We've got the edge - Harris
Ryan Harris is convinced Australia’s series-levelling victory in Perth will give them a psychological advantage over England for the remaining two Ashes Tests.
Harris took six second-innings wickets at the WACA - finishing, like Mitchell Johnson, with nine in the match - as England folded on the third evening and fourth morning to lose by 267 runs.
Australia will expect nothing less from their opponents than a significant improvement in time for the fourth Test in Melbourne, starting on Boxing Day.
But after his own career-best performance, Harris is already sensing England may find it tough to turn things around at the MCG.
“They’ll go away and work pretty hard during the week, but I do think we’ve got an edge over them a bit going into that big Test,” he said.
The home support in a traditional full house at one of the world’s biggest sporting stadia will be a test of anyone’s mettle.
Harris has never sampled the atmosphere from the stand or the middle before, but he said: “A hundred-thousand crowd, it’s a big occasion.
“Sitting back every Christmas and watching the Boxing Day Test as an Australian sends shivers down your spine.
“Actually playing in it...the thought of it gets you nervous. It’s going to be an amazing feeling - if I’m picked.
“I actually got a text before from my surgeon, who’s looking after my knee, and he said ’a hundred thousand people at the MCG, you’re going to enjoy it’.
“He got me thinking that it’s going to be a great feeling, especially now with the series 1-1.”
Harris expects his chronic knee injury to withstand the strains of two more Tests, having had little discomfort from it either in Adelaide two weeks ago or in Perth.
He believes he can improve his bowling too, an ominous claim for England.
“I wasn’t very happy with the way I bowled - the feeling I had wasn’t great,” he said after his second-innings 6-47 in the tourists’ 123 all out.
“The ‘positive’ out of that is that I’ve taken six wickets. But I’ve got a few things to work on in Melbourne - which I’ll do. I’m probably trying to bowl the perfect ball a little bit too much.
“Coming here and having a bit more bounce, I was thinking about what I had to do. The best thing I can do is not think about it and just go out and bowl and do what I do best, which is bash the wicket.
“That’s why I am picked. I was picked to do that in Adelaide and I did it pretty well. They always say that fast bowlers aren’t smart blokes, so I probably shouldn’t think as much as I do.”
Harris has also formed an opinion about England’s pace bowlers, and suggests they bowled too short to get the most out of the WACA surface.
“Obviously they’ve got Chris Tremlett, who gets that bounce, but the fuller he bowled the more success he got,” he said.
“It’s very easy to get carried away when you’re playing on a wicket like that. You think you can bounce people out, but obviously our batters are good enough and used to that because they’ve been playing Shield cricket there every second week.
“I thought they bowled reasonably well...but, if anything, they probably bowled a fraction short. It’s probably hard - they’re not used to wickets like that.”
As for his own achievements so far, Harris can hardly believe it - having spent much of the past five months in rehabilitation after injury.
“It’s pretty special,“ he added. “Leading into the series I was hoping to take part...but obviously with my knee the way it was, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be a part of any cricket this summer.”