Flower is ready to turn screw on Watson and Hussey

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England awoke yesterday morning to the mocking sound of rain on their hotel window panes in Perth – but Andy Flower was in no mood to mope about what might have been in the third Test.

Flower told it straight as he reflected on the tourists' 267-run series-levelling defeat, before lunch on day four.

It is unlikely perhaps that unexpected bad weather could have saved England at the WACA. But a little more batting backbone – they were bowled out twice in under 100 overs – might have made it interesting.

There would certainly have been no play on the scheduled final morning – and, just as Australia had to sit and watch a thunderstorm erupt over Adelaide within minutes of their defeat two weeks ago, so England had good reason to kick themselves in the rain too.

Coach Flower, however, is already much more concerned with how to put things right in the fourth Test at the MCG on Boxing Day.

"That's just reality. We lost in three-and-a-half days; we can't get away from it," he said. "So we move on to use our time as wisely as possible."

England know the routine, of course, from recent experiences – having had to drag themselves back from landslide defeat at Headingley last year, to clinch the Ashes at the Brit Oval.

Whether it is more difficult on tour is a moot point, but at least the players have a helpful distraction in the presence of their families as they try to switch off and then back on again in time to try to win the Ashes in Melbourne and Sydney.

"The families are by the by," said Flower. "We've got to regroup after this defeat here, and come back hard in Melbourne.

"This was always going to be a fight, and it would have been naive to think otherwise.

"Coming to Australia to win is a huge challenge – we knew that at the start.

"We played some very good cricket in the first two Tests, but didn't here – and were outplayed."

Australia's man-of-the-match Mitchell Johnson and prolific middle-order batsman Michael Hussey were the two main reasons England faltered in Perth.

But Flower believes they can and will bounce back.

He continued: "The cricket we've played on this tour so far should stand us in good stead.


"The one defeat we've had on tour was here in Perth, and it was a bad defeat for us.

"But we are quite comfortable sticking to the principles we've used for the six weeks on this tour so far.

"They've served us well, and will continue to do so."

As for Hussey, who has topped 500 runs already in five innings this winter, England know they must somehow break the left-hander's apparently 'bulletproof' form.

"Batsmen do sometimes feel that way, yes," Flower agreed. "But we all know how quickly things can turn around.

"We've just seen a very good example of it in a team sense between Adelaide and here.

"The same thing can happen with individuals. He'll be trying his darndest to keep that form going; we want to try to burst it."

However, Flower does not believe victory in Perth makes the Australians invincible, stressing the significance of Hussey and Shane Watson in the series to date.

He added: "There's no doubt that everything is not rosy in their camp.

"One Test match does not create that, so yes we realise that Watson and Hussey have been very good for them so far, and we will be looking to make those most of that in this next Test."

Meanwhile, former Australian fast bowler Geoff Lawson believes England spinner Graeme Swann was intimidated by in-form batsman Michael Hussey in the third Test.

Swann took just two wickets for 103 runs at Perth – just a few days after former England coach Duncan Fletcher claimed Swann had a mental hold over the Australians.

England captain Strauss only used Swann for nine overs in the second innings as Hussey mastered him through some brilliant footwork, the bowler going for more than five runs an over without taking any wickets.

Lawson believes the reason Swann was used so briefly was that Strauss feared Hussey would inflict some serious psychological damage on the 31-year-old.

He said: "Hussey has intimidated Swann from the very first Test match. Swann had nothing (to stop Hussey)."

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