Lloyd fears Warne's devilish spin will be thorn in England's side

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The former England coach David Lloyd believes the present side's strategy against Shane Warne could be the deciding factor in their Ashes this summer.

Warne has been the biggest thorn in England's side ever since his dramatic entry to Ashes cricket, bowling Mike Gatting at Old Trafford in 1993 with the so-called "ball of the century".

Since then the leg-spinner has played a major part in Australia's Ashes dominance, claiming 132 wickets in his 26 Tests against England and 89 victims in 17 matches on English soil.

Lloydwas the coach in two Ashes series in 1997 and 1998-9, which England lost 3-2 and 3-1.

"I think one of the crucial parts of the series will be how we play Shane Warne," said Lloyd, who also played against Australia in the 1974-5 series Down Under.

"Their game plan is to give it a quick burst with the seamers before getting Warne on at one end and he ties that up and enables them to use the seamers in rotation from the other end and keep them fresh - England have got to disturb that if they are to win this time.

"I hope that we go out and take Warne on, but that may be a little optimistic. In 1998 we hired Peter Philpott to work with us as a leg-spin specialist and he pointed out that if you allow Warne to bowl 20 or 30 overs at two an over, they will win and that's the end of it.

"You've got to get at him to give yourself a chance. You have to get at him to disturb what he's doing and also to disturb their gameplan so they have to try other things.

"If you play defensively from the crease against Warne, he will bowl with four fielders around the bat and he'll get you out because he's got 500 out before you doing exactly the same."

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