Pace attack likely to be problem for England in Ashes battle

ENGLAND face a stiff challenge to combat Australia’s pace attack in this summer’s Ashes, according to Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie.

Australia's Mitchell Starc, left,is one of a number of bowling options in a strong attack.

Australia have a battery of quicks to stand comparison with the richest stocks in recent memory and will take some stopping later this year.

Australia were due to announce their Ashes squad – along with that for the preceding Test tour to the West Indies – in the early hours of the morning UK time.

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The selectors faced a tall order to whittle down the pace bowling strength, while Yorkshire were waiting on the potential – but by no means certain – inclusion of their T20 signing Glenn Maxwell.

Whoever lines up against England in the five-Test series, Gillespie is predicting a difficult challenge for the home batsmen.

“The Aussie pace attack is superb,” said Gillespie, whose anticipated appointment as Adelaide Strikers’ coach in the Big Bash League – with Yorkshire’s full blessing – is expected to be rubber-stamped within the next fortnight.

“They’ve got great strength in depth and England are going to have to find a way to combat that bowling attack.

“It will be an interesting series, and England are hurting after the World Cup. Now they go to the West Indies and I’m confident they will perform well in that Test series.”

The Ashes is sure to feature plenty of aggression from the pace bowlers on both sides.

Australia’s behaviour in the World Cup final, when they got right in the faces of the New Zealanders, has been criticised but Gillespie is adamant their conduct does not cross the line.

“Australian players will always cop a bit of grief for how Australia play the game, but at the end of the day, results matter,” he said.

“People talk about the spirit of cricket, but I think playing the game hard but fair is within the laws.

“Professional sport, international cricket, is not for the faint-hearted, but there is still a respect there.

“In my opinion, it’s rare that Australians step over the line, and Australians don’t feel that having a few words to a player to try to put him off is outside the spirit of cricket, which is always liable to different interpretation.”