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Strauss appeals for Ashes calm

Andrew Strauss will emphasise the need for England to remain calm amid the excitement and intensity of the Ashes as they prepare for the start of the first npower Test on Wednesday.

The England captain is eager for his side to hit the ground running with an aggressive brand of cricket which will lift the crowd in Cardiff and set them on course to emulate the 2005 triumph over Australia.

Four years ago the electric atmosphere at Lord's inspired England into dismissing Australia for 190 and although they lost that Test, it set the tone for the rest of the series with crowds flocking to support the Ashes campaign.

But Strauss is concerned his side could get too caught up in the frenzied atmosphere and is urging them to stay calm if they want to claim an early advantage in the series.

"One of the things that's going to be important and goes without saying really is that the first morning is a time for us to be calm and play our cricket, not get carried away with what's going on," said Strauss.

"That's easier said than done but it's important we keep ourselves where we need to be and come out put pressure on by the way we hit the ground.

"There are a lot of times in your career where you need to find intensity from somewhere and bring yourselves up for the occasions, that is not going to be one of those occasions.

"It's going to be one of those occasions where everything about you is going to be buzzing so you don't want to go over the top and go over that line not thinking clearly."

England could enter Wednesday's opener with as many as five players - Ravi Bopara, Graham Onions, Graeme Swann, Matt Prior and Stuart Broad - who are yet to sample the unique atmosphere of an Ashes Test.

But Strauss is confident all of them, if selected, can overcome any pre-match nerves and excitement and continue the momentum they built with emphatic Test and one-day series wins over West Indies earlier this summer.

"We've had a lot of chats over the last couple of months about what's coming up and how best to react to it," confirmed Strauss.

"The guys that haven't played in the Ashes have been very impressive and if anything they're more excited than the rest of the guys to get stuck in and savour that unique atmosphere that comes with playing in an Ashes series."

England's 13-man squad is due to practice in Cardiff later today as the build-up to the first Test intensifies with the selectors opting to overlook Steve Harmison but add Graham Onions and Ian Bell to the 11 who drew their practice match at Edgbaston last week.

Neither Onions or Bell are expected to make the starting line-up with England tipped to play both Panesar and Graeme Swann as a double spin option with national selector Geoff Miller surprisingly bullish about England's chances.

"I'm very confident," added Miller. "I know we've got players there who, if they play like they can play, we can give these a really hard ride."