In Brief

Today’s back pages: Ben Stokes and England will rough up Australia’s ‘sandpaper three’

A round up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 31 July

Stokes is ready for battle

England cricket star Ben Stokes has urged his team-mates to go on the attack “from ball one” against Australia, the Daily Express reports.

The Ashes first Test begins tomorrow and the Daily Mirror says England will “hit ’em fast and hit ’em hard” at Edgbaston. 

Australia have included Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft in their 17-man squad for the five-Test series. The trio were banned last year for their part in the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa. 

Vice-captain Stokes says Aussie opening batsman Warner will be a “big target”, The Times reports. i Sport adds that England will aim to rough up all of the “sandpaper three”.

Since the sandpaper scandal Australia have worked to improve their image, both on and off the pitch. But The Daily Telegraph quotes Stokes who says that the “Aussie nice-guy image does not fool us”.

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