Sport

Hard yakka key for England to hit back

TOP PLAYER: Australian speedster Mitchell Johnson celebrates his man-of-the-match award yesterday after the second Test win over England on day five at Adelaide Oval.
TOP PLAYER: Australian speedster Mitchell Johnson celebrates his man-of-the-match award yesterday after the second Test win over England on day five at Adelaide Oval. DAVE HUNT

FACING the prospect of handing the Ashes back to Australia unless it can avoid defeat in the third Test in Perth, England skipper Alastair Cook says hard work is the only way out of the team's predicament.

Australia took less than 12 overs to wrap up the second Test in Adelaide yesterday morning, dismissing the tourists for 312 in their second innings, the first time England had passed 200 in the series.

At 2-0 down and with just three days to prepare for another assault from Australia's fired-up fast bowling contingent on the bouncy WACA wicket, Cook said he was hopeful things could turn around quickly.

"If we don't believe, no one else is going to believe," he said.

"Yes we've taken a big hit and it's going to hurt, but we have to get into those nets, work as hard as we can on our games and come out in a couple of days' time in Perth.

"We're going to look at ourselves. That's the only thing we can do. We've got to work as hard as we can. I've got to score some more runs. That's part of the responsibility of the batters ... we all have to."

England's decision to play two spinners in Adelaide wasn't helped by the fact Australia won the toss, but left-arm tweaker Monty Panesar will almost certainly be replaced by seamer Tim Bresnan in Perth. Australian selectors have no such decisions to ponder.

Almost as soon as the last wicket fell yesterday, the national selection panel chairman John Inverarity announced the Aussies would take an unchanged squad into the third Test.

Fast bowlers Doug Bollinger and Nathan Coulter-Nile have been put on standby for the match.

But skipper Michael Clarke said it seemed likely the pace trio of Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson - named man of the match for the second successive time in Adelaide - would be available to try to administer the last rites to England.

"I think when we get to Perth and, as we do every Test match, every player will be assessed by our medical staff and if they are fully fit and able to perform at 100%, they will be available for selection," Clarke said.

"The selectors will pick what they think is the best 11 - that (policy) hasn't changed for a long time.

"If guys aren't 100 % fit to perform and help the team win, they won't be selected.

"(But) from the information I have now, everybody has pulled up fine - batters included."

Despite having dominated the first two Tests and going to a venue where England has not won since 1978, Clarke was careful not to get ahead of himself.

Topics:  ashes test, australia, england



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