Shane Watson has spoken of the "hurt" the Australian players are experiencing having been outplayed by England over the first three days of the second Test. England bowled Australia out cheaply before amassing a large first innings lead.
"It hurts in general, whether it's in our own conditions or anywhere else around the world," Watson admitted. "We have so far been outplayed in these three days – it does hurt, because what we've been doing hasn't been good enough."
With Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus replaced by Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger in Adelaide, the main concern for Watson and the Australians was still their inability to take wickets. England scored 1,068 runs for the loss of just five wickets over the course of 295 overs since their first innings ended in Brisbane.
Watson admitted: "That's something we've been talking about in the last week, really. What are the reasons why we haven't been able to get as many wickets as we would have liked?" he asked. Watson wasn't the only Australian asking himself that question yesterday, either.
Ricky Ponting was expecting Simon Katich to bat in Australia's second innings despite the opener's injury to his Achilles tendon. With the hosts anticipating they would need to bat well into the fifth day for a draw, Australia were in a similar position to England's going into the final days of the first Test.
Ponting was backing his man to play through the pain, though. "He's been pretty hindered in the field today," the captain said after the third day's play ended with England 306 runs ahead. "He's got a sore Achilles – it's quite badly swollen so I had him on and off the ground a couple of times today to get as much ice on it as possible, knowing he's got plenty of batting to do over the next couple of days. He's a pretty tough character."
Shane Watson was impressed by the application of Alastair Cook, who has scored 450 runs in three innings so far, including scores of 235* and 148. "His concentration is something we have to do as batters, and stay out there for long periods of time. The wickets have been fairly flat, but that's no excuse [for our bowling failures]. We're skilled enough to make the most of what's out there."
Ponting echoed Watson's analysis. "I think their application and their skills, their batting, has been terrific and we have to emulate that," said the Australian captain.
"We've seen over the last couple of days how good a wicket it is for the batsmen. We have got a hard couple of days in this Test match now."
The home side were not looking forward to facing Graeme Swann on a pitch that looked to be increasingly taking spin judged by the turn found by Marcus North. "Dougie's [Bollinger's] footmarks have created a nice area for Swann so he'll be a handful here," Ponting said. "We'll have our challenges, no doubt about it – but we've done it before."