Wednesday 18 October 2017

Cricket: Strauss wary of unknown foes

Andrew Strauss' England are committed to "fearless" cricket, but there will be no lack of respect for the opposition when the NatWest Series gets under way against Australia today.

England's new ethos of attack and industry in the limited-overs formats led to back-to-back series victories in South Africa -- where they also reached the Champions Trophy semi-final before losing by nine wickets to Australia -- and Bangladesh.

Then came the World Twenty20 final thrashing of Australia under Paul Collingwood -- so last autumn's Johannesburg summit meeting of the whole squad and coach has taken on legendary status as the moment when England realised and admitted the errors of their ways in limited-overs cricket.

But Strauss is too canny to spend the eve of a tough five-match series at home to the team top of the world rankings publicly trumpeting England's new world-beating formula.

Instead, he stressed that even an Australia team missing several high-profile players through injury will represent a major test of England's credentials.

"If you look at the way Australia have played one-day cricket over the last 12 months, they are the team to beat," he said.

"I don't think there's a one-day team out there with a better record than them. We're going into this with our eyes open. It's not going to be easy."

Australia's most striking shortfall is in a bowling department missing Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson, out injured -- Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris now lead an inexperienced attack.

"We haven't seen a lot of their bowlers," added Strauss. "But guys like Bollinger and Harris have come in and done very well."

England v Australia,

Live, Sky Sports, 2.30

Irish Independent

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