Zak Crawley prepared to do whatever it takes to play fourth Ashes Test

A dominant innings and 14-run victory in the third Test in Melbourne on Tuesday gave Australia an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series

England's Zak Crawley during a Press Conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday January 2, 2022. PA
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England opener Zak Crawley said he would be prepared to endure tougher health protocols to ensure the Ashes series is completed, adding that the tourists were determined to push back hard at Australia in this week's fourth Test.

A dominant innings and 14-run victory in the third Test in Melbourne on Tuesday gave Australia an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series, leaving England playing only for pride in the final two matches.

The resurgence of Covid-19 in New South Wales has cast a shadow over the Sydney Test but Crawley said he was willing to see health protocols tightened to ensure the match went ahead as scheduled on Wednesday.

"Personally, I would ... I can't speak for everyone on that, but we've only got a couple of weeks left and I want to play the two Tests," he told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.

"I'm one hundred per cent wanting to play this Test, definitely comfortable. The doctors say we're in a good place to carry on and we fully back that."

Crawley said the players had pulled together in training and there was a fierce determination to turn things around.

"Obviously, we were gutted at the MCG to lose the game like that and to lose the series in three games," he added.

"But every Test is massive, especially an Ashes Test down here, so we're all massively wanting two wins out of these next two games.

"If we come away with 3-2, obviously we've lost the series but we can hold our head up that we didn't just let them walk all over us and pushed back a bit."

Crawley, who was called into the side for the third Test but was only able to make 17 runs in his two innings, said the less experienced England batters should not fear the Australian bowlers.

"I'm certainly going to try and be more confident," he said. "I know full well I can score a hundred this week and that's what I'm going to try to do."

England’s preparations for the fourth Ashes Test fell victim to more Covid chaos on Sunday, with local net bowlers removed from their latest training session on the same day head coach Chris Silverwood joined the growing ranks of positive cases.

Silverwood has been isolating with his family in Melbourne ever since one of them tested positive after the Boxing Day Test and a further case in their group takes the total number among the wider England party to nine.

He was already resigned to missing the new year game in Sydney, but his diagnosis, without symptoms, settles the issue. He will now aim to rejoin and lead the squad for the series finale in Hobart later this month.

Silverwood is the fourth member of coaching staff to contract the virus, joining bowling lead Jon Lewis, spin mentor Jeetan Patel and strength and conditioning specialist Darren Veness.

Plans to bring in Adam Hollioake to help out were scuppered on Sunday when a close contact of the former England one-day captain tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, Nathan Lyon said Australia will press for an Ashes series whitewash against England to boost their chances of making the final of the 2021-23 World Test Championship (WTC).

The home side have already claimed an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series and the importance of maintaining their winning run was not lost on Lyon.

"I've never ever considered [a match] dead-rubber when you wear the baggy green and go out and represent Australia in a Test match," off-spinner Lyon said.

"So there's no dead-rubbers. Firstly because it's [the] Test championship, but another one, we want to go five-nil up.

"Obviously Ashes for me is the pinnacle, but I'd love to be part of the Test championship final, whether that's at Lord's or wherever it may be in the world ... A lot of work to do to get there."

Australia could not make the inaugural WTC final last year, when New Zealand beat India to win the crown, but lead the standings after their red-hot Ashes form.

Updated: January 02, 2022, 9:31 AM