Ashes 2021-22: ‘It’s Do or Die This Week in Melbourne’-Ben Stokes

England all-rounder and Test vice-captain Ben Stokes admitted that his team has to produce a better performance in third Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, otherwise they will concede the series.

He added that the team had honest conversations after losing the second Test at Adelaide by 275 runs. England are 2-0 down in the Ashes and need a change in fortunes at Melbourne to have a chance in winning the urn.

“It is do or die this week in Melbourne. We’ve not been good enough so far on this tour and there is no point in sugar-coating it. We have to produce a better performance in this Test or it will be over and the Ashes will be gone. We have the ability to play better, we have the players to produce better, but there’s no point stroking our chins and thinking about it, we just have to do it,” wrote Stokes in his column for Daily Mirror.

Talking about the genuine discussions in the group, Stokes remarked, “There have been too many mistakes made by too many players and that is why we are where we are. And the mistakes have been repeated, which is why we had a frank and open discussion as a group after the Adelaide Test. I don’t know why it has caused surprise, because this is what you need to do when there are things to be said and solutions to be found.

“I want to be part of a dressing room where we can have these chats when necessary and tell each other exactly what we think and where we think we can improve. It is not a blame game. It is done for the right reasons, to try and help the team get better and start winning. I had my piece to say and hopefully got it across in the right way, but then others joined in and anyone who had something to contribute was able to.”

Stokes revealed that the team did feel the anger in captain Joe Root’s words after the crushing loss in Adelaide.

“Sport can be tough, and Test cricket especially so when things aren’t going well. You can tell how frustrated Joe Root was after the last defeat and we all felt it. But I don’t want to be a part of a team that just sweeps things under the carpet and pretends like everything is OK when it’s not.”

The 30-year-old signed off by hoping that the chats could have a positive effect on England’s performances in the Boxing Day Test.

“We don’t have chats like that very often, but it needed to happen, and I hope that people take the right things away from it, get the work done that they need to before the match and then put in a performance we can all be proud of come Boxing Day.”

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