England captain Alastair Cook says the challenge facing him in tomorrow’s third Ashes Test at the WACA Ground is the biggest he’s faced in his time as skipper.
Cook and Australian captain Michael Clarke will complete a remarkable milestone tomorrow, both playing their 100th Test in the same match.
For Clarke, it is an opportunity to lead Australia to their first Ashes victory since 2006-07.
For Cook, it’s a chance to give his side a fighting chance of retaining the urn after two demoralising defeats in their first two matches of the series.
“It is a special day and it would make it even more special, a special week, if we could produce the kind of performance that we know we’re capable of,” he said.
The 28-year-old has been one of many English players to be dismissed cheaply at the hands of Australia’s menacing pace attack this series, led by WA quick Mitchell Johnson.
However he said rather than focus on their failures, the squad are backing their proven ability to perform when it counts.
“I think you can say our confidence obviously has had a hit from these first two games,” he said.
“But as a squad we’ve made a real conscious effort, we have to look forward into this game rather than look back on what’s happened, that’s not going to do us any good.
“The way the lads trained yesterday, the way we’ve gone about our business, trying to do things the right way, we think we’ve got our preparations right.
“When we go out there tomorrow, we talked a good game, it’s about making sure we play a good game.”
Quizzed about England’s team for tomorrow’s Test, Cook was typically cagey.
The visitors are widely expected to bring back another quick on the fast WACA wicket, with Graeme Swan a strong chance to be dropped.
But for now, they are keeping their cards close to their chest.
“I think we do what we always do, which is try and pick the best team to win the game,” Cook said.