Patience key for Strauss

England must tame the MCG hordes tomorrow, and then prepare for a patience test in pursuit of the Ashes.

Andrew Strauss has told his team they cannot afford to be overwhelmed by the once-in-a-lifetime experience of playing in front of almost 100,000 people.



But with the series tied at 1-1 with two to play, he has also identified a patience game as the way to succeed at a venue where seam and swing can hold sway and there are pitfalls for batsmen who try to attack too early.



Similarly, rewards are likely to come to bowlers who stay calm and do not start banging the ball in halfway down the wicket.



James Anderson appears sure to be leading England's attack, having been declared "100% fit" by Strauss, following a niggle in his side - while Australia captain Ricky Ponting is confident he too will be able to lead his country after recovering sufficiently from a broken left little finger.



Whoever takes part, though, Strauss is convinced the main requirement is to avoid being sucked into too much adventure because of the inevitable noise and the size of the occasion.



Asked what he sees as the key quality at a ground where he made a first-innings 50 four years ago, the England captain replied: "Patience - which can be quite hard when there's a big crowd here and you've got a bit of adrenaline going through your blood.



"To remain patient and calm is quite tough."



England will be well aware, after their dour draw in a tour match against Victoria here two weeks ago, that flashy players will have to rein themselves in.



"A lot of patience is needed. Sometimes it can be pretty tough to score here," Strauss added.



"You've got to be prepared to suck it in a little bit, absorb some pressure for a while and then hope to come out the other side as a batting unit.



"The general consensus at the MCG is if you go too hard at it too early you're going to be back in the hut."



In case England needed any reminder of the partisan element in an expected 90,000-plus crowd, Ponting provided it this morning by agreeing the tourists may be intimidated by the occasion.



"I'm sure he does," Strauss countered.



"But I don't think we will, no.



"One of the things that's important is that you're ready for it, and not surprised by it.



"That's one of the messages we've been trying to get across - 'be prepared for it; it's going to be quite a big spectacle, and it's out of the ordinary'.



"We don't usually play in front of that number of people."



Anderson's fitness allows more leeway for England to rest leading wicket-taker Steven Finn, and Strauss' long answer to whether that may happen was confirmation enough that selection for this pivotal match is far from straightforward.



"The key before every Test match is to try to get the balance of attack that you think is most likely to work on any given wicket," he began.



"We've had to think long and hard about that.



"Finny's done some really good things on this tour, and taken quite a few wickets."



Finn took five wickets but went at more than five runs per over in England's 267-run third-Test defeat at the WACA.



"He was probably a bit expensive in Perth, if we're honest," said Strauss.



"But he's young and he's learning, and I think he's going to keep getting better.



"We want to really make up for our performance in Perth. I'm very confident we'll do that."



Ponting was forceful in his response when asked if England may be intimidated - although he did give the travelling support a mention too.



"There'll probably be 20 or 30 thousand 'Barmy Army' supporters here but I'd like to think this venue's probably one venue where they might get drowned out a little bit," he said.



"No doubt we'll get great support. There might be even the odd 'boo' come towards the England players this week, not just me all the time. "



Ponting will take the precaution of fielding away from his usual position in the slips to try to keep his finger out of the firing line.



He acknowledges too that England's bowlers may be detailed to test out his injury with some short balls - but warns that may not be the right line of attack here.



"Maybe they will. They probably will, but it mightn't be that sort of wicket," he said.



"It might be a wicket where you need to pitch the ball up a little bit more.



"It's supposed to be pretty overcast - I'd expect the ball to seam around a little bit and swing around a bit. I'll be prepared from whatever comes my way."



He knows he will need to be - especially if he happened to be listening when Strauss delivered a curt response to the suggestion England may take note of 'goodwill to all men' when they decide where to pitch the ball to the Australian captain. "It's not Christmas tomorrow," he said.

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices