England arrives in Australia

England's cricketers were in confident mood when they touched down in Perth at the start of their Ashes tour to Australia. Asked about his team's chances of winning a fourth consecutive Ashes series, spinner Graeme Swann said they were "always confident." The England players looked fresh and relaxed despite arriving a little after midnight and Swann said he "can't wait to get cracking." "If we play our good cricket," he said, "then it should be a great series."

Kevin Pietersen wasn't among the playing group which arrived. He had been granted compassionate leave to remain in England following the death of a friend and will join the team on Sunday, bringing it up to its full complement of 17. The players were having two days off before the first official practice session on Sunday. England has six days to acclimatize before opening its tour with a three-day match against a West Australia XI on Thursday. After the West Australia match, England will play a four-day match against Australia A at Hobart from Nov. 6 and another four-dayer against a New South Wales XI in Sydney from Nov. 13. The first test begins at Brisbane on Nov. 21.