Strauss wants inspiration from Cardiff jailbreak
Andrew Strauss wants to harness the spirit from the final afternoon in Cardiff to drive England to a 1-0 Ashes lead in Thursday's second Test at Lord's. The England captain was impressed by his side's fight as his men held on for a draw on Sunday after scratching out a 13-run lead through its final pairing of James Anderson and Monty Panesar.
While Australia were disappointed to have let the match slip, England celebrated on the field like it was a victory. "You can take a lot from performances like that," Strauss said. "As captain, I was very happy with the fight we showed in the latter half of that day and that is a huge attribute to have as a side - probably more important than any other attribute you have."
England's Ashes debutants struggled with nerves throughout most of the match and Strauss predicted a more relaxed performance at Lord's, where Australia haven't lost since 1934. "There will be a few guys that are relieved that it is up and running and we are underway," Strauss said. "We have seen the Aussie batsmen and we have seen the other Aussie bowlers, now it is down to just knuckling down and playing cricket. We have got a nice little bit of momentum from that fifth day, which we are really looking to build on in that first day."
Strauss's major problem comes over the make-up of his team and whether Andrew Flintoff has recovered from a knee problem. The Australians expect Steve Harmison, who is official on standby for Flintoff, to turn out whatever happens. Strauss was looking closely at Graham Onions, who was part of the Cardiff squad but spent a lot of time fielding at Lord's on Tuesday, and will wait for news on Flintoff before making a decision.
"Graham Onions has particularly strong credentials and took seven wickets on debut here a couple of months ago," he said. "He is bang on form as well as Steve. He is definitely an option for us but we know Steve had significant contributions for us before, including in the 2005 Ashes, so that is something that is going for us."
Harmison caused some trouble for the Australians in the tour game in Worcester, where he removed Phillip Hughes twice with brutal short balls, and the visitors fear his wicket-taking ability. Ponting said Harmison would add "a little bit of hostility". "Being as tall as he is and a bang-it-into-the-wicket sort of bowler, you don't get too many pitched up," Ponting said. "He is a bit like a [Curtly] Ambrose sort of bowler in that regard."
Australia will consider calling on the seam of Stuart Clark, but are expected to go with the same XI from Cardiff, believing the attack will be potent on a surface promising more to the bowlers. The pitch is the same one that was used in 2005 when the visitors recovered to win by 239 runs.
"It looks like a particularly good wicket, it's got a little bit of grass on it but it's hard underneath," Ponting said. "We didn't bat very well early on [at Lords in 2005), we were all out for 190 and then had them seven-down in the one day. It was an amazing day of Test cricket last time around here. Hopefully if we get the chance to bat first again it will be a slightly different result."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo