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England go to Adelaide on a high

cricket Updated: Dec 02, 2010 23:45 IST

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England march into the second battle of their Ashes campaign at another bastion of Australian cricket on Friday buoyed by the knowledge they have already spiked one of the enemy's big guns.

While Mitchell Johnson's replacement could hardly prove less effective than the paceman was in the first test, Australia's decision to drop the 2009 ICC Cricketer of the Year can only count as another major blow from the tourists.

Their first blow was delivered at the Gabba earlier this week, when England's top order batted for two days to steer the side to the safety of a draw at a ground where Australians have long taken Ashes victories, and England collapses, for granted.

The hosts have almost as good a record at the Adelaide Oval where they secured one of the great Ashes victories four years ago, crushing the spirit of an England team who were subsequently routed 5-0.

England declared after making a first-innings total of 551 on the usually batting-friendly Adelaide pitch only to be skittled out for 129 in the second innings.

Andrew Strauss believes this is a very different England team, one that learns its lessons and exhibits none of the fragility that characterised previous touring sides since their last series victory in Australia 24 years ago.

"What it proved to us is that anything is possible in the game of cricket," the England captain recalled of the Adelaide collapse on Thursday.

"Australia sniffed that chance and took that chance. We conspired in our own downfall. You need to learn from those experiences and I think we have.

"To expect the match to go the same way would be wrong. It's a very different set of players and once you've been through that you make sure you never go through it again.

With Johnson out of the equation, Doug Bollinger is likely to partner Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus on Friday, although the latter's place is also under threat from Ryan Harris.

The under-fire Australia captain made it clear he had no vote on the selection panel, and perhaps a diminishing influence.
"When it's big decisions like this one that are to be made it's wholly and solely made by the selection panel," he said.