December 5, 2006

Action: second Test

England beaten by three phenomenal players

Tim de Lisle
Australia celebrate as Shane Warne bowls Kevin Pietersen, Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, December 5, 2006
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Well that was a rude awakening for England fans on a blustery morning – but what a scintillating performance by Australia. In Steve Waugh's time, the Aussies used to say that it should take something special to beat them. As England lick their wounds, they can at least tell themselves that the same applied: it took something very special to beat them.

They were defeated today by their own timidity, but also by three phenomenal players, two of them bang in form, one returning to it. Shane Warne, who had been at his worst over the weekend, ricocheted back to his best. Outrageous fortune supplied his first wicket as Andrew Strauss was given out caught off his pad. Outrageous willpower did the rest, with help from some skilled reverse-swing from a revitalised Brett Lee. Pride, which had come before Warne’s fall, came swiftly after it too: he may even have been fired up by the stick he took in the press. His wickets in this series have come at a most uncharacteristic cost – an average of 40, and a strike rate of 85 – yet he has still produced two vital four-fors.

The two men in form were Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey. On a day when everybody else either got out or scratched around, they made a hundred between them off only 124 balls, and added a nerve-settling, gate-closing, match-deciding 83 off 16 overs. Ponting’s 49 was almost a failure by his current Elysian standards, but it was just what was needed. Hussey has batted three times in this series, and every time he has built a crucial partnership with Ponting. Today he showed his extraordinary flexibility by abandoning his Test-match grafting and slipping into one-day finisher mode. He was Allan Border in the first innings and Michael Bevan in the second.

Meanwhile England had frozen. Their aggression, so calculated under Michael Vaughan, has gone badly awry. Today they scored only 70 runs off 54 overs. Even allowing for the pitch, that sort of progress was just dreadful. There were plenty of gaps in the field, but they couldn’t find them. After defying gravity for two innings, they finally suffered for their unbalanced batting order – four grafters followed by two big-hitters. Kevin Pietersen, majestic in the first innings, was humbled today. Rob Smyth, over on the Guardian site, spotted that he had said in his book, “I see no way Shane can bowl me round my legs”. Hubris and Nemesis again.

Paul Collingwood, after the euphoria of the first innings, was thrust back into his role of two months ago in the Champions Trophy – the last man standing, scraping an unbeaten 20, the housemate who always clears up the mess. Except that this was too big a mess for one person to clear up. His Steve Waugh-like tendencies do not yet extend to being able to take the tail by the scruff of the neck.

In extreme situations, home truths emerge. It was telling that Hussey was promoted above Damien Martyn. And it was telling that Steve Harmison and James Anderson were virtual spectators. So much comes down to selection. If Australia had been ruthless with their middle order in 2005 and sent for Hussey, they would surely have clung on to the Ashes. Having him now has put them in charge this time.

If England had played a full bowling attack in these two Tests … well, it surely wouldn’t have been this bad. Harmison, Anderson and Giles have taken six for 853 in the series. No team can afford that. The price they have paid for dropping two young bowlers who were doing well, in Panesar and Mahmood, has been an awfully high one.

But it would be wrong to write about England's mistakes without acknowledging my own. Yesterday I wrote as if the game had already been drawn, which was a howler. To those who have written in gleefully pointing this out, I can only say: it's a fair gloat. If I had Photoshop on my computer, you'd see some egg on that picture in the top right-hand corner.

Tim de Lisle is the editor of Intelligent Life magazine and a former editor of Wisden

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Posted by marcus on (December 9, 2006, 22:40 GMT)

Just two points. Firstly, Giles actually took more wickets than Panesar in the warm-up. I think Panesar was and is the better bowler, but at the time Giles was more in form.

Second, all Fletcher did in Adelaide was do exactly what he did last year. It didn't work with nhindsight, but all he was actually doing was using a tried-and-tested means of judging his selections.

Maybe they should replace Giles with Panesar for the next test, keep Anderson (who just took three wickets at Perth) and if one of the fast bowlers fails to fire, then replace THEM with Giles and go with the twin spin attack for Melbourne and Sydney.

Posted by SD on (December 9, 2006, 4:37 GMT)

The english batsmen looked so pathetic even the Zimbabwe bowlers would've rolled them over in the second innings! and they made a hero out of Warne who was truly no where near his best. And the worst was selecting Giles ahead of Panesar after his performence in the first match. and finally, Aussies must thank Steve Bucknor for changing the match. Strausses dismissel was atrocious! It really turned the match upside down.

