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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 July, 2005, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
No experience required
By Martin Gough
BBC Sport with the Ashes teams

Five of England's likely Test XI for the first Test at Lord's have never faced Australia in Test cricket before.

Will their lack of experience be a disadvantage, or will they be better off without the baggage that older players carry after repeated beatings at the hands of Australia?

The players themselves have their say.


The all-rounder played the first of his 47 Tests in 1998 but poor form kept him out of the 2001 series and a groin injury saw him flown home from the 2002/03 tour.

I've had that fact rammed down my throat for a while now. I'm aware of that.

I've played a bit of cricket against them in one-day international format but Test cricket is a whole new start for me, playing against the best in the world.

It's going to be great.


Born in South Africa, Pietersen only qualified to play for England late last year but has hit 786 runs in 21 one-day internationals, including two half-centuries against Australia.

I've always said I'd like to challenge myself against the best and see where I stand.

I played against them in the one-dayers and I've got my opportunity [now] so I'm not going to say, 'I wish it was someone else.'

I've gone through two tough experiences in one-day cricket - I had to play in South Africa and now I've been chucked in against Australia.

It might have been easier going in against somebody else but I love massive challenges.


The Middlesex left-hander averages 55.12 from 14 Tests since making a century on debut at Lord's against New Zealand last year.

There has been a lot of talk previously about this aura that Australian sides had.

I haven't really played enough against them to understand that aura, but certainly we don't feel there is an aura there now.

Before the summer started, we felt that if we could play our best cricket, we could beat them. I don't think anything has changed that.


He averages 297.00 in Test cricket, having only been dismissed once in three matches, but Bell is the only England player not to have faced Australia in any form of the game before.

I was lucky to play against Bangladesh because I could have had Australia straight up.

I'm going to have to play against them at some point if I'm going to have a Test career so I might as well start now.

The one-day side is really strong and I don't think I fit into the XI at the moment.

But it's nice to go in there fresh. I'll try and use the experience of the other guys and put it into my game.

I've watched videos of the Australians and they won't do anything new to me. I'm sure they'll make something of [my inexperience] but I'll enjoy the occasion.


Raised in Australia by Welsh parents, wicket-keeper Jones only gained a chance to play first-class cricket when he moved to the UK in 1998 but has played 15 Tests, experiencing just one defeat.

It's helped to be involved for the last 18 months, to experience the pressures that go with Test cricket.

I haven't got the experience of being beaten that people playing in the last few Ashes series have.

I've only ever been involved in a successful side so that's a big advantage.

There might be a bit [of sledging] about my time spent in Australia - 'not good enough to stay' and stuff like that - but nothing I'm not expecting.


The pace bowler is playing his sixth Ashes series - his third in England.

Players like Michael Atherton, Alec Stewart and Nasser Hussain all had a lot of scars from previous matches, whereas these younger guys don't have any of those.

But it is a pretty big stage to play your first Test match, especially with the way it's been built up.

If we can get on top of these guys we can maintain it through this series and definitely for the future.

News conference: Kevin Pietersen

News conference: England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff


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