Cricket: Mullally optimistic despite mistakes

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The Independent Online
HE MAY have taken two wickets, but Alan Mullally accepted responsibility for the missed run-out of Steve Waugh which was instrumental in letting Australia back into the match on the opening day of the first Test in Brisbane.

"I thought the ball was going to bounce over the stumps and I tried to guide the ball onto them - I botched it up with my hand, knocking the bails off," the England bowler said. "They showed why they are the best side in the world by going four and five wickets down and still having players sticking around and getting runs - that is something we have to learn from."

But Mullally denied that England were downhearted after their fielding lapses undermined their earlier impressive efforts.

"The mood in the dressing-room isn't down. We dropped a couple of catches at the end of a good day, but if we get a couple of early wickets tomorrow we're back in it."

Mullally was not alone in making mistakes, though, and David Lloyd admitted England may pay dearly.

The England coach was asked whether England are going to regret the missed opportunities, which included Angus Fraser's failure to hold on to a catch at third man offered by Ian Healy and Nasser Hussain's spurning of another Steve Waugh chance.

"Yes, very much so," Lloyd said. "Those two chances were there to be taken. But they do not drop them on purpose, and you start again tomorrow. That's life, and it's gone now. They will be ruing it in the dressing- room, but we will have pick ourselves up and start again.

"England had the ascendancy for the first two sessions, but those two Waugh and Healy, with all the experience they have, have pulled it round for the Australians.

Waugh's escape, page 24

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