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Strauss ready for backlash from Aussies

ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss has warned his charges to expect their toughest Ashes clash yet when the third Test gets under way on Thursday.<br /><br />Last week&rsquo;s victory at Lord&rsquo;s has given England a 1-0 lead in the series and raised hopes that they could repeat the 2005 victory on home soil.<br /><br />But Strauss, who confirmed Ian Bell will replace Kevin Pietersen at No4 in the batting, knows Australia will have revenge in mind at Edgbaston.<br /><br />&ldquo;We fully expect an Aussie backlash and we expect this Test to be harder than the other two we&rsquo;ve played so far,&rdquo; said Strauss.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s exciting to be ahead in an Ashes series but we know that can change very quickly so if we&rsquo;re not right on it then problems are right around the corner.&rdquo; <br /><br />Strauss said Bell&rsquo;s return, at his home ground, was reward for the work the Warwickshire man has put in since being dropped by national selectors during the winter tour of the West Indies.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;re all excited for Belly, he got left out of the team but he&rsquo;s worked very hard to get his place back,&rdquo; he added. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s done a huge amount of work, not just on the field but off the field as well. He&rsquo;s very hungry and we&rsquo;re really excited to have him back in the team here.&rdquo;<br /><br />All-rounder Andrew Flintoff has been included in the 13-man squad despite ongoing knee trouble, but Strauss expects the all-rounder, who inspired England&rsquo;s second Test win, will be fit.<br /><br />&ldquo;All the indications are that he&rsquo;ll be fine,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ll have to see how he goes in the next couple of days in practice, but at this stage we&rsquo;re very confident and I&rsquo;m sure he&rsquo;ll be looking to build on his performance at Lord&rsquo;s. He&rsquo;s in constant contact with our medical team. When you&rsquo;ve had as many injuries as he&rsquo;s had you get an indication of how you&rsquo;re feeling and everything we&rsquo;ve heard so far is very positive.&rdquo;