Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

WE'RE UP FOR IT; England Vow to Keep Winning Run Going

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

WE'RE UP FOR IT; England Vow to Keep Winning Run Going

Article excerpt

CRICKET ENGLAND are intent on closing out a 'series' victory by beating Australia A in Hobart, which starts tomorrow.

The first Ashes Test is still more than a week away in Brisbane, but England have believed all along they must treat their preceding first-class fixtures as must-win matches too.

They will face Australia A without their frontline bowling attack at the Bellerive Oval over the next four days.

But batting consultant coach Graham Gooch was at pains to stress today that England's determination is undiluted.

After a victory against Western Australia in Perth, and then domination of a rain-affected draw against South Australia in Adelaide, Gooch sees the match as an opportunity for England to beat their hosts 2-0. "The whole squad and the whole management have looked at this three-match 'series' - against Western Australia, South Australia and this game - as a precursor for the Tests," he explained.

"We want to play good cricket, cricket in the right spirit; we want to try to win the matches, and have a purpose about our cricket."

The calibre of opponents will go up a notch against a team captained by Test batsman Cameron White and featuring players throughout with either international aspirations or experience.

England are set to pick Chris Tremlett, Ajmal Shahzad, Tim Bresnan and Monty Panesar in the absence of the Test attack - who will set off in an advance party along with bowling coach David Saker tomorrow evening to acclimatise early in Queensland.

Gooch nonetheless expects England to up the rate of improvement he has already identified on tour.

"Things have gone pretty well to plan so far," he said. "The team are improving, and this is another chance to continue that.

"All our team want to build on that improvement, ready for that first Test.

"It's a chance for our players to raise the bar, up against a good set of players who are hoping to represent their country one day or already have. …

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