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English batsmen "fearful" of Aussie quicks

Cricket

Former England spearhead Steve Harmison fears Australia have the fast bowling battery to produce another Ashes whitewash later this year.

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England have been beaten 5-0 in two of their last three Ashes tours with Harmison part of the side that meekly surrendered the urn in 2006.

In 2013/14 Alastair Cook’s side suffered a similar fate when their batsmen struggled terribly against the pace of Mitchell Johnson, who finished the series with 37 wickets.

Although Johnson and fellow England slayer Ryan Harris have now retired, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson ensure there is still great depth in Australia’s fast bowling department.

The quartet have never been fit to play in the same team, but Harmison believes if they manage to make it onto the field together at the Gabba for the first Test in November, the visitors will be quaking in their boots.

“I was really impressed with how Australia played against India,” Harmison told BBC Five Live.

“They didn’t give them any respite. They won the first Test and were in the majority of the others.

“In the Australian line-up they move the ball through the air very, very quickly and it caused the Indian batsman a lot of problems.”

England were beaten 4-0 in India late last year after failing to get on top of skipper Virat Kohli, who went on to average 109.16 in the five-match series.

That was in stark contrast to his performances against Australia where he struggled, averaging a paltry 9.20 before missing the fourth and final Test due to injury.

“That was down to the Aussie bowling line-up for me,” said Harmison.

“England have perhaps got one, maybe two in (Mark) Wood and (Steve) Finn who are different to the norm which is electric pace through the air, whereas as Australia have a good bunch in Hazlewood, Starc and Pat Cummins.

“I was so impressed by Cummins. If they can get them fit and ready for November when England get there I think their batsman will be a bit fearful. In the past they’ve struggled when Mitchell Johnson hit his straps.

“If England don’t go in with Finn or Wood then the bowling is too much of a similar pace.

“On good pitches with a Kookaburra ball, as it showed last time, we were a bit toothless.

“That could be the difference and it could really hurt England.”

-AAP

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