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Australia relishing prospect of renewed pace assault at WACA

Reuters
Dec 10, 2013 at 09:31am IST

Sydney: Australia captain Michael Clarke is licking his lips at the prospect of seeing how much damage his confident pace attack can wreak on a teetering England when the teams clash in the third Ashes Test in Perth.

Australia crushed England by 218 runs at Adelaide Oval on Monday to take a 2-0 lead in the five-Test series and head to seamer Mitchell Johnson's favourite hunting ground with a head of steam and no injury concerns.

England have lost their last six Tests at the WACA, and registered their only victory at the ground way back in 1978.

Australia relishing prospect of renewed pace assault at WACA

Clarke is licking his lips at the prospect of seeing how much damage his confident pace attack can wreak on England at Perth.

"It's obviously exciting that we're going to a ground that we feel so comfortable playing at," Clarke told reporters after Australia's emphatic win in Adelaide.

"But in saying that I have also experienced some defeats in my career in Perth so I'm more concerned about making sure we play the same brand of cricket that we have played so far in this series.

"I don't think it matters the conditions we play in, if we continue to play the brand that we have played.

"The positive is, we know the conditions and guys like Mitchell (Johnson) and Ryan (Harris) and Peter (Siddle) love bowling when there is a bit more pace and bounce," Clarke added of his three seamers.

"But I think the main focus is making sure we play the same brand and we're as well prepared as we were for this Test."

Australia's last win against England at the WACA was a 267-run thrashing set up by nine wickets from man-of-the-match Johnson, whose left-arm swing can be devastating when manipulated by the 'Fremantle Doctor', the dependable afternoon seabreeze that adds extra pace and movement on the bouncy wicket.

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Johnson has 36 wickets from his five Tests at the ground at an average of 19.66, and took his best haul of 8-61 against South Africa there in 2008.

"I'd like to see - at his home ground, being in front of his adopted state, Western Australia - what the adrenaline does to his pace," Australia's bowling coach Craig McDermott told reporters in Adelaide on Tuesday.

"I'm sure (England) think about it a fair bit. A bloke coming at you at 150 kph (93 mph) or 155, with a slinging action, is not a lot of fun, let me tell you."

Despite fine memories playing England at the WACA, Australia's last trip to the ground was one to forget as they were routed by 309 runs by South Africa in last year's series-deciding match.

Australia's selectors controversially rested pacemen Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus for that match after they bowled a heavy workload in an exhausting draw against the Proteas in Adelaide.

Under new coach Darren Lehmann, selectors have ditched their much-criticised rotation policy that sought to create a bullpen of bowlers and brought the same team that trounced England by 381 runs in Brisbane to Adelaide, the first time Australia has been unchanged between Tests for a year.

Australia are taking the same squad of 12 to Perth and barring any last-minute problems, the same trio of pacemen that took 16 of the 20 wickets in Adelaide will front up against England.

"We have bowled well as a unit in both Test matches (but) it's back to the drawing board tomorrow at training, making sure we have got our plans right for Perth," McDermott said.

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