Hayden and Langer talk tough - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hayden and Langer talk tough

By Adam Cooper 05/09/2005 06:17:20 PM Comments (0)

Tough-talking openers Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden insist there is nothing England can do to prevent Australia retaining the Ashes provided the world champion snaps out of its rut.

The two veteran batsmen, itching to return to the frontline against England's star pace attack, reaffirmed the Australian side's belief its best will be good enough despite being comprehensively outplayed in the past three Test matches.

And in a claim that's likely to raise the ire of England, Langer believes Australia will be a better team for having been put through Test cricket's most absorbing series and shown up so far.

Glenn McGrath's fitness will have a major bearing on whether Australia can produce its best, and while he appears set to return from an elbow injury, there is an anxious wait on the fast bowler to shake any injury concerns for the must-win clash at The Oval, starting Thursday.

The make-up of Australia's bowling attack - both its number and components - hinges on McGrath's fitness, as chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns and his panel are still toying with an all-out attack ploy of playing five bowlers to get 20 English wickets.

It was at The Oval four years ago Langer and Hayden first imposed themselves as an opening force, with the first of their 13 century stands, and they believe they and their teammates can again do the same to England, which only needs a draw - the favoured result with bookies - to regain the Ashes.

"We are in a good position, I know it sounds stupid but all the pressure is off us now," Hayden said after whacking 150 in the tourists' last warm-up match against Essex, which Australia won on first innings.

"If we play like we can it will be better than England no question, so we have to put together our gameplan."

England's imperious form this summer has meant Australia has only produced glimpses of its best cricket - and no sustained periods since the first Test at Lord's - but Langer was adamant the tourists' best form was unbeatable.

"That's not being arrogant, that's just a fact," he said.

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