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Gooch realistic over England hopes

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Graham Gooch

Graham Gooch conceded England were "behind in the game" after they stumbled to 81 for five on the third evening in Perth

Batting coach Graham Gooch admits England have “a massive task” ahead of them as they look to avoid defeat in the third Ashes Test at the WACA.

The tourists ended the third day on 81 for five - still 310 short of their victory target - after Jonathan Trott and Paul Collingwood departed in the final two overs of the evening session.

Mike Hussey and Shane Watson had earlier helped Australia to a second-innings total of 309 with 113 and 95 respectively and the hosts appear certain to wrap up a series-levelling victory when play resumes tomorrow.

“I don’t think you ever give up complete hope but obviously it’s going to be a massive task now,” acknowledged Gooch.

“We can’t look too far ahead. Losing those late wickets has really put us behind in this game.

“Tomorrow we’ve got to go out there and take each ball at a time and take each little segment of the game and see how we go.

"But winning the game from this position would probably be the best Test victory of all time, I would have thought.”

England were bundled out for a meagre 187 in their first innings and once again found runs hard to come by this evening.

But Gooch hailed the quality of the wicket in Perth and believes the efforts of Hussey and Watson show what can be achieved.

“We didn’t bat well, but this Perth wicket is one of the best Test wickets I’ve seen around,” added the former England opener.

“If you bat well you can score runs and if you put the ball in the right area and test the batsman’s patience you can get wickets.

“I think a batsman really earns his runs on this wicket, not because of the shots he plays but because of the discipline he has to show.

“You’ve got to give credit to Shane Watson and Mike Hussey for their runs.

"It’s not all about the shot-making and playing shots for show; it’s about the hard graft. And to get runs on this wicket you need to graft hard because there’s always something in it for the bowler.

“There’s a particular gameplan, as we saw from Hussey in his innings. It’s difficult, but Test cricket is difficult. It’s all about your concentration over a long period of time and so far in this match Australia have had the better of it.”

Although defeat now seems inevitable for England, Gooch refused to be too downhearted.

“We’re not despondent and saying all hope is lost, but we’ve not played as well as we have in the previous two Tests and we find ourselves up against it," he said.

“Credit to Australia - up until now they have had the best of the game - but we’ve got to fight on tomorrow.”

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