Ashes 2015: Mitchell Starc refuses to accept an Australian defeat despite the stark reality

 

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The Independent Online

Australia’s Mitchell Starc refused to concede defeat in the Ashes, despite his country standing on the brink of a series loss with only three wickets between them and an innings loss in the fourth Test here at Trent Bridge.

Starc, whose six wickets provided the only moment of optimism in another desperate Australian day, admitted that his side had been repeatedly making the same mistakes. A failure to leave the ball contributed to yet another batting collapse from 113 for 0 to 241 for 7.

 But he would not admit to defeat despite the desperate straits his side are now in. “We are not going anywhere,” Starc said. “We wake up in the morning and go again. There’s a lot of work to do, to find any way to draw or save this game. We fight to the last wicket and last run. It’s been a tough couple of games but we are not going anywhere.”

Asked if the Australian batsmen had let the side down by being so attacking when defence was needed, he said: “You would have to ask the batsmen that. I bat at No 9. Ask the batsmen if they are going too hard or not.” But he admitted that repeated errors were being made. “Yes I guess we can give you that. We are into the fourth Test and we are making some of those mistakes too often, whether with the bat or ball. We are going to have to push hard for the rest of the week and we still have a Test to come.

“It would have been nice to go on with that [first-wicket batting] partnership between David Warner and Chris Rogers. Obviously we find ourselves in a bit of trouble now. It leaves us with a lot of work to do.”

 

Starc refused to criticise the selectors for only informing him that he was playing in this Test on the opening morning. “I found out just before,” he admitted. “[Selection] always depends on the wicket, injury. It’s not uncommon to find out [just] before play starts,” the fast bowler added.

Asked by the Australian press why England were so much better than his own nation, who were bowled out for 60 in the first innings, he said: “Stuart [Broad] was on the money in the first hour yesterday and it’s hard to come back when you’re out for 60.”

Asked how big the gap between the two nations was, he implied it was insubstantial, if non-existent, when Australia were at their best. “We’ve not seen that [best form] from us,” he reflected. “It’s been a tough couple of days of cricket but we are still alive. We’ll come out again tomorrow and fight as hard as we can – that’s the Australian way. Taking six wickets was special with this being an Ashes series, but I’d rather we were heading into day three in a better position.”

  The former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott said that the Australian captain Michael Clarke was mentally overwhelmed, after another personal failure with the bat, which saw him dismissed for 13. “Michael Clarke’s brain is scrambled,” Boycott said. “England have planned well to him and what once was there is not there any more. The short ball unsettles him – he’s on the back foot constantly, looking for it.”

Boycott said that Ben Stokes, England’s top performer with 5 for 35 in the Australian second innings, had been chastened to good effect after taking punishment in the West Indies during the winter. “Probably the best thing that’s happened to Stokes was that business when Marlon Samuels took the mickey out of him in the West Indies,” Boycott said. “Since then he’s shut up and just let his raw talent take over. If he’s got anything up top, which I think he has, he will be a great cricketer.”

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