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Ashes: Alastair Cook looks ahead to the challenge in Perth

Alastair Cook has no concerns about England's motivation at the WACA and Australia captain Michael Clarke is optimistic Ryan Harris will be fit.

Alastair Cook: will play his 100th Test at the WACA

England captain Alastair Cook insists he is keeping his stress levels under control despite a desperate start to the Ashes series.

Cook must somehow find a way to lead his team back into contention in his own 100th Test at the WACA on Friday, with the tourists having lost the first two matches by a landslide.

No team has fought back to win the Ashes from 2-0 down since Australia managed the feat almost 80 years ago.

"I don't pace the corridor," Cook said. "It's quite nice lying in your pit, thinking 'I don't have to get up'.

"But there are moments when you aren't thinking 'it's just a game'. It's hurting so much and it's such a disappointment to you."

With England in a critical position in the series, Cook admits his own 100th Test cap has become something of an afterthought.

"It's of little relevance now, because it's about trying to turn this around. It's a nice little milestone to have personally, but the big picture is about trying to get a better performance out of ourselves."

Pace bowler Mitchell Johnson has been England's chief tormentor so far, routing them in two collapses in Brisbane and then Adelaide with 17 wickets in the series.

They must therefore somehow limit the damage at least, and Cook is encouraged by Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen's century stand in the second innings in Adelaide.

Challenge

"That is a challenge for us," he added. "That little glimpse of the way Rootie and Kev played in that partnership shows what we can do. I think he only got one for 80 in that last innings."

There have been other pressing areas of concern too, of course, as England have so evidently failed to consolidate the superiority of their 3-0 Ashes victory at home last summer.

"I feel all right. When things don't go well as a captain, it's a tough, tough place to be. But I am still looking forward to the fight and still wanting to get out there - which I think is a good sign."

Alastair Cook

Cook insists, nonetheless, he is bearing up. "It has been a challenging few weeks and it's kind of do or die in this series," he said.

"(But) I feel all right. When things don't go well as a captain, it's a tough, tough place to be.

"But I am still looking forward to the fight and still wanting to get out there - which I think is a good sign.

"(I am still) desperate to try to use all my experience and knowledge as a young leader to try to turn this around."

Cook's own poor form has been part of the problem, especially falling twice cheaply to Johnson in Adelaide - for just a single, after mis-hooking to fine leg, in the second innings.

"Shot selection has let us down at times in this series," he said. "We have fallen into traps we shouldn't have fallen into. You wish sometimes when you are walking off that you had your shot again."

Who will win the third Test?

  • Australia
  • England
  • Draw