'We won't win in Oz if we play like this'


England fast bowler James Anderson says they have done well to win the Ashes at home, but if they play the same way during the return leg in Australia at the end of the year, they might not come away with a positive result.

England fast bowler James Anderson says they have done well to win the Ashes at home, but if they play the same way during the return leg in Australia at the end of the year, they might not come away with a positive result.

England have secured the Ashes for the third time running, winning three of the five matches, but they only won the first game by 14 runs, and were saved by rain in Manchester.

Their top three batsmen have not been consistent, and aside from Anderson and Graeme Swann, the bowling has been touch-and go. Ian Bell's batting, scoring three centuries, has been their saving grace, and Anderson says they players know they need to improve.

Anderson said in the <i>Daily Mail</i> on Sunday: With this Ashes series about to end, we will soon be turning our full attention to what we need to do to win the next one, and the simple answer is more.

"We've been subjected to some pretty harsh words this summer, mainly but not exclusively from former Aussie Test players, but that is nothing compared to the critical scrutiny we put ourselves under as a team and as individuals.

"We always demand the highest standards and, by those, my honest assessment of where we are, and where we will need to be in three months, is this: what we have produced has been way short of our potential and ability and there is no way we can go to Australia playing the way we have done here and expect to win."

The Burnley Express then said that even though England have not been on top form, they showed character to win the series three-nil, as a test of a good side was being able to win even when performing below-par.

The Lancashire man continued: "The fact that we arrived at The Oval 3-0 up while performing below par is a good sign, since the true test of a side is whether they can win when off colour.

"Our victory shows how hard we have battled to get ahead and stay there and how well we have extricated ourselves from tricky situations when batting and in the field, whether it has been recovering from being 50-odd for three or bowling Australia out cheaply when we have needed to.

"Nor do I think that scoreline is flattering or false. Yes, we may have got out of jail when the rain came at Old Trafford, but we have won the key moments in the series and, though that has been down to great individual performances at times.

"Surely we are entitled to a match-winning spell from Stuart Broad or the kind of brilliant form Ian Bell has shown throughout the series. They are our players, after all.

"But an Ashes series in Australia is a completely different proposition and we know how much we have to improve across the board.

"As a bare minimum we need to show the same fight as we have since holding our nerve to win the tight finish in the first Test in Nottingham but with far better consistency of performance and application of skill in everything we do.

"Not only have we not scored consistently enough but, with the ball, we have conceded too many runs, going at more than three per over. That is under what we manage at our best and we have to find ways to get back to that against their attacking batting line-up.

"We firmly believe we have the skill and ability to do what is needed. But we must make sure we put it all into place from the moment the first Test begins in Brisbane in late November to the end, in Sydney, at the start of the new year. Anything less will not be enough."

A feature of this Ashes series has been the relatively bad blood between the teams, starting from the first Test and Stuart Broad's non-walk, to various DRS dramas and banter between the players, not to mentions Darren Lehmann's recent comments.

But Anderson says these things are to be expected, and they don't have an effect of the way they play, whether good or bad. He then said that the series Down Under would be much more volatile, if past tours are anything to go by.

He said: "Well, we don't need any more spurring on to win an Ashes series and there has not been much of a relationship between the two teams from the start. When we come together in the players' dining room for lunch, for instance, it is a pretty quiet place.

"But we do know that if the Australian public react to their team's defeat here as they did in 2006-07, there will be elements within the Aussie media, TV and radio stations, 'shock jocks' and all, determined to stir things up.

"From now on it will come thick and fast and we will have to be prepared."