England in New Zealand 2007-08 February 13, 2008

Bopara braced for drop as England pick up pieces

Cricinfo staff


Peter Moores chats with James Anderson ahead of Friday's match © Getty Images
 
Eleven of England's cricketers went straight back into the nets on their day off, in a bid to turn their fortunes around after one of the most humiliating defeats of their careers. Tuesday's ten-wicket loss to New Zealand at Hamilton has left England needing three straight wins in a row to rescue the series, with the next match getting underway in Auckland on Friday.

Five of the players involved in the defeat - the captain Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom and Stuart Broad - chose not to take part in the voluntary practice, which followed a stern dressing-down from the coach, Peter Moores, in the immediate aftermath of the defeat.

"There have already been a lot of words spoken in the dressing-room and we don't want those sort of performances again," said Collingwood. "You have to be is honest as an individual and really talk as a team about where you've gone wrong. We feel we have let ourselves down and the supporters down, and because of that there are people in the dressing-room who are hurting."

One player in particular bore the brunt of the vitriol following the defeat - Ravi Bopara, who seems set to lose his place to his fellow allrounder, Dimitri Mascarenhas. He chipped a full toss to midwicket to end a tortuous innings of 23 at Hamilton, having run out England's top-scorer, Cook, with a dreadful call for a single.

"We will tell him what a good player he is," said Collingwood, on Bopara's loss of form. "He's an exceptional player and we've all seen him play important innings for England. It's up to all 11 players plus the support staff in the squad to get behind players when they're going through a bad run of form."

Naughty-boy nets are only a skin-deep solution to England's current malaise, however. Collingwood admitted that he would much prefer to have a longer break to get his team refocused before their must-win match at Auckland. "It would have been a good thing if we'd have had a week until the next game," he said, "so we can really talk about things and get in the nets and do plenty of work.

"But if we turn it around quickly it could be a good thing, work in our favour and get on a roll again and hopefully win the last three games."