Andy Flower vows to be ruthless in Ashes selection

Andy Flower knows England must be ruthless in selection to make sure they have the right men at the top of their game when they begin their Ashes campaign in Brisbane.

Two warm-up fixtures remain for England to fine-tune their preparations for the first Test against Australia, starting on 25 November.

But Flower will not be tempted, it seems, to delve into the back-up contingent in his squad to face either South Australia in Adelaide tonight or Australia A in Hobart.

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The possibility remains that, should everything continue to go to plan after an opening win over Western Australia, the front-line bowling attack will be excused next week's trip to Tasmania and will instead head straight for the sub-tropical heat of Brisbane.

But that is far from certain as yet, according to the England coach, who made it clear he will not tinker with his first-choice team simply to maintain harmony among the extended squad.

"One of our priorities is not to give everyone a go; it's not about trying to be fair to everyone," he said. "We are trying to prepare our Test side for Brisbane. That's the priority. When you've got a squad of 16 or 17, obviously everyone wants to play. But our priority is to ensure that our Test XI is as ready as possible for the first Test."

England therefore appear likely to field an unchanged team in the second of their three warm-up fixtures, starting at the Adelaide Oval tonight, as long as injuries stay away.

Policy, under Flower and captain Andrew Strauss, is to name their teams only on the morning of each match. But the coach left little room for doubt about his plans when he said: "We're fairly clear about the skeleton XI (for Brisbane]."

One box ticked in Perth was runs for the captain, Strauss' unbeaten second-innings 120 carrying England to victory. Flower said: "That's a very good thing for our side obviously. Captains want to lead from the front. He is an important man, because he's our leader. But it's important for all of our guys to contribute."

England yesterday learned the names of their Australia A opponents in their final warm-up match, a four-day fixture in Hobart next week.

Cameron White will lead a team also containing Test hopeful Callum Ferguson and his fellow up-and-coming batsman Usman Khawaja. Wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine is the vice-captain.