It may have been 33 years since England last won a Test series in Australia, but England captain Andrew Strauss is confident his side can retain the Ashes when the two teams battle this winter.
With just three warm-up games before the first Test gets under way in Brisbane, Strauss will need to fine tune his side, especially with an out of sorts Pietersen still searching for the form that frightens bowling attacks.
England are 1/1 to retain the Ashes and a drawn series down under would see England return home with the urn, but Strauss is targeting a win against an Aussie side that is lacking in self-belief at the moment.
“It’s going to be a hard challenge but there is a relaxed determination in making sure we come back with the urn,” said Strauss.
“We’ve got an excellent chance of winning out there; we’re a good, nice tight unit, we pretty much know what to expect I think and can’t wait to get out there now.”
Strauss is one of few members of the England squad that has featured in an Ashes series in Australia before, and his handling of his squad will play a major part in deciding whether or not England emerge victorious.
Strauss managed 247 runs across the five Test matches in the 2006/07 Test series, but fared poorly in the first Test in Brisbane, managing just 11 runs in his first innings, and 12 runs in his second innings.
At 7/2 Strauss is the favourite to be England’s leading series runscorer, but with question marks hanging over Alistair Cook’s ability, Strauss will need to start strongly in Australia to inspire confidence throughout his squad.
The result of the first Test will have a major impact on the tour and an England win will further emphasise Australia’s lack of confidence.
England are 9/4 to win the first Test in Brisbane. See the full The Ashes betting odds here.