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England batsmen are vulnerable, says Ricky Ponting

Australia captain Ricky Ponting
Ponting has been keeping a close eye on England's series with Pakistan

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has questioned the strength of England's batting line-up ahead of this winter's Ashes series down under.

Captain Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood are all currently averaging under 30 against Pakistan.

And Ponting, who admitted to having his most inconsistent year in 2009 where he averaged 38.77, told BBC Sport: "They have a couple of vulnerable players.

"There are a few cracks and there'll be guys looking over their shoulders."

England lead their current four-match series against Pakistan 2-1 with the final Test underway at Lord's.

However, they have suffered batting collapses throughout the series.

They lost their top six for 98 in the second innings of the second Test at Trent Bridge, while their top seven fell for 94 in the first innings of the third Test at The Oval.

These collapses have not gone unnoticed by Ponting who added on BBC Radio's Test Match Special: "Alastair Cook saved his career with a second innings hundred [at The Oval] while Pietersen has not made a Test hundred in nearly 12 months which is pretty remarkable when you consider the quality of player he is.

"Strauss has not made many runs in the last few games either while [Jonathan] Trott is reasonably new and they'll have a question mark at six as to whether they'll play [Eoin] Morgan or [Ian] Bell."

Ponting, 35, also suggested that he is not particularly concerned by England's bowling attack.

"Our home conditions will play a big part," said the Tasmanian. "The English rely on the ball swinging around a lot and that's where they came undone in Australia last time.

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"The ball doesn't react the same way here as it does in certain parts of England so they'll have to learn to adapt that quickly.

"I've had a look at [Steve] Finn against Pakistan. He gets a bit of bounce. He's not express pace but he puts it in the right areas.

"[James] Anderson and [Stuart] Broad are the two better bowlers, along with [Graeme] Swann. Anderson, when it swings, is as good as anyone.

"But there shouldn't be too many surprises because we've played against them enough."

The five-match Ashes series gets underway in Brisbane on 25 November.

As in 2006-07, Adelaide and Perth will host the second and third Tests with the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne followed by the New Year finale in Sydney.


2010-11 Ashes Test series dates:

First Test: 25-29 November, 2010 (Brisbane)

Second Test: 3-7 December, 2010 (Adelaide)

Third Test: 16-20 December, 2010 (Perth)

Fourth Test: 26-30 December, 2010 (Melbourne)

Fifth Test: 3-7 January, 2011 (Sydney)



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see also
Ponting targets Ashes whitewash
16 Aug 10 |  Australia
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
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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