The Ashes: We`re not scared of Johnson, says Flower
Sydney: Coach Andy Flower insists England are not scared of Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson, and says the tourists` dismal record in Perth will have no bearing on the outcome of the pivotal third Ashes Test.
Johnson terrorised the England batsmen in Brisbane and Adelaide, taking his side to the brink of reclaiming the Ashes after three consecutive series defeats.
And the left-arm quick, who has taken 17 wickets with his 150 kilometres-an-hour (93 miles-an-hour) deliveries, has been tipped to bowl even faster on his home ground, the WACA, in the match starting on Friday.
Despite the England batsmen being bruised and battered, Flower rejected claims they were afraid of Johnson.
"I wouldn`t say scared," he said.
"One thing I would say about playing fast bowling is that our batsmen have to display the combination of skill and determination to bat long periods against it.
"Because if we do expose our lower order, they will struggle against that sort of pace. So the responsibility lies with the batsmen in that regard."
Johnson Wednesday said he was excited by the chance to fire in some bouncers at England on his home turf, but he doesn`t plan to focus too much on the speed gun.
"I`m not worried about bowling 155, 160 clicks," he said. "I don`t think that`s important to me. When my rhythm is on, the ball comes out the way it does and it`s at good pace."
England have a sorry record in Perth, where their only win in 12 attempts came in 1978. But they must find a way to halt the Australian juggernaut since victory would give the hosts an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series.
Flower is undaunted by his side`s previous struggles at the WACA but is hoping captain Alastair Cook wins the toss so the team can bat first and post a big score.
"I think past glories mean nothing in this context," Flower said on the England and Wales Cricket Board website.
"We`ve got a big challenge to stop the momentum of the opposition and to get ahead in the game. We had Australia 130 for six in Brisbane, but since then they`ve been ahead in both games."
England`s second-innings 312 at Adelaide was the first time they have passed 200 in the series, with a number of batsmen, including Cook, struggling for form. Flower challenged his players to be more selective with their strokes.
"The challenge at Perth will be to assess those conditions accurately and have clarity on the risk/reward that you always have to judge when you`re batting," he said.
While Adelaide offered a pitch suitable for spinners, with Monty Panesar selected alongside Graeme Swann, Perth is more of a fast-bowlers track and Flower suggested there would be changes.
"We have taken some serious hits but we do have a squad full of people who are determined to turn the ship around, and that`s what we must do," he said.
"We`ll assess those conditions and see who will best be able to help us take 20 wickets."