Ashes 2013-14: England captain Alastair Cook admits his side have talked a good game but now need to produce in Perth
Having gone 2-0 down in the Series, Cook knows that they need to win in Perth if England are to have any chance of winning the Ashes
Thursday 12 December 2013
Alastair Cook admits England's confidence has been hit by their two wide-margin defeats in the Ashes so far, but insists they are ready to fight back as they must at the WACA.
Cook's tourists have one last chance to put their bid for a fourth successive Ashes series victory back on track, yet the odds appear stacked against them in Perth.
In 12 attempts to date just one England team has ever won at this venue, famed for its extreme pace and bounce.
The Mitchell Johnson factor is another major obstacle in the way as Cook and Co seek not only to win the third Test but somehow the two that follow it also to overturn a 2-0 deficit after the crushing setbacks in Brisbane and Adelaide.
Only Australia, almost 80 years ago, have ever won the Ashes from 2-0 down - another statistic which must weigh heavily against a revival.
Cook concedes England have much to prove, and can hardly be as buoyant as they were when they arrived in Australia seven weeks ago on the back of a 3-0 Ashes victory at home last summer.
"You can say our confidence has had a hit during the first two games - I think that's quite obvious," said the England captain, who like his opposite number Michael Clarke is about to play his 100th Test.
"As a squad, we have made a real conscious effort.
"We have to look forward to this game rather than look back on what's happened. That's not going to do us any good."
He has been encouraged by the response so far.
"The way the lads trained yesterday, the way we've gone about our business, trying to do things the right way ... we think we have got our preparation right." Cook said.
"We've talked a good game - but now it's about making sure when we go out there tomorrow that we play a good game."
England are sure to make at least one change to the team which lost by 218 runs in Adelaide - because there will be no room for two spinners here.
Fanciful suggestions have been in the air, from outside the camp, of all sorts of other possible selections.
Cook has already given credibility but not outright endorsement to the idea that England could even pick an all-pace attack, and therefore dispense with veteran off-spinner Graeme Swann.
On the eve of this crucial match, he was in no mood to give substance to any more left-field theories - but made it clear too no one will simply be selected on reputation or historical achievement.
"We have a lot of experience in this side," Cook said.
"Sometimes the grass is greener for the guy who is not playing, tempting (you) to use different options, and we have options in the squad.
"It is quite a balanced squad. But whichever XI we go with, sentiment is out the question."
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