No letting up from England, says McCullum despite Ashes defeat


Coach Brendon McCullum says England will go “harder” at Australia after their agonising two-wicket defeat in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

Ninth-wicket pair Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon got Australia to their target of 281 with a stand of 55.

The first Test was characterised by a clash of styles – England looking to be aggressive and Australia more cautious.

“I’m sure they’ll stick to that strategy, which is great because we’ll go a little harder,” said McCullum.

England will look to level the series in the second Test at Lord’s, which begins next Wednesday.

The defeat at Edgbaston was only England’s third in 14 Tests since McCullum and captain Ben Stokes took charge at the beginning of last summer.

In their last series with Australia, down under 18 months ago, England were beaten 4-0 and McCullum believes England’s approach was vindicated by how close they came to beating the world Test champions.

“The way that we played validated our style of play,” said the New Zealander. “If we’d have got a little bit of the rub of the green then we might have been on the other side of it.

“The guys are proud of the efforts that they put in and I’m sure we’ll go to Lord’s with a lot of confidence.”

England declared on 393-8 after just 78 overs on the first day, their earliest declaration in an Ashes Test.

“We always want to try to take the game forward,” added McCullum. “We want to try to seize opportunities where we think we can put opposition teams under pressure.

“Obviously you’d rather have won the game – that’s just the nature of sport sometimes. If we’d have got a little bit of the rub of the green then we might have been on the other side of it.”

In such a tight game, England were made to pay for eight missed chances in the field, four of which were errors by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

Bairstow, who missed nine months with a broken leg, has come back into the side at the expense of Ben Foakes this summer and made scores of 78 and 20 with the bat at Edgbaston.

McCullum, himself a former wicketkeeper, said there were no plans to return the gloves to Foakes.

“They were pretty tough mistakes,” said McCullum, who played 101 Tests for New Zealand.

“I’ve kept over here before, it’s not the easiest place to keep. I actually thought Jonny kept really well right throughout. If you look at the way he progressed throughout the game, he found a natural rhythm.

“We know what he offers with the bat, him coming in at seven is a real weapon for us.”

Off-spinner Moeen Ali came out of retirement to play in the Ashes following an injury to Jack Leach. He took three wickets in Birmingham, but his bowling was often hampered was a nasty cut to his spinning finger.

McCullum said England will “monitor” the 36-year-old and Moeen will be selected at Lord’s if he is fit.

“He [Moeen] did a fabulous job,” said McCullum. “He’s loving being back playing Test cricket to the game and also Stokesy and all the boys for making them environment one that you want to be a part of.

“Hopefully he’ll come right for the next one. I’m pretty confident that over the next few days we can get on top of Mo’s finger and that’ll give us an opportunity to select him in the next game.” (BBC Sport)


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