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Arthur looks to England's example

NatWest Series

Keep up to date with England's NatWest Series against Australia with our in-depth day-by-day reports - plus all the reaction, highlights and photos

Australia coach Mickey Arthur admits his side may need to take a leaf out of England's book if they are to mount a fightback in the NatWest Series.

Two down with three to play following defeats at Lord's and the Kia Oval, the tourists know vast improvement is required ahead of Wednesday's match at Edgbaston.

Arthur conceded Australia were "comprehensively outplayed" in a six-wicket reverse at the Oval and feels Alastair Cook's men are benefiting from a revised approach to the 50-over game.

Nine members of yesterday's victorious XI have at least 10 Test caps, while the other two - Craig Kieswetter and Jade Dernbach - are certainly no strangers to the international stage, having played a combined total of 78 matches for England.

"I think they are playing a really good brand of cricket," said Arthur, when asked about England's continued improvement.

"In English conditions, they have almost gone back to the old format of one-day cricket - three proper Test players at the top of the order, four out-and-out pace bowlers and a really good spinner.

"They are playing with their specialists; they are playing the one-day game with their best players and, in England, I think that's a message for every other team, bearing in mind that we come back here for the Champions Trophy next year.

Mitchell Johnson

After Mitchell Johnson claimed 0-43 from seven overs, Mickey Arthur reflected: "I think we just have to realise that it was his first game back."

"England have a blueprint that works here and it's one that we'll probably need to follow in these conditions."

While the hosts' line-up is arguably more settled than at any point in recent history, Arthur acknowledges Australia are still attempting to work out their strongest XI.

The middle order, shorn of Mike Hussey after the 37-year-old left-hander withdrew from this tour due to the premature birth of his fourth child, appears to represent a particular area of concern.

The most suitable positions for George Bailey and Matthew Wade remain unclear and it would be no surprise to see further changes in Birmingham, after Peter Forrest replaced Steven Smith for yesterday's encounter.

"We are trying to settle on the best possible combination we have," explained Arthur. "We were pretty settled, I thought, coming into this tour and then Mike Hussey didn't make the trip.

"Mike gives a whole new dimension to our finishing, coming in at five he controls the game, but the reality is Mike's not going to be around forever.

"We've got to find another player who can do that role and there are going to be a lot of opportunities on this tour for somebody to try and nail that. I'm looking forward to seeing who puts their hand up."

Alterations could also be made to Australia's bowling attack, which, with the exception of Clint McKay, failed to impress in south London.

Mitchell Johnson struggled more than most in his first international appearance since November 2011, conceding 20 in his first two overs and sending down four no-balls and two wides en route to figures of 0-43 from seven.

However, Johnson - selected ahead of James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus as a replacement for the injured Pat Cummins - received support from his coach, who believes the left-armer will improve.

"I can't fault Mitch. I can't fault the way he's trained, his preparation. What he has put in has been outstanding," said Arthur.

"I think we just have to realise that it was his first game back and we have to take that into account. Hopefully Mitch will just get better and better - he's still a world-class performer.

"He's been off for about eight months now. He's just got to get out and get his confidence back. He's got to realise he belongs in international cricket again and I'm pretty sure he'll do that pretty quickly."

Reflecting on the team as a whole, Arthur added: "I think we can play a huge amount better with the personnel that we have, so we've just got to get our performances up to speed."

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