Posted by K.D on (December 9, 2006, 1:11 GMT)

This Australian Cricket Team are & have been a great champion team. So much went England's way 2005, McGrath Australia's champion strike bowler injured at a critical time, Pieterson dropped at critical stages early on in his innings of 158 in the final test, Ponting's blunder to send England in the second test etc etc. I hear alot of excuses why England performed poorly this match, selection & so on. Truth of the matter England are a reasonable side with potential compared to what they've fielded for decades but definetely not what alot of people have got them cracked up to be. In the Australian outfit we are witnessing the twilight of probably the best cricket team ever & even with maybe the fading skills of some of their champions they are still able to crush & rip out the heart & spirit of a unit sent here to challenge this champion & wound & leave scars for seasons to come potentially. England take heart with the imminent retirement of some of Australia's key players soon to come, your opportunities will come but just make sure you never compare yourself to what this Australian team is & has been. Damain Martyn congratulations on your classy career.

Posted by Anshuman on (December 8, 2006, 20:44 GMT)

This or that. We can go to any extent of shredding the loosers and praising the victor. Outcome in cricket also depends on the performance of the day. If viewed individually, each Englishman has performed well but together they could not make a collective effort to breach the aussies. What is needed is the collective and timely effort by the Englishmen to give aussies a bolt

Posted by George on (December 8, 2006, 12:41 GMT)

The parrots who keep saying Chris Read, Monty Panesar or (snort) Sajid Mahmood were the difference between winning and losing and drawing are clearly incapable of analysing evidence or thinking for themselves. Geraint Jones kept quite capably on this tour, nothing like the fumbler we saw in 2005. His only howler in Adelaide came when the match was already lost. While he didn't take any particularly spectacular catches, he showed remarkable courage and reflexes in standing up at the wicket to the quicks, without conceding too many byes. I saw Panesar, Mahmood & Anderson bowl in the preliminary tour matches. Although the batsmen treated Panesar with deference as demonstrated by his economical bowling, he held few terrors for them. As for the hapless Sajid Mahmood, all I can say is that his only positive contribution would have been to make Anderson look good by comparison had he played in the Test. Again, check his figures in the tour matches. Anderson seemed to do OK in the prelims, so use that as your benchmark.

As for declaring at 550, without hindsight that was completely sensible. Had they declared for 700 on the morning of the 3rd day and the match been drawn, those same critics would have asked why they waited so long, and why they threw away the chance to square the series, and why they put the Aussie batsmen in when they were fresh rather than at the end of a tiring day in the field. And it's all too easy from one's armchair to say that England should have played Mr 700 Wickets more aggressively on Day 5 when he was spinning the ball at 90 degrees. I'd like to see how the critics play the Pietersen ball. If anything was to blame it was the overly defensive batting when conditions were good, and Simon Jones's absence, and the change in umpiring bias to pro-Australian from extreme anti-Australian in 2005. This was a 4 runs per over pitch on days 1-3.

Posted by JonJon on (December 8, 2006, 12:30 GMT)

Tim, I have bad news for you mate - I do not believe Penasar, Mahmood or Read will make one bit of difference to this series. It's not about skill now it's all about pure mental ability. Ricky learned his craft under the most ruthless captain of all - stepping on the throat of the opposition at their most vulnerable.

Posted by Bob on (December 8, 2006, 10:04 GMT)

Well. I called time on Hayden, Langer and Martyn after the first day of the first test. I was heavily attacked by the Aussie faithful on here.

1 down; 2 to go.

It also seems that Flintoff, the ultimate team player, is being neutered by being given a position that sets him apart from that team. The more I think about it the more disastrous the decision to make him captain seems. I won't lie either, I also thought it was a terrible decision to make Vaughan captain when he was the best batsmen in the world. It turned out that Vaughan was a good captain. Hindsight is wonderful. But we need to leave our most talented players to prosper.

What is the betting that when Flintoff drops out for injury and Strauss is made captain the vice-captaincy goes to... Pieterson? It would be, to most, unthinkably stupid, but could very well happen.

Posted by Big Ask on (December 8, 2006, 9:19 GMT)

I have to take issue with those who criticize Giles. I don't mean Giles's selection (Monty should be playing for sure), I mean the man himself. He doesn't pick the team, DF and Freddie do. Ask yourself: if you were an average player, with bills and a mortgage to pay etc, and you were picked, what would you do? At the end of the day these guys have to earn a living. Most of us know work colleagues who try hard, aren't up to the job but they're still there. Do we blame them? No, we blame whoever in management hired them. Giles tries hard, you don't see his head going down when things get tough unlike eg Harmison. He simply isn't good enough. And if anyone suggests he should voluntarily withdraw like Martyn, I'd say (a) away tours don't work like that, (b) Martyn proved himself as a class act over many years while Giles clearly has not. Martyn saw himself going downhill, Giles was never up the hill in the first place.

Blame the selectors by all means, they totally deserve it, but not the man himself.

Posted by Stephen Ralph on (December 8, 2006, 5:29 GMT)

Why doesnt Fletcher go one step further and call for Gough, Caddick, Ramprakash etc seeing as they are the only ones that are performing in County??? ;)

Posted by Pritam on (December 8, 2006, 3:02 GMT)

Re. Strauss's unlucky moment with the umpire. Has everyone forgotten the number of times Martyn and a few of the other Aussies were stuffed by bad calls in 2005? This Ashes series has been remarkable for good umpiring so far.

