England captain Alastair Cook has told his players they have to stand up and be counted after they moved to the brink of surrendering the Ashes with another crushing loss to Australia.
England’s familiar frailties were in evidence again on the final morning as some more weak dismissals saw them bowled out for 312 in their second innings to slip to a 218-run defeat in Adelaide.
That left England, who beat the same opposition 3-0 in England in the summer, 2-0 down with three to play, and a daunting trip to Perth coming up next.
Cook told Sky Sports 2 England were not down and out, saying: “We’ve had a big hit and if we believe that the Ashes are gone, they might as well be gone. “We’ve had two tough games and we haven’t played well.
That’s the simple deal. We have to dust ourselves off and do what we can do, which is work bloody hard on our games and come out to Perth on Friday with that belief that we can do something. We need to put some pressure back on Australia.”
Cook was at a loss to explain what has gone wrong for England in such a short space of time. “I don’t know what’s quite gone on these couple of games,” he said. “We feel we’re doing the right things but at the moment our skills in the middle are letting us down.
Change of fortunes
“We’re not scoring enough runs, we’re not taking our chances. The only people who can change that are the 16, 17 players in the dressing room. “We are very good players in that dressing room, but you can only say that for so long and we have to start delivering.
“We have to look hard into ourselves, deep into the inner soul and drag the performance out of ourselves. A 2-0 lead is not insurmountable. I remember turning up in Manchester (in the summer), and the pressure can change because you’re so close.
“We can’t mope about feeling sorry for ourselves. We have to hold our hands up and say we haven’t been good enough. We have to drag the runs out of ourselves, drag the wickets out of ourselves.”