Thorpe urges England to be positive to save Sydney Test

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08 Jan 2022 | 04:34 PM staff

Thorpe urges England to be positive to save Sydney Test

Graham Thorpe was confident that England batters will put in a collective performance to save the fourth Ashes Test

England are struggling with injuries across the board, but assistant coach Graham Thorpe is confident that his batters are ready for the job on the final day of the fourth Ashes Test on Sunday.

Ollie Pope kept wickets for England on the fourth day after Jos Buttler suffered a finger injury and Jonny Bairstow was hit on the thumb while batting in the first innings. The management called up Sam Billings as a back-up for the final Test in Hobart.

"With some of the injuries we've got, we're going to need two, three or four of our players to really stand up and bat for a long time," Thorpe said. 

Chasing 388 with close to 98 overs of possible play on the fifth day, England will begin with overnight score of 30/0 with opener Zak Crawley and Haseeb Hameed at the crease. Thorpe hailed the intent shown by Crawley and Hameed at the beginning of the second innings.

"I want us to play positively, with a good mental approach, and I was pleased with the way Zak and Has went about it tonight."

"They moved well, and you could see their intent, defending well and being able to put away the ball which came along to actually score off. That's important too, because scoring runs is important for your confidence, even when you're trying to play for a draw."

Batters on both sides were hit on the gloves due to the sharp bounce off the cracks on the pitch. Australia batter Usman Khawaja, who scored an unbeaten 101 in the second innings, also mentioned the risk of getting injured.

"We've obviously got some blows to some fingers, but I'm sure the lads will take whatever they need to take to get themselves into a position where they're capable of performing tomorrow. So they'll all bat and they will do their very best. I know that," Thorpe said.

"The odd one is kicking up off a length, so the guys have got to have a clear mind that that's going to happen from time to time and, if you're unlucky, you're unlucky," Thorpe said. "Zak got a little bit of luck tonight but he needs to keep that really positive attitude to the game tomorrow."

England will play for pride after having lost the series. They were unable to post a single 300-plus total in the entire series as Thorpe said that saving the fourth Test is the biggest opportunity for the young players to cement their place in the side.

"It's been challenging for some of them technically and mentally," Thorpe added. "And that's the biggest thing for the younger players who are trying to establish themselves and own a place in the team. They've got opportunities tomorrow to do that. To stay in the team, you have to perform [like] Jonny, who played fantastically in an innings of great courage and skill.

Thorpe said that England batters should follow the example of Buttler's fighting 26 off 207 in the second innings of the second Test.

"Each individual can assess how they play. You saw how Jos went about it in Adelaide. I still like people to be positive in the way they're thinking and the ability to score runs as well, because it puts you in a better place. But it's about little blocks of time as well tomorrow. Ten overs each, trying to work together as partnerships.

He hoped that the youngster in the team will have great Test careers despite their unconvincing form of late.

"I do believe that some of the young players in this team will have very good and long Test careers, but they have to be able to front up and accept some of their failings - whether it be technically or mentally - in periods on this tour."

"I know that they're trying to correct it. And I'm hoping that some of these younger guys will be far better players down the line with their awareness, their smartness, their decision-making absolutely key.

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Australia vs EnglandEngland tour of Australia, 2021/22EnglandAustraliaGraham Thorpe

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