Ashes 2013-14: Alastair Cook says 100th Test will be his toughest

Third Ashes Test

  • Venue: The Waca, Perth
  • Date: 13-17 December
  • Start: 02:30 GMT

Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary from 01:55 GMT on Friday 13 December on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave and via the BBC iPlayer Radio app, BBC Sport website & BBC Sport app; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Captain Alastair Cook says his 100th Test will be the "toughest" of his career as England look to turn around the Ashes after two heavy defeats.

Australia will regain the urn if they win the third Test, which starts in Perth on Friday at 02:30 GMT.

The tourists, who have won the last three Ashes series, have won just once - in 1978 - in 12 Tests at the ground.

When asked whether his 100th Test would be the toughest of his career, Cook said: "I think it's a fair point."

England at the Waca

  • England have lost eight of their 12 Tests at the Waca
  • Their only victory at the ground came against a weakened Australia side in 1978
  • In the 2010-11 Ashes they were beaten by 267 runs, with Mitchell Johnson taking match figures of 9-82

He added: "After what's happened so far, I'd say so. Your next challenge is always the toughest."

The only side in Ashes history to come back from 2-0 down to win was the Australian side led by Don Bradman in 1936-37.

It will be a tall order for England to achieve the feat, after the 218-run defeat in Adelaide followed a 381-run loss in the opener in Brisbane.

They have only passed 200 runs once in four innings so far. Worse still, England have failed to reach 400 runs in any of their innings in seven Tests against Australia this year.

However, Cook added: "Our confidence has taken a hit after the first two matches but the squad has made a real conscious effort. We have to look forward, rather than look back.

100 Test milestones

Michael Clarke
  • Cook and Clarke will be the 57th and 58th players to play 100 Tests; Cook is the 11th for England and Clarke the 12th for Australia
  • Cook made his debut in 2006 and reaches the milestone at the age of 28 years and 353 days; Clarke, who made his debut in 2004, will be 32 years and 255 days
  • Cook has scored 7,883 runs at an average of 47.20 with 25 hundreds; Clarke has made 7,940 runs at 52.58 with 26 centuries

"I don't think it's been about lifting the players. That hunger and desire has always been there in this side. We have got another opportunity to show it this week."

The tourists have struggled against the short ball and, in particular, the bowling of left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson, who has taken 17 wickets in the two opening Tests.

Cook said: "It's down to individuals. I think our shot selection against him [Johnson] at certain times has been quite poor in this series and I think that's why he has had a lot of success against us."

England coach Andy Flower has said he will make changes to the team, with seamer Tim Bresnan expected to return from injury, while Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin could also come into contention.

Bairstow, like fellow Yorkshire batsman Ballance, was made available to play for the England Performance Programme this week, and responded with a second-innings 123 on Thursday as the tourists recorded a four-wicket win in their three-day match against Western Australia Second XI in Perth.

Meanwhile Australian captain Michael Clarke, who will also play in his 100th Test in Perth, was confident fast bowler Ryan Harris would overcome a sore knee to play, but will wait until after the toss to name the team.

"We don't know the team at this stage now," he said. "We're going to wait for the toss. We'll see how everyone pulls up after training and it'll give us another opportunity to look at the wicket as well."

Forecast

"Temperatures in Perth have recently been on the rise and are set to hit a maximum just in time for England to take on Australia in the third Test.

"It's expected to be dry, sunny and very hot throughout the test with temperatures expected to hit a sweltering 36-38C during Friday to Monday. By Tuesday, a cooler prospect of 30C but more humid with the wind switching to a south-westerly."

However, all-rounder James Faulkner has been ruled out of the third Ashes Test with a fractured thumb.

The heat will be a factor, with temperatures expected to hit 36-38C during Friday-Monday.

Clarke added: "It's going to be hot and they're going to be long days, but I think both teams will find it quite hot."

Ahead of his 100th Test Cook said: "It's a huge honour for me to join the 100 club, one I never thought I'd get to when I started playing.

"It is a special day, and it would make it even more special if we can produce a performance we are capable off."

Clarke added: "In regards to being your 100th Test, its not a focus at all. It's fantastic that I have been able to play 99 Tests for my country and it's something that I'm proud of.

"But it's about having the a chance to win the Ashes and continue to perform like we have in first two Tests."

LINE-UPS

Australia (from): Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Steve Smith, George Bailey, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon, Doug Bollinger, Nathan Coulter-Nile.

England (from): Alastair Cook (captain), Michael Carberry, Joe Root, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Ben Stokes, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, James Anderson, Graeme Swann, Monty Panesar, Steven Finn, Gary Ballance, Boyd Rankin.

THIRD TEST STATISTICS

Alastair Cook will be the quickest player to play 100 Tests from debut - his seven years and 286 days beating Andrew Strauss's eight years and 88 days.

Cook, at 28 years and 353 days, will be the youngest to play 100 Tests, passing Sachin Tendulkar who played his when aged 29 years and 134 days.

Kevin Pietersen needs 12 runs to become the fifth player to score 8,000 Test runs for England unless Cook, who needs 117, gets there first.

Pietersen also needs 35 runs to become the 11th player to score 2,000 for England against Australia.

Stuart Broad needs 80 runs to become the 17th player and third Englishman after Botham and Flintoff to reach the double of 2,000 runs and 200 wickets in Tests.

Graeme Swann needs one wicket to go past Brian's Statham's 252 into sixth place among England wicket-takers.

Michael Clarke needs 60 runs to become the sixth player to score 8,000 Test runs for Australia.

SERIES SO FAR

21-25 Nov: First Test, Brisbane: Australia won by 381 runs

5-9 Dec: 2nd Test, Adelaide: Australia won by 218 runs

13-17 Dec: 3rd Test, Perth

26-30 Dec: 4th Test, Melbourne

3-7 Jan 2014: 5th Test, Sydney