Telling image proves England are addressing major Ashes flaw

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  • Joe Root
    Joe Root
    English cricketer (born 1990)
England captain Joe Root trained in the nets with a fourth stump to help him practice leaving deliveries. Pic: Getty/Twitter
England captain Joe Root trained in the nets with a fourth stump to help him practice leaving deliveries. Pic: Getty/Twitter

England's batters appear intent on rectifying one major flaw exposed during their chastening defeats in the opening two Ashes Tests: leaving balls that are not going to hit the stumps.

The tourists have been guilty time and again of playing at balls they shouldn't have in both Tests at the Gabba and Adelaide Oval, with Aussie wicketkeeper Alex Carey's record-breaking eight catches on Test debut in Brisbane testament to the fact.

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England coach Chris Silverwood has also come under fire for his questionable selections in both matches so far, but that hasn't disguised the obvious flaws in the tourist's batting technique.

English No.3 batter Dawid Malan said the tourists have had some good, hard discussions about their shortcomings, and have identified the need to leave deliveries as a high priority.

To back up the point, images from England's net sessions show the measures captain Joe Root has been taking to address the issue.

The photos show Root batting with a fourth stump to give him and the rest of England's players a better indication of the line where the batters should be leaving the balls.

The England skipper can also be seen assessing various points of the pitch to get a better understanding about the lengths of delivering that are going on to hit the stumps, as opposed to missing them.

Malan is England's leading run scorer in the series, but he and captain Root have been unable to turn their half-centuries into tons and that has hurt them.

"Scoring 80 is good, scoring 180 is brilliant," he said.

A key has been leaving the right balls outside off stump, with the majority of England's dismissals involving a buildup of deliveries before the killer blow.

"A lot of our dismissals were probably soft ones, in the sense we could have probably left them," Malan said.

"It's about making the right choices under pressure ... myself included."

Some of the English have not batted in Australia before and Malan said that has been a factor.

"It's a really good learning curve for us - hopefully it's not too late," he said.

Amid speculation about team changes for the third Test, Malan was asked whether he would be prepared to open, with both Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns under pressure to retain their spots and Zak Crawley in line for a recall, among others.

"I will bat wherever," Malan said.

"I don't see myself as an opener, but if they'd like me to I'm happy to do whatever is needed."

England buoyed after 'brutally honest' chat

Despite their plight and media reports to the contrary, Malan is adamant morale in the England camp is strong.

"When you lose there always going to be reports that England are at each other," he said.

"It definitely isn't.

"Morale is absolutely fine - everyone is up for it."

Seen here from left, England players Rory Burns, Jack Leach and Dom Bess.
Rory Burns of England (L) speaks with teammates Jack Leach (C) and Dom Bess during an England nets session at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Pic: Getty

Fast bowler Mark Wood added that the "brutally honest" conversations and assessments, couple with a bit of a "kick up the bum", had England's squad primed to bounce back in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

The tourists must defy history if they are to come back from 2-0 down and reclaim the urn, starting with Sunday's Boxing Day Test.

The only Ashes side to come back from losing the first two Tests and winning the series was Sir Don Bradman's 1936-37 Australians.

Soon after their 275-run belting in Adelaide, England's batters were made to sit through a video selection of their dismissals and home truths were laid bare.

"This was more a kick up the bum," said bowler Mark Wood.

"Those brutally honest conversations ... we probably needed it."

with AAP

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