We must hit the ground running - Strauss

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IT’S not often - if at all - that a Welsh crowd will give a warm welcome to any team arriving from England.

But Andrew Strauss’s England Ashes heroes can be assured of the right sort of reception when they turn out at Cardiff this morning to start their long Summer of cricket.

It will be the first chance for home cricket followers on these shores to get behind the men who so comprehensively downed Australia 3-1 in a series which brightened up the winter for everyone over here.

But captain Andrew Strauss says his side must move on from the Ashes success when they face Sri Lanka in the First Test in Cardiff today.

He warned that everyone will need to be fully focused against Sri Lanka and then against the World’s No 1 side India later on this summer.

“It’s an exciting summer ahead and a big challenge but there’s a real determination to reconnect to what happened in the Ashes but also to move on from it,” he said.

“We need to hit the ground running from ball one,” he added. “We will be tested by two really good sides and we need to respond really well to that. I would be disappointed if we ease into this summer.

There is a real good vibe because we have not been together as a group for a while, so there is an excitement at being together again and we need to take that onto the field.”

Sri Lanka have been hit by the retirements of Muttiah Muralitharan and Lasith Malinga and injury to the promising Nuwan Pradeep but Strauss added: “They have some high quality players, they are competitive and streetwise and it will be a stern test.”