Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Boyd Rankin's Ashes Diary: Our aim is to spring back to ashes life with Adelaide win

Boyd Rankin bowls during day one of the tour match between the Chairman's XI and England, the perfect warm-up he hopes for the Tourists to level the series against Australia

The countdown is well under way here in Adelaide for tomorrow's second Test, a game we know we can win but definitely cannot afford to lose.

We all trained yesterday afternoon and everybody is fit, including Tim Bresnan (pictured) who is back with the squad. He is another pace bowler but his return makes us stronger.

He's done really well for England in the past and he obviously puts pressure on the other bowlers to try and take his place. But we want to try and win games of cricket for England so we have to put our strongest XI.

We have to fight back after the first Test defeat and all the lads are really up for it. We have had a bit of time to look back at what mistakes we made and are working hard to try and rectify them for this Test match. So we will come out fighting and push for a win.

It's a drop-in pitch at Adelaide and we had a look at it yesterday. It looks a good wicket. It's flat, but then all the wickets here have been good for batting on this season. It's a bit of a bowler's graveyard but we just have to play the best cricket we can and hopefully come out on the right side.

Obviously I want to push for selection in every match so I just keep doing the things I have been doing that have got me here, working hard and I'll wait for my chance. So if it's not this game, hopefully the next game. But the bottom line is that we get the right XI on the field and if I'm not part of it I'm there to support the lads.

I thought I bowled ok in Alice Springs last weekend, against the Chairman's XI. It was only a two-day game but you have to treat it exactly the same as a Test match and try and get into the same frame of mind. Basically you bat one day and bowl the other day.

I would have liked to have picked up a few more wickets and although there was a bit of bounce, it was quite a slow wicket. Because of the extreme heat we only got short spells. That is sometimes good, sometimes not so good. I like the longer spells to get into a bit of rhythm, but I was relatively pleased with the way I bowled and it was just great to get an opportunity in a match situation.

The selectors have to decide who is going to move to No 3 to replace Jonathan Trott this week. Ian Bell, my county team-mate, has been England's No 5 for a long time but he has batted No 3 for Warwickshire.

Whether it is him or Joe Root they will not let us down and it's not something either of them will worry about.

They will go about their business the way they normally do, it's just a different batting position. Trotty was there for a long time but one of those lads will have to step up over the next four Tests to help England.

I've known Joe for quite a while, we were involved in the England Performance Programme together. He has done really well since he came into the England team and he is a great talent and definitely has a long future in the game. He opened the batting during the summer so I suppose he would be more used to facing the new ball if he does bat at 3. But it's two good options we have.

I played with Gary Ballance at Derbyshire for the few years I was there. He is the nephew of Davy Houghton who was the Derbyshire coach then, so I've known him for a long time and he has done well for Yorkshire over the last few years.

He has a great temperament and it looks to be between him and Ben Stokes for the No 6 position, but Gary got a few runs in Alice Springs. It was unfortunate he got run out, but if he gets the call he won't let anyone down.

The first innings is really important. We have to bat for as long as we can and put a big total on the board and keep their bowlers in the field for a long time. If we do that we have a great chance of winning the game.

Today will be a light training session because the bowlers had a good work out yesterday. Some players, like Jimmy Anderson, don't usually bowl the day before a game while Stuart Broad would bowl a few overs to keep him ticking over. It just depends on each individual.

The rest of us have to train as if we are going to play in the Test. I usually like to bowl 3-4 overs the day before a game and it will be no different today. The side is normally named the day before the game before we leave training, so all the lads will know the situation.

Finally, congratulations to Jimmy Anderson on his nomination for the ICC Test Player of the Year. He is the leader of the attack for England and is a great guy you can chat to about bowling. He has been a great help to me on this tour, even though we are different types of bowlers. He is happy to share his skills and to pass on a few tips about reverse swing, for example, and field placings. You are always learning in this game.

It's farewell to one green hero but I could be up against a lot more at World Cup

i hear that David Healy has retired from football. He has been a huge part of Northern Ireland football over the last 10 years.

My favourite memory of him was scoring that goal against England in 2005. Myself, William Porterfield, Eoin Morgan and a few of the other Irish lads were in London that night.

We were watching the match, I remember, in the Walkabout Bar among all the English fans and when we scored we went crazy. That was a great night.

Staying with football and it was a bad result for Liverpool on Sunday.

If they are trying to push for top four then they shouldn't be losing to Hull. Being a Liverpool fan you get those results now and again, and hopefully we can bounce back.

I have also been keeping a close eye on the Ireland cricket team and it was great to see them doing well and qualify for another tournament, the World Twenty20.

I keep in contact with Purdy (captain William Porterfield) and sent a text to TJ (Trent Johnston).

And if Ireland get through to the second stage, I hear England will be one of Ireland' opponents.

It is a bit of a strange format where the qualifiers have to qualify to get into the main stage, but if Ireland get through it will be another great occasion.

We have now been away for six weeks so it's getting on for my longest tour. And if I'm involved with the one-day squad that will be another month, so I'm prepared for another two months Down Under. But as it's been quite hectic, you don't really have time to think about being away for so long.

There are some tours where I would miss home a lot but this tour is pretty special in that it is the Ashes and we're in Australia. There are loads of things to do on our days off and it makes it easier in being away.

I'm meeting up with Ant Botha tonight, whom I played with at Derbyshire. He's been living in Adelaide for the last few years and there also quite a few guys from Bready, my home town club, who are out in Melbourne, so I have a few days planned to meet up with them over Christmas.

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