Justin Langer has revealed that the Headingley loss to England in the Ashes left him ‘physically sick’ but the Australia head coach remains up for the challenge of retaining the historic urn.
Australia were just one wicket away at Headingley from retaining the Ashes on English soil for the first time since 2001 but a sensational unbeaten ton from Ben Stokes saw the hosts level up the series in dramatic style with two Tests still to play.
“That’s the toughest part of it, we were that close,” Langer was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“I actually felt physically sick after it, then I went back to my room and I wasn’t sure whether to cry my eyes out or smash my hotel room. For most people it’s just a game of cricket, but when so much goes into it, it means a lot.
“You do take it personally because I know how much work’s going into it. You never like to let opportunities slip in your life. But that’s okay, we’ll make sure we learn from it. We’ll learn a lot of lessons from that, short-term and long-term, and hopefully we can do it better next time.”
While England will feel they have the momentum on their side for the remaining two Tests in the series, Langer is taking confidence from Australia’s response in the recent tour game against Derbyshire.
The visitors claimed victory by an innings and 54 runs in the practice game and Langer feels that the response shows his men are very much up for the Ashes fight.
“Before the toss we said ‘it’s not a practice game, it’s not a centre-wicket hit out, we’re going to play a proper game of cricket’,” Langer stated.
“We’re going to try and win the game, no matter what. The way our guys won the game in two-and-a-bit days was a guide to me that they’re up – they were all together, they trained together.
“Sometimes it can become a bit fractured. It’s not going to be fractured here for the next few weeks.”
Australia need to win one of the remaining two Tests to retain the historic urn and they will hope Steve Smith’s return can give them the edge once again. The fourth and penultimate Test between England and Australia will get underway at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
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