Ashes preperation boost for England

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The Independent Online

England were today granted the perfect preparation in their bid to retain the Ashes with three warm-up matches arranged before the first Test gets under way in Brisbane.

England's previous visit Down Under saw them hammered 5-0 with some critics blaming a lack of game time prior to the series starting as a key factor.

But Andrew Strauss' side, who won the Ashes back last summer, will play two three-day games, against Western Australia and South Australia, and one four-day game, against Australia A, before the opening Test on November 25.

England will also face Victoria in a three-day game in between the second Test at Adelaide Oval and the third Test at the WACA Ground.

"England certainly wanted to have a good strong preparation adjusting to the Australian environment," said Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.

"They had a pretty good preparation last time during the 2006/07 summer and I think that's the least we can do is to offer that opportunity."

England will also meet Australia in seven one-day internationals following the conclusion of the Test series.

But Sutherland denied such an elongated series could prove a turn-off and even suggested it would provide fewer matches for the tourists than on the 2006/07 trip.

"The last time England toured it was a tri-series, they actually played in the finals, so they would have ended up playing about 10 one-day matches during that series so it's actually slightly less than what they have done (in the past)," he said.

"Australia and England are very conscious of the fact that this is a World Cup season and there's probably no better preparation for both of us than playing England in Australia."

England tour matches

5-7 November 2010 v Western Australia, Perth

11-13 November 2010 v South Australia, Adelaide

17-20 November 2010 v Australia A, Hobart

10-12 December 2010 v Victoria, Melbourne

10 January 2011 v PM's XI, Canberra

Ashes Series

25-29 November 2010, Brisbane

3-7 December 2010, Adelaide

16-20 December 2010, Perth

26-30 December 2010, Melbourne

3-7 January 2011, Sydney

Twenty20 Internationals

12 January 2011, Adelaide

14 January 2011, Melbourne

One-day internationals

16 January 2011, Melbourne

21 January 2011, Hobart

23 January 2011, Sydney

26 January 2011, Adelaide

30 January 2011, Brisbane

2 February 2011, Sydney

6 February 2011, Perth