Ashes 2009 is a battle of the new kids: Thorpe

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Cardiff (Wales), July 7 (ANI): Former England star Graham Thorpe believes this summer's Ashes could shape up to be the battle of the new kids.

In the Australian corner is opening batsman Phillip Hughes, who burst onto the scene in the recent win over South Africa, but England have their own batting prodigy in Ravi Bopara, who after a sketchy Test debut in Sri Lanka in 2007 is starting to look the real deal.

The Essex starlet, 24, has struck three centuries in his last three innings after taking over the problematic No.3 spot in the batting line-up.

Thorpe feels the lack of Ashes experience could either help or hinder the two youngsters.

He told Sun Sport: "Ravi Bopara has a big challenge at No.3 against the Aussies - especially with their strong seam attack. But he clearly has the temperament and looks like he can play both forms of the game. That's key for a modern player."

"And, it's the same for Hughes on the other side. If one of them has a big series and the other does not, that could decide which way the Ashes goes," he added.

Despite his obvious threat with the ball, the left-armer will unwittingly rough up the pitch outside off stump - something England spinner Graeme Swann can profit from.

Thorpe added: "The Aussie middle order is key. If we can knock it out, we have a chance. (ANI)

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