Kendal Cricket Club captain Stu Parkin assesses England's prospects ahead of Third Ashes Test (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Kendal Cricket Club captain Stu Parkin assesses England's prospects ahead of Third Ashes Test
AHEAD of their date with destiny in Perth, Kendal Cricket Club captain Stu Parkin insists it is high time England’s experienced campaigners show their worth in a bid to avoid Ashes meltdown.
Following their mammoth 381-run victory in the opening Test at Brisbane, Australia dished out a second crushing blow at the Adelaide Oval to secure a 2-0 series lead.
And Parkin believes it is imperative England’s top-order start posting some competitive and defendable totals in order to give their bowling unit a fighting chance.
“You’ve got to look at the senior players and they’ve got to look at themselves and the method of their dismissals in the last couple of Tests,” he said.
“A number have been caught hooking or pulling – they know it’s coming and it’s almost as if we are dancing to Australia’s tune.
“Kevin Pietersen’s dismissal in the first innings at Adelaide is the perfect example – they set the trap and he duly obliged.
“The Aussies seem to be pulling all the strings and we’re falling into every single trap – bar Ian Bell, Michael Carberry and to a point Joe Root nobody else showed much resistance.
“We need Pietersen to be firing and we also need Alastair Cook to be leading from the front and be that mainstay batsman who can bat through and get a big hundred.
“It’s tough for the bowlers when there isn’t a total on the board and when you’re forever chasing the game it becomes very difficult.”
Mitchell Johnson has been the scourge of England with his pacey and aggressive bombardment so far yielding 17 wickets from two Tests at an average of 12.7.
And Parkin believes there is merit in England radically changing their bowling attack for the showdown at the WACA in a bid to dodge an Ashes knockout punch.
“I would personally play five seamers at Perth and try and give Australia a taste of their own medicine,” he added.
“For me, drop Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar from the last clash and bring Boyd Rankin in and either Steven Finn or Tim Bresnan – probably Finn for his pace and bounce.
“While it might be hard work with a five-pronged attack as spinners can give the seamers some rest, Swann hasn’t been at his best of late and the WACA is renowned for its pace and bounce.
“The conditions will suit their seam attack as well of course but I feel it’s crucial to fight fire with fire and try and bowl them out for under 200.
“It’s a common fact Michael Clarke doesn’t play the short ball well and yet we don’t seem to have the penetration in the bowling department at present to cause problems.”
While the heroics of the 2010/11 Ashes series when England retained the famous urn with some ease seem a distant memory, Parkin feels all is not lost quite yet.
“We’re probably beaten to be fair but I’m an eternal optimist and I’d always like to think there is a way back, although I feel it would be a squared series at best.
“Losing Jonathan Trott was a real blow and while the Aussies are playing some tough and aggressive cricket, the guys out there need to start showing a lot more bottle.”
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