Ashes 2013: Australia can beat England - Glenn McGrath

 

First Test: England v Australia

  • Venue: Trent Bridge, Nottingham
  • Date: 10-14 July
  • Start time: 11:00 BST

Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave and via the BBC iPlayer Radio app, BBC Sport website & BBC Sport app. Live text commentary on BBC Sport website, app & mobile devices

Former pace bowler Glenn McGrath says Australia are the underdogs in the Ashes, but believes they can still defeat England and regain the urn.

McGrath, who played 124 Tests for Australia, forecast they would take the 2005 series 5-0, but England won the Ashes for the first time in 18 years.

"England are the favourites," the 43-year-old told BBC Radio 5 live.

"But being underdogs could work in Australia's favour. They have nothing to lose."

He added: "Unless there's rain, I think there will be a result in every Test. I have to say 2-1 to Australia."

McGrath's predictions of Australian whitewashes have become a regular feature of pre-Ashes series build-ups.

The Ashes: England v Australia

10-14 July: 1st Test, Trent Bridge

18-22: 2nd Test, Lord's

1-5 August: 3rd Test, Old Trafford

9-13: 4th Test, Chester-le-Street

21-25: 5th Test, The Oval

He was correct in 2006-07, when the Aussies regained the Ashes with a 5-0 victory down under, but England have won the past two series and open their defence when the first Test begins at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.

The hosts will have Joe Root opening the batting for the first time in a Test match following the decision to replace Nick Compton.

Pace bowler James Pattinson has said the 22-year-old may be a target for sledging and McGrath believes Australia would be right to show aggression towards the Yorkshireman.

"They should get stuck into him early, try to unsettle him and let him know it's Test cricket," said the right-armer, who took 563 wickets in 124 Test matches.

"He's an opener, facing the new ball. If he gets off to a couple of bad starts, he might just slide back down the order.

"You'd want to get out there and be pretty aggressive towards him, not make it too easy."

Pattinson, 23, holds dual English-Australian nationality, but turned down the chance to play for England  in protest at what he perceived to be the poor treatment of his brother Darren, who played one Test in 2008.

"There's a little bit of feeling there with Patto," added McGrath, who retired from Test cricket in 2007.

How's stat?

There have been 310 Ashes Tests since 1882, with Australia winning 123 and England 100.

In 66 Ashes series, Australia have won 31 and England 30.

Australian batsman Sir Don Bradman scored a record 5,028 Ashes runs.

Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne took a record 195 wickets against England.

"Everyone plays for their own reasons but I didn't realise that James had that history with England.

"You still have to do the business on the field and not let emotions boil over."

McGrath also had praise for fast bowler James Anderson, who in May became only the fourth England player to pass 300 Test wickets.

"Jimmy is a quality bowler. I always thought he had the potential to be really good," said McGrath.

"He always bowled well in England but struggled overseas. Now he's an exceptional bowler all over the world.

"That experience and confidence that he brings to the team, makes him the leader of the attack. He's a quality bowler."