Captain Cook feeling the heat

THE ASHES

Alastair Cook wants to continue as English captain beyond this disastrous Ashes series, but acknowledges others will decide his fate.

England slumped to the lowest point of this tour yesterday when Australia won the Boxing Day Test by eight wickets inside four days to take a 4-0 series lead.

Another win in Sydney next week would give the home side a rare Ashes whitewash.

England were on top after day two at the MCG, but played poorly over the next day and a half.

"I'm totally responsible as captain for the team," Cook said post-match.

"At the end of this series, if the selectors decide that I'm not the best man for the job, then so be it.

"It would hurt. I have no plans of going anywhere, I am desperately trying to use much of my experience of playing 100 Tests to help turn this team around.

"If someone decides there's a better man for the job, I have to take that on the chin."

Cook also defended England's coaching staff, noting it was the same personnel that helped them to series wins earlier this year.

"I'm fully supportive of my coaching staff - we've had some fantastic results," he said.

"It wasn't so long ago we won in India with exactly the same coaching staff - we won against Australia with the same coaching staff."

Cook said the challenges of this tour have not curbed his enthusiasm for the captaincy.

"In a strange way, I'm enjoying the job - I'm enjoying the challenge," he said.

Cook said the MCG loss did not hurt any more than the previous three, despite being in a strong position for the first time during the series.

"That might be where we are as a side," he said.

"When you're winning games of cricket, you get yourself in a good situation like that and you really take advantage of it.

"When the confidence isn't quite there and you lose a couple of wickets, you falter."

Cook had a bad day yesterday, dropping two chances at first slip - although one probably should have been snaffled by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

He was also criticised for taking a long time to bring on spinner Monty Panesar.

But Cook defended his bowling strategy, saying he was trying to maximise the chance to use reverse swing against the Australian batsmen.

Cook also said after the loss that he had no answers for the team's many problems.

"A lot of these questions you are going to ask me are quite hard to find the answer to," he said.

"The bottom line is, we haven't been good enough." AAP

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