London: Australia all-rounder Shane Watson says the fact the world champions are 3-0 down in the one-day series against England is unpalatable but unsurprising as far as he is concerned.
Ashes holders England, who beat Australia in last month`s World Twenty20 final, will move closer to a clean-sweep of the five-match series if they win the fourth of five one-dayers at the Oval here on Wednesday.
It`s all a far cry from last year`s 6-1 drubbing by Australia but opening batsman Watson, who with two fifties in the series so far has succeeded where many of his top order colleagues have failed, said England were a much changed side from 12 months ago.
"At the moment there is no doubt that they are in form and playing very good cricket," the 29-year-old Watson said at The Oval on Wednesday.
"Their bowlers are bowling well and their batsmen are doing a good job. There`s no doubt they are in the top echelons of world cricket and it only looks like it`s going to continue to develop their improvement.”
"It is very exciting for all of world cricket to see the English develop the way they are and it will just continue the competition between Australia and England.”
"I`m not surprised how far England have come.”
"I have seen it from afar and also in the Twenty20 World Cup. They have improved as a group and they have got some guys into the team who are making a big difference."
"Kevin Pietersen was sorely missed during the one-day series and in the Champions Trophy (which Australia won in South Africa last year).”
"He is a world-class batsman in the top order. We knew we were going to be hit very hard by the English because they continue to develop as an international team."
Australia have arrived in England without injured quicks Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus.
But it is the batting that has let Australia down so far this series.
"There is no doubt. We definitely don`t want a whitewash," all-rounder Watson said. "We just need to continue to get our skills where we want them. We haven`t been up to par throughout this series.”
"After having a little bit of a break we haven`t been able to get up to speed as quick as we would like.”
"Throughout the series we just haven`t made enough runs to give ourselves a chance to restrict the English. That has been the biggest disappointment.”
"As a group we haven`t given ourselves a chance to nail exactly what we are looking to do.”
"There is no doubt that we have to step up a little bit more. We have been caught a bit short to be honest."