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Bowlers inspiring England to success, says Ian Botham

England's Jimmy Anderson starring with the cherry

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England's bowling attack is driving them to success in the one day and Test format, Sir Ian Botham told Sky Sports.

After a miserable effort in their one-day series defeat by New Zealand, England roared back at Edgbaston on Saturday to brush aside the Australians and get their Champions Trophy campaign off to a perfect start.

"They bowl with discipline, they reverse the ball and with Swann coming back, they're good and they could go all the way"

Ian Botham

Paceman Steve Finn was left on the sidelines, with James Anderson claiming 3-30 to become England's leading wicket-taker in ODIs, and Tim Bresnan (2-45), James Tredwell, replacement for the injured Graeme Swann, and Joe Root also impressing with the ball.

It bodes well for the hosts in the ICC tournament, as well as battles ahead against their arch rivals in the Ashes which get going in July.

Botham said: "It was absolutely the right result. We all said the England bowlers would do a good job on the Australian batsmen. They look all over the place in the batting line-up. Michael Clarke is obviously a big loss but, to be honest, the rest look pretty ordinary.

"England needed an early breakthrough, they got that and they just bowled well and kept things tight. They got the two early big wickets (George Bailey and James Faulkner) and that made all the difference. The rest just didn't look like getting a score. And they just got further and further behind the rate."

There was some criticism with the news that Finn, third in the one-day world rankings, was not in the starting XI, but Botham feels his omission reflects the depth of the current England squad.

"Finn wants to play and he's spent a long time carrying drinks and he was doing that at Edgbaston," Botham added.

"He'll be disappointed but that's a healthy situation to have for the England squad with people chomping at the bit to get back into the side. The bowling department is very strong and has been for a while and it's held the team together.

"That's why they've done so well in Test cricket and the one-dayers, but particularly in Test cricket, because the bowlers can get the 20 wickets."

Anderson snared his 235th victim in Birmingham to move ahead of Darren Gough in the list of England's leading one-day wicket takers. He ended the day with 237 wickets in 170 matches, with Broad fourth and Botham in fifth (145 wickets in 116 matches).

"Jimmy just gets better and better," Botham said. "The one day game used to be his nemesis and he didn't quite know how it worked but he's now a very good all-round bowler. He'll go on and smash all the records and quite rightly - it's great for the game."

The one area England were criticised on was a conservative total of 269-7 off their 50 overs on a fairly flat surface, with suggestions that they were short of 30-40 runs.

Botham is unconcerned with their efforts at the crease and was hugely positive regarding their prospects in the Champions Trophy.

He said: "If England get 300 or 310 then 99 times out of 100 they will win because of their bowling attack - they are that good.

"They bowl with discipline, they reverse the ball and with Swann coming back, they're good and they could go all the way."

England play Sri Lanka at The Oval in their next Champions Trophy game on Thursday 13 June, live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 12.30pm.

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