Steve Harmison has promised to be ruthless against Bangladesh in his quest to return to the peak of his Test powers.
Harmison, aged 26, endured a torrid winter in South Africa, taking only nine wickets at more than 70 apiece in England's 2-1 series victory. The Durham paceman had led the world Test rankings after taking 70 wickets in his previous 12 appearances.
Now, with two matches against the Bangladeshis before the five-match series against Australia, holders of the Ashes, Harmison is keen to improve his productivity. He has taken 27 Championship wickets in four matches, being better for bowling a fuller length.
Bangladesh play their inaugural Test at Lord's, starting tomorrow, before heading to the Riverside, home ground of Harmison, who said: "We have to be ruthless, that is the big thing over the two Test matches. If you cannot get yourself up for a test at Lord's there is something wrong.
"Whether you play Bangladesh or Australia your preparation and mindset have to be the same when you first walk out, the opposition is irrelevant.
"But it is quite a difficult place to play at this time of year and hopefully with the ball doing a bit we can exploit that."
England return for the Ashes opener in late July and Harmison is mindful of peaking for only his second series against Australia. The first culminated with a memorable win in Sydney in only his fifth Test.
Harmison, who terrorised the Bangladeshis with a ninewicket match haul in Dhaka two winters ago, said: "I would be lying if I said this wasn't part of the progression towards the Ashes. The intensity has got to go up because it is a Test match.
"These two matches are going to be intense for me and I hope to continue the way I have been bowling for Durham; if I do that I am confident I can take a few wickets.
"Before the season I was looking to get some rhythm, get the ball in good areas, and although it has been cold things have got better and better and each performance has gone up a notch.
"When I came back from South Africa it was not all doom and gloom, the ball was not going into bad areas, it was just that the rub of the green did not go my way: a few catches went down and decisions didn't go for me."
Harmison will share the new ball with Matthew Hoggard, who on Monday received the England performance of the year award for his 12-wicket bag in the Wanderers win in January.
Warwickshire left- arm spinner Ashley Giles is still struggling with a hip injury, although he took a full part in practice yesterday, so Worcestershire's Gareth Batty stands by.
Meanwhile, Enamul Haque jnr is confident there ought to be something for him in the pitch at the 'Mecca of cricket' as the match wears on.
The 18-year-old left-arm orthodox spinner, with 24 wickets at 26.97 in five Tests, said: "This is like the Mecca of cricket, and I am really hoping to do well here. If I play here it will be the best cricket moment of my life."
Enamul was successful against England in 2003 and in his country's first Test series victory over Zimbabwe. He said: "The last series [against Zimbabwe] was better, and we hope we can improve again at Lord's."
Enamul met Pakistani legspinner Mushtaq Ahmed during the heavy defeat against Sussex at Hove. He said: "Mushtaq helped me at Sussex and said I could do something in these conditions. That advice will really help me in the Test matches."
Captain Habibul Bashar missed the draw against Northamptonshire last week, having been hit on the head by Jason Lewry at Hove, but is expected to lead a team likely to include at least two spinners. The other selection poser is whether to give diminutive 16-year-old Mushfiqur Rahim a Test debut after his 115 not out off 167 balls against Northants, his second century in only five first-class matches.
The tourists were robbed by rain of outdoor practice and reverted to the indoor school at Lord's yesterday.