All I keep hearing at the moment is “Aussies in disarray,” or “England only need to win in Perth to retain Ashes,” etc, etc. The media has gone into a frenzy and appear to be of the view that England only have to turn up in Perth to retain the Ashes.
So far in this series I’ve been very cautious not to jump on this wave of expectancy and at the moment I have no intention of changing that view.
Why? A number of reasons. First, I don’t expect Australia to be as bad as they were in Adelaide. Second, England have had a fair bit disruption to contend with, with Stuart Broad’s injury and Jimmy Anderson returning home to be at the birth of his daughter, which has to be said isn’t the best preparation.
Also I only need to look back 12 months for another good reason why. In the 2nd test in Durban, England played magnificently and defeated South Africa by an innings and 98 runs, we scored a massive 574/9 in our 1st innings on the way to victory.
Then with a series victory in our hands we contrived to throw away a great opening. In the 3rd test England had the South Africans on the ropes at 127/5 in their 1st innings, in the end England needed Graham Onions to fend off 11 balls just to save the test match.
In our 1st innings our batting collapsed to 133/5 and only 76 from Matt Prior batting with the tail got us up to a respectable, but below par 273. As I remember most of the top order reverted back to type and got themselves out with stupid rash shots.
A year on and lets hope England have learnt from those mistakes and will now prove that they are a more ruthless outfit.
In contrast to this series though, South Africa were a totally different proposition to what this current Australia side are. They were almost certainly a far better team than the Aussies and they were also in the middle of a decent spell of cricket. On top of that the England team is a lot stronger than 12 months ago.
I am though pleased to hear that Andy Flower has banned talk of retaining the Ashes here in Perth. I’ve been impressed by the way he has gone out of his way to try and make sure complaceny or over confidence dosen’t set in.
England need to treat this as just another cricket match, they also need to be ruthless in the way previous Australian sides have been to us.
Not being ruthless enough is something I believe England have been guilty of in the recent past. In the ODI series against Australia last summer England had a massive chance to put down a marker and give Ricky Ponting’s team a good thrashing. At 3-0 up, England had the chance to put Australia to the sword, instead they took their foot off the throat and let Australia fight back to respectable 3-2 scoreline.
I can’t help thinking that if the boot was on the other foot, that at 3-0 up, Australia would have smelt blood and handed out a good 5-0 hiding. At worst it would have been 4-1, with England winning a dead rubber 5th game.
I hope and expect England to bring Chris Tremlett in, I think picking Bresnan would send out a negative vibe. It would look like we are playing safe .
Hopefully we can play with the same intensity that we have over the last test and a half, as I think if we don’t Australia could surprise us. They are hurting and I will be amazed if they don’t throw everyting at England on the first morning, but if England are up to the same level as Adelaide I think the Aussies will have another struggle on their hands.