Australia attack lacks 'X-factor': Shah

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Owais Shah believes Australia's pace attack is missing the &quot;X-factor&quot; without injured duo Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee.

Updated: June 20, 2010 11:14 IST
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Owais Shah believes Australia's pace attack is missing the "X-factor" without injured duo Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee as the world champions head into their one-day series with England.

Shah made his comments after scoring 92 for Middlesex in a five-wicket loss to Australia at Lord's here on Saturday in the tourists' final fixture before their five-match one-day campaign against England starts at the Rose Bowl, Hampshire's headquarters, on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old, a veteran of 71 One-Day Internationals, has not been selected for the upcoming series after England, the return of Test captain Andrew Strauss excepted, stuck by the batsmen who helped them beat Australia in last month's World Twenty20 final in Barbados.

Of the Australia quicks on show at Lord's, only left-armer Doug Bollinger - rated a "class act" by Shah - with three wickets for 24 runs in eight overs looked impressive.

Ryan Harris's nine wicketless overs cost 47 runs, Clint McKay took one for 60 in 10 and medium-pacer Shane Watson conceded 44 runs in seven overs although the all-rounder did take a wicket.

Shah, who last played a one-dayer for England against Australia in October, saw marked differences between the current Aussie team and the one that thrashed England 6-1 in a one-day series last year after losing the Ashes.

"What you get with an Australian attack, they do the basics well," he said.

"But one thing I would say is that there wasn't the firepower around, like with Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee last summer when England lost quite heavily to Australia. That could be the difference."

Shah added: "They've still got a good, well-balanced attack with a couple of spinners and guys who bowl good slower balls.

"It will be a toughly fought contest against England but they definitely don't have the 'X-factor' they did when Johnson (out with an elbow injury) and Lee (sidelines by both arm and elbow problems) were playing.

"I don't think the England team will fear anyone, especially coming off the back of winning the Twenty20 World Cup.

"I know it is a different form of the game but predominately the middle order and top order are more or less the same apart from Strauss coming in.

"But you've got (Craig) Kieswetter, (Eoin) Morgan, (Paul) Collingwood and (Kevin) Pietersen who were all in the Caribbean.

"They are on a high. I don't think they will fear the Australian attack. They will play the way they've been playing."

However, Cameron White -- whose 106 helped rescue Australia from the depths of 64 for four as they chased a target of 274 -- insisted an attack also missing pacemen Peter Siddle (back) and Ben Hilfenhaus (just returning from a knee injury) - was coming into form and had improved upon their performance in the 39-run win over Ireland in Dublin on Thursday.

"I thought we were pretty good, especially early and we improved from the other day," White said. "Hopefully, we can lift another notch in Southampton.

"I think we are getting almost to the right spot where we need to be at."

And Australia great Adam Gilchrist, captaining Middlesex against his homeland, said the tourists should retain confidence in their quicks even though he himself made an untroubled 38 opening the innings before giving his wicket away.

"They didn't necessarily dominate us and we didn't take it away from them so it was a good all-round workout," Gilchrist said. "They all got the overs under their belt that they would have liked.

"They're a little bit under strength with at least two or three frontline guys not here.

"But it's a good test of depth leading into a pretty busy period of time. They didn't dominate today (Saturday) but they did enough in the conditions that allowed their batsmen to run down the total."

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