Sydney: Stuart Broad thinks England's fast bowlers will flourish on Australia's hard wickets as they seek to shed the burden of the past and retain the Ashes over the next two months.
All-rounder Broad and the three likely specialist bowlers for the first test in Brisbane performed well in the first two warm-up matches and have skipped this week's final game against Australia A in Hobart to acclimatise in Queensland. The 6ft 5in (1.96m) Broad is almost certain to be joined by 6ft 7in (2.00m) Steven Finn and the 6ft 2in (1.88m) James Anderson in England's strike attack for the first test on what promises to be a lively wicket at the Gabba from Nov. 25.
"We've got some tall bowlers in our team, I think we've got a team suited to do well and do some damage," the 24-year-old told the England and Wales Cricket board website (www.ecb.co.uk).
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"The pitches bounce a bit more, so being taller helps. Taller bowlers seem to have a bit of success in Australia."
England have won just three tests in Australia since their last away Ashes triumph 23 years ago but arrived in Perth a couple of weeks ago in the highly unusual position of being favourites to win the series.
Many a previous squad has arrived in Australia in possession of the Ashes and with high hopes only to return home chastened, most recently in 2006-7 when England were whitewashed 5-0.
Broad believes the relative inexperience of this year's squad -- nine have not played a test in Australia before -- might benefit England's cause.
"We're quite fortunate in that, the team we've got at the moment, (a few) of us haven't toured Australia before," Broad said.Is NZ India's toughest rival?
"We've got no demons there, so we can just go and enjoy our time and make sure we play good cricket and hopefully win." One thing Broad is keenly aware of is the reception he and his team mates will get from the local crowds over the five tests.
"It's going to be a hostile reception for the English players," said Broad.
"You speak to any ex-England player who's toured Australia and the first things they will say are about the crowd.
"(But) at the end of the day, it doesn't affect where you bowl the ball or where you hit it.
"So, we need to just focus on getting our skills right and performing well, and gaining the opposition fans' respect." England brushed off the absence of the trio of quick bowlers and spinner Graeme Swann to make an excellent start to their their final four-day warm-up match on Wednesday.
The tourists, fired by Chris Tremlett (4-54) and Ajmal Shahzad (3-57), dismissed a youthful Australia A side for 230, although England captain Andrew Strauss was dismissed for 10 just before the close of play.