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England's failure to push on stumps Alastair Cook

By David Clough

Published 20/07/2015

Bail out: Jimmy Anderson is bowled out as Australia thump England in the second Ashes Test to level the series
Bail out: Jimmy Anderson is bowled out as Australia thump England in the second Ashes Test to level the series

Alastair Cook found England's 405-run Lord's defeat against Australia "incredibly frustrating".

The England captain is at a loss to explain why his team have so far this year been unable to consolidate a series lead - previous attempts failed against West Indies and New Zealand.

After those drawn series, it was deja-vu in this second Ashes Test as they were bowled out for just 103 on day four to lose with more than four sessions to spare.

As in their whitewash defeat in Australia in 2013-14, England had no answer to the pace of Mitchell Johnson - leaving Cook to admit they need to work hard to address their frailties before the third match of five at Edgbaston.

Cook's first-innings 96 was no consolation after Australia set up the game on the back of Steve Smith's maiden double-century and 173 from Chris Rogers.

Johnson then emphatically settled the issue to level the series score following England's opening win in Cardiff last week.

Cook said: "Full credit to Australia - from the first morning, they got on top of us and never let us back in the game.

"Today was the icing on the cake for them, and for us a real kick in the teeth. To get bowled out on that kind of wicket for a hundred is not good enough, not acceptable, not up to the standard that the guys can play."

He is in a quandary over why England appear unable to play more consistently.

"It's incredibly frustrating," he added. "I said before the game the last (two) times we've gone one up in the series, we haven't managed to play anywhere near that standard we've set in the following game. For whatever reason, I cannot put my finger on it.

"We've spoken about it. We had an opportunity here to build... and we haven't taken it.

"I think it's probably a case of you can talk all you want - but it's down to the players."

One obvious concern is England's unwelcome habit of losing early wickets.

"Certainly over the last three or four months, we've found ourselves too often 30 for four (or) 40 for three," added Cook.

"That's not ideal in any circumstance, in any team. It's something we'll have to look at over the next couple of days."

Their attempted salvage mission in the second innings was woeful, on a pitch showing few signs of deterioration.

"If you're going to bat 150 overs to save a game, you do have to change your method. I believe that anyway," said Cook.

"You've seen plenty examples of that recently (in world cricket) that have been fantastic.

"It's definitely possible, but you do have to change your game to adapt to it... (and) we weren't good enough to do that today."

Australia expect to have an update on Rogers' well-being today, after he was forced to retire ill with a dizzy spell in their second innings.

Belfast Telegraph

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