Posted by sarmad on (December 7, 2006, 21:43 GMT)

All babble aside, England simply are not good enough to beat the Aussies. Their ashes win was just a combination of underperforming visitors, a couple of players performing more than their potential and sheer good luck. Here are some reasons why this time around, England will be crushed and pasted..

1) At the best of their bowling abilites, England can never bowl the Aussies out for less than 400. The only guy who looks remotely threatening is Flintoff ... and iam sure Panesar is no magician.

2) Aussie batting lineup is brutal to say the least. Bowling at their best, the most England can do is have them 250/5 after day 1 with Hussey and Gilchrist at the crease. However one of them will surely score around 150.

3) England batting can never take the attack to the Aussies. They just bowl too many good deliveries. If England leave those good deliveries alone and wait for the bad ones, the best run rate they can achieve is 3.5 and that means batting for two whole days for a decent total. Next see point 2).

4) If by some by some miraclous combination of injuries, England do get in a winning position, they will choke. They did their best to throw away those two matches last time around and this year, this talentless demoralized outfit will struggle to chase any target. The Adelaide performance is something the Barmy Army should get accustomed to.

The best result England can get is 4-0 with one test drawn by a combination of a fighting stand between Pietersen and Flintoff and a day lost to rain.

Posted by Simon on (December 7, 2006, 13:56 GMT)

As an American interested in cricket, last Ashes series was wonderful, but now I've just written England off as the loser and I'm now watching the new Zealand vs. Sri Lanka. Maybe there'll be something interesting other than watching Giles trying to bowl and catch.

Posted by Ben Hanbury-Aggs on (December 7, 2006, 12:41 GMT)

Alright, Tim, I think we should write this series off with Fletcher in charge. Truth is he's still going to keep faith in this team and to go back on himself would be highly unFletcher-esque and self-defeating. What does the future hold if Fletcher remains in charge? Not a lot I fear.

If (oh what a wild dream) I was heading the selection I would be ruthless and look to the future and employ some new tactics. At first it might not be successful, but perseverance pays as proved by Fletcher, from the dark days of the 90s to reclaiming the ashes through consistent selection. The tactics that should be employed are:

1) To get rid of old players who are not up to the job. Jones, Giles, Anderson, Harmison and Trescothick should all go. They are either inconsistent or lack pedigree for a team to be #1 in the world. We should not forget them, for they have got England to where they are to-day, but if you want to be the best you have to be ruthless.

2) Keep useful veterans. Vaughn – the best captain in international cricket, Flintoff – the best all-rounder in international cricket, and Hoggard – the best swing bowler in international cricket all have invaluable contributions left to give and to pass their experience onto the new generation of England cricketers.

3) Young blood. We should look to the future when it comes to selection. Broad, Mahmood, Onions, Tremlett and Smith should all be given their chance as fast-bowlers. Monty Panesar should be playing for sure. Never mind Jones/Read, what about Steve Foster and Matt Prior: both excellent wicket-keepers but both could easily pass as batsmen. Chopra, Ali and Joyce as replacements for Collingwood and Vaughn when they retire. Cook, Bell, Pietersen have all done wonders for this side when they’ve come in and now our batting looks superb if undermined by Fletcher’s “we need a strong tail for when the top-order fails”.

4) Specialisation. For an average team, runs down the order is vital, but now we have such a wealth of batting talent that we are sacrificing great bowling talents such as Panesar for the sake of a few extra runs on the board when as proven by England’s first innings, we can get enough runs on the board without the tail.

5) Take ODI cricket seriously. In order to progress we cannot rely purely upon one form of the game. It’s not good for morale and it has a knock on effect in the test arena too, as shown by Adelaide and the Aussie chase. Also this policy of immersing potential England test players into the demoralising ODI format has to stop. Mahmood and Plunkett both took terrible figures and it’s not a game for youngsters to learn their trade; that is what county cricket is for.

I think it’s all very well saying we should have done this or that, but we have to learn from our mistakes and move on and say thank you to the legends of 2005 and progress.

Posted by Gaurav on (December 7, 2006, 11:04 GMT)

Hoping that Tim will let this one go through unlike some of my previous comments on his blog which were trashed:

Much has been said & written with in a couple of days of England conceding the 2nd test, whenever there is a loss, fingers will be pointed. There is no two ways about that, and no one knows it better than an Indian cricket fan :) Considering that this team has no Vaughan, Tres and Thorpedo, Bucher days are over. I think this English team has after all not done that badly so far, they were out played by a better team in the first test and in the second test, they lacked the killer instinct when it mattered the most.

I still back this team to come good, Freddie is as inspirational a captain as England will ever have. Hoggard looks to be in prime form & KP, Collingwood have shown that they can play big innings against the world's best bowling attacks.

