Australia Test captain Tim Paine made it clear that there will be no let-up in intensity when the 24-man squad play a four-day intra-squad match in preparation for the upcoming Ashes in England.

The match will be played before the Trevor Hohns-led selection committee pick the 16 member team for the Ashes beginning August 1.

The practice match also represents a chance for the new arrivals to adjust to local conditions.

“It will be a proper game,” Paine said in Southampton. “Both sides will be looking to win and both sides will have individual players wanting to do really well to press their final case for Ashes selection.

“We certainly don’t expect it to peter out in the second innings or play around with a run chase or anything like that. At the moment, it’s a fair game of cricket, and that’s been made really clear.

“We’re looking at it as a real opportunity to test each other’s skills so when we get to the first Test we know exactly where we’re at and everyone’s had a perfect preparation, and everyone’s been put [under] pressure.”

The last time Australia won the Ashes on English soil was when Steve Waugh was the captain of an all-conquering side that beat England 4-1 in 2001.

Paine acknowledged that early-season acclimatisation would be key to setting that record right.

The current Australian team’s acclimatisation problems are minimal as the major chunk of the squad were part of the World Cup and have been in England for two months.

Others like Peter Siddle, Marcus Labuschagne and Cameron Bancroft have been involved in county cricket while others were part of an A team tour to England.

“You’ve got to be able to adapt to the conditions that are put in front of you. In the last 18 years, we haven’t done that so well over here. We’re looking at what’s going to be the best mix of players to win Test cricket in England.

“It’s going to be a fascinating week or so and there’s some real opportunities for guys in this week.

“Certainly, something we’ve looked at is the style of play, style of players and a number of different things that we think can help us win in these conditions.”


source – News18