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.
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