Ashes 2013/14: England must show mettle in Test of character, says Bumble
England must go down fighting if they are to lose the first Ashes Test, says David Lloyd.
Last Updated: 24/11/13 4:03pm
The tourists have it all to do after closing day three on 24-2, a mammoth 537 runs away from the victory target of 561 set by Australia after they declared their second innings closed on 401-7.
David Warner (124) and Michael Clarke (113) both hit centuries to swell the home side's total and Lloyd told Sky Sports News that England's top-order must respond in kind to save the Test and make a statement for the rest of the series.
"The hope will be to save the game and show a lot of character," said Lloyd. "England are two wickets down and it has been frenetic this evening.
"England had to face a very difficult 15 overs at the back end of day three but Alastair Cook is still there and Kevin Pietersen's with him. They'll keep looking at this pitch and wonder 'is it going to die?'
"But the firepower has been with Australia. England, throughout this series, will have to have a massive re-think on tactics because Australia are hitting England really hard with their fast bowlers.
"England aren't able to hit the spinners because they are under pressure while Australia are coming after Graeme Swann."
The West Indies completed the highest-ever run chase in Test cricket at St John's in 2003 when they scored 418 to beat Australia, so with history firmly against them England needed a strong start to their second innings to have even an outside chance of victory.
However Michael Carberry unluckily played on and Jonathan Trott was undone by a short Mitchell Johnson delivery for the second time in the match, prompting Lloyd to question England's tactics.
"I thought that these pitches would be tailor-made for England," he reflected. "I thought they'd play really well. The X-factor bowler is obviously Johnson; he's got it right and he's awesome if he gets it straight at 90mph.
"That massive difference between 85-92mph scrambles the mind. Just look at the way that Jonathan Trott has been dismissed.
"So England have got to try to get something from this game. They might lose this game - they'll be trying like mad to save it because they obviously can't win it.
"What they try to get out of this is somebody at the top of the innings with a double century and another batter with a hundred."
England will resume day four with Cook (11no off 50 balls) and Pietersen (3no off 17) at the crease and although the tourists managed to save the first Test of the 2010/11 series by scoring 517-1 in their second innings, Lloyd says they might need some help from the weather this time around.
"It's a test of character for England, of course, but this is a five-match series and things can turn around. We've seen it before," he pointed out.
"Australia are still flimsy in the batting line-up. Their first innings total of 295 was never nearly enough but they rolled England for 136; the bowlers did the job.
"So England will still fancy that they can get into Australia's batsmen. They've got to find a way to cope with that extra pace from the Australia bowlers.
"I think it's set up for a hum-dinger of a series. England won 3-0 in the summer but Australia have come back very, very strongly.
"They haven't won this game yet. I can see England fighting back. There is the weather to factor in because there is a bit of cloud around and it might rain all day tomorrow.
"Can England get out of jail? They don't deserve it because Australia have been the better team."
Watch highlights of today's play on Sky Sports 2 and On Demand from 6.30pm before The Ashes Verdict (9pm) and Ashes Extra (11pm) hit your screens ahead of coverage of day four, from 11.30pm - also on Sky Sports 2.