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    Cricket Australia says no special pitches for Ashes

    Sydney: Australia will not be following England's lead in preparing pitches to suit the home side for this summer's Ashes Test series, according to the hosts' top cricketing official.

    Eight days from the start of the first Test at Brisbane, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland told reporters Wednesday that his organization had provided no direction to ground staff on the sort of pitches they should prepare for the Ashes Tests.

    Sutherland said in the Ashes series in England earlier this year, and in India, Australia had to cope with pitches prepared to exploit the perceived weakness of its batsmen against spin bowling and its own lack of a world-class spinner.

    But he said Australia was not "looking for any advantage with our pitches" in the Test series which begins Nov. 21.

    "We have played nine Test matches away this year (in England and India), we have not seen a blade of grass or drop of moisture on any of those pitches," Sutherland said.

    "We have to learn to play in those conditions. The teams we have played against have quite blatantly tried to exploit the perceived weakness we have batting against spin and perhaps not having frontline spinbowlers. And perhaps they've done well because we haven't won too many Test matches of those nine."

    But Sutherland said Cricket Australia would take not steps to skew conditions in the upcoming Ashes series in the home team's favor. He said groundsmen - curators in Australia - were at liberty to prepare pitches as they see fit.

    "In terms of cricket we don't give them any direction because we have got great confidence in what they're doing," he said. "And we're not looking for an advantage with our pitches.

    "We want fans to see a good contest between bat and ball and we know each pitch has its own characteristics and we want that to continue."

    Sutherland said preparing pitches to suit the home team was "not good for cricket.

    "I don't think some of the pitches we have played on over the last six months have been conducive to entertaining and high-quality cricket," he said.