Letting Aussies off the hook was mistake says England coach

England's Alastair Cook
England's Alastair Cook
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ENGLAND bowling coach David Saker admitted the attack that let Australia off the hook on day one in Perth may have been the wrong combination.

Australia batted poorly in the early stages of the third Test and were 143 for five after a series of rash shots.

By that stage England were on top, even if it was Australian errors that handed them the initiative.

But from a position where they should have hammered home their dominance, England - two-nil behind in the five-match series - let the home side recover to reach 326 for six at the close.

Steve Smith made a fine unbeaten century, his second in Tests, Brad Haddin weighed in with a fifty and Mitchell Johnson, scourge of England’s batsmen, was taking the assault to the beleaguered bowlers in the closing overs.

In searing heat, England bowled too short and found their deliveries carted to the boundary all too often by Australia’s batsmen.

England went with the experience of Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan as a frontline attack, with all-rounder Ben Stokes weighing in with Haddin’s wicket.

Anderson and Bresnan toiled through 38 overs between them without reward, although Anderson ran out Chris Rogers early on.

There had been talk of a wild-card selection in the attack, but Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin sat it out.

“We assess that all the time and try to make sure we get selection right,” Saker said. “Like everything, we make mistakes, like cricketers make mistakes.

“We could have made a mistake this game but I’m sure if our bowlers bowled to their capabilities we wouldn’t have got it wrong. We picked the side we thought would get 20 wickets and I still think we can.

“We had a disappointing day but I’m sure we’ll bounce back.”

Saker, who is Australian, has had his feet planted in the England camp for the last three and a half years and expected better from the bowlers.

“We pride ourselves on being able to restrict teams from scoring, we put pressure on teams very well, and we found it hard today,” he said on Sky Sports.

“At five for 130 we had a chance there but we let it slip and we weren’t as good as we have been.

“We didn’t bowl the areas we would have liked but we had a chance to put some really good pressure on and we didn’t take that. To be fair we probably bowled a little too short.

“We probably got a bit excited but that’s not good enough.”

Saker stressed England would not depart the WACA for the night with a defeatist attitude.

He said: “The game’s still alive and there’s four days left. The last thing we want to do is think that’s the end of the game. We’re going to come back tomorrow and fight to get these four wickets as quickly as we can.

“We’ll hopefully restrict them under 400 and then go out and bat really well.”