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Kevin Pietersen: Australia will win Ashes series 2-1

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 29:  Kevin Pietersen (C) and the English cricket team perform the sprinkler after winning the fourth test during day four o
Image: Kevin Pietersen has been part of four Ashes-winning sides

Kevin Pietersen has backed Australia's strike bowlers to deliver Ashes victory this summer.

Pietersen has been part of four Ashes-winning sides but will play no part this summer after the ECB's new director of cricket Andrew Strauss ruled out a return to the side.

And the 35-year-old fears England's lack of back-up for James Anderson - compared with an Aussie attack potentially featuring Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood - will see the tourists retain the urn in the coming weeks.

Writing in his Daily Telegraph column, Pietersen said: "Sadly I think Australia will win 2-1. I want England to win but I just can't see it happening. I hope I am wrong.

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"The difference between the two teams this series is we do not have that strike bowler who can lead the attack and take wickets while James Anderson is resting between spells.

"Two years ago we had Graeme Swann but I'm concerned as to who will be our match-winner if Anderson does not turn up. It is essential Stuart Broad and Mark Wood are firing and taking wickets.

"England's route to victory then lies with Alastair Cook and Joe Root scoring lots of runs, and the bowling attack working in partnerships to make up for that lack of a strike bowler."

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Image: Pietersen believes England's reliance on James Anderson could cost them against Australia this summer

Pietersen also urged England to take the game to their opponents from the first day in Cardiff on Wednesday, saying: "You have to make a play. England have to come out and attack Australia. There is no way in the world they are going to win the series by being defensive."

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