Broad ready for Ashes challenge

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The Independent Online

Stuart Broad insists the challenge of taking wickets in Australia holds no fear for the England attack.

Broad has so far contributed 11 Pakistan wickets to the sackful taken against the at-times-hapless tourists, in conditions made for exponents of traditional English seam and swing this summer.



James Anderson has been still more prolific, with 20 wickets in three Tests.



It was a little harder work for England's bowlers at The Oval last week - and after Pakistan had battled to a four-wicket win to trail only 2-1 with one to play at Lord's, their captain Salman Butt offered the view that Broad and co may be in for much more of a struggle as they bid to retain the Ashes down under next winter.



Yet Broad believes he and his colleagues have the talent and adaptability to prove Butt wrong.



"We have no fear going to Australia, and we certainly have the skills necessary to go and win the Ashes over there," he predicted.



"We are very confident in our attack. We have bowled fantastically well this summer, in the conditions we've had.



"We have bowled Pakistan out very cheaply in all but one innings."



Butt's warning follows an unexpected claim from Australia captain Ricky Ponting that another 5-0 whitewash may be in the offing for England, following their Ashes drubbing on Australian soil in 2006/07.



Broad sees things very differently.



"We are all very confident in what we do," he said.



"We have the best spinner in the world in Graeme Swann, and some very skilful seamers too.



"Everyone will have an opinion on the Ashes, because it is such a huge series. But what opposition players and opposition captains say has no impact on us and what we are going to do.



"We have great confidence in our ability - just look at our record over the last 18 months."



England will have the added presence of Tim Bresnan for company as they prepare for the resumption of hostilities with Pakistan at HQ on Thursday.



Bresnan was nominated as stand-by only for a team who knew, barring injury, they were going to play at The Oval. The Yorkshire seamer is a fully-fledged member of a 12-man squad this time, but Broad reports the extra edge of competition for the final place will not alter preparations.



"Tim has been with us throughout the whole series, pushing for a place," he said.



"It does not change the mindset for any of us. It doesn't add any more pressure - because you always put yourself under pressure as an international player.



"That is what you do to try to come up with good performances."



Broad, meanwhile, is hoping to restate his case as an effective lower-order batsman - as well as with the ball - having made a very useful 48 in England's first innings at The Oval. "From the position the team were in at 100 for seven, we could have been 130 all out - and that is game over," he said.



"But we gave ourselves a chance with 230.



"From a personal point of view, to get nearly 50 gave me a lot of confidence.



"I haven't had the opportunities I would have liked with the bat over the past few months. But there will be some coming up, maybe at Lord's or in the Ashes, to go and score some runs."

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