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Andrew Strauss
Cricket Expert & Columnist

Ashes 2013/14: Michael Carberry feeling under real pressure for his England place

Lack of a meaningful score in the series rendered him pretty much shot-less on day three...

Michael Carberry can't afford too many more low scores if he is to prolong his Test career past the Ashes, says Andrew Strauss.

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The Hampshire opener followed up his first innings knock of 38 off 103 balls with 12 off 81 deliveries before he was trapped lbw by Peter Siddle in England's paltry second innings of 179 on day three of the fourth Ashes Test.

Carberry, 33, got the nod ahead of Somerset opener Nick Compton for the Ashes despite only having one Test cap under his belt - against Bangladesh in 2010.

He has scored over 30 in five of his eight innings in the series so far but has only gone on to score one half-century - 60 off 144 balls in the first innings in Adelaide - and while he hasn't always had luck on his side, Strauss told the Sky Sports Ashes Podcast that Carberry needs to start scoring some big runs.

Pressure

"For a lot of the series Carberry has looked very comfortable at the crease and technically he's looked good but now he is paying the price now for not turning any of his starts into meaningful scores," said Strauss.

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"I think for the first time he is beginning to feel under real pressure for his place and as a result that pressure is bearing down upon him and he was rendered pretty much shot-less for the majority of the innings.

"If you think back to Nick Compton, something similar happened to him [when he scored seven runs off 45 balls] at Headingley against New Zealand earlier in the English summer.

"The contrast between Carberry and Cook, who got 51 off 64 balls, was so great; Carberry wasn't going anywhere, so these are troubled times for him.

"At his age he can't afford too many low scores and if he's going to get a score he's got to play in a more positive manner than he has today."

Galling

Carberry was easily outscored by captain Cook in a first wicket stand of 65, during which the England skipper at the age of 29 years and three days became the youngest cricketer to score 8,000 Test runs - beating the great Sachin Tendulkar to the mark by 21 days.

In so doing, Cook joined an elite group of six English batsmen to have achieve that feat but after he fell lbw to Mitchell Johnson only Kevin Pietersen (49) picked up the mantle and took the fight to Australia.

Carberry's dismissal sparked a collapse that saw three wickets fall for just one run and despite Pietersen's best attempts to rebuild the innings, the final five wickets vanished for the addition of just six runs.

"What makes it so galling is that they looked like they had stomach for the fight in this game," said former skipper Strauss.

"The bowlers did a brilliant job bowling Australia out, Alastair Cook looked like he was intent on leading by example and has played pretty well in both innings and Kevin Pietersen showed far more attacking intent as well in this game.

"But as so often has been the case there have been one or two batsmen who have got scores and no-one else has got any and there have been these ridiculous collapses, which destroy any momentum built up over the course of the game.

"It hasn't happened just in this game - it has been consistently happening all of the way through the series."

Check out the Sky Sports Ashes podcast page here or check out the podcast on itunes or by hitting this MP3 link.

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Watch highlights of today's play from 4pm on Sky Sports 2. The Ashes Verdict delivers its judgement at 9pm before Ashes Extra returns ahead of live coverage of day four, which gets underway at 11pm - also on Sky Sports 2.