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Ashes 2013: England have strength in depth in bowling department

Finn: the Middlesex man could feature on a dry track, says Ramps

Mark Ramprakash believes England will leave it late before deciding the make-up of their bowling line-up for the Ashes opener.

Pacemen James Anderson and Stuart Broad and spinner Graeme Swann look all-but certain to feature against Australia from Wednesday, but the identity of the third seamer is still in question.

Steven Finn, Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions have all been named in England's 13-man squad for the clash at Trent Bridge - which you can see live on Sky Sports Ashes HD - and former Surrey batsman Ramprakash thinks the state of the pitch will dictate which man is selected.

Click here for further details on England's squad

However, the 43-year-old says that whichever attack takes to the field will pose myriad problems to the Antipodeans' batsmen - not just in Nottingham but throughout the entirety of the five-match series.

"If there is a bit of grass England may go with Bresnan, but if the surface is dryer they may go with the extra pace of Finn."

Mark Ramprakash

"I think England will wait and see what surface they are playing on [at Trent Bridge] and won't be afraid to tailor their attack to the pitch they see in front of them," said Ramprakash, who now serves as Middlesex's batting coach.

"If there is a bit of grass they may go with Bresnan, who is very accurate and can swing the ball, but if the surface is dryer they may go with the extra pace and hostility of Finn.

"Finn had a good series in New Zealand so continuity would suggest him, but England do not mind shuffling the pack and they also have Onions, who is a fine bowler.

Challenge

"In the 2005 Ashes, England had an attack that really roughed up the Aussies - Steve Harmison, Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff - and while this attack might not be quite up to that mark, they are very good.

"Anderson will swing the ball both ways and examine the Australia batsman, Broad has rediscovered his bowling form and the third seamer will do his job, too."

Joe Root, as expected, has been included in the England party and will open the batting with skipper Alastair Cook after moving up from the middle-order berth he has occupied since making his Test debut in India during the winter.

Ramprakash expressed his sympathy for the man Root has deposed at the top of the innings, Somerset's Nick Compton, but understands why the England hierarchy are so desperate to field the 22-year-old and his Yorkshire compatriot, Jonny Bairstow.

"It is a big decision [to open with Root] but I am backing Andy Flower's judgement," added Ramprakash, who amassed two tons and 12 half-centuries in his 53 Tests for England.

"Root has dealt with every challenge so far in his short career, and has shot making abilities, is good against the new ball, has improved against spin and is capable of playing in the long and short forms of the game.

"It is tough on Compton to find himself out of the side after just a few average games, but England have two young players in Root and Bairstow who they believe have that x-factor and the temperament to play Test cricket."

ASHES ON SKY SPORTS

Sky Sports Ashes HD will show exclusively live ball-by-ball coverage of the Investec Ashes this summer. Find out more about our coverage and how you can tune in here.

Cricket coverage on Sky Sports is available on TV, PC and on the move via mobile and tablet devices, thanks to Sky Go.

Sky Sports will also launch an enhanced Ashes experience within the Sky Sports for iPad and via the Ashes Event Centre on skysports.com, providing users with even more viewing options, data and insight throughout the series.

Sky Sports News HD will provide daily reports, views and analysis throughout the Ashes while skysports.com, the UK's leading commercial sports website, will offer visitors all the latest news, video and match coverage.

Can't wait for the Ashes to start? Then check out some of the great content already available on skysports.com, including our vote to find the Greatest Ashes Moment. Simply click here for more.

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