England remain on the offensive
Ian Bell insists England will maintain an attacking approach for the remainder of the one-day series against Australia, despite admitting it may have cost them defeat in the opening two games.
England have relinquished strong positions in both games to find themselves 2-0 down heading into tomorrow’s match in Sydney.
Those losses threaten to end England’s run of six successive series wins in the 50-over format, which has marked them out as one of the favourites for the World Cup starting next month.
Such success has been built on aggressive batting, but the tactic has backfired so far against Australia, with Bell admitting it has contributed to wickets falling at key times.
That was the case in yesterday’s 46-run defeat in Hobart, when soft dismissals cost England dear as they were bowled out for 184 in pursuit of 231 to win.
Bell himself was a culprit when he cut loosely to point off Brett Lee, while Jonathan Trott, who also made 32, pulled a Steven Smith long-hop straight to short midwicket.
However, Bell insisted: “We’ve had a lot of success in the past 12-18 months in one-day cricket by playing aggressive cricket. We don’t want to stop doing that.
“When you go with the aggressive side of the game you are always going to make the odd mistake. There have been a couple of dismissals we would like to cut out; you don’t really want too many caught at cover.
“It’s been disappointing to that extent but again we’ve shown some good things in these two games and hopefully when we’re playing this aggressive style of cricket we’ll find the gap next time.”
Bell admits he and his team-mates are frustrated at letting strong positions slip in the opening two games.
Yesterday’s clash at the Bellerive Oval looked well within England’s grasp after they reduced Australia to 142 for eight, only for a record ninth-wicket stand of 88 between centurion Shaun Marsh and Doug Bollinger helped the hosts post what proved to be winning total of 230.
“Definitely, it’s disappointing,” added Bell. “We were getting ourselves back into a good position to win the game. Our bowlers did a great job up front. They have done very well in both games.
“It was disappointing with the bat again that we got partnerships started but we didn’t get that big partnership that you need in a one-day international to see the game through.
“There were some good things to come out of it, but they’re two games we could possible have won and we’ve lost both.”
England captain Andrew Strauss yesterday dismissed any notion that the tourists’ thoughts were drifting towards their return home as they near the end of a tour that began in late October.
Bell today insisted they cannot use tireness as an excuse for their dip in form following their euphoric Ashes triumph, reminding observers that the players will fly out to the sub-continent to prepare for the World Cup almost as soon as they land on English soil.
“It has been a long trip but you expect that as a cricketer,” Bell said. “In international cricket you are going to spend a lot of time away from home. It comes with the job so you should be used to it.
“I don’t think anyone should be feeling that fatigue really. We’ve got a big World Cup coming up so we have to get our game right.
“There’s no point thinking of home because we’ve only got three days at home.
“The more one-day cricket you can get in the better prepared you are going to be for a World Cup. It’s a massively important couple of months for us so it’s important we get that right.”