Updated: July 29, 2015 2:46:08 pm
England have moved on from the second-Test, 405-run defeat and its top order can start performing again, captain Alastair Cook said ahead of the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston starting on Wednesday.
“Lord’s was obviously a tough four days,” Cook said on Tuesday, but “the mood in the camp is fantastic.”
Cook hopes the traditionally hostile atmosphere of Edgbaston, where strains of “Jerusalem” were played around the ground a day before the match, can be the extra man that England appears to need at this stage. The hosts lost when they were removed for just 103 at Lord’s, and a revived Mitchell Johnson took six wickets overall.
Australia captain Michael Clarke said no decision had yet been made on whether opener Chris Rogers, suffering from an inner ear balance problem, will start, but Peter Nevill stays behind the stumps after replacing Brad Haddin for the second Test.
It’s not looking great for Haddin, who made himself unavailable for personal reasons at Lord’s, then watched Nevill play very well.
“(Haddin is) still working exceptionally hard and will now wait for his opportunity, whether that be through injury or getting selected,” Clarke said. “He probably sees his role right now … to really help Nev.”
Level in the five-match series at 1-1, England stayed calm after the Lord’s landslide with only one change – recalling in-form Jonny Bairstow at No. 5 after dropping Gary Ballance. Despite Ian Bell’s miserable run, England promoted him up the order to bat for his Test life at No. 3 on his home Warwickshire ground. Joe Root, who had a rare stumble at Lord’s with 1 and 17, was up one to No. 4.
“The idea is to lay a platform and put miles in the (Australian) bowlers’ legs,” Cook said of his top order. But it was natural for Bell to feel under pressure.
“You always play for your place,” Cook said. “When you go through a bit of a tough time, you start looking over your shoulder no matter whether you’ve played 100 games or 10 games.”
Bell is close to the door with two ducks and five dismissals for 1 in his last 11 innings – wounding figures for a four-time Ashes winner with 22 Test centuries. But he has a habit of firing when really needed, though he only got 6 and 21 in England’s famous two-run victory the last time in the last Ashes fixture here in 2005.
No team sows doubts in opposition players’ minds better than Australia, and Clarke got the first strike on another England key batsman, Bairstow, whose 100-plus county cricket average earned him his place.
“He’s been batting really well, so he’s full of confidence,” Clarke said. “I would hope the attack he’s about to face is a little bit different (than county cricket).”
While Moeen Ali is fine, Durham seamer Mark Woods, bothered by a sore ankle at Lord’s, remains a doubt for England.
“We’re a little bit concerned about Woods,” Cook said.
He played down the importance of the pitch despite all the series chatter so far.
“The best side won the first game, the best side won the second game,” he said.
Keeping an eye on the rain earlier Tuesday, with the covers out, Clarke said: “Hopefully that wicket’s got as much grass on it as it did yesterday.”
For Clarke, it’s all about “execution.”
“It’s about playing your best cricket when you walk out to bat on zero, when you walk out to bowl with no wickets. We need to execute our skills like we did at Lord’s,” Clarke said. “If we want to have success in the third Test match, we need to make sure that our execution is no different to Lord’s.”
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