Sky Sports News reporter
Ashes 2013/14: Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Strauss give Tim Abraham the lowdown on Perth
It's going to be a result wicket and England have no option but to fight back...
Last Updated: 12/12/13 3:44pm
They arrived in Perth at the back end of October as the Ashes favourites, but it's a different story now, 2-0 down because they have been outplayed and just haven't coped with Mitchell Johnson, and he's fired up even more now he's back on his home, favourite ground.
This is the not the WACA of old when it was the fastest wicket in the world, but it's quick enough, and the fast bowlers will be licking their lips, especially Johnson, given how he has been the Aussies' X-factor so far.
England fans who have come all this way will be disappointed with the way England's batsmen have played, but there's no getting away from the fact that watching Johnson's lightning-quick spells, and the aggression that goes with out-and-out fast bowling, is pure cricket theatre.
The WACA ground is in stark contrast to where we have been for the Test matches so far. The Gabba has been a stadium for a while now, but the new Adelaide Oval is a new stadium, so different from the previous quaint, picturesque, iconic ground in world cricket. But it has been tastefully updated, and the players liked it.
Here, the WACA has held onto its 'smaller' character, with two grassy banks either side of the wicket; it's a great way to watch the cricket, especially for families who can stretch out and have their picnics while the kids have a game at the back whilst the Test match is going on.
To be fair it does look a bit dated when compared to the modern grounds but the WACA Chief Executive who I spoke to this week says this ground still has so much to offer and they are conscious of the competition from other grounds. It's a situation grounds face back home, and our traditional venues cannot be guaranteed Test matches. Even Lord's is looking over its shoulder to keep up with modern times.
It was great to catch up with Adam Gilchrist in the build-up. I enjoyed interviews with him back in his hey-day when the Aussies dominated world cricket and it was fascinating to get his insight into the Aussie turnaround, and the challenges facing England.
This is his home ground and when he was enjoying so much success over England this is where the team usually sealed the deal, going 3-0 up to make sure the Ashes were won.
When he spoke he recalled great WACA memories and of course he got around to his 57-ball hundred against Andrew Flintoff's team. He actually said he was waiting for a 'thumbs up' or a 'thumbs down' from the captain Ricky Ponting. 'Thumbs up' meant go for it, because he was looking to put England into bat again that evening; 'thumbs down' meant stay there and just pace yourself.
'Gilly' thought he saw the 'thumbs up' signal and smashed the England attack to all parts, racing to that century. It was only after he got back to the dressing room, when Ponting asked him what he thought he was doing, that he realised the signal was in fact a 'thumbs down'! But it was one of the great Ashes innings, and of course Australia went 3-0 up. It was 5-0 in the end.
That's why this ground has so many bad memories for England. England have not won an Ashes Test here since 1978, Australia have won the last six in a row. That's why this is such a challenge for England to fight their way back; it's going to be a result wicket.
But if they can win against all expectations, what a build-up we can enjoy and anticipate going to the MCG, 2-1 down and all to play for still.
On the final day of practice we lined up Andrew Strauss to get his views on the challenge ahead. I had a thought that, given the 'Mitchell Johnson factor', we should interview Strauss out in the middle and pace out, whilst we were chatting, where he thought the slips would stand, given the pace and bounce, and we went back, and back and back further still.
When we turned around I could not believe how far from the crease we were. I thought it was a nice bit of colour to lift the chat, and Andrew was great at explaining what it's like when the ball comes at you and the anticipation of taking the catch, and not putting it down.
I should mention the heat. Both teams have been sweltering during practice in temperatures pushing the late 30's and it could be 40C come the Test match. Players are used to playing in hot climes but it will still be a factor, especially for the bowlers who are likely to be used in shorter, but still energy-sapping, spells.
Now, I'm not expecting any sympathy here because I'm in Australia covering an Ashes tour when it's freezing back home but working in the heat does present its own challenges, too, especially filming training and standing around doing live reports.
The sun cream is slapped on, but I still find it hard to shake off my tour nick name of 'Tomato Tim'.
Watch the third Test between Australia and England on Sky Sports 2 from 2am on Friday morning, then Catch Up with the day's play on The Ashes Breakfast from 10.30am.