x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

England must end the Perth jinx

England lead 1-0 in the Ashes but have a dismal record at a venue once famed for offering unrivalled pace and bounce, with just one victory in 11 attempts.

Andrew Strauss, right,the England captain, catches a ball during training at the Waca ground  in Perth, ahead of the third Ashes Test match against Australia, which starts tomorrow.
Andrew Strauss, right,the England captain, catches a ball during training at the Waca ground in Perth, ahead of the third Ashes Test match against Australia, which starts tomorrow.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA // Buoyant England will need to overcome their hoodoo at the Western Australian Cricket Association (Waca) ground in Perth as well as an Australian side scratching for form if they are to retain The Ashes in the third Test of the series, which starts tomorrow.

The tourists hold a 1-0 lead in the five-Test series after a thumping innings victory in Adelaide following a draw in Brisbane, and a win in Perth would guarantee they keep hold of The Ashes they won on home soil last year.

But England have a dismal record at a venue once famed for offering unrivalled pace and bounce, with just one victory in 11 attempts, way back in 1978 when Mike Brearley was the captain.

Australia have won their past five Ashes clashes in Perth but Andy Flower, the England coach, said his side were not daunted by the weight of history.

"England do have a poor record in Perth," he said. "One win in 11 and that was back in 1978 in World Series Cricket days.

"We do recognise the challenge in front of us, and I think the guys are excited about attempting to turn it around."

Although the Waca has not boasted pace and bounce in recent years, Cam Sutherland, the Perth groundsman, has been talking up the possibility of a lively pitch with a healthy covering of grass.

But Flower embraced the prospect of a more traditional Waca wicket.

"I think it's really exciting for everyone," he said. "It makes for exciting cricket and that is why we are here."

England are expected to promote Chris Tremlett to replace fellow pace bowler Stuart Broad, who has been ruled out for the rest of the series with an abdominal strain.

Tremlett, who has played three Tests, is expected to be given the nod ahead of Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad and play his first Test since August 2007.

The towering Tremlett, who is 6ft 7ins (2.01m) tall, is expected to be suited to the Waca pitch and has been in solid form in the tour games, with seven wickets at an average of 25.43.

Flower said England's preferred 11 was "pretty clear in our minds" for the third Test, but would not be announced to the squad until later today.

He added that England's draw against state side Victoria following the euphoria of the second Test win in Adelaide was a timely "reality check" for his team as their second string bowling attack toiled to take wickets.

Australia will hand a debut to Michael Beer, the spin bowler who has played just six first-class matches for 16 wickets.

He will become the 10th specialist spinner the Australians have tried since Shane Warne retired in 2007.

Steve Smith, the all-rounder, is also expected to come into the side, as is Ben Hilfenhaus, the swing bowler, leaving first Test hat-trick hero Peter Siddle and the embattled Mitch Johnson, who was dropped for the second Test, vying for the final place in the attack, with Ryan Harris sure to be retained.

* Agence France-Presse