Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Amla: Conditions Will Allow Hosts to Cause Australia Problems in the Ashes; EXCLUSIVE

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Amla: Conditions Will Allow Hosts to Cause Australia Problems in the Ashes; EXCLUSIVE

Article excerpt

Byline: Mihir Bose

GIVEN the chaos surrounding English cricket, there are few people who believe Australia will be handing over the Ashes at the end of this summer.

Peter Moores was sacked last week after England could only draw 1-1 against a West Indies side labelled "mediocre" by incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves before the three-match series. Clearly, the task for whoever is head coach come the first Ashes Test in Cardiff on July 8 is huge.

However, South Africa captain Hashim Amla does not think the tourists will get an easy ride.

"I can see England doing well against Australia," says the man leading the world's top Test team. "With a lot more bowler-friendly conditions in England, hopefully, it will be a good series. At the top of cricket it is us and Australia but England at home are quite a good team. To win they will have to bat well and do well in all the disciplines. Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad are still very good bowlers and both have troubled me at different times.

"Anderson has done better over a longer period of time. The conditions in England certainly suit him and his style of swinging the ball. A wonderful swing bowler, in the last few years, he has certainly been one of the top seam bowlers in the world along with Dale Steyn, Mitchell Johnson, Vernon Philander. Broad is a little different. He has pace and produces great spells."

So how good are Michael Clarke's Australia who won 2-1 in South Africa last year, a result that saw Graeme Smith retire? "They are a good team. It's a bit early to tell if they are as good as the team under Ricky Ponting. Then they had Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, the two outstanding bowlers of their generation. Johnson is a different type of bowler to McGrath. McGrath bowled more in the good areas [and had spells of ]: 10 overs, seven runs, a couple of wickets. Johnson is a bit more attacking."

Smith's exit after that series led to Amla (right) becoming the country's first permanent non-white captain. During almost half a decade of apartheid, players such as Basil D'Oliveira had to leave South Africa to fulfil their dreams.

"We definitely think about the changes," says the 32-year-old Amla. …

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