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Strauss won't underestimate Australia

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England captain Andrew Strauss expects Australia to be “as good as they ever have been” this winter, despite their recent indifferent Test form.

Ricky Ponting’s side have lost their previous three Tests: a 2-0 defeat in India this month and the last match of the MCC Spirit of Cricket series with Pakistan in England during July.

However, Strauss believes they will be a different proposition at home where they have suffered just one Test series defeat since England’s last triumph there in 1986/87.

This view is in spite of Australia losing the services of the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Damien Martyn, Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden since the last Ashes Down Under in 2006/07, when Strauss was part of the England team that lost 5-0.

“Their record at home is outstanding,” he told “They are a very proud country and have a great cricketing tradition.

Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss, speaking ahead of England's departure today, said: "I don’t think I could be more confident than I am"

“We’re fully expecting Australia to be as good as they ever have been and the challenge for us is to be better than that.”

Strauss, whose quest to retain the Ashes begins in Brisbane in November 25, added: “They have lost a few recently and there are some question marks there that will hopefully be preoccupying them to a certain extent at the moment, but we’re not expecting them to be off the pace at all.

“They obviously desperately want to win the Ashes back and they’ll realise Brisbane is a good chance to get ahead of us and we’ve got to be prepared to play at our best from ball one.”

Strauss’ squad today fly to Australia, where they will play three warm-up matches ahead of the first Test.

Having enjoyed a month off since a highly successful summer, the skipper was in bullish mood.

“I’m very confident,” he enthused. “I don’t think I could be more confident than I am, but I’m also realistic enough to realise that it’s not going to be a walk in the park.

“So you have to be prepared for some pretty strong challenges and I think we are prepared for that.”

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