Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
“We need to put some pressure back on Australia”
England captain Alastair Cook has admitted that his side have “had two tough games” and “haven’t played well” during the first two Tests of the ongoing Ashes series.
Cook added that England have to fight back otherwise their chance of becoming the first team since the 1890s to win the Ashes four times in a row will not come to fruition.
“We’ve had a big hit and if we believe that the Ashes are gone, they might as well be gone,” Cook told Sky Sports. “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 extremely 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 also at a loss of words when asked to explain how England’s performance had plummeted since the last Ashes series in July to August, which they won 3-0.
“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.
“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.
“I’ve got to step up as a batter and score more runs. Everyone has to.
“You always start asking questions about the side when you lose a couple of games. It happens in every sport.
“What we do know is that side has got a lot of talent, a lot of skill and has proven that over a long period of time. We have to hold on to that.
“We are very good players in that dressing room, but you can only say that for so long and we have to start delivering.”
Cook also admitted that too many players were continuing to be dismissed in the exact same way.
“That’s an area of concern: shot selection and shot execution,” he said. “We can’t shy away from that, some poor shots have been played.
“That’s honest, and we have to be better than that if we want to get back into this series.
“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.
“It’s a bit like football – if we get the next goal, it’s vital.
“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.”
The England captain also conceded that it was tough not having batsman Jonathan Trott around as he is an extremely talented and experienced player.
Trott returned home after the first Test in Brisbane due to a stress-related illness.
“When you lose a guy with that experience and that class, that kind of experience is very hard to replace,” Cook said. “Having said that (Joe) Root played very well. Little things like that we have to draw on.”