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'Nervous' Aussies under pressure: Bell

A five-times Ashes winner, Ian Bell has again waded into a war of words with Australia

Former England batsman Ian Bell has fired back in the Magellan Ashes war of words, declaring Australia are attempting to hide their nerves.


David Warner recently put all manner of English noses out of joint by calling on teammates to find their inner "hatred" of the opposition they will face in the showpiece five-Test series.

Warner also remarked "as soon as you step on that line it's war", with the vice-captain later admitting he regrets some of the colourful language.

Coach Darren Lehmann and express paceman Mitchell Starc have also spoken of Australia's plans to intimidate England with a bounce barrage, a tactic that Mitchell Johnson used to great effect four years ago.

"The Australians will be nervous, even though they like to give off the impression of being fearless. That's a massive front," Bell told UK tabloid The Daily Mail.

"There will be more (pressure) on Australia losing at home than England losing away."

Bell believes Australia lack depth and highlighted the fact their XI is far from settled ahead of the series opener on November 23.

"Australia don't know who their keeper should be, they don't know what their bowling line-up is," he said.

"Despite all the talk, the fact is that people like Pat Cummins have never played five games in a row in their lives.

"They have four world-class players – David Warner, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood – what about the rest? There's a lot of question marks."

Bell, who played 33 Tests against Australia, was part of the touring party that upset the hosts in 2010-11.

The 35-year-old feels there are some comparisons between Joe Root's current squad and that which Andrew Strauss led to a breakthrough 3-1 series win.

"There is nothing to lose for this young England side," he said.

"When we won in 2010-11 we went under the radar a little bit and I sense this team has the same kind of feel.

"Not a lot of people are giving them a chance and that means they can go about their business quietly."

Bell added England's schedule that sees them start with a tour match in Western Australia before heading to Adelaide, then Townsville in North Queensland could work to the tourists' advantage.

A tour of Townsville with Andrew Symonds

"The nets in Perth are the best in the country. Practising well there will be a key part for our batters — getting used to the extra bounce and the lengths the bowlers tend to bowl in Australia," Bell said.

"It might hit high on the bat to begin with but it’s amazing how quickly you get used to it. Certainly from playing domestically over there last year (with the Perth Scorchers), it was a godsend starting there because the further east you go the slower the wickets get. If you can deal with the practice pitches at the WACA you can cope anywhere in the country."

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Steven Finn, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21