Cook: We got punished

England

Captain Alastair Cook conceded confidence levels are uncharacteristically low, after England slipped to an eight-wicket loss at the hands of Australia on day four of the penultimate Ashes Test on Sunday.

Captain Alastair Cook conceded confidence levels are uncharacteristically low, after England slipped to an eight-wicket loss at the hands of Australia on day four of the penultimate Ashes Test on Sunday.

Heavily defeated in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, the tourists' poor stretch of form continued at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where Man of the Match Mitchell Johnson and second-innings centurion Chris Rogers sealed a four-nil lead in the five-match affair.

"It's a tough time, when you're losing games of cricket. In this game we got ourselves an opportunity to win it. It probably shows where we're at at the moment as a side, and the levels of confidence," said Cook.

"When you're winning games of cricket you can dominate those positions. When you're struggling for a bit of confidence, you can let those positions slip, and that's what we've done in this game."

Rogers' patient 116, which spanned 155 deliveries and 208 runs, would have read considerably shorter – had Cook not dropped a sharp chance when the batsman was on 19 and wicketkeeeper Bairstow held onto an edge shortly after the lunch break.

"The first half an hour, we created three chances. When it's a low run chase, you need to take those chances. We didn't take them and we got punished. There's a lot of things I struggle to explain," added Cook.

"We're working as hard as we can at our game. That's the only thing we can do in these situations – keep it as simple as you can in your mind, work at every single aspect, desperately trying to improve."

The defeated skipper deflected suggestion that the XI was reasonably unsettled, after spinner Monty Panesar replaced the recently-retired Graeme Swannn and the inexperienced Jonny Bairstow was selected ahead of vice-captain Matt Prior.

"You can't use that as an excuse. That would be taking the easy way out. We've got to just keep working as hard as we can at our game and it will turn eventually – hopefully it will turn next week," he concluded.

"We got ourselves in the position to win this game. We didn't do it. Obviously, when you get yourselves in the position, it hurts more. We've got to dust ourselves off. The support makes us privileged to wear the shirt. We're not quite doing it justice at the moment, but, just to let everyone know, we're trying as hard as we can."

The fifth and final Test will get underway at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday. Five ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals will follow.

Latest