English batsman Ian Bell has refused to be swayed by the wide held belief among his countrymen that this Australian side will be weak in the upcoming Ashes series.

Bell seriously rates the chances of the tourists and believes that England will have to be at their best if they are to emerge from the series still holding the famous little urn.

Bell told The Daily Telegraph: "I think they (Australia) are a very good side," he said.

"Certainly the bowling attack has got some real quality and there are some world class batsmen in there with (Shane) Watson and (Michael) Clarke. I really think the Australian side is a very dangerous side.

Bell almost hit out at critics of the Australian side, telling the assembled media that there will be no chance of the hosts underestimating the Australians at any stage throughout the series.

"I know within the England camp we really respect them and we think it's going to be a real tough challenge. What other people say outside of the England camp is their opinion, but we really believe we've got to play well to compete in this series."

Bell should have plenty of reason to respect the Australian team, especially their pace attack.

The likely line up for the First Test will be Peter Siddle, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc who will look to do some serious damage to the English batting line up.

Mitchell Starc is already on record saying that he fancies a crack at England captain and opener Alastair Cook, who struggled in the recent series against the left arm seam of New Zealand bowler Trent Boult, falling to the Kiwi bowler on four occasions.

No disrespect to Boult, but Starc is a much better bowler than the Kiwi and has the uncanny ability to swing the ball in both directions extremely late.

Peter Siddle will remain as lion-hearted as ever and is a completely different bowler to the last time these two sides met in England.

The Victorian paceman now bowls a much fuller length and it is no surprise that he is now seen as the leader of the Australian attack.

It is also no coincidence that Siddle has risen to number five in the world ICC Test bowler rankings, which makes him the highest rated bowler in the series.

Pattinson has been in sensational form since entering the Australian side. His aggression and ability to shape the ball away from the right-handed batsman has seen him explode onto the scene.

He has taken 40 wickets in 10 Test matches at the impressive average of 23.37 and will be a huge key for the Australian side if they are to reclaim the Ashes.

Another player Bell is wary of is the Australian left-hand opener Chris Rogers.

Rogers is seen as one of the unluckiest players in Australia, having been capped only once despite a mountain of first class runs in both Australia and England.

Rogers has been selected specifically for his experience in English conditions and Bell says that his side need to be ready.

"He's obviously been in county cricket and done unbelievably well for Derbyshire and Middlesex."

"He knows English conditions well and that is really nice in the Australian camp to have that kind of experience in England. We're going to have to bowl really well at him if we're going to do well." 

"I think he's a very fine player. We've seen quite a lot of him here in England and he deserves this opportunity."

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