India defeated Australia in a similar match down under where aussies got 500+ in the first innings so I don't support the rubbish reasoning that a match is in the bag after you've done that in the first inning.

I am no selector so I would refrain from picking a side for England, all I would say is good luck to Freddie & co.

I want this series to come alive in the 3rd test !

Posted by Rygers on (December 7, 2006, 9:52 GMT)

As a South African I hate seeing the Aussies winning as much as anybody so I'm really hoping England sort it out pronto. My only point is that if England were so concerned about the No8 batting position why not select Dalrymple (though I did notice he may not be fit). He had a cracking summer with the bat, showing he has the mental strength to hold it together. He's a far more fluent batsman than Giles and has been playing regular cricket. He offers steady off-spin which could be useful against those pesky left-handers (bring those slips into play), would partner up nicely with Panesar (if England go with two spinners) and can field (all this lumbering around in the outfield drives me insane).

Posted by Gabbar on (December 7, 2006, 9:16 GMT)

England clearly need new breakfast cereal. I smiled when I read how Andrew Strauss "nearly choked on his cornflakes" when he saw the headlines the day after the one day match against the PM's Eleven. "We lost the Ashes to this Mob??"

I bet cornflakes and anything with hard stuff in it has been banned from the breakfast room now for fear of mass injury. Maybe they don't even bother to read the papers, which is a pity becaues they might just pick up a few good tips.

For me, after the disgusting send off Justin Langer received at the Oval in 2005 from parts of the Barmy Army crowd (I was there) after he made an excellent hundred with Hayden who matched him in the century scoring department, his performance in the first test was nothing short of splendid. I know there have been several much larger scores this series so far than his two innings in the first test, but I reckon his display of skill and determination in that test exemplify the attitude of the entire Aussie team to this series and has gone far in setting in place what has occurred already.

I seem to recall that just prior to the series that Duncan Fletcher rated Steve Harmison as the best bowler in the world. I wondered then. I don't wonder any more.

Posted by mark mcfarland on (December 7, 2006, 7:00 GMT)

I wonder if cricket commentators actually watch cricket these days. Did any of them watch England's comic displays against Pakistan this time last year. If you want to see batting collapses that are easily on a par with today, watch the tape of England's second innings in third test at Lahore. Needing to bat all day to save the match, England got to lunch with 200-odd on the board, two down and with Bell and Collingwood humming along. It couldn't have been more than 90 minutes later and England were all out to some of the best spin bowling (Kaneria) and inept mass panics I have ever witnessed. The climax was Hoggard almost being bowled over his head by Shoaib.

England should have won that series, but contrived, every time they had a chance to win, to lose and be humiliated through inept batting and paniced leadership.

Wake up guys. Adelaide wasn't a humiliation. It was just normal service resumed.

Posted by mark on (December 7, 2006, 6:29 GMT)

As an australian being two up isnt at all surprising seen as though we have been playing against a team which refuses to play there best eleven. How could you choose Ashley Giles ahead of Panesar, Giles is a joke, at least with Panesar you have a bowler capable of running through Australia, Giles would be lucky to get 5for in a second eleven game. Monty would have been a handfull in Adelaide and i bet australia was happy they didnt have to contend with him. James Anderson has not improved from the last time he was here, if anything hes worse, and him getting a game ahead of mahmood just plays into australias hands as mahmood is the perfect bowler for australian pitches, hes tall, bangs the ball into the pitch and can get movement at good pace, its a no brainer if you ask me. Anyway whats wrong with JON LEWIS, as far as im concerned hes the best bowler in england, bar flintoff and simon jones, but for some strange reason he never seems to get a game. The batting looks good but with the bowling attack used in the first two test would struggle to bowl Zimbabwe out let alone the best team in the world on there own decks. Surely an attack of Hoggard, Flintoff, Harmison, Panesar and either Mahmood or Lewis would strick more fear into the aussies then Hoggard, Flintoff, Anderson, Harmison and Giles. Im also pretty sure Chris Read could have made as many runs as Jones has so far.

Posted by neutral on (December 7, 2006, 5:45 GMT)

Even though England's loss at Adelaide was shocking , it was not surprising. The reason is England has been losing most of its one day games and failed to win several simple test matches against pakistan and sri lanka. Contrast this with Micheal Vaughan's team who won almost everything everywhere..like South africa, windies, and even were good enough to be in the finals of the champions trophy that year. However, esteemed English writers like Time De lisle swept England's form under the carpet and instead donned their cheerleader outfits. You cannot be a good team overnight; similarly you also cannot be a bad team overnight. England did not suddenly become a bad team at the Adelaide oval. The process was kickstarted by Duncan Fletcher with his chopping and changing throughout the year. England have been inconsitent throughout the year and the results are there for everyone to see.

