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Last Updated: Monday, 29 August 2005, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Justin Langer column
Australia opener Justin Langer writes for BBC Sport on every day of the Ashes series
By Justin Langer
Australia Test batsman

You have to be careful what you wish for in life because the world has a way of projecting you towards the picture you paint within your mind.

Before a ball had been bowled in this series Shane Warne was asked how he thought this series would pan out and what he thought the score line may be.

Justin Langer watches nervously from the Australia balcony at Trent Bridge
Langer is preparing for more nail-biting times ahead at The Oval

While he wouldn't be drawn on a result, he did say that, whatever happens, he just hoped the last Test at The Oval would have something riding on it.

At the time I didn't think much of his comment but now, as we look ahead to next Thursday, it would be fair to say that there is something riding on the fifth Test.

In fact, there is a little more than just something riding on the result of next week's blockbuster - everything is riding on the outcome of The Oval Test match.

All the frenzy of this extraordinary series comes down to what happens next week. It is pretty much as simple as that.

If there was tension in the air before the latest Trent Bridge Test match, you can be sure there will be even more in the 10 days' lead-up to the final Test and of course when the game gets under way.

England most certainly hold the upper hand after the victory in Nottingham, but they will know in the back of their minds that they will be in for the fight of their lives - again.

In the past 10 years I have played in many big Test matches but, as it stands, next week will be as big as it gets

Chasing only 129 to win, they could have expected an easy triumph but, as has been proven in the last three Tests, there is no such thing as an easy win in this series.

With players like Brett Lee and Warne in our team, victory for any opponent is never certain until the last run is scored.

Their efforts on Sunday afternoon were simply brilliant and hopefully a taste of what England can expect in the final hurrah of this summer.

With the Ashes on the line for both countries, it is no wonder everyone at home and here in England is waiting with breathless anticipation for next Thursday.

In the past 10 years I have played in many big Test matches but, as it stands, next week will be as big as it gets.

I wonder who will have the greatest nerve for the contest? Just maybe it will be the team who really wants it the most.

You may ask if it can be as simple an equation as that.

But I would suggest that, with the quality of players in both teams, that is indeed what will determine who holds the Ashes in two weeks' time.

From Nottingham,
JL



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