England will bounce back in the Ashes like we did in 2005, says Andrew Strauss

Will Macpherson
Evening Standard

Andrew Strauss is confident England will emulate the 2005 Ashes team he was central to by recovering from a First Test defeat to win back the urn.

The former England captain and director of cricket is a key figure in the Second Test at Lord’s — which saw rain delay the start on Wednesday morning — because Thursday is the Ruth Strauss Day, honouring his wife who died aged 46 from lung cancer in December.

The crowd have been encouraged to wear red, Ruth’s favourite colour.

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England forged strong positions in the opening Test at Edgbaston, but Steve Smith’s twin centuries and Nathan Lyon’s fifth-day spin heroics saw them lose by 251 runs.

Strauss believes they will still win the Ashes, however.

“I was incredibly proud to see how England performed in the World Cup under extreme pressure, I thought that was extraordinary,” said Strauss, who began England’s World Cup project when he was appointed director in 2015.

He stepped aside last summer to be with Ruth.

“They are under pressure again now and I’m still confident they will come through that.

“I think there are some really great opportunities going forward, the end of this summer is a watershed for the team and a great opportunity for Ashley Giles to make his mark.”

Strauss appointed Trevor Bayliss as head coach and now his successor, Giles, another of the class of 2005, must find a new coach.

That process will not begin until Bayliss leaves after the Ashes. The start of the Second Test was predictably delayed by rain, meaning paceman Jofra Archer had to wait to be presented with his first cap.

England were mulling over which two of batsman Joe Denly, spinner Jack Leach and all-rounder Sam Curran should play as they looked to level the series.

Australia will replace James Pattinson with another of their classy quicks, Josh Hazlewood, or Mitchell Starc.

Giles, meanwhile, is confident that Moeen Ali, who was dropped for this Test, will return to Test cricket. Moeen will miss a pair of T20s for Worcestershire this week, but will return in the County Championship against Northamptonshire on Sunday as he focuses on winning his Test place back.

He is also the designated replacement for Leach in the unlikely instance that he suffered concussion in this Test.

“This is a high-pressured environment, it can get you at times,” Giles said. “Mo needs to be ready when he comes back. I am absolutely sure he can come back and perform as he has in the past.

"He’s a fabulous player and has been a great servant to this team and I’m sure he will be again.”

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