Atherton looks to final Tests

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Mike Atherton, the England captain, blamed his side's failure to reach the World Series Cup finals on poor fielding and the rigours of the past week.

"We didn't perform as well in the field and that tends to count in one-day games," he said. "We gave away too many runs and paid too high a price for victory the other night [when England beat Australia but lostDarren Gough and Neil Fairbrother with injuries]."

"Two hundred and sixty is a lot of runs to get, but we had a reduced target. No-one made a big score and that put the lower order under pressure."

Atherton's one remaining target is to level the Ashes: "We've a week to go before our next game. We're going to Melbourne and take two or three days' rest before practising for the four-day game against Victoria starting next Friday. Then we must try to get something out of the last two Tests."