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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK
Darren Lehmann column
D Lehmann
By Darren Lehmann
Former Australia batsman

I've been copping it from everyone in England after Australia's heavy defeat at the Rose Bowl in the Twenty20 international.

But I was really surprised by how polished England were.

Kevin Pietersen and Darren Gough, two of England's "big guns"
Kevin Pietersen and Darren Gough, two of England's "big guns"

They've really come a long way since the last Ashes series and they are really going to have a chance to win this time around.

They are a lot better than I thought they were. They surprised Australia and surprised a lot of people watching the game.

England seem to be building a side for the next World Cup that is going to be very competitive.

They have got a great set-up. There's experience with Darren Gough and Michael Vaughan but the best thing is they have got so many guys who bat and bowl and they are an outstanding fielding side.

Their athleticism on the field is something they've probably taken off the Australians, who pride themselves on being the best team in the field.

But it was Australia's fielding which was rusty on Monday night.

I would say they will be doing some fielding training over the next few days.

One thing Ricky Ponting does know is that the barometer of the Aussies is if they're fielding well then they're doing everything else right too.

Jason Gillespie
Jason Gillespie will aim to bounce back for the 50-over games

Australia will use the matches against Bangladesh to tinker with their batting order, to make sure everyone will get a bowl and a bat.

They will make sure that when the England games come they play a normal style of cricket that's aggressive and with a normal batting order.

They will play their best side for the game before the final, then the final at Lord's and then the three NatWest Challenge games against England that follow the triangular series.

Bangladesh are still not up to international challenge - they've got a long way to go.

But the one positive is that they've got so many people in their country that in 15 to 20 years they may well be strong enough.

I think Australia are still favourites for both one-day series. They'll do their homework now.

England played full ball against them at the Rose Bowl so Australia will know what's coming at them and England still do not know what Australia will throw at them each game.

I think you saw on Monday that for England to play well they really need their big guns firing - Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen and Gough need to start them off well, as well as Steve Harmison.

Spin-bowling has been a problem area for England... They need to get Ashley Giles fit

Australia need a good start at the top of the order - Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist have been so good for so long that if they do get a good start they set up big totals for them.

Andrew Symonds is a world-class player who has certainly been a match-winner for us over the years.

He's going to fail the way he plays sometimes but he can change a game in the same way Flintoff and Pietersen can.

Michael Clarke will probably fit into the old Michael Bevan role quite well. He is quick between the wicket can knock the ball around and play some big shots at the end.

For England, spin-bowling has been a problem area. Ashley Giles has bowled well over the past 12 months, so England need him back and bowling well.



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