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England beaten but not bowed, says Flintoff

Published: Monday, December 18, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Perth:The Ashes are gone but England captain Andrew Flintoff said his side would be out to regain lost pride in the last two Tests of the series.

A disappointed Flintoff said the England camp were hurting deeply after the 206-run loss in Perth that handed Australia an unbeatable 3-0 lead just three Tests into the most anticipated Ashes series ever.

While Flintoff said Australia undoubtedly deserved to win the series, he urged the Barmy Army and fans at home to stick with the side and he dismissed the need for wholesale changes to the team.

Having enjoyed the highs of the 2005 upset win, Flintoff found it hard to describe his emotions after the loss, but vowed his side would bounce back in the Melbourne and Sydney Tests.

"It hurts, it's hurting a lot for the lads, but we have to get over it because we have got two more Test matches to play," he said.

"We can't mope around, we've got two big Test matches still and we want to give a good account of ourselves.

"It is going to be a tough couple of days, but there is a lot of pride and character in our dressing room.

"There are a lot of lads who want to prove they can win a Test match in Australia and prove they can play against Australia."

While much has been made of the pressure he is under and his own indifferent form, Flintoff said he wanted to retain the captaincy for as long as possible.

"I am so proud to be England captain and I always will be," he said.

"It has its moments, but no regrets whatsoever -- as long as I get the opportunity to do so, I always will be."

Having needed to bat for more than two days to save the match or score 557 to record an unlikely win, Flintoff admitted there were times he thought they could achieve the impossible as they defied the Australian attack.

"We decided to go out there positive," he said.

"It was working for period and you dare to dream."

Flintoff said the English had played better than three straights defeats suggested, but hadn't been able to maintain pressure on the Australians at key stages of each Test.

"At the 'Gabba, Australia came out strong and put us on the back foot and it was hard to come back," he said.

"Adelaide was bitterly disappointing. In this game we bowled them out for 240, we were hoping to score at least 350 and try and apply some pressure to Australia, but fair play to them they didn't allow us to.

"They hit us hard, had the lead, and then (Adam) Gilchrist took the game away from us."

Despite the defeat, Flintoff said there were plenty of positives the English could take from the tour.

"At times, we have shown on the field how talented we are," Flintoff said.

"There have been some great things come out of this trip so far. The young lads have emerged, the likes of Alastair Cook scoring hundreds, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Kevin Pietersen, the bowling of Matthew Hoggard and Monty (Panesar).

"But we've not been able to apply the pressure as much as we would have liked to have done.

"Every time we have had our foot in the door, they have closed it on us."

AFP

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