Former Test coach John Buchanan believes Australia boasts more match-winning players than England ahead of the First Ashes Test in Brisbane.
Former Test coach John Buchanan believes Australia boasts more match-winning players than England ahead of the First Ashes Test in Brisbane. Warren Lynam/195306

Aussies have the firepower to win back the Ashes

THE last man to coach Australia to an Ashes series triumph believes the Aussies have the firepower to take it to England on home soil - it just comes down to whether they can deliver on that potential.

Former Test coach John Buchanan rated England as the better team on paper after winning the past three series but he said they lacked players capable of turning a match on their own.

Speaking at the Australian Institute of Company Directors lunch in Toowoomba on Tuesday, Buchanan said enigmatic Aussie players like David Warner and Mitchell Johnson would hold the key to returning the urn.

"Most people are stacking the teams side-by-side and saying that England is stronger on paper, which probably averages, number of Test matches and experience would suggest," Buchanan said.

"(But) when I look at that Australian side, I see more dangerous players who can impact on the outcome of the game than what England has.

"Warner, Watson, Clarke, Smith, Harris, Johnson are all dangerous players. Whether they can deliver something to impact on the game, we'll have to wait and see.

"But England, to me, only has two, possibly three players, in the same ilk. Pietersen is one and Anderson is the second. Swann may be a third but his record here in Australia is not strong.

"I think Australia has the firepower to deal with the current situation more so than England has. Whether or not they can deliver that is another matter."

Buchanan was at the helm of Australia's 5-0 whitewash in the 2006/07 Ashes series but much has changed since that memorable victory.

The Test side has endured a tumultuous period from the alleged tensions between captain Michael Clarke and vice-captain Shane Watson to the recent homework-gate scandal in India.

But Buchanan believed Australia was in a better place now than it was before the last Ashes series in England, with new coach Darren Lehmann having had more time to influence the team.

"He only got parachuted into the job just before the Ashes (in England) and the environment in that Australian team seemed like it was pretty toxic before he got there," Buchanan said.

"There's still probably a fair bit to do but it's certainly trending in the right direction.

"He's had a longer time now to work with Michael Clarke and to establish that relationship and I think that's really important to a series ... particularly the Ashes.

"And I think, coming out of the back end of that Ashes series and now, there's a stability in selection. There's probably nine of those guys that have been in the side.

"I'm reasonably confident that Australia will go well in the Ashes series. Whether they can win it, (I'm) not sure, but I think they're in a far better place than they were in England."
 



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