| HUSSAIN: ‘Ten days to turn the tour around’
Melbourne: England can still achieve great things on their Ashes tour even though they have lost the trophy, captain Nasser Hussain said on Monday.
“The way I look at it is, I tell the boys they have 10 days to turn around the Test match tour, to go out there and beat Australia in a Test match,” Hussain told a news conference. “That will still be a great achievement...the Test series might be lost but we have got to move on from that.”
England, 3-0 down in this series, last toured Australia in 1998-99 when skipper Alec Stewart’s side lost the series 3-1 despite scoring a 12-run win in a rain-soaked fourth Test in Melbourne.
The fourth Test in Melbourne starting on Thursday is a chance for another Englishman to play the match of his life, as paceman Dean Headley did four years ago on the same ground, Hussain said.
Headley took six for 60 in the second innings as Mark Taylor’s Australia were bowled out for 162 chasing 175 to win.
“It’s a great arena. There are 10 possible days left (the fifth Test in Sydney starts on January 2) hopefully of having those sorts of feelings.”
England failed to win any of their first 13 games on tour in Australia and suffered heavy defeats in each of the first three Ashes Tests. Their two one-day wins over Lanka last week were encouraging but would not help the tourists against the top-ranked side in Tests and one-dayersHussain said.
“Like any side they’re beatable, in whatever sport. Whether it’s Manchester United in football or Australia in cricket or whatever.”
England have sent home five injured bowlers, Darren Gough, Simon Jones, Chris Silverwood, Andrew Flintoff and Ashley Giles, during the tour and are nursing Andy Caddick back to health for the fourth Test.
Hussain said he expected the 34-year-old Somerset fast bowler to be fit for selection despite hobbling off the WACA Ground in Perth on Friday with a jarred ankle after taking three for 30 in the one-dayer against Sri Lanka.
Fast bowler Alex Tudor, who was struck a savage blow by a Brett Lee bouncer in the third Test in Perth, has recovered physically after needing six stitches in a wound above his left eye, Hussain said.
“There’s no hiding place. You’ve just got to get back on the horse and get back into Test cricket,” he said. “Tudes knows that so he’s strong enough to do that.”
Tudor and fellow paceman Matthew Hoggard, and batsmen Robert Key and John Crawley, who missed the third Test with a hip injury, were competing for places in the side, Hussain said.
Opening batsman Michael Vaughan is set to play despite a slight fracture in his shoulder, team spokesman David Clarke said.
Hussain ridiculed a suggestion that if his side spent more time socialising after play with Steve Waugh’s team they would stand a better chance of victory on the field. “That’s drivel that stuff. You go in and have a beer and that suddenly makes you Don Bradman, I think not,” Hussain said.