Cook keen to stay positive
Alastair Cook has urged England's batsmen not to feel downhearted after their disappointing performance in the third Ashes Test at Perth.
England made 1,137 for the loss of six wickets across their second innings in the Brisbane opener and their first in the second Test in Adelaide - but they go to Melbourne for the fourth Test having been skittled for 187 and 123 at the WACA.
The recalled Mitchell Johnson returned match figures of 9-82 and Ryan Harris 9-106 to bowl Australia to a 267-run win, and, while Cook admits England's batsmen are down, they are certainly not out with the series level at 1-1 with two Tests to play.
"As a batting unit, we took a little bit of a confidence hit in this game," the vice-captain admitted.
"But we only have to look a week or so before, we scored a lot of runs against this attack, so we have to remain in that confidence.
"We've got to trust ourselves first and foremost and our training methods over the next couple of days are important to that."
Cook said there had been a few home truths shared at a post-match meeting at the team hotel in the hours after England's loss.
"We had a good meeting after the game, a good, honest meeting and you know we discussed a few things," Cook said.
"I think that's because the group we have created here, with Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss, is such a stable group that we feel very comfortable doing that.
"It was a good meeting, we put Perth to bed and now we go to Melbourne as a confident side, which I think we can do because of what we have achieved so far on this tour.
"Obviously they won the last game, so you guys talk about momentum, you all say they've got it. But we all know when we start in Melbourne, it's always a clean slate.
"I think it's whoever adapts to these conditions we get in Melbourne the next few days and plays the best cricket will win; it's nothing to do with momentum."
Much intrigue surrounds the nature of the drop-in pitch which will be used for the Boxing Day Test, groundsman Cameron Hodgkins having reportedly abandoned his initial first choice in favour of a grassier and much livelier surface.
Cook would have it no other way either than that the home team are allowed to make the most of their advantage.
“That is the beauty of home conditions, isn’t it?” Cook said. “You can prepare a pitch, you hope, to suit the home side.
"That is what we try to do in England in certain cases. There is no reason I would expect Australia not to do it.
"If you went to India, and they played three spinners and produced a green seamer you’d be wondering what’s going on. That is what home advantage is, and you’d expect everyone to do it.”
Australia captain Ricky Ponting has claimed English batsmen are vulnerable on quick and bouncy pitches, both before and after events at the WACA.
However the Boxing Day drop-in plays, though, Cook is happy to back his and his team’s ability.
The pitch is out of our control, and that’s the beauty of cricket that conditions change from week to week,” he said.
“It’s how you adapt to those that determines how successful you are. The challenge is making sure we are ready and adapting to those conditions.”