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Pattinson wary of Cook threat

James Pattinson believes stopping Alastair Cook will be key if Australia are to reclaim the Ashes this summer.

The England captain scored 766 runs at an average of 127.66 as England defended the urn Down Under last time and Australia paceman Pattinson knows getting the Essex batsman early will be vital.

Pattinson, who took 3-61 to help bowl out Somerset for 260 on the third day of the tour match at Taunton, said: "We know England's strengths and weaknesses and as the first Test gets nearer we will get together as a group and look at some footage of them.

"We are aware that Alastair Cook is their leader and he leads by example so to get him early will be very valuable to us. When he is going well, the England team seem to do well too.

"We know that Joe Root will be opening in the Essex game, but we haven't gone into that much yet.

"He's a very good player, who is up and coming and has had some great results so far. I know he faces the new ball for Yorkshire, but it is going to be a different challenge for him doing so in Test cricket.

"Once we get close to the game we will look more closely at it. Nick Compton could still come back in. He looked quite comfortable out there and seems a compact player, so we'll wait and see."

Australia require a further 224 runs against Somerset to win, with all their second-innings wickets intact.

The home side posted 320 in their first innings but 90 from Shane Watson took the tourists to 321 for five declared before they bowled out Somerset.

Ed Cowan and Usman Khawaja then guided Australia to 36 without loss at the close.

"As a team we have definitely got what we wanted out of it," Pattinson said of the contest.

"We wanted to win it and we are in a good position to do that now.

"Shane Watson's batting in the first innings was fantastic. He hit the ball really crisply and we are looking forward to having him at the top of the order again.

"Phil Hughes looked pretty classy. It was good for him to get time in the middle and make runs against some useful bowlers.

"The young fella Jamie Overton bowled with good pace and Phil looked pretty good out there. He is a dangerous player when he gets in.

"Michael Clarke pulled up fine after his innings. I just asked him if he was batting at four again in the second innings and said he would be because he wants another hit.

"It's fantastic to have someone of his calibre back out in the middle. Apart from the amount of runs he scores, his leadership is invaluable to us.

"Personally, I felt really good. It's great that we have been thrown up some conditions that are pretty tough for bowling, with the wicket not offering very much.

"It's fantastic to get that now, rather than being in the first Test with the pitch flat and not knowing what to do.

"We can bowl with the new ball when it is swinging and it's just about how we perform when the conditions aren't favouring us. It's then about working as a team and bowling together, being defensive and attacking at the same time.

"We have a point to prove as a team and, while things will be different come the first Test with a few nerves flying around, there is a good feeling among the group."

Pattinson, 23, was also full of praise for new coach Darren Lehmann, who replaced Mickey Arthur after a dramatic day of developments on Monday.

"He has been fantastic so far," he said."I was lucky enough to have a lot to do with him on an Australia A tour and he comes to you and tells you exactly what he is thinking.

"He has a fantastic cricket brain and loves talking about the game. We have a lot of young guys, including me personally, who need to keep learning and learning quickly, so it's great having someone like that.

"We need to back ourselves and go out and play aggressively. We have the talent and it's all about little things such as how to bowl when conditions don't suit us."

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