Australian captain Michael Clarke is giving nothing away on the eve of the Ashes. Not his starting XI, not comparisons between this and the previous series, not praise nor predictions, not even observations on England.
Clarke swatted aside any questions about the England team with the same briskness he will hope to punish any loose bowling from the English over the next seven weeks.
Australia named a 12-man squad for the test last week and, with better news about Shane Watson’s ability to bowl, the only question is whether they go with a fourth paceman in James Faulkner or a spinner in Nathan Lyon.
Outwardly, the captaincy style harks back to another era, back in the mid-1980s when Australia was struggling in the international arena.
Australia’s squad is more settled than it was during the tumultuous buildup to the last Ashes series in England, which only finished in August with the home team as 3-0 victors. England has won eight of the last 15 Ashes tests, and won four of the five Ashes series since ending Australia’s dominating run with a home triumph in 2005