Nielsen relishing Ashes finale
Australia head coach Tim Nielsen has called on his players to brush aside any nerves they have and focus instead on enjoying the Ashes decider.
Ricky Ponting’s side head into the final game having clawed back a 1-0 deficit with an innings-and-80-run victory over England at Headingley Carnegie.
Should the tourists win or draw at the Brit Oval, Nielsen will succeed where his predecessor John Buchanan failed in 2005 and return to Australia with the Ashes urn.
Nielsen admits the match is unrivalled in terms of its importance, but has urged his players not to be affected by nerves and instead savour the moment.
“This is what you play the highest level of sport for,” Nielsen said.
“These are big occasions where there’s big crowds and there is a perception around that it means a lot.
“You talk about the lead-up and walking out onto the ground with the expectation and the crowd and it sends tingles going down your spine.
“Our challenge this week is to make sure while we don't make it bigger than it is, we enjoy that.
“You don't get too many opportunities to play in a big game like this too often. I would love to be able to talk to players in 10 years’ time and talk with them about how much fun was that week we had at the Oval.
“These are the sort of games you remember in your career. Great friendships and great mateships come out of it because you've all been exposed and experienced it together. It's a special time, it's good fun.”
The comprehensive margin of victory in the last Test means the tourists are brimming full of confidence.
Australia are now favourites to retain the Ashes and the 41-year-old believes that all the pressure is on England.
“You obviously feel good about yourselves when you have won,” he said.
“We went down to Canterbury (where the tourists defeated the England Lions), had a good couple of days there and had a good blow out.
“We gave the bowlers a good run out and we got some runs into our batters so we have had a good lead up to this game so it'll be nice to go into a Test match knowing that England are under pressure.”