Strauss rules out playing for draws

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Andy Flower & Andrew Strauss

England captain Andrew Strauss, right, stressed: "We've got two Test matches to go and we want to win them both"

Andrew Strauss has stressed England's desire for outright victory in the Ashes series.

The tourists will retain the urn if the contest, which stands at 1-1 with two games to play, is drawn.

However, with the last two matches being played at venues that typically yield a positive result, the England captain insists his side will not play for draws.

"We've got two Test matches to go and we want to win them both - it is as simple as that," said Strauss. "We're going for the outright win, absolutely.

"The majority of Test matches aren't drawn, so there are going to be results in these last two games - and we want to make them both positive for us."

Strauss is certain England can recover from their heavy defeat in the third Test at the WACA, which levelled the series.

"We can afford to look at Perth as a bit of an aberration as long as we learn the lessons and don't repeat them (the mistakes)," he added.

"It's a great test for us as a side, and I think we'll handle it well."

Strauss has no doubt James Anderson will play in the Boxing Day Test, despite the stiffness the paceman has felt in his side since his exertions at the WACA.

"Jimmy seems absolutely fine," he reported. "He's done quite a lot of bowling (during the tour), but it has settled down nicely."

Strauss also expects the series’ leading wicket-taker Steven Finn will be available at the MCG. He too had some physical discomfort, in his calves, at Perth.

"There was a little bit of weariness after that Test, but no cause for concern in terms of fitness for this one," Strauss said of Finn.

"I think he's been a little frustrated that he hasn't been as consistent as he would like.

"Last summer in England, his lengths were very good consistently - and maybe he has not done that on this tour. But he is a bowler with a knack of taking wickets, which is a great skill to have.

Steven Finn

Strauss said Steven Finn had a "little bit of weariness" after Perth, but now "no cause for concern in terms of fitness"

"Every match he plays he is learning about bowling in Australia. The vast majority of what he has done on this tour, I've been very happy with - and I expect him to continue getting better."

Strauss is aware England’s decision to employ a four-man attack has asked a lot of their frontline bowlers, but refused to rule Finn out on that basis.

"It has been a demanding Test series - especially with four bowlers, three seamers, and Broad didn't bowl in the second innings at Adelaide,” he said.

"The bowlers have had quite a lot on their shoulders, but I don't think that is a reason for him not to play.

"We must look at the conditions here and decide what type of bowling attack will most suit and also how fresh Finny is, and the rest of the bowlers, before we make any decisions."

The bowling personnel will not be altered merely to try to stop the prolific Mike Hussey from adding significantly to his 517 runs in the series so far.

"I don't think that would be the reason for making a change," added Strauss. "I think we can look at different areas we can bowl at him. He's due to nick one anyway."

Nor does it appear likely Ian Bell will yet be promoted above Paul Collingwood to number five in the batting order, despite his impressive form.

"I'm not going to 100% rule it out - but I'd be surprised if we went down that route," Strauss added.

"Belly has been a very reassuring presence at number six, and there may come a time in the future where he can go up the order. But now is not the time for massive changes.

"It is the time to go back to what has worked very well for us on this tour, and Belly has been a fine example of a number six batsman coming in and taking the game away from the opposition.

"He's in very good form and I can appreciate why people are clamouring for him to go up the order. But I'm very happy with what he is doing down there."

England

Strauss said being 1-1 with two to play is "a great test for us as a side, and I think we'll handle it well"

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