BIRMINGHAM // Australia do not have the same aura about them as their recent dominant teams, the England captain Andrew Strauss said yesterday. England are sniffing a series victory leading 1-0 going into the third Test at Edgbaston starting today and Strauss said the Australians were not as intimidating as they once were. "I don't think this Australia side have an aura about them," Strauss said.
"The aura came from guys like [Shane] Warne, [Glenn] McGrath, [Matthew] Hayden and [Adam] Gilchrist. "A lot of their players are just starting their Test careers and it feels like you are playing against any other Test team." England will be without their leading batsman Kevin Pietersen through injury. "You always miss players of that quality but I am very confident that Ian Bell will come back and play very well," Strauss said.
All-rounder Andrew Flintoff has won fitness race following his inspirational performance in the England's emphatic 115-run win in the last Test at Lord's despite knee problems. "He seems fine and has come through all the work-outs pretty well," Strauss said. "So barring anything happening overnight he should be OK." Strauss also confirmed that the spinner Monty Panesar has been released from the squad and England will make their final team selection in the morning with heavy rain forecast.