Strauss gears up for a major Australian test

ANDREW Strauss' England are committed to "fearless" cricket, but there will be no lack of respect for the opposition when the NatWest Series gets under way against Australia today.

Strauss is too canny to spend the eve of a tough five-match series at home to the team top of the world rankings publicly trumpeting England's new world-beating formula.

Instead he stressed that even an Australia team missing several high-profile players through injury – including Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson – will represent a major test for England.

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"If you look at the way Australia have played one-day cricket over the last 12 months they are the team to beat," he said."

I think we understand the size of the job in front of us but we're a pretty confident unit ourselves. It's going to be a good gauge of where both sides are at for the World Cup."

Australia's most striking shortfall is in a pace attack led by Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger, and Strauss' new opening partnership with World Twenty20 star Craig Kieswetter should provide a significant examination of Australia's new-ball capabilities,

three days after their century stand in a seven-wicket win against Scotland in Edinburgh.