Ashley Giles admitted that England’s nail-biting loss at the Gabba was “really difficult” to take, but is nevertheless optimistic of their prospects for next year’s World Cup Down Under.
Australia doubled their lead in the best-of-five series via a one-wicket win with three balls to spare as James Faulkner clubbed five sixes and then, in the last over with 12 runs needed, three fours for 69 not out.
It was a bitter pill for the tourists to swallow, especially after Eoin Morgan’s sixth one-day international ton had helped them to a strong 300 for eight.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, England limited-overs coach Giles said: “It’s really difficult [to take].
“When you’ve played a lot of good cricket, you’re one-nil down in the series and you’re almost over the line, it goes to show until that last ball, that last wicket’s taken, it’s never all over.
“Faulkner played extremely well at the end and timed it just right, but [it’s] disappointing for everyone [in the England camp].”
However, with the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in mind, Giles added: “It’s easy to say sometimes when you lose ‘you’ve got to take the positives out of it’, but there are a lot of positives there.
“We’re all building towards the World Cup as well. Every series is important - I’m not trying to belittle this one, and we play this to win and we were really close today - but with the bigger picture in mind, the World Cup being here next year, it’s exciting for me as a coach because we’ve got the formation of a side that could do really good things going forward.”
Morgan, who averages 40.5 in his 109 ODIs, is a lynchpin in England’s middle order.
Today he lifted them from 78 for three, sharing a pulsating stand of 117 with Jos Buttler that the wicketkeeper-batsman contributed 49, his final score, to.
“Morgs is hugely experienced, but a real ice man as well,” Giles said.
“He reads situations well. He stays calm. For the younger guys - and Buttler is still relatively inexperienced in one-day international cricket, [Ben] Stokes [is too] - he can calm them. He’s a calming influence.
“And we saw today the way he and Buttler saw through that partnership of 120-odd was fantastic. It almost got us over the line but not quite today.”
In the intense Brisbane heat Morgan picked up a calf injury, which will be monitored ahead of Sunday’s third ODI at Sydney.
Asked of Morgan’s immediately prospects of playing at the SCG, Giles replied: “We’re not sure yet. He’s come off with a little bit of a calf [problem].
“It’s been very hot here today and he’s been on the field for a long time. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious, but we’ll have a look and fingers crossed for Sunday.”