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Gooch urges batting improvement

England batting coach Graham Gooch believes his charges will have to perform better Down Under if the Ashes are to be retained.

In a rare twist, cricket’s greatest rivals will resume battle three months apart with Australia bidding to regain the urn on home soil from the end of November.

Despite England being 3-0 ahead with a Test to spare in this rubber, four of the top-five leading run-scorers are Australian.

Gooch feels batting is an area England need to improve, saying: “Our guys need to assess their game at the end of the series and I think one thing for definite is that we will be working very, very hard to make sure we improve when we go down to Australia - we need to improve.

“My philosophy on cricket is that you try to build a good side to take on any one in any conditions - that is the beauty of the game and the beauty of Test cricket, having a side that can win in any conditions. Whatever pitches Australia produce we will be ready for that.

“Every player has to adapt and find ways to deal with specific field placings; that is part of the way of improving.

“We haven't scored the big runs we would've liked but we have still won three games. We know that to beat Australia in their own backyard we are going to have to be a lot better both with the bat and the ball.”

There was no chance for the hosts to resume their first innings in the fifth and final Investec Test at the Kia Oval today as rain ensured day four was washed out.

England were set to recommence on 247 for four in response to Australia’s 492 for nine declared with Ian Bell, the outstanding player of this series having hit 529 runs including three centuries, unbeaten on 29.

“Ian has played exceptionally and been the standout batsman on both sides; he has scored the bulk of our runs,” added Gooch.

Meanwhile, Australia all-rounder James Faulkner believes things will be different later this year, insisting England will meet a more difficult challenge.

“When they come to Australia it will be played on our terms,” he said. “They will be in for a hell of a challenge.”

Speaking about the situation in the present game heading into the final day, he added: “We are in a good position; it’s just a shame about the rain.

“We got ourselves in a good position to win the Test and the weather played a part. We will give it a crack tomorrow and see what happens.”