Pietersen part of triple threat in English line-up

I MIGHT have been on the dirty Pom side of the two-page spread in the print edition, but that does not mean I am rooting for the English.

It is just what happens when you are down the pecking order in the sports department and the boss gets to pick his side of the ledger.

That said, there is a lot to like about England coming into the first Test of the Ashes series.

The three biggest dangers are Joe Root, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell.

All three have solid averages against Australia, Pietersen leading the charge with 49.05.

Pietersen has been dangerous his whole career and I will not be surprised if he unleashes a few fireworks at the Gabba during his 100th Test.

Hopefully he will rock up with blue hair like he did in 2006.

Root destroyed Australia in the second Ashes Test at Lord's in July, scoring 180 in the second innings as the home side romped to a 374-run win. A powerful hitter and genuine stroke player, Root could do exactly that to our chances if he gets going.

Bell is not the first name I usually think of when it comes to batting prowess, but his three centuries in their Tests earlier this year - in three different games, all of which England won - make him a genuine threat.

The days of Steven Harmison-style pies seem to be gone with England's pace attack, spearheaded by James Anderson, helping the team to be ranked third in the world.

Stuart "standing still" Broad is another danger, as is token spinner Graeme Swann, but who fills the rest of their bowling spots remains to be seen.

Australia's biggest issue seems to be the inability to clean up the tail.

It has been a problem since Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath retired but hopefully we will turn the corner in this series.

I'm looking to meat-less machine Peter Siddle to tear through the English batsmen and am expecting no less than a five-for in every Test.

Mitchell Johnson is too hot and cold to predict - if selected, he will either be our saviour or open a pie shop with Harmison.

Shane Watson reckons he could be close to 100% fitness and bowling capacity for the second Test, but odds are still on he injures himself on the fourth day.

The real winners of the first Test will likely be south-east Queensland's farmers.

Mother Nature thinks it is hilarious to deliver a few storms whenever a major cricket match is planned for the Gabba, and this should be no different.

Prediction: Australia will be in a winnable position, England's lower order will repel the bowlers and rain will save their skins.



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