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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 July 2005, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Dean Jones column

By Dean Jones
Former Australia Test batsman

England have lost the first Test but not all is lost.

Helen Keller once said: "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.

"It can only be obtained through experience of trial and suffering and then the soul can be strengthened."

Let me take you back a few years. The venue is the Australian team hotel three days before the first Test in Leeds in 1989.

Steve Waugh
Steve Waugh's confidence was key in the 1989 Ashes

Captain Allan Border on Ian Botham: "Be careful of Botham, he can win from anywhere. We must make sure that when we chase small totals then we have to be positive..."

Every member of the team is listening through Border's speech.

Then Steve Waugh, who at that point has still not made a Test century, has the courage to say in front of the experienced old pros: "That happened in your teams AB. This is our team.

"No one has inflicted hurt on us so let's just be positive and go after these Poms."

Border wins the toss on a bowlers pitch. He decides to bat and hit his second ball faced for six. We all knew we were on our way.

If I was England coach Duncan Fletcher this is what I would say to each of the following players:

Marcus Trescothick: You must play Warney better. Use your pad but you must pretend that you are playing a shot - then the umpires have no clue.

Andrew Strauss: Just be yourself and trust your instincts.

Michael Vaughan: The pitches will get better. You read length better than any other player in the team so just back yourself.

Ian Bell: Keep using your feet because spinners hate it big time (even Warney).

Kevin Pietersen: Just catch it if a catch comes. And I reckon you can bat better.

Andrew Flintoff: Bowling was good but what was with your batting? Your head was in the clouds in both digs.

Geraint Jones: You kept badly but I rate you. No more excuses.

Ashley Giles: Stick to the game plan and bowl straight and if they make a mistake then you pick them up.

Simon Jones: Just work on your line and length. You are worrying these guys with your swing.

Steve Harmison: You worry the living heck out of these guys and yet you are so soft. Do you reckon Malcolm Marshall would have bowled a drive ball after he just hit someone?

Matthew Hoggard: Stop talking rubbish to the press about "bullies." Just bowl one side of the deck and forget everything you read.

Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison
Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison have plenty of talent

We all know that Tiger Woods is a gifted athlete. The funny thing is that he does not read or listen to the media.

It is time the England team do the same. If they thought they can get through this series without being defeated somewhere then they are on drugs!

Just absorb the defeat. The positives for England are that they took 20 wickets in the match.

The game has not changed much in 100 years. Hold your catches, take your chances and make the most of your opportunities.

I expect England to play better at Edgbaston because I feel these kids have pride and have come back from this situation before.

England have the talent to beat Australia, but do they have the same discipline and self-belief that the Aussies had before the 1st Test in 1989?


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