Sydney: The Andrew Staruss-led England team can be beaten, but Australia will need to be at their best, noted cricket columnist Peter Roebuck has said.
England have arrived Down Under to defend the urn they claimed with a 2-1 success on home soil last year.
“England are not exactly a pack of cards, but they’re not a fortress either. Breaches can be found. Strauss commands a middling team with a poor away record. These rivals are fourth and fifth in the rankings,” Roebuck wrote in his syndicated column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
“These tourists are eminently beatable. Their attack depends on an off-spinner with a knack of taking wickets in his first over and a way of removing batsmen lbw. Australian researchers will have dug up these details.”
“Keep out the first over, avoid using pads and the swan becomes a duck. The gap between the spin departments might not be as wide as predicted,” he added.
Roebuck also wrote down England fast bowlers saying that they rely on height and swing.
“Kookaburras are more grudging. James Anderson averaged 80 in his last series Down Under. He is a more confident and accomplished operator these days, but is still a swinger,” Roebuck wrote.
He also believes that England’s batting line-up is not at all daunting to pose a real challenge during the series.
“Alastair Cook tends to nibble outside his off stick. Strauss is solid, but not spectacular. Jonathan Trott failed on bouncy decks in South Africa. Kevin Pietersen has been out of sorts for two years. Paul Collingwood is a fighter, but not without his limitations, Ian Bell needs to add substance to his style and, by the look of things Eoin Morgan, the inventive Irishman, won’t make the cut,” Roebuck said.
Australia have not lost an Ashes series Down Under since 1986/87, but have been struggling in recent months and suffered a 2-0 Test whitewash on their recent tour of India.