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Rediff.com  » Sports » Countdown to Ashes: Oz you like it

Countdown to Ashes: Oz you like it

June 23, 2009 11:56 IST

Oz you like it

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Australia captain Ricky Ponting has used his team's first-round exit from the Twenty20 World Cup for some intensive practice with his rebuilt side before the Ashes series starting next month.

The team have endured mixed fortunes subsequently but showed their calibre by beating South Africa away this year after losing the previous series in Australia.


Image: Ricky Ponting
Photographs: Reuters
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All work, no play for Mr Cricket

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Australia's Michael Hussey heads to the nets during a training session at the County Ground in Hove.

The Ashes opener at Cardiff starts on July 8 and Hussey will have a crucial role to play if the Australians are to regain the Ashes.


Image: Michael Hussey
Photographs: Reuters
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Michael learns to rock

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Australia's cricket captain Ricky Ponting (left) watches as Michael Clarke catches an Australian Rules football during a training session at the County Ground in Hove.

Clarke, criticised for his recent poor form, needs to get his act together as quickly as possible. 


Image: Michael Clarke
Photographs: Reuters
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Lee-thal weapon

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Brett Lee catches a football during a training session in Hove.

Lee and Mitchell Johnson are two of the most exciting bowlers in world cricket at the moment but the competition among the pace bowlers in this Australian squad will be fierce.


Image: Brett Lee
Photographs: Reuters
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On the bowl

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Australia's bowling coach Troy Cooley gestures during a training session at the County Ground in Hove.

Cooley will need to use all his experience and ensure that the Australian bowling attack, which has been off colour in recent times, gets back on track and becomes capable of dismissing the opposition twice in a Test.


Image: Troy Cooley
Photographs: Reuters
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A tough task at hand

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Australia's coach Tim Nielsen attends a training session at the County Ground in Hove on Monday.

The world champions have lost Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden, and Adam Gilchrist from the team who defeated England 5-0 in the last Ashes contest after losing 2-1 in the unforgettable 2005 series.

The team have endured mixed fortunes subsequently but showed their calibre by beating South Africa away this year after losing the previous series in Australia.

And that makes Nilesen's job tough.


Image: Tim Nielsen
Photographs: Reuters
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'Everything is heading in the right direction'

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Ponting, who inherited one of the great Australian sides from Steve Waugh, now has an enviable mix of youth and experience at his disposal for the Ashes defence starting in Cardiff on July 8.

"The last series in South Africa was a good one with some young guys who learned a lot about international cricket and a fair bit about themselves," said Ponting.

"I've said for a while I've been very happy and very excited about where our Test cricket is heading. It's an opportunity for players on this tour to really forge an identity for themselves."


Image: Ricky Ponting
Photographs: Reuters
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