Melbourne:England batsman Kevin Pietersen believes the Australian team is like a "wounded animal" and might turn into fearsome predators during the Ashes series at home beginning later this month.
Ricky Ponting's men lost five matches, across all formats, on the trot - second and final Test against Pakistan in July, two Tests and a one-dayer against India and a one-off Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka.
Their poor show have prompted many in England to believe that Australia are set to be tumbled at home in the Ashes for the first time since Mike Gatting's tourists in 1986-87.
However, Pietersen feels the five-Test Ashes series starting in Brisbane on November 25 would be anything but easy against the wounded Aussies.
"They are, in Australia, a very, very tough team to beat," Pietersen was quoted as saying by AAP.
"They're a wounded animal at the moment and you know what happens when animals get wounded, they turn into fearsome predators. Let's just hope that we can play well enough to conquer that," big-hitting Pietersen said.
Pietersen said given a chance he would want three Australians in the English side, including the out-of-form Mike Hussey.
"(Ricky) Ponting's definitely one of them. Michael Hussey, in the middle-order, is an incredible cricketer. I reckon that's about it to be honest. Shane Watson's also playing fantastic cricket at the moment so probably those three," he said.
The 30-year-old Pietersen has averaged just 36.90 since the start of last year's Ashes series and hasn't made a Test hundred since March 2009.
However, he said he is not at all worried about his form and said the English team is quitely confident of putting up a good show.
"Every single time I've played against Australia for the month leading into it and days leading up to the first Test there's a lot of things which get said which have absolutely no bearing on what happens after the first ball's bowled," Pietersen said.
"I'm not prepared to get involved, I'm not prepared to add any fuel to any fire which they might have started. I just want to go out and play some really tough, hard cricket, competitive cricket and challenge myself against the Australians in Australia.
"I know that each one of the English players is very quietly confident that we'll do a lot better than we did last time," the Englishman added.