England arrives for The Ashes

England's cricketers were confident of winning their fourth straight Ashes series after touching down in Australia in the early hours of Friday.

The players looked relaxed as they walked to their team bus following their 12.26am WST arrival at Perth airport.

Star batsman Kevin Pietersen was a notable absentee, granted compassionate leave following the death of a friend.

The 33-year-old is expected to link up with the rest of England's 17-man squad on Sunday.

The team will have Friday and Saturday off before holding their first training session on Sunday morning at the WACA Ground.

QUICK SINGLE: Meet the tourists

All up, they'll have six days to acclimatise to the heat before taking on a Western Australia XI in a three-day match, starting in Perth on Thursday.

England are favourites to secure a fourth consecutive Ashes series victory after completing a 3-0 rout of Australia in August.

Although the visitors this time around, they will have longer preparation than the Australians, who are currently competing in a one-day series in India.

"Always confident," England spinner Graeme Swann replied when asked about his team's chances.

"If we play our good cricket, then it should be a great series.

"Can't wait to get cracking.

"It doesn't seem like two minutes since we finished, so everyone's fresh and ready."

Fellow spinner Monty Panesar, who was dumped by his county side Sussex after urinating on a bouncer at a nightclub earlier this year, was among the travelling party.

England have already voiced concerns about the quality of opposition they'll encounter when they face WA's second XI.

The Warriors' best players will be on Sheffield Shield duties in their clash with Victoria at the MCG, leaving a host of fringe players to take on England.

The tourists will get a far better workout when they take on Australia A in a four-day contest in Hobart, starting November 6.

And they'll get another four-day hit-out when they take on a NSW XI in Sydney, starting November 13.

Then the real stuff starts, with the Gabba, Adelaide Oval, WACA, MCG and SCG each hosting a Test.

Uncertainty surrounds the make-up of Australia's Test line-up, with a number of positions up for grabs.

Injuries to pacemen James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Jackson Bird and Mitchell Starc have opened the door for in-form left-hander Mitchell Johnson to join Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris for the first Test, starting in Brisbane on November 21.

The race to become Australia's No.1 Test spinner is a three-way battle between Ashton Agar, Nathan Lyon and Fawad Ahmed.

WA batsman Shaun Marsh is pushing for a Test recall after some scintillating form in the one-day cup, while Twenty20 skipper George Bailey could be catapulted into the Ashes squad to add some much-needed experience.