Cricket Expert & Columnist
Ashes 2013/14: Boyd Rankin will give England extra zip in Perth
Brutal heat means seamers will benefit from selectors sticking with Swann...
Last Updated: 12/12/13 11:43am
The ones we played on in 2006 and 2010 looked very green a day or so before the game whereas this one looks like a belter and there should be plenty of pace and bounce.
It's unbelievably hot in the middle, brutal even, so I'd be surprised if England drop Graeme Swann - even though he has only taken four wickets at 99 apiece - and go in without a spinner because it is a big ask to rely solely on your seamers in these conditions.
So if England go with one spinner and retain Ben Stokes, they can bring one seamer in. By the sound of things Steve Finn is a little bit off his game at the moment and I'm not sure Chris Tremlett has quite got the zip for this wicket, whereas Rankin bowls at 86-87mph.
England may just think 'actually, let's just go with tried and tested, the people we know will perform for us', in which case Tim Bresnan will do a good job on this wicket.
He's not going to blast people away but he won't give Australia many scoring opportunities either and he can contribute with the bat as well. Personally, I'd pick Rankin but I wouldn't be surprised if England go with Bresnan.
There is likely to be a result here and if England can get on the right side of that result then they are right back in the series.
I still think the Australian line-up is quite vulnerable. The likes of Chris Rogers, Shane Watson and Steve Smith are all averaging 30 or under and have struggled so far.
I don't think this wicket suits Michael Clarke's style of play so much and if England can get him early - and his record isn't as good here as it is at other venues - then they have a chance but, obviously, their batsmen have to improve against Mitchell Johnson.
Johnson's record here is phenomenal - in five Tests on this ground he's never taken less than five wickets - so given the form he's in, it doesn't augur all that well for the England players.
Generally the top-order has played him ok but the middle and lower order have struggled so the onus is on the guys at the top to ensure that if they do get in, they don't get 50s, they get hundreds - and big hundreds. If they can do that, it means that Johnson will have bowled around 25 overs already and will be operating at closer to 80mph than 90mph when the middle-order comes in.
When you bat at Perth you know you are going to get plenty of bouncers and short balls so getting through the first 10-15 runs can be very tough. The majority of batsmen will be dismissed behind the wicket - you are not going to get too many bowled or lbws - so the slip fielders are crucial.
You've got to leave the ball really well but you can leave on length and let full balls go over the top of the stumps.
But once you get in and the ball gets older it can be very hard for a fielding side to stem the flow of runs because batsmen can hit through the line of the ball and play plenty of hook and cut shots.
The challenge for all of the batsmen is to get through that initial spell and that's why touring teams generally struggle here because they try to play on the up early on.
Alastair Cook - who like Clarke is playing his 100th Test - will know that better than most after scoring a hundred on his first visit in 2006, although oddly he didn't make a fifty in the phenomenal series he had in 2010/11.
As skipper he will have had so much to deal with mentally over the last few days but he must focus on his own game as well as the captaincy.
He struggled in Adelaide against Johnson so he'll be working on that as well as having his say on selection and how he can inspire the team to turn things around.
It's a huge challenge but he has come through plenty of difficult times before so there is no reason to say he can't handle this week.
England will have looked at their dire recent record at Perth and said 'it's time to put this straight'.
The batsmen can turn it around but they need the mental fortitude and the bravery to counter this Australian bowling attack.
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.