London: England have a great motivation to create history in this week’s fifth and final Ashes Test against Australia at The Oval, captain Alastair Cook said on Tuesday.
The home team, who have a 3-0 lead, are looking to win an Ashes series 4-0 for the first time and also inflict the heaviest defeat on Australia in England. “I think it would be very special to win the Ashes 4-0,” he said.
“We don’t need any more motivation, that is enough for us, it always is, to win a Test match for England is a big enough motivation,” Cook told a news conference on Tuesday.
“(But) we’ve got a lot of record-breakers in this team and the chance to add another little notch I suppose is great motivation.”
Despite England’s batting line-up struggling at times during the series, the hosts have consistently won key moments throughout.
Cook, though, said a 4-0 win would not necessarily provide a psychological edge for the return series in Australia later in the year. “It would be one of those strange things, when you get to Australia we’ll be saying ‘what’s gone has gone’ and has no relevance to that first hour in Brisbane,” he added.
“But sitting here now as a side, those little things we can use to put Australia under pressure in certain areas of their play, we know that will hopefully count when we go down to Australia.”
Pacemen Steven Finn and Chris Woakes plus left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan have been called into the squad for the final Test, with Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions out due to injury. Chris Tremlett appears most likely to replace Bresnan in the playing XI. Cook said a final decision would be announced at the toss.
Clarke, Cook’s counterpart, however, has declared the final XI for the match. Clarke said the tourists would give a Test debut to fast-bowling all-rounder James Faulkner and recall Mitchell Starc as they sought a consolation win in the Ashes finale. “I do have a team. We have two changes. Jackson Bird is out and Usman Khawaja is out so Starc comes in and Faulkner makes his debut,” Clarke said.
Clarke defended the decision to select Faulkner, which means only backup wicket-keeper Matthew Wade of the 18-strong squad for the series has not been used. “We are trying to win the Test match so the selectors have picked this side feeling this gives us the best chance,” he said.
“I think you have to perform as a player and if you don’t, there’s a chance you can be dropped. That’s the life we live playing sport at the highest level. If you don’t perform consistently, there’s a chance you can be dropped.” (Agencies)