Ben Stokes predicts there will be “some sort of theatre” between England and Australia as the Ashes begins today.

Australia have worked hard at cleaning up their image after the nadir of last year’s sandpaper scandal, with an emphasis on team culture and on-field behaviour.

Their overhaul is more about ethos than personnel though with all three of the individuals involved in the ball-tampering conspiracy - Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft - in line to return to their Test side.

Cumbrian Stokes, who shared the Rajasthan Royals dressing room with Smith at this year’s Indian Premier League, has noted their change in approach but would not be surprised to see things flare up in the heat of battle.

Stokes, from Cockermouth, said: “It’s weird Aussies trying to be nice to you.

"But I think, once you get out in the middle and cross the white line, the real competitive side of both teams will come out.

“The Ashes are the biggest Test series played in the world. There is always something that happens between teams in Ashes series and I don’t think this will be any different.

"Both teams are desperate to win, both sets of players are desperate to perform because Ashes series are where you get looked at.”

“Everyone knows that as well, so I can assure you there will be some sort of theatre that goes on out there,” the 28-year-old added.