Ricky Ponting has brushed off Paul Collingwood's comments that England will "go hard" in the first ODI in Southampton on Tuesday. Collingwood emphasised the importance of getting on top of Australia early in the tour, as they did in 2005 when England thumped Ponting's men at the Rose Bowl in a Twenty20 and went on to claim the Ashes.
"You've got to go hard at them," Collingwood said. "We've learnt that over the last five or six years. If you go hard at them and it comes off, it puts them under a lot of pressure. The 2005 series was a prime example."
But Ponting dismissed the talk and said the game at the Rose Bowl would be no different to any other international fixture.
"Isn't that what international cricket is all about?" Ponting said. "I would expect that they would come out aggressive in every match that they play. I can't see why they would want to come out aggressive in one match and not another game.
"So that is just words, it does not mean anything. It is about level of cricket that you bring to the table when it matters under pressure. We'll be ready for that."
However, Australia will be without Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin from their first-choice line-up, while the fringe ODI fast men Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle are also missing due to injury. The ongoing absence of the injured Brett Lee from the attack leaves the bowling group lacking experience.
Doug Bollinger, Ryan Harris and Clint McKay will be Australia's frontline seamers and between them they have 45 one-day internationals to their names. Despite Australia's strong recent record - they have won their past six ODI series as well as the Champions Trophy - Ponting said it would be tough to beat England at home.
"You would probably think that we have got our work cut out for us to win this series but we are looking forward to the challenge," Ponting said. "I have great belief in this group and great belief in what they have inside themselves."