Ashes 2013: Australia wins the second Test
Australia's bowlers put the England team out of its misery in Adelaide on Monday, winning the Test match by 218 runs.PT1M0S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2z114 620 349 December 9, 2013
ADELAIDE: Alastair Cook has looked into the eyes of his players and asked whether they have the hunger to save the Ashes.
The England captain admitted the urn was as good as gone if the players themselves did not believe they could recover from two-nil down, and asked each of them to ''look deep into our souls'' for the answers.
Former captain Michael Vaughan is among those to have questioned the hunger in the England dressing room, while observing the ''petrified'' look of the batsmen who must confront dual man-of-the-match winner Mitchell Johnson in just three days on a pacier, bouncier pitch in Perth.
Australia takes 2-0 Ashes lead
Long road back. After being thrashed twice, England must regroup in little time, for a Test in Perth. Photo: Getty Images
Cook, who was conquered twice by Johnson in Adelaide, could not be sure about the batsmen's state of mind against Johnson, who has delivered 17 wickets at 12.7 in two Tests.
The Australians were again ruthless in bouncing the England tail with close fielders on both sides of the wicket.
''Anyone lower down the order, it's obviously tough for them against a guy who is bowling so quick. They're working very hard in the nets, and that's all we can do. We've got to work at our games, and the technique needed to survive against good, quick bowling,'' Cook said.
England captain Alastair Cook and Matt Prior after the game. Photo: Reuters
He acknowledged he would have to lead the way in banishing the reckless shot selection that made his team look like happy hookers.
Cook, Michael Carberry, Stuart Broad and Matt Prior were all out hooking in the second innings, which produced England's highest total of the series so far - 312. Graeme Swann, who has four wickets at an average of 99.3 in the series, wafted at a short ball from Ryan Harris and was caught in the slips.
He angrily swished his bat in the direction of his stumps before he headed for the dressing room.
Asked whether his players had the will for the fight, Cook said: ''It's a good question. Sometimes, when you haven't been playing well, that's one thing you start looking at - whether we do have that.
''I can only say from speaking to the guys and watching them - how much this is hurting - that we do. Only the guys will know that inside themselves. But I honestly believe we've got that. We've been outplayed, you can't get away from that. But the only way we can drag it out is by getting that hunger, that desperation back into our game.''
Kevin Pietersen has recklessly clipped to mid-wicket twice in as many matches, but made a more restrained half-century in the second innings in Adelaide. Cook suggested he had asked Pietersen whether he is still up for the grind of Test cricket.
''Yes, I think he is. In fact, I know he is - after speaking to him. I thought he played very responsibly in that second innings. Again, he's a senior player and he will be first to hold his hands up and say some of his shots - execution and selection - haven't been good enough,'' he said.
''I need to score more runs. We all do. But there are only so many times you can tell the lads to do it, and if you're not doing it, it makes it harder,'' added Cook, who has made 82 runs at 20.5 in the first two Tests.
''I'm there at the top of the order as a batter, and in the last two games I haven't been scoring enough runs. I need to go and change that,'' he said.
''You can get good balls sometimes as an opener, and you can play poor shots.
''In this game I've got a good ball and played a poor shot. Simple deal.''
Only once has a team overcome a 2-nil deficit to win a five-Test Ashes series, in 1936-37. England can retain the urn by drawing the series, but even that would require an astonishing turnaround after defeats by 381 runs in Brisbane and 218 in Adelaide.
''It's certainly not impossible. A lot of people who will be sitting in this room, and outside, will probably give us no chance. But if we don't believe that in our dressing room, if we believe the urn has gone, then it might as well have gone,'' Cook said.
''It's going to take a monumental effort from us to do it. We've got to look deep into our souls, deep into our hearts, and turn it round.''