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England must ‘hit the ground running’ in Birmingham: Stokes
Birmingham, July 31: England all-rounder Ben Stokes believes his team must "hit the ground running" if they are to regain the Ashes against Australia starting Thursday.
According to Stokes, England who have an excellent record at Edgbaston — the venue of the first Test – must stamp their authority from the word go.
"You can't feel your way into any Ashes series," Stokes was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. "You have to hit the ground running. That first morning is when you want to stamp your authority on the series with bat and ball. Getting off to a good start can make it flow throughout the series, so you want to be the team on top and you want to win that first day. If you go 1-0 down in a series it can be hard to come back from."
Stokes, who played an instrumental role in England's maiden World Cup win, also praised the Australian trio of David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft who would be making their return to Test cricket after serving their respective bans for involvement in the Sandpaper Gate controversy.
"It's definitely important to put them under pressure if they bat first. Davey Warner is a player who can take games away from you. He is a phenomenal batsman and very dangerous opener, so to tie him down and not let him establish his authority against us would be a really big plus for us for the rest of the series. The drive is going to be there for him to perform," said Stokes while speaking of Warner.
"And it will be the same for Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith.
"We don't want to give anything away to any of their batsmen. We want to let them know we are here to be serious and everyone in the changing room is desperately trying to get that urn back because it's not good them having it," he added.
The Ashes series will also see the start of the inaugural World Test Championship which will see the top nine Test teams in the world compete in 71 Test matches across 27 series, played over two years.
The top two teams will contest in the WTC Final in June 2021 (to be played in the UK) and the winner will be crowned ICC World Test Champions.