Flower takes heart from Tremlett
Team director Andy Flower highlighted a major positive in England’s series-levelling defeat at Perth - the bowling on Chris Tremlett.
Tremlett, playing his first Test in over three years - in place of the injured Stuart Broad, expertly exploited his height to claim eight wickets on a typically bouncy WACA pitch.
The 6ft 7in paceman’s efforts could not prevent a 267-run loss, which leaves England and Australia square with two games to play in this compelling contest.
Flower saw a continuation of Tremlett’s form in the drawn tour match against Victoria that preceded this Test.
“Tremlett had an outstanding game; obviously conditions suited him here. But he bowled very well prior to this in the three-day game in Melbourne,” Flower observed.
“He’s actually got more skill than some people give him credit for; he reverse swings the ball and he’s more accurate than people feel.
“I thought he did outstandingly well here to get eight wickets, he ran in hard, he looks fit and it’s imposing facing a guy with that sort of height and strength.”
Having watched his side suffer such a heavy defeat, Flower naturally pinpointed room for improvement.
A high priority is for the tourists’ batsmen to deal better with the movement generated by Mitchell Johnson, who made a remarkable return to form with match figures of 9-82.
Flower said: “I don’t think we handled the situation very well when Johnson swung the ball.
“I don’t think we adapted very well in the first innings and he knocked the guts out of our first innings. And then in the second innings again a similar thing happened in that we lost wickets in big clumps.”
Flower also demanded more from the bowlers.
“We want to create pressure and it’s very difficult to create pressure if the bowlers aren’t working in a partnership and working from both ends together,” he added.
“It’s hard to build pressure and against quality batsmen you need to build pressure to force mistakes. That is an issue, of course.”
One such “quality” batsman is Mike Hussey, whose second-innings hundred at the WACA was his sixth consecutive Ashes score of 50 or more. That run started with a century at the Brit Insurance Oval last year and continued with 195 at the Gabba.
Flower admits England will have to think again about how to take on Hussey at the MCG.
“I don’t think we bowled well at him in this game particularly but he played superbly up in Brisbane,” he said.
“We’ve obviously got to reassess our plans and hit them hard and early at Melbourne.”
The tourists are unlikely to have to contend with such extreme bounce in the Boxing Day Test, although the success of Australia’s pacemen at Perth means the MCG track is likely to favour the seamers.
In fact the hosts, who have named an unchanged squad, are keeping their pitch options open in Melbourne.
Flower confirmed: “When we were there for the three-day game they were preparing two tracks and we were conscious, from what I understood, of the one track being a little too dry to use for the Test match so that doesn’t surprise me at all.”