Former Australian opening batsman Matthew Hayden feels that his home country can cause a surprise and defeat England in the much anticipated Ashes series this Summer.

Hayden has sent a timely warning to the English as many feel that England are almost certain to retain the urn when the Test series gets underway in July, with former England all-rounder Ian Botham referring to the current Australia side as "the worst Australian team I can remember".

Hayden told BBC sport: "Australia are capable of anything when it comes to the Ashes. They have to be workmanlike, build pressure and be in a position to take England on," he said.

Hayden believes the Aussies' chances could rest on the fitness of English batsman Kevin Pietersen, who has tormented the Australian's on many occasions, including his famous 158 when England secured the urn back in 2005.

"For me he is the key player and would be a huge loss. He has had longevity in the sport. He has played against Australia many times, has taken us on and has won.

Many have pointed to Australia's poor recent showing in India, where they were hammered 4-0 as a sign of what is to come in the Ashes, but Hayden does not feel this will be the case.

"We go there knowing that the Ashes series has a lot riding on it. It's something we talk about often in Australian cricket teams.

"It's always about this series for us as young cricketers so these guys will come dreaming of winning the Ashes."

One area the English will have to watch is the Australian pace attack which has been solid in trying conditions in India.

Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird and Ryan Harris will likely be the keys to any Australian Ashes victory and Hayden said they should try and follow in the footsteps of England's Ashes winning attack of 2005

"Whether it is with bat, ball or in the field it is about building and developing sustained pressure through partnerships."

"We saw that through the successful Ashes series in 2005, with Flintoff, Hoggard and co developing really sustained periods of pressure in their bowling line-ups." .

"They won the Ashes back on the strength of good, consistent team bowling efforts but to master simplicity is, obviously, very difficult."

Australia will also look to draw on past Ashes victories, especially the story of Allan Border's men back in 1989. 

That Australian team was also considered as one of the weakest to tour England but came away with a crushing 4-0 victory over the old enemy, with only rain denying them in the other two test matches.

Australia was also considered unlikely to win the Ashes back in the Australian summer of 2006-07, with some English pundits deciding that the ageing Asutralian side would be no match for their more youthful english counterparts.

The Australian's quickly put the tourists to the sword, taking only 12 days to regain the Ashes on their way to a thumping 5-0 series victory.

If anything, the Australian side performs at its best when it is under pressure which should lead to an entertaining battle in the quest for one of the oldest prizes in world sport.


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