Pietersen confident of beating Australia in Ashes

Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2008, 12:19 [IST]
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Oval: New English captain Kevin Pietersen looked ahead to next year"s Ashes series against Australia after his team beat South Africa by six wickets on the fifth day of the fourth and final Test at the Oval yester day.

“If we play like we played this week we"re going to beat Australia," he said. But he warned: “It"s going to take a lot to do it. This is a one-off, it"s a very exciting stage, but the most important thing is to turn up to every Test match like we did this week." Pietersen said a key was to get the structure of the team right and make sure players knew their roles long before the Australians arrived.

In the meantime there were tough tours coming up to India and the West Indies.

He said he wanted to continue with a policy of picking five bowlers, with all-rounder Andrew Flintoff at number six in the batting order.

“It"s the way I definitely want to play cricket in the future," he said.

Pietersen said the England players had been “brilliant" in the way they approached the Oval Test and he had special praise for recalled fast bowler Steve Harmison.

“He is huge for us. I"m definitely going to get the best out of Steve." He had even spoken to Harmison about reconsidering his decision to retire from one-day international cricket.

South African captain Graeme Smith praised England for the way they had played but admitted that his team had not been on top of their game after clinching the series in the third Test at Edgbaston.

“The emotion we felt after Edgbaston was always going to be difficult to re-invent," he said. “We"d play well for an hour and then lose our way a bit. Even though we almost got ourselves back into the game a few times we were just lacking that oomph we had in the other games."

South Africa"s 2-1 series win put them in second place in the official Test rankings behind Australia.

Smith said the series win in England had been the highlight of the most successful season we"ve had.


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