~~England dressing room filled with eerie silence~~

Published: Thursday, December 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Sajid Mahmood can't recall the last time England's dressing room went as quiet as it did after the shocking six-wicket loss to Australia in the second Test of the Ashes and says even the word 'gutted' would not be enough to describe the mood in the defending champions' camp right now.

Wrting in his cloumn for 'The Guardian', Mahmood said the English team was in a state of shock after the heart-breaking loss, which - according to some former players - has ended their hopes of defending the famous urn.

''Where do you begin after losing a game like that? I think it's fair to say that there was still a bit of a shock in the system when I woke up this morning but not half as much as there was in the dressing room after the match,'' Mahmood wrote.

''It was a pretty quiet place to be. In fact, I can't remember ever being in a quieter dressing room. There was just massive disappointment on the faces of all the boys. To have lost it all on the last day - well, gutted does not even come close,'' he added.

The pacer, who is yet to play a match in the series, said the English team had a plan in place for the final day but surprisingly failed to implement it on the field.

''When we turned up to the Adelaide Oval on the final morning we probably all thought it was going to be a draw. We had a plan, which was to bat until lunch and then reassess from there, and everyone was confident that it would be fine. But we lost a few wickets before lunch and, as we all know by now, it went horribly wrong after that,'' he said.

Revealing what went inside the dressing room after the loss, Mahmood said captain Andrew Flintoff and coach Duncan Fletcher were completely at loss of words and did not speak with the rest of the players.

''Not much was said by Fred or Duncan afterwards and I didn't feel comfortable joining the boys for a beer in the Aussie dressing room. I'll leave that until I get a game,'' he said.

Despite the two massive defeats, Mahmood said England are confident of a reversal of fortunes in the remaining three matches and would try and build on whatever positives they can take out of their performance so far.

''There's a lot of cricket left we've got three Tests to play."

"We know it's going to be tough but we need to win two and draw one to retain the urn, and we definitely showed over the first four days at Adelaide that we were good enough to compete: the way Colly and Kevin Pietersen batted, and then the bowling of Hoggy.

We performed pretty well and can take a lot of confidence out of it,'' he explained.


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