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Steve Smith discusses England's strengths ahead of the upcoming Ashes series

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Ahead of the Ashes series this winter, which begins on November, 23 at the Gabba in Brisbane, Australia captain Steve Smith has had his say on all things English cricket, as the two countries prepare to do battle Down Under.

The Australians will be hoping to win back the urn, having triumphed 5-0 on home soil in the 2013/14 series, only to lose the 2015 summer series back in England.

Both national sides have endured their issues in the build-up to the series, with Australian players' in a dispute over pay with Cricket Australia, as well as struggling for form, while England have had to deal with the Ben Stokes brawl fall-out and he will not be on the flight on Saturday, following the well-documented incident in Bristol last month.

However, Smith feels that Stokes is "one of the best in the world," and would relish the opportunity to face Stokes in the series. 

Speaking to the BBC World Service, Smith said: "He's an incredible player with both ball and bat. He's one of the best in the world.

"You want to come up against the best in an Ashes series, but his situation is out of our control. We will do what we can to win the series and prepare for the series as well as we can."

The skipper went onto discuss the strengths of the tourists and reserved special praise for Alastair Cook, Joe Root and the seam bowling duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad as four key members who he feels Australia will need to keep quiet in the five-match series.

Smith continued: "You know they have a really good side, they are quite experienced now. With regards to their batting, Alastair Cook and Joe Root are their two big players that we need to keep quiet.

CRICKET-TEST-ENG-WIS

"James Anderson and Stuart Broad are experienced - they have been here a few times so they know what to expect. We need to get those guys bowling a lot of overs - if we do that, hopefully we'll have some success.

"If you look at 2010, he  (Anderson) was quite successful here with the Kookaburra ball, but probably not as successful the last time he came.

"Hopefully we can replicate what we did in 2013. We kept him quiet with regards to wickets and got him bowling a lot of overs. If we are doing that, then we are scoring a lot of runs and hopefully we can do it this summer."

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The series is Smith's first as captain, and he is looking forward to getting going in Brisbane next month.

"Yeah, it will be up there - the much-anticipated series, the rivalry with England is always there. This is my fifth Ashes series, but my first as captain and I can't wait to get out there. It's an exciting series to be involved in."

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Topics:
Cricket
Joe Root
Michael Clarke

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