Flower urges aggressive approach
Team director Andy Flower insists England must not let defeat by Australia in the Champions Trophy semi-final deter them from playing positive one-day cricket.
Flower saw his side beaten by nine wickets at Centurion last night, as unbeaten centuries from Shane Watson and Ricky Ponting carried Australia into the final with ease.
Watson made 136 and Ponting 111, and shared a record unbroken 252-run stand for the second wicket to wrap up a comprehensive victory with 8.1 overs to spare.
However, the foundations for England’s defeat were laid with the bat; they slipped to 101 for six after winning the toss as the attempted to emulate the free-scoring approach which illuminated their group victories over Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Andrew Strauss' team were hamstrung by the loss of so many wickets in the first half of their innings and it took Tim Bresnan’s 80 and 48 from Luke Wright to help them to a competitive 257.
“It was a very exciting tournament to be part of. It was a great pity we couldn't get through to the final," said Flower.
"What I did like was the attacking manner in which we played. It was also good seeing a couple of youngsters playing good cricket, which suggested they might be successful in the future.
"It's the only way to go. There's always a balance between attack and defence but the positive way is the way to go in international cricket.”
England were missing Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen – both were named in the International Cricket Council’s one-day team of the year – in this tournament, while wicketkeeper Matt Prior and all-rounder Stuart Broad were sidelined for yesterday’s day-night encounter through illness and injury respectively.
Despite being understrength, however, Flower was frank in his assessment of the defeat.
"We were totally outplayed," he added. "To be six down after 20 overs - it would have taken a miracle to win from there.
"Bresnan and Wright did a brilliant job in resurrecting some sort of total, which gave us a chance, but it wasn't to be.
"It exposed the batting strength again. It was a brilliant fightback but it wasn't good to see us six down so early."