Australia v England - 1st Test: Day 2
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 09: Ben Stokes of England bowls during day two of the First Test Match in the Ashes series between Australia and England at The Gabba on December 09, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images) (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Australia v England - 1st Test: Day 2

England bowling coach David Saker remains confident in the abilities of the English attack despite two close losses.

Saker is assisting as England's fast bowling coach throughout the red-ball summer, reprising the role he took during the successful Ashes campaigns of 2010-11 and 2013.

The 56-year-old was England's fast bowling coach between 2010 and 2015, a time which they won the Ashes in Australia, successfully defended the Urn at home, and won a series in India for the first and only time since 1984-85. He then fulfilled a similar role for Australia from 2016 to 2019.

The current Melbourne Renegades coach is now working with the English seamers to try and change the trajectory of the series, following some impressive displays from the opposing batsmen.

Following another narrow defeat at Lord's, England now trails 2-0 in what has been a very entertaining and almost controversial Ashes series. The Australian batsmen scored just shy of 800 runs on the back of Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, and the standout Steve Smith.

With three Tests remaining and Headingley fast approaching, Saker has affirmed that the host nation's strategy will remain unchanged.

“As a group, we want to keep playing the way we've come up against a great team there's no reason to chuck all that method out and say it's not working,” Saker told Zero Wicket. 

“I think we'll keep playing the way we played. Both have been close games, particularly the first one, which could have definitely gone either way.”

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 30: Matthew Wade and David Saker of the Bushrangers stand with the Sheffield Shield trophy after play on day 5 of the Sheffield Shield Final match between South Australia and Victoria at Gliderol Stadium on March 30, 2016 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

The English side's aggressive strategy has been heavily speculated by the media and former players. Members of the team are remaining very optimistic in their abilities to execute this unorthodox strategy against the No.2 ranked Test side.

“Brendon (McCullum) and Ben Stokes want to play a really aggressive brand," said the England bowling coach.

“They want to take pressure off the team and go out and just play really free, open-minded cricket with the bat and with the ball. They just want to be aggressive and try to take wickets.

“It goes against the grain a little bit for an English team, so it's exciting to be in the dressing room listening to the way they go about it. We played two great Test matches and both Tests could have gone either way, so we're not panicking.

“We're not going to change the way we play. We think the method's right.

“We've got the right players in our group and I think the method's going to stand up, it hasn't in the first two Tests, but it's been very close, so you can't really say it hasn't worked."

Saker has applauded his bowling group in their efforts to counter a world-class batting team.

The former Australian bowling coach believes that the strategy in place for the opposing batsmen is working and has faith that persistence will eventually lead to a swing in momentum in favour of the English.

“We've got a really good plan for all their batters, if it's swinging or it's moving off the seam, most of them are challenged," Saker added.

“The toughest obviously is Steve Smith, the special one. But the others are all vulnerable. You know David Warner s record in England is not all that good, neither is Usman's (Khawaja), other than this series of course.

“We think we can make some inroads, but we will wait and see, hopefully, it's this game. Steve Smith is the standout again, he's a really hard man to bowl to.”

Having experienced both camps across many Ashes Series, Saker has noted how relaxed and composed the English playing group is behind closed doors. Despite all the noise and pressure that comes with playing in an Ashes series. He also expressed how impressed he has been with the playing group to remain focused and stick to their methods.

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Saker gave an enthusiastic response when asked about the English team's preparations.

“Yeah, it's a lot different than the last time. It was a bit more intense dressing room. You wouldn't think it's an Ashes if you sat in a dressing room. It's quite a casual group and they're pretty relaxed in their game and they know where they are in the game," said Saker.

“I think it's a little bit different to the last time I was in the room. We know the Ashes are really important and we know how the players take it.

“They know it's important, but it's not coming out in the way they're acting, in the way that there's no pressure on them. But I can see that outside of our group.”

England will hope to earn their first result of the series in the Third Test, which begins on Thursday at Headingley.