Hot-shot Morgan faces acid Ashes test: Ponting

Sydney: England batting hot-shot Eoin Morgan is untested against Australia and will find this year`s Ashes Test series "a massive step up" from one-day cricket, Australian skipper Ricky Ponting said.

Ponting had Morgan in his sights as he spoke with reporters at the team camp on Queensland`s Sunshine Coast ahead of October`s tour to India.

After being named man of the recent one-day series against Australia, Morgan is averaging almost 37 from five Tests.

But Ponting warned: "It (Test cricket) is a lot different (to one-dayers).”

"I think one of the reasons for playing him is his attitude and the way he goes about it -- but he hasn`t been tested against us yet.”

"Although he has played a couple of Tests, it will be a massive step up for him going into an Ashes series."

Last month Morgan became the first Irish-born batsman to score a Test hundred for England in over a century with his 130 against Pakistan at Trent Bridge.

Asked why he expected Morgan to keep Ian Bell out of the Ashes line-up, Ponting quipped: "I just have a feeling they (England) really like Morgan, what he brings to their set-up -- plus he`s not English.

"I have got a lot of thoughts on why they pick those guys (non-England-born players), it is quite surprising when you look at their side and work out how many there are.”

"But it doesn`t matter where they are born, we have got to make sure whatever team they put out we are well equipped to break them down."

Ponting said the England team will present no surprises.

"I guess the beauty about their side is that we have seen all their players a fair bit," he said. "There will be no surprises, as far as we are concerned, on what they can do."

October`s Indian tour of two Tests and three one-dayers kick-starts a gruelling eight-month schedule for Australia that will also include the Ashes Down Under and the 2011 World Cup on the sub-continent.


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