Gatting urges fast start

Former England captain Mike Gatting believes Andrew Strauss’ men need to hit the ground running if they are to retain the Ashes Down Under this winter (England 2/1 to win 1st Ashes Test).

Gatting is the last man to lead England to victory in Australia, winning the 1986/87 series 2-1 against Allan Border’s side, and he feels that the current crop of players could repeat the dose this time around (Strauss 100/30 to be top England batsman – 1st inns 1st Test).

The first Test is now less that 48 hours away and both sets of players will be feeling the nerves as the countdown continues to the first session at the Gabba on Thursday.

Four years ago Steve Harmison’s first delivery of the series flew to Andrew Flintoff at second slip and it put England on the back foot for the entire contest, with the tourists going down 5-0 in a one-sided affair.

Gatting feels that the opening salvo is the most important of any session during the series and there must be no repeat of the debacle in Brisbane back in November 2006 if England want to bring home the bacon in seven weeks time.

“England have to come out all guns blazing if they want to be successful,” Gatting told The Age.

“The first session of any series is crucial if they want to set the tone and set the dynamics for the rest of the series.

“You can’t lose a series in the first morning, but you can go a hell of a long way to losing it. I think we have a very good chance of succeeding, but we have to do better than we did last time.”

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