Ashes 2021-22 | England hurting after two defeats, everyone is up for the challenge, says Dawid Malan

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England batsman Dawid Malan has said that the team is hurting after defeats in the first two Ashes Tests, and that everyone is up for the challenge for the third game in Melbourne, beginning December 26. Malan also admitted that the visitors haven’t been good enough across all facets of the game.

Australia are leading the Ashes 2021-22 by 2-0 and have been a dominating force throughout the series. Nothing has quite worked for England, with skipper Joe Root and Dawid Malan being the exceptions in terms of batting. 

Malan has said that the team is hurting after back-to-back losses in the series, as he looked up to the next Test in Melbourne.

"The boys are hurting after our performances in the last two games," he told reporters at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.

"We realise we haven't been good enough across all facets of the game. The boys want to win, we want to win the series too. I know it's a long way for us to come but we have to do well and play our best cricket in this test match to get ourselves back into the series.”

Malan looked forward for his team to seek inspiration from their white-ball success in recent years.

"Everyone is up for the challenge, everyone is really keen to face up to Australia. We do it in white-ball cricket, we take them on…so hopefully we can get that mindset and not go into our shells and just try to survive, take the game to them,” he said.

"We are almost learning in Test matches because we haven't had that preparation. A lot of the guys haven't played in Australia so are trying to find ways of facing bowlers they haven't faced before but also to get used to bounce here. This wicket might be slightly skiddier so we don't want to go out and leave and get bowled or lbw now, but it is about learning.

"I know there's a lead-up to dismissals and how bowlers set you up, but a lot of our dismissals were probably soft in the sense that we could have left them. You still have to score, but it's about making the right choices under pressure, myself included. If you look at the way they have batted, the ones who have done really well, they've left really well so it's a good learning curve for us. Hopefully it's not too late."

Australia won the series opener in Brisbane by nine wickets, while they won the second fixture by 275 runs. Malan has had decent success in the series so far, with 188 runs from four innings with two half-centuries, but hasn’t been able to convert his fifties into big scores, something which he aims to improve on in the upcoming Tests. 

"Myself and (Joe Root) have been in the position to score hundreds in two innings and haven't been able to kick on which has probably cost us about a hundred runs as a team at least, and that gets us back in the game," he said.

"Scoring 80's good, scoring 180's brilliant, so that's the goal."

Malan stated that the morale in the squad remained good, after they had a good discussion after the Adelaide defeat.

"We've done a lot of talking. When you lose they'll always be reports that people are at each other. There definitely isn't. One of things we've been doing this series is a lot of chat amongst the players and encouraging players to challenge each other on a lot of things. We've had good discussions with the coaching staff and without the coaching staff. It's vitally important that we as players take responsibility,” he stated. 

"Ultimately we are the ones who walk onto the field. We get all the preparation and all the knowledge we need, it's up to us to put it in place. We haven't done that well enough. When we have those honest chats as players we feel we learn a lot more. Now it's about not talking anymore, it's about putting it into play."

With the opening pair of Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed consistently failing to give good starts, there have been talks of bringing in Zak Crawley at the top of the order. Malan said that he's ready to take up the role of an opener, should the need arise.

"Zak's a very talented player. He's a tall bloke who plays the short ball really well so there's every chance that he'll be really good here,” he said. 

"I'll bat wherever to play for England. I don't see myself as an opener but if they'd like me to, I'm happy to do what's necessary."

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