'It's a huge series no matter who's favourite to win it'
Australia will beat England in the upcoming Ashes series if they play their best cricket despite their recent slump, bullish vice-captain Michael Clarke said on Monday.
Clarke, who skippered Australia to a first win in four months on Sunday, said the contrast in form between the two sides coming into the series would count for little when it started.
"It's a huge series no matter who the "favourite" to win the series is, it's very important we just got to go out there and play some of our best cricket," he said.
"I'm very confident if we play our best cricket we can win this series," he added.
Image: Michael Clarke
'It's been a tough couple of weeks'
Australia had lost seven straight games in all forms of cricket, including a test series defeat in India, before Sunday's victory over Sri Lanka in their third One-day international, while England arrive on the back of a string of series wins.
"It was really good to get a win, all the boys were very excited to get our first win of the Summer," Clarke said, sheltering from a rainstorm outside a launch party for Ashes series sponsors Vodaphone.
"It's been a tough couple of weeks but a positive finish to the one-day series against Sri Lanka," he added.
The Australians had already lost the Sri Lanka series before Sunday's win after a couple of particularly poor performances by their likely test bowlers.
Image: Michael Clarke
Bollinger raring to go
Fast bowler Doug Bollinger missed the series with the abdomen injury that saw him return from the tour of India early, but he said he felt "fantastic" and would be raring to go for the start of the Ashes in Brisbane on November 25.
"I've been bowling and I'm feeling really good," the left-armer said.
"I've been working very hard, I've been bowling three or four times a week and just starting to play some cricket now so I should be fine by the first Test," he added.
Image: Doug Bollinger
'We're in for a wonderful Test match series'
Simon Katich, the experienced opening batsmen who damaged his thumb in India, sounded less confident that he would be fit for the Gabba.
"I'm hopeful that I will be," he said, gesturing to the strapping on his hand. "It's been a few weeks now since we got back from India. It's been coming on nicely so hopefully I'll be out there again soon."
Katich said he would be playing club cricket this weekend but not return to Sheffield Shield action for New South Wales Blues until next week -- after the Australia squad for the first test is announced on November 15.
Clarke scored a half century to lead his side to victory on Wednesday and said he was satisfied with his own form ahead of his final preparations for the Ashes.
"I've been hitting the ball sweetly and hopefully I can get out there for the Blues and score some runs and take that form into the first test," he said.
"We're in for a wonderful Test match series, one thing I've learned in test cricket is that an hour or two hour period in a test match can be crucial, we need to be at our best for the whole five Test matches."
Image: Simon Katich