Ponting claims Australia will target weak Pietersen in the Ashes

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It seems that despite Kevin Pietersen and the Australian cricket team being stuck on separate continents, the different time zones can’t stop the Ashes slanging match continuing.

Ricky Ponting is looking for every possible advantage over England ahead of an Ashes series his side are 4/6 to win, especially after his side suffered a confidence blow when losing to India on Wednesday.

Ponting believes England’s top order is struggling, and that Kevin Pietersen being the weakest link.

“Pietersen is a big question mark and Alistair Cook is only holding onto his spot by the skin of his teeth,” said Ponting.

“Paul Collingwood has not had the best Test summer of his life either.”

But ex-England wicket keeper Alec Stewart believes Ponting has targeted the wrong man and that Pietersen can prove the Australian captain wrong.

“He has every chance of being the leading runscorer in this Ashes series,” said Stewart.

“Okay, he has struggled for runs in Test cricket recently but I have no worry about him at all.”

Pietersen is currently in South Africa trying to find some form ahead of the Ashes and will line-up for the Dolphins against the Centurion-based Titans in Durban on Thursday.

Pietersen is looking for the runs that would help justify his 4/1 to be England’s top series runscorer.

In 24 innings against Australia, Pietersen has only failed to make double figures in four innings, and has two centuries and has a 50.72 average against the Australians.

Compare this with Andrew Strauss’s record against the Australians, six times the England captain has failed to make double figures in 29 innings and only averages 38.41.

Strauss is the 7/2 favourite to be England’s leading series runs scorer down under but an argument could be made that Pietersen deserves the favouritism.

Jonathan Trott was England’s best batsman over the summer and is 4/1 to be England’s top series runscorer. See the full The Ashes betting odds market here.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.