The Ashes 2005 August 1, 2005

England batsmen took 'bad options' - McGrath

Cricinfo staff

Glenn McGrath is hit during the first innings at Lord's, where he scored 20 without being dismissed © Getty Images

Glenn McGrath's unrelenting pressure on England has continued off the field with him handing out batting advice to his Ashes rivals. A career No. 11, McGrath said England's top order had taken "pretty bad options" when facing Shane Warne during the first-Test loss at Lord's.

"Shane bowled as well as I've seen him for a long time," McGrath told The Mail on Sunday. "But I just could not comprehend the way the openers tried to play him by repeatedly padding up. That is so dangerous for a left-hander against a legspinner turning the ball back towards the stumps. Even for someone like me batting at No. 11, if I was a left-hander I would think it was a pretty bad option."

While Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss were singled out, Ian Bell was also given a special mention after his fourth Test. "Shane set him up perfectly with a couple of big-turning legspinners then got him with the slider, the one that goes straight on," McGrath said. "He told us that exactly the same thing happened when he played Bell in a county match, except in that game it took him two balls."

McGrath, who made 30 without being dismissed and took nine wickets at Lord's, said nothing he saw changed his prediction that Australia would cleansweep the series. "It doesn't matter what they do, if we play our game well, we'll win," he said. "We feel we can up our performance."

Australia settled after the frenetic opening day of the series, but McGrath said England's body language would change when they were down. "We talked beforehand about how quiet England went on the field during the one-dayers when things weren't going their way," he said. "I really noticed it in one of those games when I was out on the field. Their body language wasn't too flash, the quietness was surreal. I don't think I've ever before played in a game where the atmosphere was like that."