Ashes: Moeen Ali says Australians like to talk a lot and England must stay 'calm'

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport in Townsville, Australia
Cricketers dice with danger down under

Australians "like to talk a lot" and England need to stay "calm" during the Ashes, says the tourists' all-rounder Moeen Ali.

Moeen, 30, has recovered from a side strain and will play in England's final warm-up game, starting on Wednesday.

The first Test at the Gabba begins on 23 November, with England looking to defend the urn they regained in 2015.

Moeen told BBC Sport: "It's about being ready for that first ball when it's delivered in Brisbane."

The Worcestershire player, on his first Ashes tour down under, says he is ready for the intensity of the series and any hostility from the Australia players.

"Australians like to talk a lot, big themselves up," he said. "That's part of the game. It's not something that I haven't had before."

Alastair Cook and Moeen Ali feed a crocodile on their tour down under
Alastair Cook and Moeen Ali feed a crocodile on the tour of Australia

In order to begin the series with a victory, England would have to end Australia's unbeaten run in Brisbane that dates back to 1988.

The home side's success in Queensland, coupled with a crowd that is often raucous and partisan, has led to the ground being nicknamed 'the Gabbatoir'.

"I've heard a lot about Brisbane," said Moeen. "It's something you have to block out. You have to focus on your game and the situation that the team is in.

"I'm prepared the best I can. When you're out there you rely on your instincts. I know it will be tough, but I've always backed my ability."

England completed a 192-run win over a Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide on Saturday, and face the same side again in Townsville.

The four-day game will be Moeen's first action of the tour, but he said there are benefits to sitting out the previous two warm-up matches.

"I've had more time to work on my game," he said. "Sometimes when you're playing you don't get the chance to focus on yourself.

"Another benefit of not playing those two games is that it makes you hungrier to get out there and be with the guys. I can't wait to put my whites on and start performing."

Moeen, usually England's number eight in Test cricket, is likely to move up the order in the absence of Ben Stokes, who remains in England after being arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm.

Stokes is awaiting the outcome of a police investigation into his involvement in a fight outside a Bristol nightclub on 25 September.

"With the Stokesy situation I've probably got to go up the order by one, but my aim as a cricketer is to get up the order as high as I can, maybe push into a role at five or six," said Moeen.

"Obviously that's a bit further ahead. Firstly I have to do the job at number seven."

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