Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

England Supremo Blames Lack of Skill - Not Bottle; ASHES CRICKET

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

England Supremo Blames Lack of Skill - Not Bottle; ASHES CRICKET

Article excerpt

ENGLAND coach Andy Flower has taken issue with the "simplistic" notion that his team are lacking the will to succeed in this winter's Ashes.

England have lost the first two Tests heavily, and will therefore need to overturn almost 80 years of Ashes history if they are to come from 2-0 down to win the series - and the urn for a fourth time in succession.

Captain Alastair Cook gave partial credence after Monday's 218-run defeat in Adelaide to the suggestion that his players might lack the appetite for the battle, before quickly adding his assurance that he has checked - and they most definitely do have the appetite.

A day later, Flower was more dismissive of the same idea, adding the next Test in Perth - starting on Friday - is a clean slate for both teams, and England's big chance to grasp back the initiative.

"Usually in sporting contests, when there are losses - especially heavy losses - one of the first areas people look at is lack of fight, or the other side want ed it more," he said. "That's quite a simplistic view.

"We've been outplayed in these two Tests, very obviously, and the Australians have outplayed us in all three facets." It has been a lack of refined and consistent skills, rather than will, which Flower believes has cost England so far.

"We haven't been skilful enough for long enough to get into better positions in the matches. That's the crux there.

"Our batting failed three times in a row.

"We played a little better in the fourth innings, but we need to up those skills and improve on that batting in Perth if we are to have any chance whatsoever."

He retains faith, however, in a team who have a track record which provides some hope that they could yet hit back.

"The scale of the defeats has been tough. The point for us now is to look forward to Perth.

"When we get to Perth, both sides will be starting afresh, and it's a chance for us to get back into the series. …

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