Perth: Dec 11, 2013
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 kilometre-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 a dressing room full of bruised and battered batsmen, Flower rejected claims that the players were afraid of Johnson, saying they were used to pace at the top level of the game.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
England have a dismal record in Perth, where their only win in 12 attempts came in 1978 but must find a way to halt the Australian juggernaut, for whom a victory would give them an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series.
Flower is undaunted by his side’s previous struggles at the WACA but he is hoping captain Alastair Cook wins the toss the team is able to bat first and post a big score on the board.
“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 and 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.”
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