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  Thursday, 21 June, 2001, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Stewart tries to stay positive
Adam Gilchrist hits out as Australia canter to an easy win
Adam Gilchrist hits out as Australia canter home
England skipper Alec Stewart was keen to take some positives from England's disastrous NatWest triangular series.

After Thursday's comprehensive eight-wicket defeat at the hands of Australia at The Oval, Stewart admitted: "Not too much has gone to plan in these six games.

"But if the new lads who've come in have learned something then we have got something slightly right.

"We've got six more games under our belts, the emergence of Ben Hollioake, the beginning of Owais Shah's international career and the century Marcus Trescothick got (at Lord's) spring to mind.


We're playing good cricket but now it all comes down to the final
Steve Waugh
"But we need to work very hard so come the World Cup we'll have a side that can compete with the very best in Australia.

"We've done well over the last 18 months but we know we've got a hard task ahead."

Stewart is fearful that another ignominous defeat could do long-term damage to young players.

He said: "My only concern is that they don't go away scarred through being involved in six defeats on the trot so that when they come back, I'd like them to do it with their heads held high.

England coach Duncan Fletcher also tried to remain upbeat.

"It's a little bit disappointing after the good Test series results, but as long as guys learnt from it they can take something forward," he said.

"It is going to be difficult and we will only find out (how good we are) when we get into the Test series.

And he defended the decision to blood youngsters.

He added: "We learnt about some young players who have shown talent, like (Ben) Hollioake and Collingwood. They had to come in and try to contain world class players and that is not easy.

"We have asked four or five youngsters to come in and we have lost experienced players who should be playing alongside them and showing them the way.

"You have to give these guys a chance and see how they perform over time."

Australian captain Steve Waugh believes his team can get better - and is hoping to carry Thursday's form into Saturday's final against Pakistan.

He said: "It was good victory. Our intensity in the field was better, our bowling was good and our batting very aggressive.

"But we've got a bit of a way to go yet - there are certainly some areas we can improve.

Exploit weaknesses

"We're playing good cricket but now it all comes down to the final.

"It's hard to know what our best 11 is but we'll have a good think about how we can beat Pakistan and exploit their weaknesses."

Man of the match Ricky Ponting, who made an unbeaten 70 from 71 balls, was happy with his effort.

He said: "I couldn't be happier with the way I've performed and the way the team have performed.

"Most of the guys performed well and we're all nicely confident going into Saturday's game."

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"We haven't really held our heads up"
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