England captain Alastair Cook remains determined to oversee a 4-0 Ashes series victory over Australia by winning the final Test at the Kia Oval this week.
With the series already wrapped up, it has been suggested that there could be a lack of motivation for the fifth Test which starts on Wednesday, or that the team will be rotated.
But Cook insists that he wants to seal a memorable first Ashes series as captain by taking another win, and that the best available side will be picked.
“I think it would be very special to win the Ashes 4-0,” he said.
“That is what our motivation is as a side and we are hopefully going to pick the right side – the side that we think can win this Test match.
“Training has been good the last couple of days and we haven’t done anything different; (we’re treating the match) as if it were 1-1 in the series and that was our aim for this week.
“We don’t need any more motivation – that is enough for us. To win a Test match for England is big enough motivation and we have a lot of record-breakers in this team. Every time you beat Australia it is a good feeling.”
With back-to-back Ashes series, England could head Down Under in the winter having scored a psychological blow over Australia by taking a comprehensive 4-0 win.
“It will be one of those strange things,” Cook added.
“When we get to Australia we will be saying ‘what is gone is gone’ and it won’t make any difference during that first hour in Brisbane.
“But sitting here now, as a side, those little things can make a difference and if we can keep putting Australia under pressure in certain areas of their play then we know that will count well when we go down to Australia. If we can continue winning games of cricket then that is all we can do.”
Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn, Chris Woakes and Simon Kerrigan are all hoping to be named in the side in the absence of the injured Tim Bresnan.
James Faulkner is set to make his Test and Ashes debut after captain Michael Clarke announced two changes for Australia.
The 23-year-old all-rounder joins the team alongside Mitchell Starc, as they replace Jackson Bird and Usman Khawaja.
Despite having already lost the five-match series, Clarke is confident he can lead his side to victory in the final Test.
He said: “Our goal hasn’t changed. We try to win every Test match we play and this Test is no different.
“Yes there’s a number of reasons we have to have success in this Test match but the main reason is every Test you play for Australia you want to win. We don’t need any extra motivation than that.
“(A win) would certainly be a nice way to finish the Test side of the tour. We’ve obviously got some T20s and one-dayers afterwards that are crucial for us, but it would be a nice way to finish.
“I think by simply understanding who we are in this series we still have a lot to gain. We don’t need extra motivation.”
Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, who has been unwell for the past week with a mild viral illness, will return to Australia this evening.
View the Original article