Ashes

Strauss: No easing off

2011-01-02 16:25
Andrew Strauss (File)
Sydney - Skipper Andrew Strauss on Sunday warned his England team against easing off in the final Ashes Test with Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday.

The tourists have already secured the Ashes, but need to win or draw the fifth Test to become the first England team in 24 years to claim a series in Australia.

England outplayed Australia in heavy defeats in Adelaide and Melbourne to lead the series 2-1 while Australia won the third Perth Test and the first Brisbane Test was drawn.

Strauss said he is wary of his team feeling they have done their job going into the final Test.

He said a defeat would be disappointing in a series which the tourists have largely dominated.

"It's one of the challenges on the last game of the tour when you think about getting on the plane and seeing your family," Strauss told reporters.

"We're not in that position at the moment but there are other reasons for us not to take our eye off the ball in this Test match and it's important we don't do that.

"Every Test is a test for you as a side. This one, in particular, because the Ashes are coming home and it's easy to take your foot off the pedal.

"That's something I'm desperate to avoid. The guys have been excellent in practice but we need to transfer that to the pitch.

"It's a challenge for us and I'd be very disappointed if we don't respond well to that challenge.

"After Melbourne, I think it would leave a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth if we weren't able to play well here this week."

Strauss said unease about his players' mental approach to the final Test was the only concern he has had on a smooth tour where fringe players, Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan, have risen to the challenge as replacements for Stuart Broad and Steven Finn.

"It's certainly been one of the easier tours I've been on in regard to captaincy. We've not really had any issues off the park," he said.

"It doesn't surprise me because it's been the case for 12-18 months.

"What has been very reassuring is generally our cricket's been good so we've had less to worry about too.

"But ultimately we've still got the end of this tour - this match and the (seven) one-dayers - so there's still plenty of time for us to be challenged."

Strauss said just like they did in Perth following an innings loss in Adelaide, he expects Australia, under stand-in skipper Michael Clarke, to come back hard in Sydney, even with debutants Michael Beer and Usman Khawaja in their ranks.

"You usually need a spinner here in Sydney so we expected Beer to come in," he said.

"They're going to be some different challenges there for us and we need to be well prepared for those," he said.

"Khawaja's coming in in very good form and sometimes it could be a bit of a release knowing you have nothing to lose.

"I think they'll come back at us pretty hard this week and if there are any weaknesses we can expose, hopefully we can do that quickly."

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