Australia celebrate Mitchell Starc’s fifth wicket, Jonny Bairstow, that won the second Test against England at the Adelaide Oval. Pic: AAP/Dean Lewins.
Australia celebrate Mitchell Starc’s fifth wicket, Jonny Bairstow, that won the second Test against England at the Adelaide Oval. Pic: AAP/Dean Lewins.

Gilly praises Aussie attack

LEGEND Adam Gilchrist says England is being skewered by an all-time great Australian attack as Kevin Pietersen urges petrified England to bat "brave" or face an Ashes abyss.

Australia's pace posse of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins backed by brilliant off-spinner Nathan Lyon has proven the difference across a 2-0 series scoreline with 39 scalps.

Gilchrist redefined the role of keeper-batsman in a golden era when Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Shane Warne ruled Test cricket. But Gilchrist says Steve Smith's burgeoning 2017 attack is something special.

"This Australia bowling line-up, in time, could be reflected on as being one of the greatest bowling line-ups the country has ever produced," said Gilchrist.

"From an England point of view it has to be acknowledged that they are playing a high class line-up and that's challenging."

Starc has 14 wickets and Lyon 11 this series with England's James Anderson sandwiched on eight by Hazlewood and Cummins with seven.

The WACA - hosting its last Ashes Test starting Thursday before the move to a $1 billion Burswood Stadium - is a shadow of its once frightening self. However, Joe Root's men still face a barrage from an attack on the scent of blood and win that reclaims the Ashes.

Former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist. Picture:WAYNE LUDBEY
Former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist. Picture:WAYNE LUDBEY

"They're still going to be terrorised by 145km/h short stuff and good quality swing bowling," said Gilchrist with Root the leading England scorer with a modest 142 runs at 35.

Pietersen wants England to emulate his aggressive approach against Australia that delivered a career average of 45 in away Ashes Tests - including two tons - and stop being gripped by fear.

"Even if I didn't feel good on occasions, I made it look like I felt good because that's the way you need to do what you need to do in Australia," Pietersen told BT Sport.

"You need to get on top of them and you need to show them that you're not scared and you're not worried and there's no one in that England side at the moment that doesn't look scared.

"It takes guts, it takes determination, it takes bravery and it takes a backing of your skill."

Alastair Cook is one English batsman comfortable against short pitched bowling but Pietersen says his former teammate's playing like "time is up". Cook, averaging 15 this series, could ride off into the sunset after reaching 150 Tests in Perth.

"I had spotted it before the series and there's certainly no signs at the moment to prove there's any fire in Cook's belly," said Pietersen, also blasting England a "f..... embarrassment' after the latest booze blow up involving Anderson and fringe batsman Ben Duckett in Perth.

If Australia's speedsters don't finish off the Old Enemy Lyon will without a significant change in tactics against man with most wickets, 57, this calendar year.

"The batsman need a clearer plan, particularly against Lyon. If they're surviving against the quicks they are going to have to find a way to score against him," said Gilchrist.

"They can't allow him to get into a holding pattern because they are going to get out eventually.

"Having spoken to the England batting line-up they are really surprised by how much turn and bounce Lyon is getting."