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Sun Apr 20 08:23:09 SAST 2014

Ashes on Aussie minds ahead of England ODIs

Sapa-AFP | 28 June, 2012 08:490 Comments
Essex v Australia
Brett Lee and Shane Watson of Australia discuss tactics during the tour match between Essex and Australia at Ford County Ground on June 26, 2012 in Chelmsford, England
Image by: Jan Kruger / Getty Images

England and Australia play the first of a five-match one-day international (ODI) series at Lord’s here on Friday but the tourists are already looking to their return trip for next year’s Ashes.

Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has played in two Ashes Test series defeats and is desperate to emerge victorious.

  “After being involved in two Ashes losses now, it is a burning desire inside me to be a part of a successful Ashes series,” Watson said.

  “Any time you play against England you want success. It is the ultimate rivalry and the ultimate challenge for an Australian cricketer, to play against England and win.

  “I haven’t been a part of that in Test matches and now is a time to be able to put some things in place so we can have some success when we come back here during the Ashes.”  Australia are the world’s top-ranked ODI side but England come into this match on the back of six straight home series wins in the 50-over game and a run of six wins in as many completed matches.

  England’s recent success has been built on their top-order batsman, with Ian Bell filling the gap as opener created by Kevin Pietersen’s limited overs retirement by scoring a hundred against the West Indies at Southampton earlier this month.

  The hosts are likely to play five specialist bowlers, with Tim Bresnan at number seven and medium-pacer Watson believes that if Australia can make early inroads there is an opportunity to put England’s middle-order under pressure.

  “For England to be able to go in with four frontline quick bowlers is a very good thing for them against our batting line-up — but if we are able to make inroads into their batting early they may be one short,” Watson said.

  “We see it is very important for us to have success here is to try and make early inroads. That has been one of England’s strengths over the last period of time, to be able to score heavily.

  “We know if we are able to make inroads it may expose a part of the England team that hasn’t been exposed.”  In their 179-run thrashing of an Essex side featuring England one-day captain Alastair Cook on Tuesday, Australia opened with Watson and David Warner, leaving wicket-keeper Matthew Wade at No 7.

  “I’ll never sell Tim Bresnan short, I think he’s an excellent cricketer, he’s a very highly skilled bowler and he got 70-odd against us in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy a few years ago as well, so I know he can bat,” said Watson.

  “But there’s no doubt it does put a bit more pressure on him batting at seven, and Matthew Wade has had some pretty good success in his short career anyway opening or batting at seven as well.

That could be to our advantage.”  However, a confident Bresnan said: “I know I can always improve with bat and ball but I’m striking it nicely.

  “I feel I could do a job wherever I am in the order.

  “We are expecting a decent test against Australia. They are number one in the world and we respect them accordingly.”  Australia have an exciting pace attack with veteran Brett Lee alongside Patrick Cummins and James Pattinson.

  “Pat Cummins is a very highly skilled young man. No doubt he will be a handful, especially for the English who haven’t seen him much. That will be a nice little wildcard for us,” Watson said.

  “Brett Lee’s experience and his quality as a bowler are very important. The two others haven’t played in England at all so Brett is going to be a hugely important part of our bowling line-up.” 

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