England all-rounder Moeen Ali wants Alastair Cook’s men to “put the foot on the throat” against Australia as they bid to complete a 4-1 Ashes series triumph at The Oval next week.
England regained the Ashes with a dominant innings and 78-run victory over Australia in the third Test at Trent Bridge last Saturday (8).
No England side has ever won four Tests in a single home Ashes campaign, but that target will be in the team’s sights when they reassemble in south London for the series finale after a week off from Ashes action, which will see Ali involved in a domestic Twenty20 quarter-final for Worcestershire against Hampshire on Friday.
“It’s a great opportunity to win 4-1 in a big series,” Ali said on Wednesday (12). “We’ve played so well up to now, and we don’t want to mess anything up.
“We want to keep the rhythm up, keep the way we’re playing and…put the foot on the throat,” the off-spinner and stylish batsman added.
The last four innings of the Ashes have witnessed successive six-wicket returns from England pacemen James Anderson, Steven Finn (both starring in the eight-wicket win at Edgbaston), with Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes carrying on at Trent Bridge.
Broad’s haul was the most sensational. The fast-medium bowler took eight for 15, including his 300th wicket in Tests, on his Nottinghamshire home ground as Australia were dismissed for just 60 in 111 balls – the shortest completed first innings of any Test – in 94 minutes of mayhem at Trent Bridge last Thursday.
“The last two games have been two-and-a-half days, and it’s been an amazing effort from the bowlers especially,” said Ali
“Everyone has enjoyed watching the Ashes and everyone I talk to is really buzzing…long may it continue.”
That England lead 3-1 with one to play this Ashes is a scoreline few would have forecast when they were being whitewashed 5-0 in Australia some 18 months ago, or crashing out of the first round of the World Cup in embarrassing fashion earlier this year.
“It’s been a tough 18 months leading up to it, so we made sure we enjoyed it,” said Ali. “They absolutely smashed us at Lord’s (where Australia won the second Test by 405 runs) and never gave us a sniff – and we’ve done that to them pretty much three times.”
Australia captain Michael Clarke is set to retire from international cricket after the Oval Test. His struggle for runs this series is part of the wider middle-order batting frailties that have condemned Australia to a fourth successive Ashes loss in England.
Ali, however, said: “They are still a great side…and Michael Clarke is an absolute legend of the game.
“It’s obviously a shame when someone has to retire…(but) he’s obviously a magnificent player, and captain.”