Captain Strauss gets Ashes campaign off to flying start

AN UNBEATEN century from captain Andrew Strauss helped England to a momentum building six-wicket win over Western Australia.

England’s senior players had made public their desire to win all three of their pre-Ashes warm-up matches ahead of the first Test in Brisbane later this month.

But a victorious start looked unlikely until the hosts lost eight wickets for 64 runs as they went from 109 for one to be all out just after lunch.

And thanks largely to Strauss’s 120 not out, the left-hander’s first senior ton Down Under, England knocked off the 242 runs required in just 52 overs.

“We are very pleased, especially because of the position of the game at the start of play,” said Strauss. “We hit the ground running. It is important we play well and win as many of these games as possible and that batsmen get used to conditions.

“The best way to do that is by spending time in the middle. It was satisfying to get a hundred.”

Meanwhile, Australia ended their seven-match losing streak with a crushing eight-wicket defeat of Sri Lanka in the third one-day international in Brisbane.

A Sydney Sunday Telegraph poll revealed 56 per cent of Australian fans believe their side will lose the Ashes on home soil for the first time since 1986-87 as a result of recent performances.

But the confidence of fans and players alike will have received a shot in the arm following the bowling exploits of Clint McKay and Mitchell Star, who took nine wickets between them.