More heat from his un­der fire top or­der


Midweek Sport - - SPORT - By LUKE LOR­DAN

ALAS­TAIR COOK has been warned that Eng­land face a win­ter of dis­con­tent un­less their top or­der start fir­ing on all cylin­ders.

Cook’s con­quer­ing heroes pitch-up at Durham for Fri­day’s fourth Ashes Test with the pre­cious urn in the bag af­ter rain­ing supreme at Old Traf­ford thanks to an­other timely Manch­ester mon­soon.

With Eng­land 2-0 up and just two to play, thoughts are al­ready turn­ing to the tour Down Un­der later this year as the sides go at it again in back-to-back se­ries.

Backed by the al­ways vo­cal Barmy Army, the Three Lions will look to make it four straight Ashes se­ries tri­umphs – their best run for over 60 years.

But Eng­land have been told the Aussies will tar­get their brit­tle top or­der as a key way to wres­tle back the urn when bat­tle re-starts in Novem­ber.

Cook’s troops have been three down for 30 or less in each of the first three Tests against a far from threat­en­ing tourists at­tack.

They’re yet to post a to­tal of more than 400 in the se­ries, and Aus­tralia coach Dar­ren Lehmann in­sisted: “We’ve shown some cracks in their bat­ting which is great for us as a bowl­ing unit.

“Has the mo­men­tum shifted? I think it has, but only time will tell. It’s about how we play in the next Test, where we have to re­peat our per­for­mance at Old Traf­ford.

“We’ve learned a lot about what tac­tics to use against the Eng­land bats­men and I’m con­fi­dent we’re on the right path.

“We can’t


the Ashes now, but what we’ve got to do is make sure we’re best pre­pared for Durham, win the game and then move to The Oval.

“You can’t look too far ahead. The home se­ries is a long way away. What we can con­cen­trate on is th­ese next two Tests.

“We want to win them. We’re play­ing for our coun­try and against Eng­land, the arch en­emy, and it’s go­ing to be a great bat­tle in Durham I’m sure.”

Durham seamer Gra­ham Onions and pace­man Chris Trem­lett are added to the squad as Eng­land look to main­tain their 100 per cent record at Ch­esterle-Street – four wins, three of them by an in­nings.


Michael Clarke in­sists Aus­tralia have drawn con­fi­dence from hav­ing much the bet­ter of a rain-af­fected third Test.

The bat­tling draw at least meant the Aussies avoided a sev­enth straight Test de­feat that would have marked their worst run for 125 years.

De­ter­mined Aussie skip­per Clarke led from the front with a su­perb first in­nings cen­tury.

He said: “We showed what we can do and it’s up to us to build on that now in the fi­nal two Tests.

“We came here to take the Ashes back home, that’s not hap­pened and ev­ery­one in our dress­ing room is hurt­ing.”

But Cook’s eyes are still on this sum­mer. He said: “We’ve re­tained the Ashes – now we want to go on and win them.”

FAN-TAS­TIC: Graeme Swann en­joys the se­ries vic­tory with Eng­land sup­port­ers RY AND MIGHTY: Ryan Har­ris cel­e­brates the re­moval of Cook

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