Red Rose on the Ashes: Glen Chapple
Find out Glen Chapple’s thoughts on the series so far
Glen Chapple is not ruling out a remarkable England fight back from two down with three to play, although he admits to being very concerned about their Ashes chances.
The Lancashire coach believes the WACA in Perth, which hosts its final Ashes Test this week, is the worst possible venue England could be faced with as they look to overcome their inconsistency so far on tour.
However, the former all-rounder insists Jimmy Anderson and company are every bit as good as the Aussies. And now is the perfect time for them to prove it.
Ahead of Thursday’s third Test, Chapple said: "It's been disappointing. It's a really tough place to tour, and from what I've seen England have played well for half of each game. That's not enough.
“They need to put their best cricket together if they're going to have any chance of getting back in the series.
"They've got a chance, yes. They're a good team. For me, on paper, they're as good a side (as Australia).
"But it’s difficult to understand what conditions do to teams. It's just a bit of knowledge of playing in different countries, and you've seen shot selection and the areas England have bowled at times.
"Just a couple of mistakes can make a huge difference.
"There's a lot been made of these shots where you're half playing straight bat and half playing horizontal bat shots. On bouncier pitches, that's very risky.
"They'll play a lovely shot and look in charge, then one mistake due to it being in a different place can make a huge difference. But they've got to get past that.
"If they can adapt better to conditions, they're a good enough team to compete.
"Their real problem is where the next Test is because that is going to be the hardest place of all to do it.”
Given his commitments with preparing Lancashire for the 2018 county season, Chapple hasn’t watched all of the Ashes by any means.
But he has seen enough to know the Aussies are fallible.
"From what I've seen, Australia are bowling at their best,” he said. “That's right up there.
“I don't think our bowling attack is firing quite as well.
"I do think our bowling attack is more skilful than theirs. It's not as fast.
"Both batting line-ups have shown frailties.
“Australia's showed serious frailty in their last innings. That's what we need to exploit.
"Our bowling attack is skilful enough to do that. But, as I say, the next Test at Perth is a challenge for any England team.”
England’s best period of the series came during the second Test at Adelaide when, in Australia’s second innings, they were bowled out for 138 to give England an outside chance of victory with a target of 354.
It was largely down to Anderson’s brilliance, with his 5-43 from 22 overs marking his first Test five-for Down Under.
"Jimmy's exceptional,” added Chapple.
“A lot of the last innings was character and a real stubbornness to do well. His quality came out.”
With the new 55,000 seat, multipurpose Optus Stadium set to open in Perth in the New Year, this is pencilled in to be the last Ashes Test at the WACA. Mind you, England fans won’t be too bothered. They have only won once there, in 1978, and have lost on their last seven visits.
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