Posted by Vineet Gupta on (December 7, 2006, 5:00 GMT)

After reading some of the blogs posted by my dear English friends I really think that they are just trying to console themselves rather then accepting the fact that Australians are still far far superior than the poms(I am really sad and disappointed to say so).After witnessing one of the brutal display of Aussie dominance on the last day of Adelade oval I have no hope that ENgland will be able to make any kind of further impression on this test series. What England has done on that last day, they not only spoiled a chance of coming back strongly in the series but also demolished any hope of making it one more competitive and entertaining Ashes series in continuation of Ashes 2005. And for this England has no body to blame but themselves. Couple of tactical mistakes and selection blunders have cost them the match and I am pretty sure who is behind this. I am not a mind reader but I can tell why Duncan Fletcher continued with James Anderson rather then opting for Panesar even though pitch would have been more suitable to Panesar and even though Jammy had a miserable game at Gabba.The only reason is, Fletcher thought they had same kind of start in Ashes 2005 at Lords, but even then they persisted with same team combination and were able to make a come back. But he shud have been having a more distant vision and realised that at Lords even though they lost but they were able to make an impression while at Gabba they got a thrasing from Aussies.Apart from this if I wud have been at Duncan's place I would send Gerant Jones first flight to home. His wicket keeping capabilities are always second to Read but he has been selected for his better(so called) batting temprament at lower middle order but the shot on which he got out by no means conveys the same message to me. Ball is swinging, Team is in trouble, you need to abide time at crease and what he did, a stupid shot at a crucial time. Being positive is one thing and playing a nothing shot is another and I dont think Jones knows the difference between two. People might blame Collingwood but I am in full support of what he did. I dont think it was easy to play your shots against warn and co. perticularly when batsmen at other end are showing no intent to stay at crease, and why he was taking singles with tailenders? since scoring runs was also as crusial as staying at crease but with sensible shots not with a rush of blood what Jones did. And till Hoggard he would have really thought that may be some one will be able to keep 2-3 deliveris away from Aussies bombbarders. At this stage I really dont have any idea with what Team combination England shud go to Perth. But Jones should really be thrown out. It would really be like rubbing salt on wounds if he drops ponting to a regulation catch from Harmison. Probably time has come for Giles to make way for Panesar and also a time for Sajid Mahmood to show if he can make any difference. Now it's Engalnd who has to make things happen by trying different things out. Simon Jones is being missed badly but this should not be any excuse for the dismal bowling performances.Situation is really bad when one bowler reminds of other and that is what James anderson is doing. I read some where that now England needs a young Botham, a fit Vaughan and a Borrowed Bradman to make a come back and I do not think any of this is possible. A very faint chance of fit vaughan but,a fit Vaughan, will he be a effective Vaughan I am not sure. Mcgrath prediction of 5-0 is surely on the cards now.I hope rain comes in between that's the last hope.

Posted by Sanjay Prakash on (December 7, 2006, 4:45 GMT)

Tim you were not the only one talking about the draw. I think the poms on Saturday night going to bed were saying we can't lose this one. I heard respected cricketing pundits saying the poms can't lose from here. No one said that the poms can win from here. When you say you can't lose you are not focusing on winning it. On the other hand the aussies were all about what do we need to do to win the game not try and save it. Can you lose a game from scoring 550 odd runs in the first dig. Yes you can. Ask the aussies. They lost to India in 2003/04 series. The aussies however learn from experience. The poms never learn from the past like writing Warne and McGrath off. Warne is the greatest test to England. Obviously the poms still don't think so - ask Fletcher and the other pundits on how the poms have mastered Warne. More so ask KP on how he played in the important second innings in Adelaide. He plays mind games on and off the field. Unfortunately the poms play mind games with him off the field where it doesn't count. By the way the poms did do all they could to help Australia by their performances in the 1st hour of the 1st session of day 3 (Giles dropping Ponting), day 4 (not being able to break the partnership between Clarke and Gilchrist) and of course day 5 (the poor batting performance). So these were a combination of poor fielding, inability to take wickets and in inability to bat. Hard to win cricket matches if you can't catch, can't take wickets, can't score runs and keep losing wickets.

Posted by srob on (December 7, 2006, 4:09 GMT)

Day 5 proved just how deadly aggressive spinners can be towards the end of test matches in Australia. With Panesar and Ian Salisbury England would have gone very close to winning the match and going to perth all square. Instead the ashes are gone. Bring in Panesar, fly in Salisbury

Posted by Ravi on (December 7, 2006, 3:20 GMT)

Hi Tim,

In my opinion, apart from the lack of genuine talent, the english sporting teams are too big on the talk. They would be better served in making the bat and ball do the talking. KP is a good example who said 'May be Shane cant get me out' Also, have you wondered why we dont sell sugar lollies in Australia ?

