Gabba not intimidating - Cook

2013-11-20 07:50
Alastair Cook (AFP)

Brisbane - Skipper Alastair Cook said on Wednesday England were not intimidated by Australia's invincibility at the Gabba and were looking for a big first innings total to set up a breakthrough victory.

Michael Clarke's Australians are looking to an unbeaten 25-year run at the Brisbane ground to give them the momentum to retrieve the Ashes urn and deny England a fourth straight series, something that has not been done since 1890.

England last won at the Gabba in 1986 and a victory first-up at Australia's Brisbane fortress following their 3-0 series win at home three months ago will undoubtedly be a psychological blow to Australia's series chances.

"There's no reason to feel intimidated. A lot of players in the squad we have this year were here in 2010-11 so we've all got experience of winning in Australia and we're trying to use that to the best of our ability," Cook said.

"We know how important this game was last time for setting up the series.

"Australia have a very good record in Brisbane, it's our job to try and change that."

Cook said his England team had been confronted with challenges in the past and delivered on them.

"We spoke about something like this at Lord's in 2009 when we hadn't beaten Australia for something like 70-odd years... and we made a real conscious effort to change that," he said.

"This side has done that on a number of times. Whether we do that in this game will depend on how well we play, and especially at a ground where they have a lot of confidence playing on it will do us the world of good."

An important part of that strategy will be for England to post a sizeable 400-plus first innings score to put the Australians under pressure in the first of five Tests.

England did not reach 400 in any of their 10 innings in the last Ashes series and Cook said he felt partly responsible for that inadequacy.

"We know how important first innings runs are in Australia," he said.

"If you want to set the game up you have to score big and the wickets tend to be slightly easier to score runs on here than they are in England.

"It's all gone well in the warmup games, slightly different preparation and a bit more rain around but all the guys have spent some time in the middle and that's all you can ask for."

Despite their series superiority, England were three wickets down for less than 65 on five occasions in the July-August series.

"It's an area where we know we have to do better in this series. We were 30 for 3 a number of times in the last series and I was partly responsible for that," Cook said.

"I am happy with the way I've played in these warmup games, I feel in a good place right now."

Cook said the war of words between the traditional rivals will be replaced by action on the field on Thursday's long-awaited start to the series.

"We certainly don't fear anyone. We are a very competitive side," he said.

"There's been a lot of words spoken, that's what the buildup to the Ashes is. We all know when we come to 02:00 Thursday morning it's who plays the best."

Read more on:    ashes  |  alastair cook  |  cricket


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