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August 29, 2005
Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, promised his side would continue with the positive cricket that has put them 2-1 up in the Ashes come the fifth and final Test at The Oval even though they need just a draw for a first series win against Australia in 18 years.
Fletcher, speaking to reporters at England's team hotel, the day after they'd wrapped up a dramatic three-wicket win at Trent Bridge, insisted: "It's going to be difficult for this side to pull back. We are going to have to carry on in the same frame of mind we have been playing, which has been positive and going at the Australians. We hope it will continue that way in London."
England who had dominated the match, as they'd done the drawn third Test at Old Trafford, nevertheless almost lost at Trent Bridge. Set a modest 129 to win, they collapsed to 116 for seven in the face of an inspired spell of 4 for 31 from Shane Warne. But the lower-order duo Ashley Giles and Matthew Hoggard held on to secure England's win.
"We always thought it was going to be tight. Any side with Warne bowling in the fourth or fifth day is going to be pretty difficult but the guys put in a great effort," Fletcher said. "All three and two-thirds days we outplayed Australia. But that's the strange part about cricket. It just takes one session and a game can turn."
And Fletcher admitted even his faith in England had been tested. "I was a little bit doubtful when Andrew Flintoff got bowled. But Matthew Hoggard has worked very hard in the nets, he's gone from being a genuine number 11, and it was one of those days when it all paid off."
Earlier on the fourth day some key umpiring decisions went against Australia, but Fletcher said: "There's always series you go through where you feel fortune goes against you. But what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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