England not prepared to rest on their laurels just yet

Australia coach says his batsmen are playing for their careers

 The England team celebrate after the last wicket goes of Peter Siddle and the Ashes are won during day four of the fourth  Ashes Test match  in Chester-le-Street, England. Photograph:   Stu Forster/Getty Images

The England team celebrate after the last wicket goes of Peter Siddle and the Ashes are won during day four of the fourth Ashes Test match in Chester-le-Street, England. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

 

England coach Andy Flower is not willing to experiment with his line-up too much for next week’s final Ashes Test against Australia, even though the hosts have already wrapped up the five-match series 3-0.

England won the Ashes outright on Monday after a stunning evening session at Durham reduced Australia from 120 for one to 224 all out. England were celebrating a 74-run victory thanks to strong bowling efforts by Stuart Broad (6-50), Tim Bresnan (2-36) and Graeme Swann (2-53).

With such a commanding performance, there had been suggestions that Flower could rest some of the bowlers in the fifth match starting at the Oval next Wednesday before the return series in Australia, which begins in November.

“I can’t see us changing much, we’re still representing our country in this fifth Test, it’s still an Ashes Test, and we are determined to win it,” Flowers said yesterday.

“We’ll meet over the next couple of days and talk about our side for the fifth Test.”

Captain Alastair Cook has not been at his best with the bat, managing only three half centuries, but drew praise from his coach for his leadership, in particular the decision to bring back Bresnan which resulted in the loss of David Warner when set on 71.

“Cook’s captaincy has been excellent, he’s been strong in the dressing room and out on the field and made some decisions yesterday that turned the game,” said Flower.

While the side was determined to push on and win the series 4-0 before attempting to defend it in Australia, becoming the world’s top ranked Test nation was no longer a major motivation. They are currently ranked number three, having been knocked off top spot by South Africa a year ago.

“It was a burning ambition for us, because we had not been number one before. That has dissipated slightly, we were focussing on this series, then we focus on the next Test series.”


Careers in jeopardy
Meanwhile, Australia coach Darren Lehmann has said his batsmen are playing for their careers after the side’s dramatic collapse.

“Yep, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Lehmann said when asked if careers were in jeopardy following the loss . “The blokes have to learn. If they don’t, we’ll find blokes that will.

“If they’re not, and making the same mistakes, then we’ve got to change, and that’s a simple fact of cricket and results.”

After a strong opening stand between Chris Rogers and Warner, the middle order of Usman Khawaja, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin managed a paltry 50 runs between them.

Australia have only passed 300 once in eight Ashes innings, with Clarke at Old Trafford and Rogers at Chester-Le-Street the only batsmen to reach triple figures.

“To play for Australia, you have to perform to a level that’s acceptable to everyone in our team, and also the Australian public and the media, and at the moment we’re not doing that,” Lehmann said.

“I think they’ve fought really hard and they’ve shown glimpses of challenging a really good side obviously, but we haven’t done that consistently enough.”