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Bob Willis: 'England have to take early wickets to maintain advantage'

Bob Willis believes that England have to strike early on day three to ensure they remain on top in the first Test of their series against Australia.

Bob Willis has insisted that England will have to take early wickets on day three to maintain their advantage over Australia in the first Test.

The Three Lions put in a strong performance on the second day at Sophia Gardens to push their first-innings total over 400 and reduce Michael Clarke's men to 264-5 at the close of play.

However, Willis is adamant that Alastair Cook's side cannot afford to have Brad Haddin bring the Baggy Greens back into the game.

He told Sky Sports News: "England have got those runs on the board and I think, like a lot of Test series, this one is going to be decided by the runs scored by numbers seven to 11 in the order.

"It's interesting that Australia opted for a nightwatchman. That's not a common thing with Australia but Nathan Lyon came in to protect Brad Haddin.

"Brad Haddin has had a very lean run of form with the bat but he always seems to turn it on against England, and indeed scored a hundred at this ground back in 2009. England certainly have the edge at the moment but, as we always say, they will want quick wickets on Friday."

Australia trail England by 166 runs going into day three.

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England batsman Joe Root celebrates after reaching his century during day one of the 1st Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia at SWALEC Stadium on July 8, 2015
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