England were hammered in the third Ashes test at Perth, as a Mitchell Johnson led attack literally swung the tie Australia's way. England batsman Kevin Pietersen revealed that his team wasn't prepared for it but admitted that they will be ready for the fourth Ashes Test at Melbourne.
The win allowed Australia to level the series restricting England to 187 and 123 in respective innings, with Mitchell Johnson taking nine wickets.
Pietersen admitted that Johnson's performance caught England unawares. He said, It definitely took us by surprise, for sure, but he bowled well, bowled really, really well. He bowled a really good game of cricket. Obviously we're going to prepare ourselves for that swinging ball. We knew he was going to swing it, but we didn't think he was going to swing it that much.
On how they will cope with the swing at Melbourne, he said, We've had great success against swing bowlers in the past. The ball swings in England throughout the summer so swing bowling is not a problem. I just don't think we were prepared for it (at Perth).
Pietersen went on and expressed his excitement ahead of the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, which has the potential to be the deciding test of the series.
Having won a Test, lost a Test, two to play, and one to win to take the Ashes home is an incredible opportunity for the team. He said. I don't know what ticket sales are like but it could be potentially around 400,000 people watching the five days. That is so exciting.
I've played a little bit, and I get goose bumps thinking about it. Everyone in the team including the management and the Australians are really looking forward to what should be a great week's cricket if the sun shines. Any day of Test cricket is amazing, but if you get 100,000 watching you on a particular day, you're pretty pleased.
His sentiments are shared by Australian seamer Peter Siddle, who might miss out on the opportunity to play if the selectors decide to drop him for debutant spinner Michael Beer. The Victorian-born said, Any Boxing Day Test is going to be big but an Ashes series just makes everything a lot more exciting. All this talk about the big crowd, you can't stop to think about it. There were 60-70,000 for South Africa (in 2008-09), they are predicting another 20,000 on top of that. It's a big increase and you want to be a part of it and hear the roar. All the boys are looking forward to it and hopefully it does turn out to be a record.
Australia's bowlers were noticeably more vocal at Perth, and later, in part, they credited their improved performance to their renewed aggression which saw many a fiery exchange between them and the English batsmen. Siddle was at the center of it all, and he admitted that he performed better when let of the leash.
It's part of my game anyway, and I think that's when I'm at my best, he said. That's how Ricky (Ponting) goes about it with me, he knows that if he can get me up and firing and at my best, I can get the rest of the boys going. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn't, but in this case it has and no doubt down the track it won't. But hopefully we can keep it going down the series and we can keep on top of them.
It was a bit different from Adelaide. When you're 1 for 500, the sledging isn't going to look as obvious, you're not going to have much to say, and you're not going to be out there as much. But when both teams are going hard at it, it's good fun out there. They're at us, we're at them, and it makes it lively out there. And no doubt the spectators like to see it.
Tensions are sky-high before the Boxing Day test, and with both teams having a point to prove, it could be history being played out the MCG, Melbourne.