Australia v England, CB Series, Adelaide January 26, 2007

Fletcher sorry for dismal show

Cricinfo staff



It was another shambolic day for England © Getty Images
Duncan Fletcher has apologised to England supporters after the team crashed to an embarrassing nine-wicket defeat against Australia at Adelaide with 153 balls to spare. The batting fell in a heap for 110 as the tour lurches from one dismal performance to another.

"From our point of view we have got to offer an apology, we just didn't play well enough out there," Fletcher said. "We didn't give a total for our bowlers to bowl at. They are very disappointed at the moment."

The poor form of two of England's key batsmen - Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood - isn't making life any easier but, as Fletcher said before the game, his hands are tied.

"They are struggling and some young players come in there and find it hard. Take Mal Loye up front too, it is very difficult for these players. I think it comes from confidence. It has been a tough tour and they [Strauss and Collingwood] realise a lot depends on them.

"They have got to set an example and set the tone but they are struggling and as a result we cannot get a decent total," he said. "It would have been nice to rest a couple, like Australia have, as we have played a lot of cricket since February. We have to give it a thought."

Andrew Flintoff also struggled to explain England's latest capitulation and was once again left scrapping the barrel. The return of Michael Vaughan can't come quick enough.

"We won the toss but were 110 all out and that was not good enough. We are far better than we are showing," Flintoff told Sky Sports. "We want to challenge Australia. We have done it in the past but today we were far below par.

"I think we started not too bad. We were 70 for two but fell in a heap, losing wickets at vital stages. It is something we are aware of and something we have got to improve on."

Fletcher, though, somehow still found time to look on the bright side and added: "We are not out of it yet and can still beat New Zealand twice to reach the final." Don't hold your breath.

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