England look to channel Ahmedabad spirit after Gabba defeat

By Nick Mulvenney

BRISBANE (Reuters) - England captain Alastair Cook believes his team need to channel the spirit of last year's sensational comeback in India if they are to battle back from a first test defeat and get back into the Ashes series against Australia.

The tourists were beaten by 381 runs at the Gabba on Sunday, their first defeat in 14 test matches stretching back to a similarly humbling nine-wicket loss to India in Ahmedabad a year ago.

England, notoriously slow starters on tour, brushed off that defeat to win the next two matches in Mumbai and Kolkata and clinch their first series win in India for 28 years.

"In Ahmedabad everyone was looking at us and wondering how we could play cricket and we bounced back and won an amazing series in India," Cook told reporters.

"I think the first thing we've got to do is remember we're a very good side and there's some very good players in that dressing room.

"We've had a bad game and we can hold our hands up and say that. We've got 10 days to go away now, we'll stay strong as a unit, and we'll come back fighting."

For some England players, a "bad game" was something of an understatement.

Jonathan Trott, at the centre of a storm of David Warner's description of his first innings dismissal as "weak", fell victim to Mitchell Johnson short balls in both innings for a total of 19 runs and must now be in danger of being dropped.

Trott did not struggle alone, though, in a test where Cook's second innings 65 was the only England knock of any significance.

England's best bowler Graeme Swann took just two wickets for 215 runs with his off-spin, while pacemen James Anderson (2-140) and Chris Tremlett (4-120) also had disappointing outings.

Swann can be expected to have a little more help from the pitch at the more spin-friendly Adelaide Oval from December 5 and Cook was in no mood to start picking out individuals for blame and talk about changes to the side.

"It's a bit early for that, I think this 10 day break will be good for us, time to get away from it. Really look at what we need to do to improve," he said.

"We all need to be honest with each other as a group, it's not just three players who have had a bad game. We really need to improve if we want to win this series."

England arrived in Australia looking for a fourth successive Ashes triumph for the first time since the 1880s and some more optimistic English pundits had even tipped them to take the series 5-0.

That is clearly a pipedream now and they know they are in a real scrap for the terracotta urn against an Australia side charged with confidence.

Those more optimistic pundits will point to England's reputation as slow starters and brush off the defeat the Gabba as first test nerves.

Cook will be hoping they are right.

"We've been found short with the bat and we're going to have to go away and work on it," he said. "We need to start looking forward ... dust ourselves off and come back fighting." (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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