In case Jonathan Trott needed reminding, Australia's vice-captain assured him yesterday of what he might expect at The Oval tomorrow. It was not necessarily designed to ensure he sleeps like a baby.
Michael Clarke said of the man called in for his maiden Test match in an Ashes decider: "Ricky Ponting has played over 130 Test matches and said to us it's one of the biggest Tests he's ever played in. To make his debut [Trott] will be under a lot of pressure. Any time you debut the pressure from within is the hardest part. You wait a long time for the opportunity."
Trott, it has been implied by England's selectors, has been picked as much for his nerves of steel as for his talent and he will assuredly need them. "For us it's important we look at their whole batting line-up," Clarke said. "Ian Bell is a very good player, he's showed that. His record at three isn't as good as at four and five. Trott is going to feel the nerves and be under pressure. The sooner we can get him in the better."
Clarke is the series' leading run scorer, hitting two of Australia's six centuries, one more than England in all. He has been driven partly by Australia's defeat in 2005.
"It's motivated me to date," Clarke said. "Once I arrived in England, in the back of my mind there were memories from '05 that I wish I could forget.
"But that is what makes you a better player, you learn from your mistakes as an individual and a team." How well England can expect to discover tomorrow.