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I'm ready to answer the call for England to try and save the Ashes: Boyd Rankin

By Boyd Rankin

It's the eve of the Perth Test and I'm ready for the call. The Waca ground is known to have pace and bounce – they say it's the fastest pitch in the world – and so it's probably my best chance of playing.

I have been working very hard on my game and if I get the call-up I am ready to go.

It's just a case of waiting for the team to be announced but we all know they will pick the best 11 to win the Test because, now we are two down with three to play, it is virtually win or bust.

We've got to show no fear and go out and show what the team can do. We haven't shown what we are capable of yet and it's time to get into the battle and fight our way through.

Obviously, it hasn't gone well these last couple of weeks but we are determined to fight back and show what we can do.

We're coming off a pretty bad week for us, still struggling with the bat to get a decent score on the board.

That's what it boils down to, if we get runs on the board it will put Australia under more pressure.

In Test cricket you have to bat long in the first innings, but that hasn't happened yet and we've had two days' hard training in Perth to get our minds right for the next Test.

But we showed a lot of fight in the second innings in Adelaide and we can move forward. Joe Root played really well and Ben Stokes got stuck in and it was nice to see Matt Prior back among the runs. So all good signs there.

With two days to bat, and a victory target of 530, it would have been easy to roll over on day four but we always believed when we were batting in the second innings that we could bat out the two days. We stuck at it pretty well and take that into the Perth game.

Overall, we were pretty happy after day one in Adelaide; it would have been even better if we had held our catches.

If we had got those two extra wickets, we had a chance of bowling them out for 300-350.

But that didn't happen. Australia showed the difference it makes as they took every chance that came their way.

I felt for Ben Stokes when he thought he had his first wicket, only to have it referred as a no-ball. But Ben bowled well that first day and it was nice to see him pick up a couple of wickets.

He's done reasonably well in his first Test and should have more to come.

It was the right decision to go into the game with two spinners.

The pitch was really dry and pretty flat and there was turn, even on the first day.

But Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin batted well on day two, as they did in the first Test, and made a total of 300 into 500 and that put us under pressure.

Even though we lost our captain pretty much straight away, there's always the chance of losing early wickets, but Michael Carberry and Root stuck it out pretty well and dug in to get us through to the close. At that stage, we were looking forward to day three to put on a big total.

But Mitchell Johnson had another good day.

He had a good first Test and brought that confidence into the second Test, but while we didn't play him that well, it was noticeable in the second innings that had come down from 150kph to 140 and that makes a difference.

We have to learn to leave more balls and get him bowling more overs in his legs.

Although Australia had a first innings lead of nearly 400, we knew they would bat again.

They wanted to give their bowlers a rest and as we had batted only 60 overs it didn't give our bowlers much of a break.

So, if it was the other way round, we would have done the same.

But our bowlers came out fighting in the second innings, took a couple early wickets and bowled reasonably well because, basically, with that lead they were able to play with freedom, put on a few runs and then do what they wanted to have a second go.

The timing of the declaration was a bit of a surprise, because there was still a lot of time left in the match, but they were looking at the weather and wanted to have a good bowl in the fourth innings.

They obviously wanted to surprise us and it was only 15-20 minutes before the start of the day when we heard.

I wasn't involved in Adelaide but I did a lot of work with our bowling coach, David Saker.

It's a case of even if you're not playing you're always working at your game and everyone is trying to impress and push their case for selection for the next Test.

When I wasn't bowling in the nets, I was working on my fielding and yes, even my batting.

We have to get used to getting peppered in the match and there's no better way than in the nets to build a technique which you can play that type of bowling, because it has been shown it will be used in this match.

But for now, all I can do is wait for the team announcement and hope I have done enough to make my Test debut.

Belfast Telegraph

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