Though England were taken unawares by the resurgent raw pace of Australia seamer Mitchell Johnson, England batsman Kevin Pietersen has warned that the visitors won't be caught with their pants down again.
Johnson tore through England's top order in the first innings with a match-turning six wicket haul that propelled Australia to a thumping 267-run victory that levelled the five-match series at 1-1.
"It definitely took us by surprise, for sure, but he bowled well, bowled really, really well, he bowled a really good game of cricket, Pietersen, who was trapped plumbed in front for a duck by Johnson in Perth, told reporters.
"Obviously we're going to prepare ourselves for that swinging ball. We knew he was going to swing it, but we didn't think he was going to swing it that much."
Johnson said he relished taking Pietersen's wicket and described him as a 'smart-arse' after the South African-born batsman had asked him tauntingly for his phone number so they could be "best mates".
Johnson turned him down, and Pietersen, who remains firm friends with Australia's retired leg-spinner Shane Warne, confirmed there was some animosity between them.
"I don't have a relationship with Mitchell Johnson," Pietersen said, repeating himself when pushed to clarify.
Australia's bowlers credited their improved performance at Perth in part to recurrent acrimony that led them to exchange heated words with a number of English batsmen while softening them up with furious short-pitched bowling.
Pietersen denied England had been fazed by any verbal tirades and said he had heard worse when up against the likes of Australia's Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath during England's last Ashes tour four years prior.
"I haven't seen or heard anything different to anything that's happened in the first two Test matches let alone last year in England," he said.
Pietersen also was oblivious to the controversy over the choice of pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) where the fourth Test begins on Sunday.
The English media have picked a bone with the head groundsman of the MCG for supposedly choosing a grassier wicket more suited to Australia's pacemen, rather than a drier track that might favour England and especially, spinner Graeme Swann.
"Of course, they're going to do it, they just had success in Perth with a bouncy wicket, but we've had success around the world with bouncy wickets," Pietersen said.