Harmy - Aussies lack confidence
Durham paceman says tourists not as brash as in years gone by
Last Updated: 01/07/09 9:37pm
Confidence: Harmison targets Hughes
With only one week to go before the start of the Ashes, Steve Harmison has said he thinks Australia are lacking in confidence.
The Durham paceman was speaking after returning figures of 3-67 from 22 overs on day one of the tourists' warm-up match against England Lions at Worcester's New Road.
Harmison showed all the aggression which proved a highlight of England's successful 2005 Ashes campaign - his dismissal of Phillip Hughes of particular note.
Having looked uncomfortable against short pitched bowling, and making just seven runs in the process, the Australia opener fended a delivery to Joe Denly at gulley.
Eyes may be cast once more in Harmison's direction following his performance but his own have clearly been trained on Ricky Ponting's side - their body language leading him to believe that England have a chance of reclaiming the urn.
Harmison said: "This is my fourth time against Australia and the one thing I picked up...is that they are not as brash and confident as they normally are.
"I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it is to do with the side gelling together or whether they don't have the big players of recent years, and the confidence you get from that.
"But they don't seem to be the confident Australia I've known. I think there is only Ricky Ponting and Brett Lee who have played more Ashes tests than myself in the two squads.
"There are things you pick up on like body language. I've seen a little chink there. It is understandable because there are not the players in their side from bygone years.
"There is definitely something to work on for England and, if we can bat well, we have half a chance to win the Ashes back."
Harmison said he hoped his display might help the England camp devise a strategy in targeting Hughes, who is averaging 60 in Test cricket.
He said: "The only one I hadn't played against in their line-up was Phillip Hughes and I was interested to see how he went.
"I feel as if I picked up early where I wanted to bowl at him. I felt comfortable in the line and lengths I wanted to bowl at him.
"He is a very good player. I've seen him on television, he is 20, averaging 60 in Test cricket for Australia. He is no mug. He is a good player.
"England have got to be wary of him but if what happened today has unearthed an area where England can bowl at him, then great."
Harmison added: "If you put the short ball in the right area, he will belt it. But he is susceptible to any ball coming anywhere around his hip and armpit area.
"That has given him an eye opener for what is to come because we have got some tall bowlers in the England team and they might target that area."
However, Mike Hussey, who made an unbeaten 143 on Wednesday as Australia closed on 337-8, said Hughes would recover from his searching examination.
He said: "Phil will be fine, The thing about Phil is he plays with freedom and no fear. If he keeps a clear mind and plays his way, he will be effective.
"He has got to stick with what has brought him success."
Hussey also expressed delight that his first century in nine months has come at just the right time.
He said: "It has been a long time I scored a century and to spend so much time in the middle was important only a week before the Ashes get under way.
"It was good to get my confidence up and get a big score under my belt."