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England should bat first: Allan Border

Gold Coast: Australia selector and former captain Allan Border said Tuesday England’s best hope of winning next week’s second Test was to bat first and put pressure back on Australia.

“If they get the opportunity to bat first on a good day, take it, take Australia on and try and put runs on the board and put Australia under some pressure,” Border said. “But it’s going to be difficult for them because they’ve just taken a huge knockout punch.”

England play Australia A in a three-day match starting in Hobart on Friday ahead of the second Test starting on November 21 in Adelaide.

“Even months ago I felt England would be competitive as long as all the stars turned up each day to play,” Border said.

“But you can’t have hot and cold sessions against Australia — you fall behind the eight ball and that’s what happened. Australia have got a group of guys together now that are going to end up on the all-time great list.”

Border also defended the move by selectors to include Queensland veteran Andy Bichel for the first Test ahead of Australia’s fastest bowler Brett Lee.

Lee responded by taking 10 wickets for New South Wales in a four-day inter-state match against Tasmania at Sydney Cricket Ground last week.

“He’s done exactly what we wanted him to do. Go away, bowl fast, take some wickets, which he hadn’t been doing,” Border said. “We don’t mind being embarrassed by those sorts of things.”

Emotional chokers

The English cricket team choked on their emotions and consuming desire to win the first Ashes Test, an Australian sports psychologist said Tuesday, adds reports from Brisbane.

Phil Jauncey, who assisted the Australians, said emotions hindered England’s performance on the way to their 384-run defeat at the Gabba last weekend.

“You could see that because of their feelings they were making choices they couldn’t execute and they were poor choices,” Jauncey said.

Jauncey said perhaps England players focussed more on winning rather than the step-by-step process which would get them there. The English, who do not have a tour psychologist, indicated it was possible they would recruit one for the rest of the Australian tour, before the second Test.

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