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Michael Vaughan

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Neil Fairbrother: Cardiff will be key for the Ashes

We’re now only two days away from the start of the 2015 Ashes series and I think it’s fair to say that within the cricket world everybody is becoming very excited.

It’s amazing how the last couple of months have lifted the spirits of, not just the England cricket team, but also the supporters and all of a sudden there’s real hope and expectation again.

Let’s not forget that this Australian team is a fine and ruthless outfit who will be very, very tough to clamber over.

History is probably on our side as it was back in 2001 that Australia last won the Ashes over here.

The five days at Cardiff will be pivotal in what will happen over the next two months and it is imperative that England come out of the game with some sort of credit on their side.

If that happens the momentum will build, as it has done in previous series, and anything would then be possible. If we suffer a heavy defeat in Game One then it may well be a long and uncomfortable series.

The retirement of Ryan Harris over the weekend has certainly helped the England cause. He has been a great Test match bowler and last time the Ashes were here he was exceptional.  He will be a big miss for this Australian outfit.

Having said that, their two left-arm quick bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc will still be a handful, supported by Josh Hazlewood, who should bowl a fuller length and be very useful in English conditions.

If our batsmen can get enough runs on the board this will help the bowlers to put pressure on the Aussie top order and I’m sure you will see the England seamers bowling a full length to try to drag the Australians forward.

The Aussie top order looks very strong and, if our bowlers can get some movement from a full length, this will make life very uncomfortable for the Aussie players that like to pull and cut.

I can’t wait for Wednesday morning. Let’s hope the sun shines, the Welsh public fills the ground and England win.

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