Ashes attacks: Dizzy and the Dazzler weigh in
One area where it is generally accepted that England and Australia are evenly matched is in the pace attacks. Ahead of the Investec Ashes which begins on Wednesday, ESPNcricinfo spoke to Jason Gillespie and Darren Gough and asked them to assess the opposition bowlers.
Gillespie on England
His biggest strength is his durability. He works really hard to maintain his strength and fitness. He plays a lot of cricket and gets through a lot of work done, but he looks well after himself. And his skills are as important and genuine. He pitches the ball up, swings it both ways, so he is a very clever bowler. It is not an easy thing, to be able to consistently swing the ball, both outswing and inswing, at pace with the accuracy that he has. The way he can set up batsman in the crease, have them lbw, bowled and edging behind is a testament to all the hard work and practice he has put into all these skills. A very clever bowler, who can use the crease well. He has a good bouncer and change of pace. He has the best wrist of any fast bowler in world cricket. And this is his biggest strength. There is no real glaring weakness. But he can be less effective if the ball is not swinging as much. He will still cause problems, but he could be a little bit easier to play against.
He gets pace. He gets bounce. Those are his two best attributes. And he is one of these bowlers who seems to find wickets, and finds wickets in clumps. He puts his aggressive style of fast bowling to good use. He is a tall man and with the bounce he can generate, he can cause a lot of problems. Also, if he gets his length right, he can move it away from the straight, especially to the right-handers. The one area he can get better is, sometimes he tends to bowl a bit short and nullify his opportunities to get wickets. He is inconsistent at times with the length: if he bowls a fuller length and gets driven, he switches to pitching pretty much back of a length and then does not pose that much of a threat. If things aren't going his way, his body language can be a bit poor. He needs to make sure to keep that in check. But one of his strengths is his strong character. He is a wicket-taker. He is a match-winner. England need him firing.
He can bowl fast and that is his biggest weapon. Like Broad, he gets bounce, which he finds from a good length. Finn searches for wickets but he is a young bowler so he is going to be a little inconsistent. He is still learning his trade and is fixing his run-up. When Broad gets his length right, when he bowls that slightly fuller length, he can get the ball to swing a little bit. Finn relies on the seam movement. He can keep the seam up, he can move the ball in and away from the right handers. That is his strength.
He does the donkey work - bowls long spells, never complains, just keeps going. He can swing the new ball and get reverse swing with the old ball. And he can bowl with a lot of pace. But Tim's biggest attribute is, he just keeps running in hard no matter how well the opposition are playing. He does not give up. The one thing he needs to be wary about is when he runs in straight and jumps out - he needs to sort out his back-foot landing, as that can affect his outswing. That is a minor technical detail.
Gough on Australia
We all know he is going to be a quality bowler; it's whether he can stay fit - that's the biggest issue for him. He's very big, very strong, bowls at good pace, and can move the ball late. That's a terrific combination. He hits the seam back of a length, which is perfect for English conditions, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing him bowl, especially with the Dukes ball, which we all know swings more than the Kookaburra. He can be the real deal.
He was brilliant for Yorkshire last season, and that time in county cricket will have helped him develop his game. I've heard great things about him as an individual. You have to be impressed with the way he bowled in India, in tough conditions, where he kept running in and he led the attack most of the time. He also reverses the ball, which we've seen can be a significant weapon, and although consistency can still be an issue, his ability to create wicket-taking opportunities is priceless
He's a strong, skiddy type of bowler and he could be very useful over here. Again, fitness is a major issue with him - and you can't see him playing all the Tests - so they will need to be clever and selective about when he plays. He's a similar style of bowler to myself: he pitches it up full with a hint of swing, and he will be a handful.
Just a hard worker. Will run in all day for a captain. He is quicker than some people perhaps give him credit for. A 21st-century version of Merv Hughes in many ways, and can be used during periods where play has perhaps gone a bit flat, to try and back something to happen with a sustained spell of bouncers, or a burst around the wicket. All the best Australian attacks have had someone with that type of aggression. He's gutsy, too, when he bats.
Jackson Bird and James Faulkner
I've not seen much of Bird, but have heard the comparisons to Glenn McGrath in terms of the accurate line and length he can maintain. He is not the quickest, but as McGrath showed, that does not have to matter. In England, maintaining a nagging length can bring plenty of rewards. Quite a few of England's batsmen like to score freely.
Faulkner I watched quite a lot during the Big Bash. He could come into the equation if they want a fifth bowler - and Shane Watson can't bowl much - so you could yet see him playing a part in the series.
As told to Nagraj Gollapudi and Andrew McGlashan