The Ashes: As they try to reinvigorate their sagging Ashes campaign, Dawid Malan says “hurting” England must not “go into their shells.”
After two severe defeats to start the series – a nine-wicket thumping in Brisbane and then a 275-run loss in the pink-ball Test in Adelaide – the tourists are 2-0 down with three games remaining.
Malan feels England could now follow in the footsteps of their white-ball team, which thrashed Australia in the previous T20 World Cup group stages, by “taking the game” to their opponents while also displaying the discipline demonstrated by the home side’s batters.
“The boys are hurting after our performances in the last two games,” Malan, who has two half-centuries in the series, added. They recognise that we haven’t performed well in all areas of the game.
“Everyone is up for the task, and everyone is eager to take on the Australians, according to the boys. We take them on in white-ball cricket, and there are a lot of white-ball players in this group as well.
“Hopefully, we can adopt that approach and attempt to take the game to them rather than just surviving in our shells.
“We could have left a lot of our dismissals if they had been gentle. You must still score, but it is all about making the right decisions under duress, as I did.
“If you look at how Australia has batted, you’ll notice that the ones that have done well have also departed well, so it’s a nice learning curve for us. It’s hoped that it won’t be too late.
“The boys are still hoping to win the series.” I know we have a long way to go, but we need to perform well and play our best cricket to get back into the series.”
The only England batsmen on this trip who have played Ashes cricket in Australia are Malan, captain Joe Root, Ben Stokes, and Jonny Bairstow – who has yet to play in this series but is in contention to play in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“We’re learning on the job in Test matches because a lot of the guys haven’t played in Australia before – they’re facing bowlers they’ve never seen before and getting used to the bounce out here,” Malan explained.
“We’ve talked a lot, but if we’re being honest, only three of us have actually played Ashes cricket out here, including Jonny, who hasn’t been playing.
“The boys haven’t gotten used to the conditions because of our preparation; you might say that’s an excuse, but it’s not.
“The beauty of playing cricket in Australia is that it is difficult, difficult, and brutal, and you must be at your best to win. So far, we haven’t been that.
Watson: England needs to be more courageous
Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson wrote in The Times that England’s batters must be “braver” for the rest of the series.
Watson has also been “gobsmacked” by Stokes’ batting, believing the 30-year-old, who has returned to cricket after a period away mending a finger injury and prioritising his mental health, has been too cautious.
“England’s batsmen will have to be more courageous if the Ashes series is to be turned around. The intent hasn’t been there so far, notably in the second Test in Adelaide “Watson penned an essay.
“What has astounded me the most is Ben Stokes’ defensive approach to the game.
“I’m completely taken aback. Because of his large back-and-forth motions to the quick bowlers, it’s clear that he’s not trying to score.
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