Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Make-or-Break Time; You'll Have to Urn It, Mate England Skipper Gets His Hands on the 'Big' Prize; Strauss Fires Warning to His Players

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Make-or-Break Time; You'll Have to Urn It, Mate England Skipper Gets His Hands on the 'Big' Prize; Strauss Fires Warning to His Players

Article excerpt

ANDREW STRAUSS today told his England players that the Ashes series will define their international careers, writes Tom Collomosse.

With the First Test in Cardiff beginning in less than 24 hours, Strauss spelled out exactly what regaining the urn -- and emulating the heroes of 2005 -- would mean for this crop of England players.

"The history and tradition of the Ashes, along with the great battles of the past, means this series is what you are measured by," said the England captain. "It is almost like our World Cup of Test cricket. It is special and it would be wrong for us not to treat it that way. We expect there to be some epic moments.

"There is a relaxed excitement among the squad. We have a good mix of players who have already played in these series and those who have never expe-riencean Ashes. There are aspects of an Ashes which make it different from any other series and players have to know how to handle those. But we need to be controlled in what we do and not get carried away."

Strauss must decide whether to play a second spinner in Monty Panesar or use Graham Onions in a four-pronged seam attack. The Sophia Gardens ground has been kind to spin bowling all season increasing the likelihood of England picking both Panesar and off-spinner Graeme Swann.

But Strauss appeared to play down any fears that the pitch would produce excessive turn when he said: "I think it will be a good wicket.

"There is an even covering of grass, so there will be a little bit in it for the seam bowlers early on. Then at the back end of the match the spinners will come in, so there is something in it for everyone.

"Playing two spinners does give you balance: the left-arm spinner and the off-spinner means we can attack the left-hand and right-hand batsmen differently, so it is an option for us, and we will be looking at that tonight.

"We have the balance in our side to

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Continued from Back Page win the match. We have a confident batting line-up and our bowling attack is varied enough to cope with different conditions."

Australia approach the game on the back foot after losing Brett Lee to a left-side injury. …

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