More heat from his under fire top order
AL WANTS TO AVOID OZ FIGHTBACK
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.
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