Australia are not getting ahead of themselves, according to their bowling coach Craig McDermott, as they bid to regain the Ashes with victory in the Perth Test.
Michael Clarke’s side hold the initiative after two days, having limited England to 180 for four in reply to their first-innings 385 all out.
With Ian Bell, who hit three hundreds in the Investec Ashes, at the crease alongside Ben Stokes, and Matt Prior to come, McDermott and the hosts are taking nothing for granted.
“There’s a fair bit of cricket to go left in this Test match,” the former Australia paceman said.
“Bell’s still in; he’s got an unbelievable record. Prior nearly averages 50-odd, just on 50, so they’ve got some good batting to come.
“We’ve got to make sure we start the day tomorrow as we finished, on the ball, dotting our ‘i’s’ and crossing our ‘t’s’; more importantly, getting that ball up and swinging it and then grabbing that new ball and getting stuck into the tail when and if that happens.”
The fresh cherry is available in a dozen overs so spinner Nathan Lyon, who had Alastair Cook caught at point for 72 today, will likely have some work to do first thing.
Among those supporting him will be Peter Siddle, who snared Kevin Pietersen for the 10th time in Tests, and Mitchell Johnson, who is the series’ leading wicket-taker with 17 despite not having struck since making Cook the first scalp of England’s second innings at Adelaide.
“Even through Brisbane, other bowlers got vital wickets at vital times,” McDermott recalled in reference to Johnson not doing all Australia’s damage.
“Again, Nathan Lyon did that today, getting a ball to bounce with Cook playing a cut shot, which is the second time that’s happened. And Sids continues to get Pietersen out.
“It’s just a great thing that everyone’s chipping in, bowling tightly, bowling good lines and more importantly swinging the old ball.
“We’ve got 12 overs until the new ball tomorrow so a wicket early would be great tomorrow and then we can get stuck in early with the new ball.”
Although Johnson has not taken any of Australia’s last 15 wickets, he was vital in dismissing Pietersen, leaping high at mid-on after the batsman miscued a pull.
That breakthrough came three overs after Cook fell, swinging the day in the hosts’ favour following a period of intense pressure on England.
“I just thought it was a fantastic piece of athleticism really – great catch, and a good wicket for us,” McDermott added.
“The guys finished really well tonight. Those two last wickets in that last session were very crucial obviously to our day and the last three-and-a-half hours of bowling and fielding were superb. It’s good, tough Test cricket.”
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