Cricket Expert & Columnist
Ashes 2013/14: England can't start sniping at each other after first Test mauling
England's players must hold full and frank talks to put the first Test behind them, says Andrew Strauss.
Last Updated: 04/12/13 11:44am
The tourists crashed to a crushing 381-run defeat late on the fourth day in Brisbane after being bowled out for 136 and 179 by an Australian attack spear-headed by the rejuvenated Mitchell Johnson, who bagged nine wickets in the match.
Although the second Test does not begin until December 4, England's only chance to practice in the middle will be a two-day warm-up game against a Chairman's XI in Alice Springs, starting on Friday.
Yet while doubts have been raised by some of his fellow Sky Cricket pundits about the calibre of opponent England will face in that game, former England skipper Strauss says it may be exactly the type of preparation the tourists need to regroup.
"I think going up to Alice Springs is actually a good thing for England - it's a chance to get away from the limelight a little bit," said Strauss, an Ashes-winning skipper in 2009 and 2010/11.
"It's one of the quandaries you go through in a team environment - 'how much do we just put it down as a one-off and not worry about it but make sure we come back strongly in Adelaide, a ground that should suit us better'.
"My gut feeling is that Andy Flower is going to get everybody in a room and require some real honesty from them.
"Some of the players are obviously struggling and it will be good for England if some of the players can hold their hands up and say 'this is what I'm going through at the moment - I'm in a bad place mentally, I'm in a bad place technically'.
"Everyone needs to rally around each other. The worst thing that can happen is people go off in ones and twos.
"I think momentum is an over-used term. In my experience in Test cricket if one side suffers a heavy defeat, it makes the other more determined to come back stronger in the next match. Teams can play badly on occasion.
"You can play badly and that doesn't mean it's impossible for you to come back. England have done it plenty of times. They've just got to make sure they don't descend into depression.
"You can't start sniping at each other. You need to come together and steel yourself for what will be a very tough second Test at Adelaide."
The margin of defeat was England's second largest in Australia but while Strauss was impressed by the home side's ruthless performance, the former opener said the tourists are still more than capable of winning the five-Test series.
"Australia deserved their win," he acknowledged. "They will take a lot of heart from it - they'll be very buoyant going into the second Test. They'll be very happy with the way their bowling attack has worked, some of their batsmen have got big scores as well. England have all of the questions to answer.
"But if I was captain, I would be concerned by the manner of the defeat but I'd be urging everyone not to get too carried away. It's easy for us to say England are in dire straits. You don't become a good side overnight and you don't become a bad side overnight.
"England have been outplayed here. These conditions are quite alien and foreign to the England players. They haven't had a big, long build-up to this series. They go to Adelaide next, which is a much more docile wicket and they've got a lot of opportunities to come back into this series.
"They are going to be hurt, down and disappointed and, as Beefy said, a little bit embarrassed about their performance in this first Test but that doesn't mean they are not going to win this series.
"But they are going to have to find a way of doing that and these next 10 days are an important period for this England team."
See if England can hit straight back in the series when the second Ashes Test at Adelaide begins on December 4. Coverage begins on Sky Sports 2 at 11pm.