The Ashes 2010-11 November 10, 2010

Ponting says England will struggle with Gabba pitch

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ricky Ponting has warned England they will find it "hard to come to grips" with the Gabba pitch despite their extensive preparation for the Ashes. The tourists will have had three warm-up matches by the time they reach Brisbane for the first Test on November 25, but Ponting does not believe it will help them deal with the pace and bounce of the surface.

"With just a normal Brisbane wicket, visiting teams find it hard to come to terms with just how different it is up there," Ponting said in the Australian. England played in Perth over the weekend and start a match in Adelaide on Thursday, before their final warm-up in Hobart next week.

The tourists' first look at the Gabba will come on the opening day of the series. "Our record there is unbelievably good and we want to make sure we continue that on," Ponting said.

"There's been a lot made of England's preparation, the fact that they're here early and they're playing lots of games, but they don't play a match at the Gabba before the first Test. They'll definitely still find it hard to come to grips with what they're confronted with in Brisbane day one."

The pitch has caused lots of problems for batsmen this season with extra bounce and seam following an unusually wet spring. Queensland were dismissed by New South Wales for 75 and 96 in a Sheffield Shield game two weeks ago and Sri Lanka were knocked over for 115 in an ODI on Sunday.

Australia's last loss at the ground came against West Indies in 1988-89. "In my mind it's been the best cricket wicket in Australia for as long as I've been playing the game," Ponting said. "There's always something in it for everyone. The fast bowlers always get something out of it, it spins late in the game, and it's a great place to bat once you get in."