Fred: We must start performing

England captain Andrew Flintoff has called on his side to start “performing with the bat and the ball” ahead of Friday’s clash against Australia in Adelaide.

Flintoff’s comments come after a disastrous showing against New Zealand on Sunday, when England were bowled out for a mere 120 runs, falling 90 runs short of their chase for 210.

“We started the game well but in the second half we didn’t perform as well as we can do,” he said.

“The pitch was a little bit tricky but you can’t put it down to that.

“It wasn’t a 120 all out pitch and Ed Joyce showed us what could be done. He played really nicely.”

The England skipper said he expected more from himself and his team-mates but he argued that the average results did not come from lack of effort or trying rather from a shortage of confidence out in the middle.

“The rest of us were below-par and we are better players than what we showed.

“I wouldn’t say there was a sense of dread. Obviously when you are chasing and you lose quick wickets, it is going to make it harder.

“It’s not through the lack of trying, you see the lads in the nets and it is not through not wanting to do well or not practising well.

“We have to keep backing our ability and have no fear of expressing ourselves in the middle.

“It has been a tough trip for some, there is no getting away from it, but we have to remain confident, believe we are good players and score runs.

“We’ve done it in the past and we need to keep doing it now.”

Coach Duncan Fletcher attributed the one-day losses to the injury plagued build up to the tour and agreed with his captains sentiments about England’s lack of playing confidence.

“If you take the top four, which is the most important part of our batting, three of our top players are missing – Trescothick, Pietersen and Vaughan,” he told the BBC

“That’s a huge chunk to take out of the side.”

“To compound that, our senior players, the Strausses and Collingwoods, have lost a bit of confidence and form.”

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