England can hammer injury-hit Australia 5-0, predicts Botham

 
Julian Harris
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FORMER Ashes winner Ian Botham believes England’s cricketers are capable of achieving a 5-0 whitewash of Australia in the upcoming series.

England comfortably held onto the coveted urn during this summer’s series, winning 3-0. Yet due to a one-off quirk of the international fixture list, they must now travel to Australia to defend the Ashes again.

“[Australia] are struggling with bowlers, 5-0 is a real chance,” said Botham, referring to a number of injuries that have struck Australia’s fast bowlers.

“I think England are red-hot favourites. What’s my forecast? Oh, I have to stay with 5-0. Just to annoy the Aussies. It’s possible. It really is possible.”

Australia’s James Pattinson is hoping to recover from back problems in time for the third Test, while a back injury has also kept Mitchell Starc on the sidelines.

Ryan Harris, Australia’s most prolific fast bowler during the summer series, is aiming to recover from a hamstring injury in time for the first Test on 21 November.