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Optimistic England will prevail

Posted in England in Australia 2010-11

Mike Gatting

© Getty Images

I said before the series that England would win 2-1 and I'm sticking with that. Despite losing in Perth I still think the Ashes will be coming back home.

I was in Australia for the last day and a half at Adelaide and the first two and a half days at Perth. Like the rest of the England supporters I couldn't believe the turnaround.

Adelaide was a great victory. It looked tight when Michael Clarke was in at the end of the fourth day but Strauss pulled a rabbit from the hat and gave Pietersen a bowl. That was a huge turning point. If England win the Ashes that could be one of the moments people look back on.

As a captain you have tried everything else. Last over before the close, you do something different and Strauss got the wicket England needed. We then wrapped it up early on the fifth day before the rain came.

There was lightning everywhere and five hours of rain - I've not seen anything like it. The Adelaide Oval two hours after the game was awash.

Everything seemed to be going well at Perth. We won the toss, put them in and bowled them in for 268. It could have been 180 had the tail not wagged. Mitchell Johnson battered a quick 60 and that might have given him the confidence when he came in with the ball.

England's first innings needed to be 300-plus but Johnson had a wonderful spell to rip out the middle order. It was difficult to see our batting, which had been so much on top, be bowled out for two low scores. It was a complete reversal of what we'd seen.

Johnson hadn't really swung it until then. When he was pushing it across you, you could stay inside the line and look to hit him through mid-off. When it moves back in you need to hit the ball back where it comes from. He bowls with pace so when the batsmen get it wrong the worst can happen.

The only chance we had was to bowl them out cheaply but Mike Hussey played wonderfully well. You have to give credit to Australia. They battled really hard, especially Hussey.


The atmosphere at the MCG for the Boxing Day Test will be sensational - I'd love to be in the 95,000-strong crowd

The travelling supporters seemed shocked by the loss but in typical English way were all saying that it now sets up Melbourne and Sydney.

The atmosphere at the MCG will be unbelievable. They are expecting around 95,000 for the first two days. When people say Test cricket is dying I think those figures prove it is the best form of the game.

It's a monstrous stadium. One stand holds as many people as the whole of Lord's. It's a phenomenal place and the noise will be defeaning. It'll be intimidating for our players with all those Australian fans baying for English blood. I'd love to be there.

I have great memories of playing at the MCG. That was where we won the Ashes in the 1986-87 series. I can remember it now - Gladstone Small catching Merv Hughes on the boundary off Phil Edmonds and the celebrations we had afterwards. What a good feeling that was.

I'll be watching the Test at home on my big TV with the surround sound turned on. I'm hoping to watch the first session then I might get up early and see the end of play. I can't wait for it to begin.

Happy Christmas!

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