Smith hoping to exploit England's middle order

England's inexperience and lack of confidence in the middle order is something Australia's Steve Smith hopes to take advantage of.

England may have weaknesses but Australia captain Steve Smith remains wary and knows if its stars flourish then Australia's task will be much harder.   -  Getty Images

Steve Smith hopes Australia can profit from the inexperience of England's middle order during the upcoming Ashes series.

Although England has captain Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali at its disposal, there are uncertainties over who will fit in around them.

Tom Westley batted at three during the recent Test series with South Africa and West Indies, but was not named in the touring party, meaning the recalled Gary Ballance could be given another chance.

Dawid Malan is likely to be given another chance at five, while Ben Stokes' participation remains uncertain as he is subject to an ongoing police investigation.

That gives Smith plenty to work with and he hopes England's batting frailties can help Australia take control of the five-match series, which begins in Brisbane on November 23.

"I think Jonny Bairstow has improved a lot, Dawid Malan and other guys have come in and played," Smith - who has recovered from a recent shoulder injury - told ABC Radio.

"I'm not entirely sure what order they will go with. Mark Stoneman will probably be at the top.

"They do have inexperienced players coming to Australia - hopefully they won't be equipped for the fast and bouncy tracks compared to England and we can exploit them a little bit."

England may have weaknesses but Smith remains wary and knows if its stars flourish then Australia's task will be much harder.

He added: "They have a really good side, they are quite experienced now. 

"With regards to their batting, Alastair Cook and Joe Root are their two big players that we need to keep quiet. 

"[Bowlers] James Anderson and Stuart Broad are experienced - they have been here a few times so they know what to expect. 

"We need to get those guys bowling a lot of overs - if we do that, hopefully we'll have some success."

The series will be Smith's fifth against the old enemy, but his first as captain and that provides a new challenge the 28-year-old is relishing.

"Yeah, it will be up there - the much-anticipated series, the rivalry with England is always there," he said.

"This is my fifth Ashes series, but my first as captain and I can't wait to get out there. It's an exciting series to be involved in.

"I would love to replicate it [the whitewash in 2013] - 5-0 would be magnificent. I would just love to win the series and I can't wait to get out there and get started."

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