We're not scared of Mitchell Johnson: Andy Flower

AFP
Published Dec 11, 2013, 7:31 pm IST
Updated Mar 18, 2019, 11:23 pm IST
Mitchell Johnson
 Mitchell Johnson

Perth: Coach Andy Flower insists England are not scared of Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson, and says the tourists' dismal record in Perth will have no bearing on the outcome of the pivotal third Ashes Test.

Johnson terrorised the England batsmen in Brisbane and Adelaide, taking his side to the brink of reclaiming the Ashes after three consecutive series defeats. And the left-arm quick, who has taken 17 wickets with his 150 kilometres-an-hour (93 miles-an-hour) deliveries, has been tipped to bowl even faster on his home ground, the WACA, in the match starting on Friday.

 

Despite the England batsmen being bruised and battered, Flower rejected claims they were afraid of Johnson. "I wouldn't say scared," he said.

"One thing I would say about playing fast bowling is that our batsmen have to display the combination of skill and determination to bat long periods against it.

"Because if we do expose our lower order, they will struggle against that sort of pace. So the responsibility lies with the batsmen in that regard."

Johnson Wednesday said he was excited by the chance to fire in some bouncers at England on his home turf, but he doesn't plan to focus too much on the speed gun. "I'm not worried about bowling 155, 160 clicks," he said. "I don't think that's important to me. When my rhythm is on, the ball comes out the way it does and it's at good pace."

 

England have a sorry record in Perth, where their only win in 12 attempts came in 1978. But they must find a way to halt the Australian juggernaut since victory would give the hosts an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series.

Flower is undaunted by his side's previous struggles at the WACA but is hoping captain Alastair Cook wins the toss so the team can bat first and post a big score. "I think past glories mean nothing in this context," Flower said on the England and Wales Cricket Board website.

"We've got a big challenge to stop the momentum of the opposition and to get ahead in the game. We had Australia 130 for six in Brisbane, but since then they've been ahead in both games."

 

England's second-innings 312 at Adelaide was the first time they have passed 200 in the series, with a number of batsmen, including Cook, struggling for form. Flower challenged his players to be more selective with their strokes.

"The challenge at Perth will be to assess those conditions accurately and have clarity on the risk/reward that you always have to judge when you're batting," he said.

While Adelaide offered a pitch suitable for spinners, with Monty Panesar selected alongside Graeme Swann, Perth is more of a fast-bowlers track and Flower suggested there would be changes. "We have taken some serious hits but we do have a squad full of people who are determined to turn the ship around, and that's what we must do," he said.

 

"We'll assess those conditions and see who will best be able to help us take 20 wickets."

Cook's brain scrambled: Boycott

Cook's brain scrambled: Boycott

Perth: England great Geoffrey Boycott today blasted captain Alastair Cook's "scrambled brain" and said the team needed to use more common sense to prevent yet another defeat to Australia.

Boycott has been shocked by England's lacklustre efforts during the Ashes tour and laid some of the blame at Cook's feet, saying he appeared frustrated and worn down by the Australian attack. "Australia have worked Alastair out," Boycott said in a column for the West Australian newspaper. "They give him nothing to score off his legs or hip and they are winning the battle."

 

The plain-speaking Boycott could barely contain his anger at Cook's second-innings dismissal in Adelaide for one, when he needed to get a big score. "Here was our captain, who is supposed to set the tone, hooking Mitchell Johnson down fine leg's throat in the second over of the day, which shows his brain is scrambled," he said.

"We have some serious problems," Boycott added.

He pointed out that half of England's dismissals during the Ashes had come from bad shots, with their second-innings 312 at Adelaide the first time they have passed 200 in the series. "What they have to work out is how they are going to get some pride back in the team," the former opening batsman said.

 

"They cannot do that unless they bat with more common sense and stop gifting wickets away."

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