Batting below par admits Strauss as tourists prepare for Boxing Day

CPATAIN Andrew Strauss is confident that England's 267-run defeat in the third Ashes Test at the WACA Ground will not cause panic in his side.

The tourists failed to bat out the opening hour on the fourth day in Perth as Australia grabbed the five wickets they needed to level the series 1-1 with two games to play.

Strauss admitted the defeat was disappointing, particularly pointing at his side's failures with the bat after managing scores of just 187 and 123, after their innings win in Adelaide a fortnight ago.

But the captain believes that his team's performances in the first two Tests will ensure they will remain calm and confident that they can still retain the Ashes ahead of the fourth Test in Melbourne.

"It's a very disappointing defeat, no doubt about it," said Strauss.

"We came fully expecting to play the same brand of cricket that we played in Adelaide.

"We were in a great position after bowling them out for 268 and then being 70-odd for none in reply.

"The batting in both innings was sub-par. But we have to retain a sense of perspective.

"This result doesn't make us a bad team overnight.

"We need to retain the confidence we built from the first two Tests and come out all guns blazing in Melbourne.

"Now is not a time for panic. It is important to retain the method that's worked well."

There have been some calls for England to elevate in-form right-hander Ian Bell above Paul Collingwood to No 5 in the batting order, a notion Strauss said could come under consideration before the Boxing Day Test.

"I won't rule it out, we have to look on what we can do better," he said.

"But ultimately this is not a time for panic, we have to keep a cool head."

Strauss also paid credit to Mitchell Johnson for turning the game Australia's way following his devastating spell on the second morning.

Johnson, recalled after missing the Adelaide Test, took nine wickets in the match after taking 6-38 in the first innings.

"In some ways you have to give Australia credit," Strauss added.

"That spell from Mitchell Johnson on the second morning ripped apart our top order.

"We were always behind in the game after that and credit to them for not letting us back in.

"The batting, we have to say, was not good enough. We have to learn from that and try and relate back to what we did well in Brisbane and Adelaide.

"If we can keep playing that same brand of cricket we have played in the majority of the series, then we have a great chance of retaining the Ashes."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan, meanwhile, has stressed England should not panic despite the heavy defeat.

The former Yorkshire batsman believes England need to win the next Test in Melbourne which begins on Boxing Day because the pitch for the final Test in Sydney will favour Australia's bowlers.

"I'm sure England will come back," said Vaughan. "It just depends on the pitch. If the pitch is slow at the MCG I am sure England will fancy it.

"I think England will have to win at the MCG because I do think the Sydney ground will have some pace in it."