Matt Prior urged his England teammates to dispense with the survival instinct and take the fight up to Mitchell Johnson, or forget about retaining the Ashes.
“I would hate to see this team, with the batting talent we have, to go out there and just try and survive” Prior said. “That’s not the way we’re going to win in Australia. We have to find ways of putting pressure back on the Aussie bowlers.”
Australia won the first Test by 381 runs in Brisbane and the second Test by 218 runs in Adelaide. Johnson was voted player-of-the-match both times.
So after losing three consecutive Ashes series, the Australians are favourites to regain the urn on a ground where England hasn’t won since 1978.
“For an England cricketer, it doesn’t get any harder two-nil down in an Ashes series coming to Perth,” Prior said. “Everything is against us. People have written us off. We’re at Perth, we haven’t won here for however many years that, quite frankly, excites me.
“There is a huge amount of hunger to turn it around in this Test match.”
After taking 7-40 in the first innings in Adelaide, Johnson only got one wicket in the second and Prior saw signs that the batsmen no longer feared the fiery bowling and were starting to take on the short balls. And that’s what they’re planning on doing in Perth.
Johnson doesn’t see it that way.
“If that’s the way they think they can score then go ahead,” Johnson said. “It’s a different wicket to what it was in Adelaide. It was pretty flat and pretty slow toward the end and balls weren’t really getting up.
“It’s a lot easier to get a short ball here, which I’m not going to be afraid of using.”