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Rediff.com  » Cricket » England must fight Aussie fire with fire: Strauss

England must fight Aussie fire with fire: Strauss

Last updated on: December 15, 2010 18:01 IST

'It's a great opportunity to show we have improved'

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England need to match the desperation of a wounded Australia if they are to beat the hosts at their traditional stronghold of Perth in the third Ashes Test, captain Andrew Strauss said on Wednesday.

England, who hold a 1-0 lead in the five-Test series, can retain the Ashes with victory at the WACA but have struggled on its fast pitches in the past and slumped to five straight losses to the hosts at the ground.

"Australia's record here is very good, so that suggests that they're better at adapting to these conditions than other teams," Strauss said after the team's training session at the ground.

"I think that's a great opportunity to show that we're a better side than we used to be."


Image: Andrew Strauss
Photographs: Reuters
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'We're expecting five days of very tough Test cricket'

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"We've got to be just as desperate as Australia because if we're not we'll come unstuck.

"We're expecting five days of very tough Test cricket here. If Australia were wounded in Adelaide and have a point to prove, we've got to be ready to counter that."

England expelled some demons by trouncing Australia by an innings and 71 runs in the second Test at Adelaide, site of the tourists' stunning second innings batting collapse in 2006 that gave Australia a 2-0 lead in the white-washed series.

Perth holds more bitter memories, however, being the ground where England lost the Ashes before Christmas in the same series, courtesy of a 206-run thrashing.


Image: Andrew Strauss

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'Spending too much time speculating won't be helpful to us'

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Strauss, who has been at pains to keep his players focused on one match at a time, said England were not concerned by their record at the WACA.

"I don't think it's going to zip all over the place to be honest ... I can't imagine it's going to be a kind of six-or-seven down by lunchtime wicket, but, who knows," he said.

"Actually, spending too much speculating about it isn't helpful to us. Certainly our record reading wickets hasn't been too good."

England, like Australia, have held off naming their final 11 until the first day of the Test on Thursday.

Pacemen Chris Tremlett or Tim Bresnan are favoured to move into the side to replace the injured Stuart Broad.


Image: Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen

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Strauss places trust in Anderson

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Another quick, James Anderson, was "absolutely spot on" and ready to lead the attack in Broad's absence, despite his shortened preparation following a rushed flight home to be present for the birth of his child, Strauss said.

"He feels happy that he's managed to get there for the birth and he's brought back that slightly euphoric feeling with him," said the skipper.

Strauss was also mindful of his own form after being bowled in Adelaide for one not offering a shot and narrowly avoiding the same fate in the first Test in Brisbane.

"There are differences here (in Perth), you've got to leave balls, you've got to be more judicious in which balls you play ... and you need to adapt your game and that's what cricket's like all over the world," he said.

"Sometimes early in your innings judgement goes awry, as I ably demonstrated in Adelaide.

"I'm pretty confident with my ability to leave the ball and obviously here's a good place to leave the ball as well."


Image: England's James Anderson and Kevin Pietersen joke around during a practice session ahead of the third Ashes Test in Perth

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