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Ashes 2019 | We Have to Show Character to Bat Out the Final Day: England Batting Coach Thorpe

Cricketnext Staff |August 5, 2019, 11:18 AM IST
Ashes 2019 | We Have to Show Character to Bat Out the Final Day: England Batting Coach Thorpe

Hosts England have their backs to the wall in the first Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston. Joe Root’s side need another 385 runs to win or survive the fifth and final day after ending Day Four at 13 for no loss on Sunday (August 4).

England batting coach Graham Thorpe says his side have the ‘character’ to bat through the final day to pull off a draw in Edgbaston.

"We have got the character. They have to go out and use their skill, but also be smart and show character. It will not be easy but this is Test cricket. Four days have shifted backwards and forwards and it is on us to soak it up for one more day,” Thorpe told the media after stumps on Day Four on Sunday.

On the fourth day, centuries from Steve Smith and Mathew Wade as well as a fifty from Travis Head helped Australia build a strong lead of 387 before they declared on 487/7 – setting England a massive target with a little over a day of play remaining.

England openers Jason Roy and Rory Burns survived the seven overs even as the wearing pitch produced a lot of turn and some amount of variable bounce.

Thorpe urged the English batsmen to show character and skill especially against Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

"Whatever happens during the course of the day we hope the team can show character and skill," the former England and Surrey batsman said.

"We are going to need all that tomorrow because we know it will be a challenge. It is a fifth-day pitch and they have a very good spinner in their attack. We have to have the belief we can do it throughout the course of the day.

"The pitch has flattened a bit for seamers. It is taking turn. We said our seamers found it harder, the pitch has slowed down for seamers so it is hard work. Obviously, Lyon will be a threat but the way we are looking at it, it is putting partnerships together, not looking too far ahead and being confident in our belief we can play the day out and keep intent to score runs as well. When trying to play for a draw it is very important you keep the scoreboard ticking over as well,” Thorpe added.

The England batting coach added that he would want the hosts to bat with a positive mindset, keep the scoreboard ticking and build partnerships.

"Fundamentally, not look too far ahead but keep a positive mindset as well. However, the individual wants to go about it and however, he feels is his best way of playing the situation he sees in front of him. I would always encourage guys to have a nice positive mindset, look to score runs, build partnerships because that builds confidence throughout the course of the day as well.

"All you can do is keep your environment as relaxed as possibly can and trust the guys, once they walk down the steps, get over the ropes. Collapses have gone on for years. If a guy is bowling hot and batsman gets a great ball or not quite move as they want to, it happens. But you have to build up that belief in the dressing room before they go out there that they can do the job,” Thorpe felt.

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