BELEAGUERED England captain Alastair Cook has urged his crumbling side to defy their atrocious record in Perth and snatch a last Ashes lifeline in the third Test this week.
A 218-run defeat to Australia in Adelaide early yesterday has left England facing defeat and a possible 5-0 whitewash as they prepare for Friday’s visit to the WACA, where they have only ever won once.
“What has happened at Perth before is a total irrelevance. We have to go there as this side, in 2013, and do something special. Good players turn it around. That’s what we must do,” Cook said.
“I don’t know what has gone wrong in the past couple of games. We are very good players, but you can only say that for so long. We have to deliver.
“A 2-0 lead is not insurmountable. The Ashes are not gone. If we believe they’re gone they might as well be. We have to look deep into our inner souls to drag something out.”
Needing to bat out the final day to snatch a draw, England lost their last four wickets in the first hour as Australia took another purposeful stride towards a seemingly inevitable series triumph.
Former England batsmen Michael Vaughan and Geoffrey Boycott both believe the cause of England’s feeble surrender is psychological and fear that, without rapid improvement, they will be whitewashed.
“I see a few technical flaws but it’s the thinking that’s the problem. If they’re not thinking correctly, this has 5-0 written all over it,” said Vaughan.
Boycott said: “We don’t seem to have a mindset to stay in and make them bowl us out. We are playing cricket like a 50-over game: crash, bang, wallop and out. We have won three series comfortably, but we are going to get annihilated in this one.”
■ England have not passed 400 in their last 20 Test innings, while Cook has just one century in that time
■ All 10 England second-innings wickets went to deliveries that would not have hit the stumps
■ Only once in Test history has a team come from 2-0 down to win a series; only three times have they drawn