Katich - Pressure on England
Australia opener Simon Katich claims all the pressure will be on England when the fifth Ashes Test gets underway at The Oval.
Last Updated: 15/08/09 11:15pm
Australia opener Simon Katich claims all the pressure will be on England when the fifth Ashes Test gets underway at The Oval next week.
Australia's two-and-a-half day demolition of England at Headingley to tie the series 1-1 leaves the tourists needing only a draw in the final Test to retain the Ashes.
The situation is in sharp contrast to the corresponding fixture in the famous 2005 series, when a draw at The Oval clinched the Ashes for England.
After an abject display in the fourth Test saw them scrape just 16 runs between them, England's middle-order is in disarray this time around and changes look increasingly inevitable ahead of the crucial clash.
There have been suggestions from some quarters that a call up for Jonathan Trott as a replacement for beleaguered batsman Ravi Bopara is on the cards when England name their squad on Sunday.
And speculation has run wild surrounding a one-off return for Mark Ramprakash, demonstrating the seemingly desperate situation in which England selectors currently find themselves as they seek to save the series.
But, with Australia improving and apparently over the troubles that hampered their performances earlier in the series, Katich believes the momentum has now swung firmly in the tourists' favour.
"It's nice at this point in time to be going 1-1 into the final Test, given that we have won the last Test and played so convincingly," he said.
"Now the pressure is on them to pick a team first and see how they respond.
"I think the difference (between 2005) is that we were going in under different circumstances," added Katich.
"Last time we were sort of scrounging our way through the series fighting to stay in games - and I know in the third Test we hung on for a draw, the fourth Test we lost, so the momentum was well and truly with England.
"This time round we've managed to get it back late at Edgbaston and now winning so well at Headingley.
"But that means nothing. It all depends how we start day one, so that's going to be the key now, making sure we go out there and start well.
"We saw at Lord's, we didn't start well there and we paid the price."
With it looking increasingly likely that The Oval pitch will assist the spinners, Katich and Australia's other part-time spinners have been getting in some bowling practice in the nets.
"I've certainly been putting in a few yards in the nets to make sure I'm ready if required," he added.
"And also we've got Marcus North and Michael Clarke who have rolled their arm over as well," he said.
"It'll be a tough decision because (specialist spinner) Nathan (Hauritz) has done a great job throughout the series and obviously missed out at Headingley.
"But The Oval does spin, so I'm sure he'll come into calculations."