Cheers Ravi

Posted by brain on (December 6, 2006, 23:08 GMT)

Great to see all the comments writing off Warne and McGrath during the 2nd test. Short memories. If you go back to the ashes series in England it wasn't exactly a walk over for the English. And its not like Australia have been struggling in the test arena ever since. Australia are just resuming the rightful place in the Test pecking order (for the moment) and, not surprisingly England are resuming theirs.

Posted by KevininChina on (December 6, 2006, 22:20 GMT)

Now this really does beat all!! The latest news coming out of the England camp. Four players and the coach make all of the selection policies (one of the players not even considered to be worth a central contract and a debatable member of the team). What an absolute farce!!!!

Posted by Sundhar Ram on (December 6, 2006, 22:19 GMT)

Serves England and Tim for writing away Warne and McGrath:D! What a win. One of the best test matches I have seen.

Posted by Mark on (December 6, 2006, 22:15 GMT)

Everything that is wrong with the England XI is obvious to everybody but Fletcher, it seems. Giles Anderson Harmison Jones... all very much deserve being dropped. We know they can play better but they have had two shocking tests each. Never mind any improvements since Brisbane, or the quality they are showing in the nets. Perth is the last chance. Lose, and you may as well pick me. Boycs is right - stop talking a good game, just do it.

Posted by FlashAsh on (December 6, 2006, 21:57 GMT)

Tim

Haven't even bothered to read the comments above, why bother??

Ponting has consistently got Oz out of Jail and has now found the perfect partner in Hussey, Can't beleive that Oz took so long in choosing him?? Without Ponting Oz would have lost the 2005 Ashes by a bigger margin and without him this series would still be in the balance!! Who says that he doesn't lead from the front?

As to the result, well Oz did what they do so well, an umpiring error(After numerous Warne theatrics!!) lead to Strauss going and Warne & Co stormed through the breach, Bell was needlessly run out and all the old "mind games" of the past surfaced to wipe all positive thoughts from English batting minds!! Boycotts Mother could probably have scored more!!

As to the recent "Defence" from DF it now seems that he's spreading the blame net far and wide as to selection!! It seems that rather than consult the ECB selectors he chooses a "Chinese Parliament" of "Senior Players" to help decide, one of those (Jones) who wouldn't have been picked by Gravney & Co, but can then get to choose the choice spinner.......H'mmm let me see!! Old mate Gilo who I can "keep" to or Monty, who Read has better experience of?? Gosh if I choose Monty(who I now is better!!)I might lose my place to Read?? Bugger that I bagsy Gilo and Monty can carry drinks!!

DF needs to go before World Cup and shake up the "Old Pals" Battalion we currently have otherwise who's going to be choosing the squad in WI?? Anderson and Cook?? I now look forward to Vaughans return, if only to see some semblence of order restored, or let Strauss lead.

Signed....Ashamed from England

Good Luck Oz and Good Luck Punter with breaking Yousef's record.

As to Englands ashes, they died when Gilo dropped Punter and we declared too early, Oz gave us the target at Brisbane, only for some reason we didn't catch on!!

Still at least I'll get more sleep as I can't be bothered to watch any further dross.

Oh and Hoggard should be awarded a bar to his OBE!!

Posted by Andrew Keogh on (December 6, 2006, 18:33 GMT)

That was as painful a sporting occasion as I can ever remember - okay, Leeds losing to Sunderland in the 1973 Cup Final was about as bad but that's it. Time to recognise that the 05 Ashes era is over and perform some radical surgery. Let's take it step by step: Strauss & Cook; a problem at the moment but they are both class acts and - unfortunately - what is the alternative? Vaughan after a failure in the next Test? Given his propensity to instant injury and lack of batting since the late middle ages, I dont think so. Bell: another problem. He is potentially another class act but looks seriously at sea at the moment. Why not take a chance with Joyce or - maybe better - call Shah up from the academy - he has the kind of grit the present situation calls for as he showed in India last winter. Collingwood, Pietersen, Flintoff: three bankers. Occasional lunacy from Pietersen is the price to be paid for his regular displays of genius. Shooting fish in a barrel 1: Jones's wicket-keeping seems to be okay but as his keeping progresses his batting deteriorates. Read was sent away and told to improve his batting. Since then he has averaged (I think) 45 in first class cricket. Erm - what more is he expected to do? Shooting fish in a barrel 2: Giles as against Monty. 'Nuff said. If a second spinner is needed why not call up Dalrymple from the academy? He seems to have the right attitude, is an off spinner which may challenge Australian left handers and can bat too. Hoggard: well obviously - he's even fit! Anderson: goodbye for all too obvious reasons. Give Mahmood a go - he can't do worse and can bat too. Harmison: patience stretched to snapping point. Play him again but show the yellow card. Consider Stuart Broad ahead of Plunkett as alternative. Captaincy: Flintoff is the most fantastic player and obviously is a very good bloke too - consequently he has the loyalty and affection of his team. BUT HE ISN'T A CAPTAIN! He is unimaginative and negative. Strauss for captain. This may (we can dream) be a liberation for him as it was for Botham in 1981. Coach: thank you Duncan and goodbye after World Cup - I've said this before but offer Rod Marsh golden elephants to take on the job. It could be daid that this kind of radical surgery by the selectors (Fletcher and Flintoff) would be an admission that they didn't know what they were doing in the first place. And your point is?

