CRAIG OVERTON insists England “are not panicking just yet” despite going 2-0 down in the Ashes.
The Somerset seamer enjoyed his Test debut in Adelaide, despite England’s 120-run defeat –and the small matter of a painful bruise on his rib cage after a short ball from Pat Cummins arrowed into him.
Australia can regain the urn with victory in Perth, but Overton insists the tourists can keep the series alive with a result at the WACA.
“Obviously (the result in Adelaide) was a bit disappointing,” he said. “But we showed in parts we can compete with them ... we are confident we can perform well and win (in Perth).
“We are not panicking just yet.”
England’s brief hopes of a remarkable comeback victory had become unrealistic by the time Cummins struck him in the chest on day five.
It’s part of cricket that they are going to come hard at you, and it is just a case of making sure you deal with it the right way.England’s Craig OVerton
But as a tailender, Overton reflects on a first Test experience which brought him an unbeaten 41 in his maiden innings, as well as four wickets, and the wince from his sore rib is quickly replaced by a broad smile.
Asked if he has ever had to withstand a barrage of bouncers like those from Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, he said: “Probably not in first-class cricket – not like that, no.
“You can get one (bowler) like that in a game, but to have three is tough work. But you have to expect that in Australia. I knew what I was getting into.
“It was good fun, and I felt like I played it pretty well.”
Overton was determined from the outset to make the most of his debut.
“I think you have to enjoy it,” he added. “It’s part of cricket that they are going to come hard at you, and it is just a case of making sure you deal with it the right way.
“For me, it’s not all about survival. You have to score as well ... and try to get down the other end, because you don’t want to be facing six balls an over at your head consistently.”
Australia have made it abundantly clear they will continue to rough up England’s lower-order batsmen, and it did not take a genius to work out what was coming Overton’s way when he faced up at No 9.
“You could tell from the field – especially when Cummins came round the wicket,” he said.
“You know it’s probably going to be pretty short, so you are almost set up waiting for it and just hope to get a bat on it.”
Cummins came up with one delivery that had him flummoxed, though, and managed to miss his chest-pad too.
“Ever since I started in first-class cricket I have worn one, because you can’t bowl with a broken rib,” said Overton.
The indications are nonetheless that he will be fit for the WACA next week.
“It’s a bit sore, but I’ll be fine,” he insisted. “I haven’t had a scan or anything, but we think it’s just bruising. We’re not too worried.”
England will have a short break, before things get serious again, including one evening without the midnight curfew imposed by team management after Jonny Bairstow’s mis-judged bar-room greeting for Australia opener Cameron Bancroft when they were last in Perth six weeks ago.
Moeen Ali, set to captain his country for the first time, will be the only member of the Adelaide Test team in action against a Cricket Australia XI this weekend, with squad and Lions players, including fit-again fast bowler Mark Wood, completing the line-up.
The two-day warm-up game will start tomorrow at Richardson Park in Perth.
The 12-man squad named by the ECB is: Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jake Ball (Nottinghamshire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Mason Crane (Hampshire), Tom Curran (Surrey), Ben Duckett (Northamptonshire), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Keaton Jennings (Lancashire), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Liam Livingstone (Lancashire), and Mark Wood (Durham).