England allrounder Moeen Ali has described the retirement of key Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris is a bonus for England ahead of the Ashes.
Moeen paid tribute to Harris, who announced on Saturday that he is to call it a day because of a knee injury, and revealed the 35-year-old had been identified as a major threat in English conditions.
Asked how much of a loss he would be to the tourists, Moeen told sky Sports: “Massive. He’s obviously a quality bowler and he will be missed in world cricket.
“He’s somebody who would have bowled really well in England, we felt, so it’s good for us. But it’s a shame that he’s had to retire.”
The series gets under way in Cardiff on Wednesday with anticipation mounting over a showdown which has produced some thrilling cricket in recent years.
Captain Alastair Cook and his players will complete their preparations in South Wales over the next couple of days before launching their bid for revenge following a humiliating whitewash on their last trip last year.
New coach Trevor Bayliss put the players through their paces in a damp Cardiff on Sunday afternoon following last week’s get-together in Spain.