Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has highlighted the influences of James Anderson and Stuart Broad as major factors in England’s recent Ashes successes at home.
Waugh was the last Australian skipper to lift the urn on English soil in 2001, their stranglehold on the contest broken four years later when Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff came to the fore.
In three series on these shores since then, Anderson and Broad have taken 105 wickets between them and the veteran new-ball pairing could be central in extending Australia’s lean run in England this summer.
“I honestly didn’t expect it to be 18 years – we have got to win this series,” Waugh told PA.
“England have done well, they have had some really good sides in that period, been well captained and have had some strike power with the bowling which has made a big difference.
“If you look at James Anderson and Stuart Broad, I think they have had a big impact on that, their partnership has been significant and they have won a lot of Test matches for England.”
Anderson seems on course to recover from a low-grade muscle tear to his right calf for the series opener on August 1 at Edgbaston, a ground Waugh knows will be unwelcoming for Australia.
Asked what Australia must do to win in England, Waugh said: “They have just got to play good cricket. It is pretty simple, they have got to stick together and believe to get through the tough periods in matches.
“Edgbaston is not going to be easy with that crowd and England seem to do well there.
“They are going to have to guts it out through those tough periods and not lose too much momentum when they have a bad session; try and mitigate the risk and the loss and come back strongly in the next one.”
England extended their winning streak in Birmingham in all formats to 11 matches with a thumping eight-wicket victory over their oldest rivals in the World Cup semi-finals earlier this month.
Waugh thinks the result will have little bearing on the contest between the recently-crowned world champions and his former side.
“England will say yes, Australia will say no,” added Waugh, who amassed 10,297 runs in 168 Tests and played a part in eight Ashes series victories, captaining Australia to glory twice.
“They are different forms of the game now, Test cricket and one-day cricket, with different captains and different players.
“I think it is pretty much irrelevant but if you’ve won the World Cup you are going to say it is some momentum. But it is a different form of the game.”
:: Steve Waugh was speaking at the Criiio Cup in Trafalgar Square. Criiio is a celebration of social cricket which has been launched by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to engage an existing community of millions of social cricketers from around the world.