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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2005, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Simon Jones' exclusive column

By Simon Jones
England fast bowler

The second Ashes Test against Australia has to be one of the hardest games I've played in, both mentally and physically.

For two days it was ridiculous - they bowled us out in a day but we still got 407 on the board, and then we bowled them out and it started all over again.

The Aussie team came in the changing rooms afterwards for a beer and they said exactly the same as us - it was one of the weirdest games they have played.

We thought the 107 they needed was a lot for three tail-end batsmen but Shane Warne played really well and so did Brett Lee.

Warne standing on his stumps playing back to Freddie Flintoff was a vital moment because he was looking pretty dangerous.

I could sense the tension in the crowd - they were getting restless and there were Aussies chanting as it got closer.

When I spilled that chance from Michael Kasprowicz on the boundary I really thought I was in trouble.

Edgbaston is one of the hardest grounds to pick the ball out, especially with a full house.

One of the highlights of the match for me had to be batting with Fred, who played like a god
The ball just came flat at me, with the crowd as background. I lost it for a while, picked it up late then it dipped on me. Obviously I was disappointed.

I still thought the boys could do it, but you can't help letting the doubts creep in a little because it was such a tight game.

How did we celebrate after Steve Harmison took that last wicket? We went to an Aussie bar in Birmingham city centre.

The Barmy Army was out in force and there were plenty of Aussie fans, who were all good fun.

I'm sure they would never get bored watching their team win, but Australia have dominated for such a long time I think they're enjoying seeing a battle on the field.

Kevin Pietersen and I both borrowed their headbands - we looked like Dennis Lillee and John McEnroe.

And speaking of sporting legends, one of the highlights of the match for me had to be batting with Fred, who played like a god. Some of his shots were unbelievable

I hit a few fours and hung around. It was a great experience playing Warne and Lee.

The lower-order batsmen - me, Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison have learned that we have to stick around.

If you go in to have a swing it's not going to win us matches but if we can get 30 or 40 it puts us in a very good position, and that's exactly what happened.

Just 24 hours after the match finished, I was on the road up to Manchester for the third Test. The series seems to be going by so quickly.

Back-to-back games are always tough, although the early finish made it a bit easier because we got a day off then two days on the training ground.

And our tour of South Africa last winter, when almost every Test was back-to-back, helped us prepare better.

Old Trafford is probably the quickest pitch we play on, which will be great with the pace attacks both sides have.

The ground is coarse so it will rough the ball up and make it reverse-swing - which is good for me - and there will be turn for the spinners.

The momentum will be with us but don't for one minute believe the Aussies don't think they can come back.

They're the number one side in the world, and have been for 10 years, but we have shown the fighting spirit we have and we intend to show it again this week.


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