Posted by ratheesh on (December 6, 2006, 18:14 GMT)

I think Ashely Giles is the worst left arm bowler I have ever seen....he is too negative in his approach toward the game... Cricket is a game of uncertainty, this game doesn't want such a negative person

Posted by Sagar on (December 6, 2006, 17:41 GMT)

Let face it nothing is going to change with the present selector set up: Fletcher and Flintoff are going to stick with their favourites (Giles and Jones), Collingwood will follow suit (going by his column) and Jones is hardly going to select Read ahead of himself or upset his sponser (Fletcher). That leaves Strauss who to be fair appeared to back Panesar and Read when he was captain. But he is outnumbered. What is maddening is that some players have to perfom wonders in a practice game to be picked (Panesar) whilst others contribute little test after test but still keep getting picked! The only good to come out of this will be Fletchers dismissal after England lose this series 3-0 (I am beiing optimistic). Very frustrated.

Posted by DF on (December 6, 2006, 17:11 GMT)

At the risk of spouting cliches, the balance of the England side is seriously wrong at present. Flintoff is only a worthy number six when at the very top of his game. At all other times - like now - he should be etched in at number 7. Admittedly that gives us one less bowler and the headache of finidng a number six but at least it would stop this silly agonizing about runs from number 8. Don't forget that there have been times in the past when England have played seven batsman, none of whom has bowled even a token over or two. And anyone really say that we benefited from having a fourth fast bowler (Anderson) in Adelaide?

Of course this debate becomes redundant if Flintoff's ankle keeps playing up and he can only bowl a reduced quota of overs: Fletcher will keep Freddie at six and Giler at eight and Monty will be making the tea. Sad but true.

Posted by Abeed on (December 6, 2006, 17:06 GMT)

England surrendered this series before it even started with 3 naive selections:

1. Dropping Read for Jones: Throughout the Fletcher era Chris Read has suffered most. Dropping Read after a good TEST comeback in the Summer against Pakistan for Geraint Jones - sent the wrong message to Australia from the outset, as it showed them that England were not confident that their top 6 would get enough runs for them to play a supposedly weaker batsman in Read. Two tests later Jones has yet again failed to live up to the hype and failed to deliver. Its all become clear today following Andrew Miller's article why Jones played ahead of Read - he is on the England Selection committee - you are not going to drop yourself are you!!

2. James Anderson: To pick someone that has hardly bowled all year and plunge them into an Ashes Series with 1 First class game behind them - was blatant naievety. Its not his fault that he has not performed consistently as he is undercooked.

3. Ashley Giles: Again similar to James Anderson - has not played all year and his hardly going to bowl a side out. Leaving out Monty for Gilo again siad to the Australian's that our top 6 are not going to get enough runs so we need a longer tail. This move also sent the message that England were not looking to win the game but just get out of it without losing.

England need to drop the Fletcher 'i will pick my cronies mentality' and be genuinely ruthless.

The changes that should be made are:

Read or Prior in for Jones (Prior if managed properly could be England's Answer to AB de Villiers)

Giles out and Monty in - Monty Panesar has to play. To echo the thoughts of Ian Chappell - 'England are kidding themselves if they think they can win the Ashes with Ashley Giles'

James Anderson OUT - Sajid Mahmood or Jon Lewis in

Steve Harmison OUT and Stuart Broad in

For a left field selection - Ravi Bopara to bat at 6 or 7 and bowl some overs and take teh pressure off Freddie

Final Change - Strauss to take over the captaincy

Posted by David on (December 6, 2006, 12:38 GMT)

Agree that England need to make a few changes. The first one should be Strauss for Freddie, as captain. Free Freddie, and let him do what he does best - play like a champion.I'm an Australian, but I love a contest.

As for our aging Aussie warriors - I wouldn't mind betting that, if they go 3-0 in Perth, the selectors might start the changing of the guard in Melbourne. They'd certainly have nothing to lose: the old boys would go out on top, and it would spark up interest for the remaining 2 tests.

What odds on 3 Tasmanians in the test team by 2010?

Posted by Vineet Gupta on (December 6, 2006, 11:01 GMT)

I am not sure about 1882 whether English Cricket died then or not but I am pretty sure that on 5th Dec. 2006 Englland Cricket is surely dead and burried.

Posted by Andreas on (December 6, 2006, 10:27 GMT)

Such is sport. It looked as though we were going to see a lame and meaningless fifth day... For situations like that you require willpower, determination and self-confidence, leading to the right approach. For England it was obviously a situation were they could only lose. The Aussies took the opposite approach - full credit to them. I thought it was a difficult aim for England: squaring the series rather than winning it. All looks pretty miserable now for England.

