Chris Tremlett: I fear another whitewash if England lose third Ashes Test against Australia at Perth

 
Chris Tremlett
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England's bowlers will have to quickly find their lengths at the Waca (Source: Getty)

Given they are 2-0 down, low on confidence, contending with niggly off-field distractions and set to play at the Waca which history suggests is not a happy hunting ground – I’m not particularly confident about England’s chances in the third Test.

I also fear that if England lose in Perth and relinquish control of the Ashes then they could be looking at another 5-0 whitewash, just like the tours of 2006-07 and 2013-14.

It would be very difficult for players, especially the more senior ones who would have been in such a situation before, to retain the same levels of motivation having put so much energy into the front end of the tour. That’s only natural.

For some of the younger members of the team, who are still trying to make a name for themselves, they would probably head to Melbourne for the fourth Test with a different mindset. Hopefully, though, it doesn’t come to that.

Joe Root’s side do, however, face a very difficult task. England have lost their last seven Test matches at the Waca, all by a convincing margin. In 46 years of Test cricket there, England have been defeated nine times in 13 games and won only once, which was back in 1978.

It’s a really tricky place to play. During our victorious 2010-11 series Down Under, there was a little bit in the Perth wicket and we won the toss and put Australia into bat. We played some really good cricket but were still comfortably beaten by 267 runs.

Pitches at the Waca tend to be very flat with bounce, and if bowlers don’t adjust and find their lengths early on then they can go around the park. It can be easy to get carried away with the amount of bounce.

As a bowler, if you don’t start well then things can go downhill pretty rapidly, especially with someone like Australia opener David Warner, who won’t want to allow England’s seamers to settle and he will go at them hard.

The pitch also takes some getting used to for visiting batsmen as good length balls can come through at shoulder height. It is a high-scoring ground, though, and all the Australian batsmen, who are used to the conditions, will enjoy batting there.

When you throw in the heat – temperatures can rise above 40 degrees – and the afternoon winds, which feel gale force at times, a harsh reality awaits for England players who have not featured there before.

England, meanwhile, enter the latest instalment of their Ashes battle on the back of another unnecessary and unwanted distraction in the form of England Lions batsman Ben Duckett pouring a drink over senior bowler James Anderson in a Perth bar last week.

The tourists simply didn’t need another off-field incident dominating the headlines and, while this was more of a slip up than anything malicious, England’s players have to start making smarter and more responsible decisions.

I do, however, take exception to suggestions that the current England squad has a drinking culture. I think that’s a load of rubbish. I know how hard this team works and trains, and if you go back five or 10 years then players would have drunk and partied a lot more than this lot.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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