“Pride”, a big thing isn’t it? You might lose or you win, but what you salvage at last is this very thing.
England have a big reputation at the moment in world cricket, big names in that line-up and all in all, but as they have already lost the Ashes.
Now they have nothing but their pride to save, their reputation to save. The ignominy that they have had to face in Australia can can be softened somewhat in the last two tests being held at the two of the world’s most historic and prestigious grounds, the MCG and the SCG.
As many say, take it one for a time. England should have their complete focus on the Boxing Day Test now rather than continuously mulling over how to make the series 3-2, they should rather think of how to make it 3-1 first.
The first challenge for the guests would be to face the capacity crowd of Melbourne which will have a majority of Aussies. Australian crowds put the touring teams under immense pressure and England will have to contest with both the fans and the opposition in Melbourne.
England have been in poor form and if they have to win the batsmen have to fire because the bowling has only suffered due to the lack of runs to be defended. Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior have all been in disastrous form.
Ian Bell and Michael Carberry have been good but not to the extent they would like. Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad have been the only exceptions on this tour and have done well. While Broad has got wickets, Stokes has got both wickets and runs including the only English century that he struck at Perth in just his second match.
The English team that everyone knows is the one that depends on collective effort rather than individual performance. In Melbourne, Cook and his men have to go with all guns blazing and that is the thing which will set it up perfectly for them.
Also, now that England have lost Graeme Swann, it could well come to Monty Panesar to take up the responsibility and perform better. Another change that could be seen is Tim Bresnan’s departure and Steven Finn’s arrival into the playing 11 mainly because of the pace and chin music that the Middlesex lad can offer.
Also, an interesting stat comes into my mind. Last time in 2010-11 Jonathan Trott struck an unbeaten 168 on this very ground and his contribution made such a mark that England won by an innings.
Who will it be this time? It is hard to tell because of England’s poor showing so far. And as the case has been throughout the Ashes, no need whatsoever to take a look at Australia because they have been perfectionists in the series and have executed every plan in the best way.
The doyens of the team have to fire for England and not just at Melbourne but at Sydney as well, otherwise gentlemen, sadly for them, history will once again sit in front of them and say “Look, it is a 5-0 again”.
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