Headley puts faith in England
Former England seamer Dean Headley remains confident the tourists can emerge victorious in the Ashes, despite their defeat in the third Test at the WACA.
A rejuvenated Australia secured a 267-run triumph in Perth to leave the series tantalisingly poised at 1-1 with two matches to play.
England, who dominated the latter half of the first Test in Brisbane before cruising to an innings-and-71-run victory in Adelaide, now face the challenge of bouncing back at the MCG - the venue for the Boxing Day Test - and Headley expects them to deliver.
He told ecb.co.uk: “The result in Perth has lit up the series. Although it was great watching England keep trouncing Australia, now it’s going to be a real battle.
“As a spectator it’s going to be fantastic and I still think England will win.
“I said before the series that England would win 3-1. I’d like to think my prediction will come true but I think it will be 2-1 at least.”
Headley compares the recent turnaround in Australia’s fortunes to England’s revival in the 1998-99 Ashes.
Alec Stewart’s side were 2-0 down after three matches and looked set to suffer defeat in the fourth Test at Melbourne before an inspired spell from Headley set up a memorable 12-run victory.
In Perth, it was Mitchell Johnson who made the biggest impact with the ball, the left-armer bouncing back from a horror showing in Brisbane to return match figures of 9-82.
Headley added: “Mitchell Johnson produced an outstanding spell out of nowhere and Ryan Harris bowled well in Adelaide and Perth, so you’re not talking about an attack that can’t take 20 wickets.
“Australia will be thinking the pressure has really switched around. They are 1-1 in the series and if you look at it they have played as much good cricket as England have now.
“Before the Perth Test people in England were thinking ‘let’s wrap this up now’, which is not the team’s fault at all.
“There is quite a bit of pressure now on England because I don’t think anyone will take them coming back having not beaten them.
“We knew we could beat them before we went and I think most people expected us to beat them, but after the first two Tests it was ‘it’s not if, it’s when’.
"The result in Perth has put a real interesting slant on the series.”