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Ricky Ponting feels Australia can win Ashes series 5-0

Australia captain Ricky Ponting
Ponting's team have only lost one Test in 10 matches

Ricky Ponting says it is "absolutely possible" that Australia can regain the Ashes with a 5-0 series win.

Ponting, 35, captained Australia when they emphatically reclaimed the urn 5-0 in 2006-07 after England won it for the first time in 16 years in 2005.

And the Tasmanian believes his team can avenge the 2009 series loss to England in the same manner when the 66th series begins in Brisbane on 25 November.

"It's absolutely possible, there's no reason why not," said Ponting.

"It's all in our hands. It's how well we play and how well we take charge of different situations.

"We've learned from a lot of the mistakes that we've made."

England's Jonathan Trott responded to Ponting's remarks by saying: "I've only played one game against them and it turned out to be pretty good [England winning the Ashes decider last year].

"I don't know the guy's character very well, but if I said that I would probably find it puts pressure on me and the team."

Pakistan's Imran Farhat, whose team beat Australia at Headingley in Leeds in July to square their series 1-1, added: "It's not easy to beat them and they don't like losing but personally I think they are going down."

The 5-0 Ashes prediction was a particular favourite of former Australia fast bowler Glenn McGrath, who made the same forecast ahead of the 2005, 2006-07 and 2009 Ashes.

Batting collapses probably were the reason we lost the series last time around and our inability to bowl them out on the last day in Cardiff

Ricky Ponting

McGrath, leg-spin great Shane Warne and opener Justin Langer all retired from Test cricket following Australia's 10-wicket thrashing of England in Sydney in 2007, a victory which sealed only the second whitewash in an Ashes series in 125 years.

However, Australia relinquished their grip on the six-inch urn in England last year when Andrew Strauss's team beat the tourists by 197 runs at The Oval, Trott scoring a century on debut, to cap a memorable 2-1 series victory.

But since that defeat in south London, Australia have won eight Tests in 10 matches, losing only once.

"We know now that we're a more experienced and probably a better team now than we were then," said Ponting, who is set to make his 147th appearance at the Brisbane Cricket Ground in the first Test.

"We put that together plus we're playing in our conditions. We hope to win this series and win it well.

"Batting collapses probably were the reason we lost the series last time around and our inability to bowl them out on the last day in Cardiff.

"I've got confidence in the squad of players that we've got that they are going to be good enough to win an Ashes series."

Ponting also declared Nathan Hauritz will be his first-choice spinner for the 2010-11 series, describing the Queenslander as a "lock-in" for selection.

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The off-spinner was targeted as Australia's weak link ahead of the 2009 series, where he took 10 wickets in three Tests, although a foot injury forced the 28-year-old to miss Australia's recent series with Pakistan in England.

"He has started running again, which is a good sign, without pain in his foot. He started bowling again last week," said Ponting.

Before the Ashes, Australia will travel to India to play the world's top-ranked team in a two-Test, three one-day international series beginning 1 October.

Australia are currently ranked fourth, with England one place below in fifth position.

The performance of England's seamers in the two Test victories against Pakistan have impressed Ponting, but he warned James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn will need to adapt to Australian conditions, where the ball will swing less in the air.

England are already bowling with the Kookaburra ball, which will be used during the Ashes series, under the guidance of Australian bowling coach David Saker to utilise the harder, faster conditions down under.

"We'll have a different set of conditions and a different ball when they come out here and I'm sure our guys will equip themselves really well," he added.

"We know where we have to bowl to all of their batsmen. They've got no one there who's going to surprise us at all."



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see also
Ashes tickets go on general sale
20 Jul 10 |  Cricket
England have Ashes edge - Warne
07 Jul 10 |  Australia
Ashes dates for 2010-11 announced
07 Oct 09 |  England
Victorious England regain Ashes
23 Aug 09 |  England
Aussies complete Ashes whitewash
05 Jan 07 |  England


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