Ashes.
The seamer has quickly established himself as the steady influence in an Australian attack that has tended to leak runs in recent years. Hilfenhaus was the most consistent bowler during the 2009 Ashes when he took 22 wickets in just his second series, but he enters this series having played a solitary Test on home soil.
The left-armer has admitted he has a point to prove after a hugely disappointing tour of England last summer, when his lack of control cost Ricky Ponting control at key times. It is his ability, however, to combine the erratic with the unplayable that makes him a strike bowler to be feared, especially on home soil.
The left-arm spinner is one of three members of the Australia squad uncapped at Test level. Along with Steven Smith, he will challenge Nathan Hauritz for the role of first-choice spinner against England. The competitive Doherty marked his one-day international against, against Sri Lanka in October, with 4-46.
A fiercely competitive left-arm seamer who pinned down a place in the Test side after an impressive Australian summer last year. Though short of express pace, Bollinger is nonetheless capable of hurrying the top players and gains much of his reward from bowling an aggressive line. His personality is likely to fit in well with the febrile atmosphere of an Ashes series.
After making a promising start to his Test career with 60 wickets in 17 matches, Siddle was sidelined by a back injury that has prevented him from making a Test appearance since January. Australia have missed his aggressive hit-the-pitch style, but he impressed in early-season domestic cricket.
A young, blond leg-spinner who could yet spark fear into England, there are some who believe batting will prove Smith's strongest suit. A half-century for Australia A in England's final tour game illustrated his prowess with the willow, and, with Shane Warne helping to develop his bowling, Smith's Test bow surely cannot be far away.
The Pakistan-born batsman is relatively raw but was considered worthy of a place in the squad for the neutral Test series against Pakistan in the summer. Previously uncapped at senior level, his first-class average of 52.82 makes him a talented reserve at least.
Usman Khawaja was added to the squad as cover for Michael Clarke, who has a back injury, while Steven Smith was released from the party in the lead-up to the Test.