ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss insists his men have an “excellent” chance of beating Australia in their own back yard.
It has been over 20 years since England won the Ashes on enemy turf yet Strauss’ side jet off today brimming with confidence.
Strauss, skipper as England retained the urn last year, led his side to a clean sweep of Test, one-day and Twenty20 series this summer.
And the opener, who yesterday signed a new two-year deal with county Middlesex, has promised there will be no let up in Australia.
“We’ve had a lot of success over the last 18 months so confidence levels are very high,” he said.
“Our preparation has been very good and so there’s a feeling of relaxed excitement of what’s ahead.
“We have an excellent chance of winning out there, we are a nice tight unit and know what to expect.”
England were humiliated on their last tour to the country.
The team faced accusations that they were undercooked and paid the price as they were whitewashed 5-0.
But this time, England coaches have adopted a meticulous approach – including developing a bowling machine to mimic Aussie actions.
“We’ve left no stone unturned in making sure that we hit the ground running,” Strauss added.
“Ultimately preparation only takes you so far and you have to front up in the crucial sessions but I have every confidence we’ll be able to do that.”
Strauss hopes fast bowlers Chris Tremlett and Jimmy Anderson, who picked up rib injuries in a boxing session earlier this month, will make the cut for the first Test.
“Chris is 100 per cent fit,” he said. “Jimmy Anderson is coming on well and we fully expect our squad to be 100 per cent fit by the first Test.”
SCHEDULE | ASHES AND WARM-UP
Nov 5-7 v Western Australia, Perth
Nov 11-13 v South Australia, Adelaide
Nov 17-20 v Australia A, Hobart
Nov 25-29 1st Test, Brisbane
Dec 3-7 2nd Test, Adelaide
Dec 10-12 v Victoria, Melbourne
Dec 16-20 3rd Test, Perth
Dec 26-30 4th Test, Melbourne
Jan 3-7 5th Test, Sydney