'We have to make sure we keep our feet on the ground'
England must keep their feet firmly on the ground despite having effectively batted Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson out of the Ashes series, skipper Andrew Strauss said on Thursday.
Johnson, the 2009 cricketer of the year, was dropped from the Australia side for the second Test, which begins in Adelaide on Friday, after an abject performance in the Brisbane opener earlier this week.
England dominated the last two days of the Gabba Test with a huge batting performance to save a match they had looked like losing, but Strauss was careful not to get carried away with talk of momentum in the five-Test series.
"A big theme of our preparations has been making sure we keep our feet on the ground and realise it's nil all in the series," the 33-year-old told a news conference at the Adelaide Oval.
"We haven't achieved anything yet. If we do want to achieve something, we have to steel ourselves for another five tough days of cricket."
Image: Andrew Strauss
'We've got to be wary of the guys they've got in their squad'
Australia had a very open debate about which spin bowler to use in the first Test, finally plumping for uncapped Xavier Doherty over the more experienced Nathan Hauritz.
Johnson is likely to be replaced by Doug Bollinger in Adelaide and the Australians could also make another change in the strike attack with Ryan Harris coming in for Ben Hilfenhaus.
"My experience of playing international cricket is that a lack of stability is not a good thing," Strauss said.
"It means people are generally a bit concerned about their place in the side. In that sense, that's a good thing for us.
"But I think we've got to be slightly wary of the guys that they've got in their squad.
"They're good performers and they've had a lot of success in Test cricket so it's not like they're dragging in someone from obscurity so we've got to be able to contend with them."
Image: Doug Bollinger
Strauss keeps the faith in Swann
England will announce their team on the first morning of the match, which will be played on a wicket expected to start as favourable to batsmen but could offer something for spinners later in the match.
Strauss, always far more comfortable talking about his own team than the opposition, said he thought this might be the match where Graeme Swann made the sort of impact that was predicted for him in this series.
"On wickets that have helped him in the past, he's been threatening to all batsmen and there's no reason to assume that will be any different," Strauss said.
"But any turn, or help for spinners, will come on day four or five rather than the first day of the game."
Image: Greame Swann