x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

'Forget Perth' is Pietersen's formula to revive England

The England batsman is confident the tourists will be better prepared to deal with Mitchell Johnson and Australia in Melbourne.

Kevin Pietersen, seen batting at Perth, says he is confident England will improve.
Kevin Pietersen, seen batting at Perth, says he is confident England will improve.

Kevin Pietersen insists England must simply forget about their trouncing in Perth as they begin their preparations for the fourth Ashes Test, which begins in Melbourne on Sunday.

Pietersen himself could muster only three runs in two innings - after his career-best 227 in the preceding landslide victory in Adelaide - and he is as keen as anyone to put the Waca behind him.

He was one of three frontline England batsmen to fall leg before to the swing bowling of Mitchell Johnson, for nine runs between them, in a first-innings collapse which handed the initiative to Australia.

England must therefore begin at the MCG level in the series again, at 1-1 with two to play.

Pietersen reports England came to the conclusion, immediately after their 267-run setback in Perth, that they must leave that experience in the past if they are to return home victorious and with the urn still in their possession.

"The key to us being successful on this Ashes trip would just be to forget about last week - learn from the mistakes we made, but just forget about last week," he said yesterday.

"The open and honest meeting we had the evening the game finished was a very good meeting.

"We have left that, and it's time to look forward now.

"We've got to learn from the mistakes we made - and we'll be better prepared come Sunday."

Chief among those mistakes, of course, was the collective failure to deal with Johnson's fearsome inswing - and England know they must be ready for the left-armer if he turns up in the same form for the last two Tests.

Pietersen is confident that this time the tourists will get their preparation, mental and physical, right.

"We've had such an amazing trip so far," he said.

"Everything has gone for us on every occasion we've played.

"The weather didn't go for us in the Adelaide tour game, or we'd have probably won that as well.

"We've got to look at the positives - we're very good at doing that. We're very good at leaving things alone as well."

The forthcoming Test, always a centrepiece of Australia's sporting calendar, is set to reach new heights this year - with the series so delicately poised and The Ashes very much in the balance.

Indeed, it is the first time since 1990 that The Ashes have still been at stake when the sides have met in Melbourne. A win for England in either of the last two Tests would mean they retain The Ashes. Sell-out crowds of more than 90,000 are expected on the first three days and Pietersen cannot wait. "We're all disappointed with what happened last week - but we're excited about this week's challenges," he said.

"We're 1-1 going to a Melbourne Test match, 100,000 people; if you're not excited, I don't reckon you should be doing what we do."

England still expect James Anderson, the pace bowler, to be fit for Melbourne, despite the stiffness he felt in his side after his exertions in Perth, where he took four wickets in Australia's two innings.