Now is no time to panic - Strauss
Captain Andrew Strauss is confident that England’s 267-run defeat in the third Ashes Test at the WACA will not cause panic in his side.
The tourists failed to bat out the opening hour on the fourth day in Perth as Australia grabbed the five wickets they needed to level the series at 1-1 with two games to play.
Strauss admitted defeat, for which he blamed their failure with the bat after being bowled out for 187 and 123, was disappointing, especially after their innings win in Adelaide a fortnight ago.
But he believes England’s performances in the first two matches in this undulating series will ensure they remain calm, and that they can still retain the Ashes. The fourth Test in Melbourne starts on Boxing Day.
“It’s a very disappointing defeat, threre's no doubt about it,” Strauss said. “We came here fully expecting to play the same brand of cricket that we played in Adelaide but we didn't replicate that.
“We were in a quite a good position at 80-odd for nought after bowling them out for 260-odd. Our batting in both innings was sub-par.
“But we have to retain a sense of perspective. We've played a lot of good cricket on this tour and it doesn’t make you a bad side overnight, having one bad performance.
"We've got to retain that sense of confidence and buoyancy in the dressing room so we come out all guns blazing in Melbourne."
Strauss revealed he was content with England’s bowlers, but urged his fellow batsmen to right their wrongs.
“The bowlers for the majority of the time did a very good job; bowling Australia out for 260 and 300 on a pretty reasonable wicket was a decent effort,” he added.
“But the batting on the other hand - we’ve certainly got to address the way we lost wickets in clusters. If you lose three or four or five wickets in a session, it’s always hard to come back into the game.”
There have been some calls for England to elevate the in-form Ian Bell above Paul Collingwood to number five in the batting order, a notion Strauss admits may come under consideration before the Boxing Day Test.
"He (Bell) has been playing exceptionally well. I won’t rule anyhting out out; we have to have a think about how we can do things than we did this week,” he said.
“But ultimately this is not a time for panic. It's a case of keeping a calm head and making sure we do the right things.”
Strauss also paid credit to Mitchell Johnson, who turned the game Australia’s way with a devastating spell on day two.
The left-arm seamer sparked a collapse that saw England lose five wickets for 20 runs, from which they never recovered. He finished with 6-38 in the first innings and 9-82 in the match.
Strauss added. “That spell from Mitchell Johnson on the second morning ripped apart our top order.
“We were always behind in game after that and you've got to give Australia some credit for not allowing us back in.
“The batting, we have to say, was not good enough. We have to learn from what we did wrong and try and relate back to what we did really well at Brisbane and Adelaide."
Strauss spared the bowlers any criticism - he claimed he was happy to have limited Australia to 268 and 309 - and took particular pleasure in Chris Tremlett's performance.
The 6ft 7in seamer, deputising for the injured Stuart Broad, claimed 5-87 in the second innings and eight wickets in the match on his first Test appearance for more than three years.
"Chris Tremlett came in and kept that pace and hostility the whole way through," said Strauss.
"He was a real positive for us. We're all delighted for him the way he bowled.
"If you take the series as a whole, there are a lot of positives for us.
"If we can keep playing the same brand of cricket we have played in the majority of the series, then we have a great chance of retaining the Ashes.”