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Page last updated at 08:00 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 09:00 UK

McGrath expects Aussie whitewash

First Ashes Test, Cardiff: England v Australia
Date: 8-12 July Scheduled start: 1100 BST
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


Glenn McGrath
McGrath (right) was made to pay for his bold predictions in 2005

Former Australia paceman Glenn McGrath has again predicted that England will lose the Ashes series 5-0.

The 39-year-old, who retired in 2007, famously predicted a whitewash four years ago but was part of the side that was dramatically defeated 2-1.

But Australia's recent series win over South Africa has left McGrath in confident mood.

"If they can do the same and improve in one or two areas they will do really well and probably win 5-0," he said.

McGrath's former team-mate Shane Warne also thinks Australia should retain the Ashes, though he believes it might be closer.

"Looking at current form, Australia have been in transition but after a period of not playing well they have gone to South Africa and won, which is no mean feat," said Warne.

"England have struggled in the Test arena, they struggled against West Indies, so if you look at the form of both sides you'd have to say Australia are the favourites going into the series, though England have a big chance."

McGrath has something of a track record when it comes to predicting Australian whitewashes in the Ashes, coming out ahead of the 2005 and 2006-07 series to declare his expectation of a 5-0 win for his side.

He was off target in 2005 when Australia, not helped by the freak ankle injury McGrath suffered ahead of the second Test at Edgbaston, were edged out in a thrilling series on English soil.

606: DEBATE
Moutarde

But McGrath was spot on in the 2006-07 series as his side romped to a comprehensive 5-0 victory against an outclassed England.

His Test career came to an end after the fifth Test of that series in Sydney, having taken 563 Test wickets in 124 matches.

Cardiff will host the opening Test on Wednesday, with Australia still reeling from the news that fast bowler Brett Lee will be missing for two Tests with a torn rib muscle.

Speaking before the news of Lee's withdrawal, McGrath revealed his faith in Ricky Ponting's team having seen them complete a 2-1 series victory against South Africa in March.

"I've got total confidence in the boys, especially watching the way they played in South Africa in the last Test series," he added.

"I thought that would have given them a lot of confidence. They showed what they can do and the huge potential that they've got."

McGrath was drafted into the Australian camp last week to provide assistance with the visitors' bowling attack for the five-Test series.



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see also
Injured Lee to miss Ashes opener
06 Jul 09 |  Australia
Pietersen wary of Aussie threat
06 Jul 09 |  England
The Ashes: head-to-head
04 Jul 09 |  Cricket
England gear up for the Ashes
04 Nov 10 |  Cricket
McGrath to retire after World Cup
23 Dec 06 |  England
Glenn McGrath's Test career in photos
23 Dec 06 |  Cricket
Hauritz backed by coach Nielsen
05 Jul 09 |  Australia
Justin Langer column
06 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Harmison misses out on Test squad
05 Jul 09 |  England
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England


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