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Michael Clarke backs England to win the first Test, but with a few hiccups

The former Australian captain expects England to play out of their skin if they want to win the first Test.

Michael Clarke
Former Australian captain Michael Clarke. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

After Australia women’s team retained the Women’s Ashes series yesterday, courtesy a match-winning flourish with the bat by Beth Mooney, it’s time for the men to make a clean sweep by regaining the urn. With less than a week left for the 2017 Ashes series to roll, preparations are going on in full steam for the respective teams.

Cricket’s bitterest war will be raged in Australia next week, with the first Test making headway at the Gabba. With England on the way to secure victory in the match against Cricket Australia XI, Australian selectors are spooked by the fear of an Ashes loss. Former Australian captain, Michael Clarke sounded a bit optimistic when he conceded that England can take the urn home if they can start the series on a good note.

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However, Australia has history on their side. England has never tasted success at the Gabba since the heroics of Ian Botham and his splendid bowling unit in 1986. Botham crushed Australian bowlers with a roaring century and then English bowlers Graham Dilley and John Emburey made short work of the Aussie batting line-up with five-wicket hauls each.

Clarke’s capsule of advice for England

Reminiscing about the history, Clarke said that England can only win the first Test if they make early inroads into the Aussie bowling arsenal and post a mammoth total by choking the bowlers. “If I were England I’d be focussed on the attack I had to face, that would be my concern,” Clarke told cricket.com.au.

He warned that Australian pace battery with Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc at the helm would come heavy on England’s star batsmen, given their form at the moment. So, England’s focus would be to get better of the Aussie bowlers and unleash fear in them.

“Knowing that you’ve got (Josh) Hazelwood in top form and fit, (Mitchell) Starc bowling like a genius and (Pat) Cummins is a superstar, complemented with Nathan Lyon. If I was England that would be my focus, trying to find a way to be able to combat that and also to be able to dominate. You have got to be able to find a way to get on top of the bowlers,” Clarke said.

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