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Rediff.com  » Sports » Botham backs England for 'magnificent' Ashes win over Australia

Botham backs England for 'magnificent' Ashes win over Australia

September 28, 2010 12:15 IST

Former cricket legend Ian Botham has predicted that England would beat Australia in the battle for the Ashes with out-of-favour batsman Kevin Pietersen being one of the key trump cards.

"I think England will win the Ashes and I think they might win it in a bit of style. I do think they could win it by two Tests, which would be magnificent. There's a real chance of it," The Courier Mail quoted Botham, as saying.

"England's preparation is good - they have got at least a few (warm-up) games in Australia - and their team spirit is magnificent. They have had a very hard last couple of months here with everything that has been going on against Pakistan."

"They've come through that well, and Andrew Strauss as captain has conducted himself with dignity in a very tough time and that has rubbed off on the team. I think England will win it and I think they will win it well," he added.

The former captain further backs Pietersen to rebound strongly from being dropped from the squad for the five-match ODI series against Pakistan.

"Being left out will have hurt his pride, and quite rightly. I think you will find Kevin Pietersen will come back with a sting in the tail and Australia will be thinking that as well," Botham said.

The last time England won in Australia was when Mike Gatting captained them to a famous win in 1986-87.

The first of the five Ashes Tests will be held at The Gabba in Brisbane from November 25 to 29.

It will be followed by Tests in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

The tour also has two Twenty20 clashes and a seven-match ODI series. 

Source: ANI