Flower wants more from holder Eng­land

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Ch­ester-le-street, Bri­tain

Eng­land will bid to com­plete the sec­ond half of its Ashes mis­sion when it faces arch- ri­val Aus­tralia in the fourth Test at Ch­ester- leStreet start­ing on Fri­day. The drawn third Test at Old Traf­ford left Eng­land an unas­sail­able 2-0 up in the se­ries with two to play and meant it had re­tained the Ashes.

But it left open the pos­si­bil­ity of a shared se­ries, some­thing that hasn’t hap­pened in an Ashes cam­paign since 1972.

It took Eng­land just 14 days to hold on to the urn this time around — the quick­est it has set­tled an Ashes se­ries in its fa­vor since the end of the Sec­ond World War.

How­ever, Eng­land coach Andy Flower was far from sat­is­fied.

“I sup­pose it is ( a great achieve­ment). But for me it’s all about win­ning this se­ries, so it is still alive with two Tests to go,” he said.

In Manch­ester, Aus­tralia pro­duced a much-im­proved per­for­mance with Eng­land col­laps­ing to 27 for three on Mon­day’s fi­nal day be­fore rain en­sured a draw.

The re­sult meant Aus­tralia had ended a run of six suc­ces­sive Test de­feats — its worst for 29 years — and avoided equalling its all-time record los­ing streak of seven straight Tests set by the 19th cen­tury teams of 1885-88.

For­mer Aus­tralia cap­tain Al­lan Bor­der said it looked like the tourists had “drawn their own line in the sand”, in much the same way his side did dur­ing the 1986/87 se­ries, where, hav­ing lost the Ashes, they won the fi­nal Test in Syd­ney be­fore start­ing 16 years of un­bro­ken se­ries dom­i­nance against Eng­land in 1989.

“Eng­land are wor­ried,” Bor­der said. “The way this side is go­ing over the next few months, look out. Aus­tralia has the mo­men­tum.”

Then again, Aus­tralia had even more “mo­men­tum” dur­ing the 2010/11 Ashes af­ter win­ning the third Test by 267 runs in Perth to level at 1-1.

Yet Eng­land won the fourth Test in Melbourne by the huge mar­gin of an in­nings and 157 runs to re­tain the Ashes.

Aus­tralia coach Dar­ren Lehmann put the Old Traf­ford draw in con­text by say­ing: “We’re not go­ing to lose five nil, so that’s a start. I think it (the mo­men­tum) has shifted but only time will tell that won’t it?”

At Old Traf­ford, Aus­tralia cap­tain Michael Clarke’s 187 was the cor­ner­stone of a com­mand­ing first in­nings to­tal of 527 for seven de­clared.

But through­out his side’s lean spell Clarke has been mak­ing hun­dreds — one of the chal­lenges for Aus­tralia will be to see if any of its other spe­cial­ist bats­men can fol­low suit.

Both sides have bol­stered their pace bowl­ing stocks.

Eng­land has added Sur­rey fast bowler Chris Trem­lett and Durham’s in-form Gra­ham Onions to its Old Traf­ford XI.

“We are quite will­ing to be flex­i­ble on that front,” said Flower. “It’s not a change of plan.”

Aus­tralia named a 12 on Wed­nes­day where Jack­son Bird was added to its Manch­ester XI amid con­cerns over the abil­ity of in­jury- prone seamer Ryan Har­ris to play back-to-back Tests.

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