'Hurting' England not giving up on Ashes: Malan

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Batsman Dawid Malan admits England are hurting (AFP/William WEST)
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England are "hurting" but determined to rise to the challenge and claw their way back into the Ashes series against Australia, batsman Dawid Malan said on Thursday.

After slumping by nine wickets in Brisbane and then by 275 runs in Adelaide, the visitors will enter the Melbourne Cricket Ground cauldron for the third Test on Sunday needing to win.

If they don't, the five-Test series is over with Australia retaining the urn as holders.

Malan said there had been frank discussions after Adelaide, where a first-innings batting collapse coupled with poor bowling and fielding cost England the match.

"The boys are hurting after our performances in the last two games. They realise we haven't been good enough across all facets of the game," he told journalists.

"Speaking to all the guys, everyone is up for the challenge, everyone is really keen to face up to the Australians. The boys want to win, we want to win the series too.

"I know it's a long way to come but we have to do well and play our best cricket to get ourselves back in the series."

The odds are against them -- the only instance of a team coming from 2-0 down to win the Ashes was Donald Bradman's Australia way back in 1936-37.

Malan and captain Joe Root have been the only two English batsmen to excel, both hitting half-centuries in Brisbane and Adelaide, but unable to go on and make a big score.

"Scoring 80's good, scoring 180's brilliant, so that's the goal," said the South African-born Malan, who has hit nine Test 50s but only converted one into a century.

He suggested that England's travails against a high-quality attack was also down to a lack of Test experience on Australian pitches, with he and Root among the few to have played an away Ashes series before.

"We are almost learning on the job in Test matches because a lot of the guys haven't played in Australia, so they are facing bowlers they've never faced before and getting used to the bounce out here," he said.

British media have suggested changes could be afoot for the Boxing Day Test with Zak Crawley tipped to replace either Rory Burns or Haseeb Hameed, who have both struggled for runs at the top of the order.

Ollie Pope has also been disappointing at number six, with the experienced Jonny Bairstow a potential replacement.

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