Ashes 2017: England don't fear Australia anymore and head to Gabba as favourites, feels spin legend Shane Warne

Spin legend Shane Warne says Australia are in a state of "confusion" heading into the Ashes series, with England primed for a first Gabba Test boilover.

AFP, November 18, 2017

Sydney: Spin legend Shane Warne says Australia are in a state of "confusion" heading into the Ashes series, with England primed for a first Gabba Test boilover.

Even amid the massive distraction of the Ben Stokes assault saga, Warne believes it's the tourists who no longer hold any fears about an unsettled Australian cricket team.

The leg-spin great says Australia are in a shambles with wicket-keeper Tim Paine's surprise selection pointing to a lack of direction from selectors.

File image of Australian spin legend Shane Warne. Reuters

File image of Australian spin legend Shane Warne. Reuters

Paine, chosen for his first Test in seven years, and 34- year-old Shaun Marsh recalled to the Test side for the eighth time, were the controversial selections announced on Friday for next week's first Test in Brisbane.

Pundits say Australia's Gabba fortress, where the home side is unbeaten in almost 30 years, is now under threat from an England squad missing their best player in all-rounder Stokes, back at home and under investigation over a nightclub brawl.

"At the moment, where the biggest shift has come over the last few years is they don't fear Australia anymore," Warne told reporters on Friday.

"England no longer fear Australia and haven't for a long time and hence that's why they can beat Australia.

"England, I think at the moment, are just going along nicely. They're just doing their business.

"Australia look confused. They're picking wicket-keepers that aren't even keeping for their state.

"To me, I think England are in a better situation going into that first Test match than what Australia are."

Television commentating veteran Bill Lawry agreed with Warne that Australia is missing a Mitchell Johnston-styled intimidator, despite Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins capable of bowling fast.

"I think the big key to this Ashes series is Mitchell Johnson and he's not playing," Lawry said.

"If I was an opening batsman I wouldn't be losing too much sleep facing the Australian pace attack as far as pace is concerned.

"They're all good bowlers but they're not going to frighten you."

Former Test captain Michael Clarke said the Australian team was unsure about their playing style heading into the five-Test series.

Warne is predicting the Ashes series to be the hardest-fought and most dramatic since the iconic 2005 campaign, which England famously won in a fifth-Test decider.

Warne added that both sides are weak because they rely too much on two players — Australia on David Warner and Steve Smith and England on Alastair Cook and Joe Root.

"It will get down to how those guys bat," said Warne.

Updated Date: Nov 18, 2017





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3634 125
2 South Africa 3589 112
3 Australia 3499 106
4 New Zealand 2354 102
5 England 3772 97
6 Sri Lanka 2914 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5599 124
2 India 5492 122
3 South Africa 3842 113
4 New Zealand 4602 112
5 Pakistan 3279 102
6 Australia 3474 102
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 3270 131
2 Australia 1894 126
3 India 3932 123
4 New Zealand 2542 116
5 England 1951 115
6 South Africa 2058 114