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Strauss: 'England will be at war'

Andrew Strauss says England are ready to 'go to war' with Australia as they bid to retain the Ashes Down Under this winter.

Speaking at the MCC Museum at Lord’s the England captain talked confidently about his team's chances of winning in Australia for the first time since 1986-87.

Strauss and the England squad fly out on Friday 29 October with the first Test in Brisbane starting on November 25 - now less then a month away.

Fighting talk

Despite the momentus task ahead of him Strauss appeared confident of his chances of matching the likes of previous England skippers Douglas Jardine and Mike Gatting, and winning Down Under.

The Middlesex opener also insists his search for a place in the history books will mean taking a stern approach towards England’s relationship with the Ricky Ponting’s men.

"You’re only remembered if you’re a winner." Strauss said.

"I’m not sure about not being able to say 'hello' to the Australian team but ultimately, until the end of that fifth Test, we’re two sides at war with each other.

"Both sides know that at the end of the series there are going to be 11 guys who are feted as heroes and 11 guys who are going to have failed in their task.

"Until that final Test is over there’s no point being hunky dory and friendly with the opposition - our task is to go out and beat them.

"The key to it is your mindset - and your mindset is to win. If you keep going back to that then you make sure you’re in the right sort of frame of mind to go out and play your best level.

"It’s not about anger, it’s about being clinical and logical and dealing with the pressure well and it’s not about us hating the Australians or anything like that. It’s about us beating the other 11 guys on the park."

Lessons learned

Strauss narrowly missed out on the captaincy during the last tour to Australia. Instead Andrew Flintoff was the leader and England stumbled to a humiliating 5-0 defeat four years ago.

Though Strauss admits it was a chastising experience for the seven squad members who were present four years ago, he insists they can learn from the defeat.

"A lot of the players who are on this tour weren’t involved in the defeat four years ago and those who were learned some valuable lessons.

"We learned how tough it is out there and the type of cricket you need to play if you want to win out there.

"Also, there were some lessons learned about preparation and how best to hit the ground running. Hopefully those lessons have been learned and we’re able to acquit ourselves well.

"This time we haven’t got that problem or the injury concerns we had last time at this stage - touch wood and we’ve had a fair degree of success over a fairly long period of time.

"In that sense I think we’re fairly well prepared and there won’t be any excuses from our point of view when the cricket gets underway.

"There’s nothing to be overawed about, it’s a tough tour but if you’re prepared for it then it shouldn’t be a problem.

"There’s a real relaxed excitement about the troops at the moment because they feel ready for this challenge and they feel up for it and determined to take the opportunity we’ve got ahead of us.

"In that sense we’re in a good position heading onto the plane."

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