Cricket: Graveney wants an `upbeat' England

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The Independent Online
AS RAIN swept in for the first time in Melbourne since Boxing Day, the second game of the Carlton & United Series final was washed out on Thursday night, and was due to start in the early hours of this morning.

If England win the second match against Australia to level the final at 1-1, the sides will have to meet again in a deciding tie tomorrow, an especially hectic conclusion for the players in the party who were also involved in the Ashes leg of the tour.

"I've stressed the point to all of them that they have got to get back to the way they responded in the `league' matches," England's tour manager, David Graveney, said. "They have to be upbeat about what they want to do and buzz as a team.

"There are several factors why you lose a game. A number of players mentioned to me why you lose a game, it's either by tension or something else.

"There was just a slightly different atmosphere for that game in Sydney, because we were in the finals as opposed to a play-off situation.

"We had a meeting as a whole group and we reaffirmed that we've got to look forward and not back. Australia will certainly want us to feel the impact of losing in that manner.

"It was a game we threw away, and the disappointment becomes very, very acute. Having lost the match as we did, the best cure is to get out there and play. It's no good kicking your heels."

On Thursday night, the weather briefly cleared up in time for the England captain, Alec Stewart, to win the toss and elect to bat first, but that will now count for nothing.

England have given a vote of confidence to the side beaten in Sydney, while Australia have called up the Queensland and Essex all-rounder, Stuart Law, to replace Michael Bevan, who has dislocated a finger.

But the heavens opened while the teams stood for the national anthems, and the rain grew steadier before the umpires called off the match.

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