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Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 15:54 UK

Pietersen wary of Aussie threat

First Ashes Test, Cardiff: England v Australia
Date: 8-12 July
Coverage: Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave, Red Button and BBC Sport website, plus live text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles. Live on Sky Sports

Australia still strong without Lee - Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen feels England will face a weaker Australia team in the Ashes than they did last time out but says they should not be underestimated.

The tourists have lost several iconic players from the side which thrashed England 5-0 in Australia in 2006-07.

"They don't have Warne, McGrath, Langer, Hayden so they're not going to be as good as that," said Pietersen.

"But to beat South Africa in South Africa as they did three months ago, you have to be a great cricket team."

Australia comprehensively outplayed the touring England side in 2006-07 to reclaim the Ashes after their defeat in 2005.

However, only a handful of players from that side remain, with world-class talent such as openers Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden, wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, opening bowler Glenn McGrath and spin bowler Shane Warne all having retired.

I'm not sure 2005 has any relevance on 2009 at all

England batsman Kevin Pietersen

They have since rebuilt the side with Simon Katich and Phillip Hughes opening the batting, Brad Haddin taking the gloves and Mitchell Johnson opening the bowling.

And all four players have enjoyed success, most notably in the 2-1 series victory in South Africa in February.

Pietersen, 29, is predicting a competitive series, which begins in Cardiff on Wednesday, but one that England are capable of winning if they are prepared to battle.

"We've got to play good cricket, be consistent, have a no-bullying approach to us and we've got the guys in the dressing room and the personalities to do the business the right way," said Pietersen.

"It's going to be a fierce competition but we're ready for it, we're excited about it and we're going to come out fighting."

Inevitably the series has evoked memories of 2005, when England famously beat Australia 2-1 to win the Ashes for the first time in 18 years.


However, Pietersen, who has been suffering from an Achilles injury but is expected to fit for Wednesday, feels this will have no bearing on the upcoming series.

"I'm not sure 2005 has any relevance on 2009 at all," he said. "This is a new series, new players, new personalities and it's a new start and new competition."

Pietersen, who averaged 52.55 in the 2005 Ashes series and 54.44 in the 2006-07 edition, also believes that previous personal performances against Australia are not significant.

"All the past scores pale into insignificance when you start a series like this," he said.

"I'll bat and I'll play how I normally do and all the other guys will do exactly the same and hopefully the team will come together and play solidly as a unit.

"All I'm fussed about is scoring runs for England, all of us scoring runs, the bowlers taking wickets, we all take our catches and England win."

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see also
Injured Lee to miss Ashes opener
06 Jul 09 |  Australia
Injury progress lifts Pietersen
25 Jun 09 |  Cricket
The Ashes: head-to-head
04 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Justin Langer column
06 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Harmison misses out on Test squad
05 Jul 09 |  England
Hauritz backed by coach Nielsen
05 Jul 09 |  Australia

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