Posted by Geoff B on (December 6, 2006, 9:53 GMT)

I seem to recall that when the squad was announced David Graveney said something about Read and Jones being able to battle it out for the wicket-keeping slot. How can Read do anything if he's not given any time in the middle?

For all our moaning about England's batting, they did manage nearly 700 runs in this match, of which Jones scored a princely 11. So much for picking the better batsman. And what was that in the last over, if it wasn't a keeper's error? Had that catch stuck, the new batsman (admittedly, probably Gilchrist) would have had to face and get himself in, Hussey wouldn't have had the strike, and with only three-plus over to go, who knows whether we could have contained them and got a draw? Unlikely I suppose, but worth a thought.

Anyway, it seems to me that Read and Panesar are not the teacher's pets, and with Jones apparently acting as an unofficial selector Read has no chance of getting a well-deserved recall. Fletcher's treatment of Read and Panesar seems little short of sadistic.

Posted by Darren Booth on (December 6, 2006, 6:44 GMT)

Seriously, how can Duncan Fletcher remain? Look at the decision to pick Giles because of his batting - it's Adelaide! Renowned as a track built for batting. A batsmen's paradise. What you need is bowlers (especially attacking spinners), no batsmen. If your Nos. 1-6 can't gte runs in Adelaide you're 7 you've got problems.

What England needed was another bowler who could put pressure on. Giles simply can't. And Jones can't either.

Warne and mcGrath may be getting on, but they showed everyone that skills and nous don't abandon champions. I hope Fletcher keeps saying how Warne is washed up, because it just increases the amount of egg on his face, and it's a signpost that England are either secretly terrified ogf him, or they're underestimating him. Either way Warne will eat them for breakfast.

Posted by Rob on (December 6, 2006, 5:09 GMT)

Panesar is all hyped up. Aussies will play him as easy as Giles, maybe even shatter his confidence.

Sajid Mahmood too would not make any impact on the Aussies; Only bowler who could have is not fit (Simon Jones). If I were Duncan Fletcher, I would have sent out an SOS for him as well as probably have Darren Gough ready.

Also, English batsmen need to be reprimanded for having a negative batting outlook in the second innings. History is witness that when a team goes into it's shell, it is bound to fail. And as much as people may praise Collingwood in the second innings, he too played a role in England's defeat by batting ultra-cautiously and planting the seeds of doubt about terror in the wicket on the batsmen to follow.

Posted by Larry on (December 6, 2006, 5:05 GMT)

England was always going to be in big trouble on this tour with Vaughan and Jones missing, losing Trescothick just made it worse. For all the hype about Flintoff and Pieterson last year, the key performer was Simon Jones, and his ability to come into the attack and break up developing partnerships, thus getting settled batsmen out, and newbies to the crease. England have nobody here who can do that of those I've seen, and once Australia starts to get those partnerships rolling England are very thouroughly screwed to the wall.

Posted by Tristan on (December 6, 2006, 3:05 GMT)

Martyn now has the perfect opportunity to retire, home ground (WACA), win the test and Aust. regain the ashes. Is there a better way? The same could be said about Justin Langer!

Thought Shane Warne deserved MOTM, the match would of been a draw if not for Warney!

Posted by Keith Cormack on (December 6, 2006, 1:50 GMT)

I had high hopes for this series, I really did. I knew about the lack of match fitness among some of the squad, and that some of our bowling wasn't firing but we had Fred, Hoggy and Monty. Mahmood had shown the potential to dismiss good players and Read had scored runs on his return. So what happens? We pick Giles, Anderson and Jones, players with injuries or no form in the past 6 months. Result? Series over before it starts. I cannot remember the last time I so annoyed as when I heard that Monty hadn't been picked for the second test.

I remember Giles getting his feathers ruffled after the first test of the last Ashes series and responding with the following;

Ashley Giles Monday August 1, 2005 The Guardian

"It's as if people suspect that I have kidnapped England's version of Shane Warne and kept him hidden in a cupboard under the stairs. Well, I've got news for everybody: there is no English Shane Warne and, if there was, he would not be locked up in the cupboard under my stairs. I would take as much joy as everyone else in watching him. Perhaps one day we will find him. But we haven't. And, that being the case, whether people like it or not, I still think I'm the best man for the job."

Ashley - credit to you. You came back and did your bit in that series (you were worth more than your middling stats) and I don't think that Monty is the English Warne - but he's already a much better bowler than you have ever been, and you're keeping him out of the side.

Posted by Shaun H on (December 6, 2006, 1:47 GMT)

Forget Englands display in the second innings. I was livid that two days were taken up scoring 551 runs. Surely given the belter of a pitch, indicated that when batting first a quick 500 was required. No, all that happened was Australia emulated the English go slow, thereby allowing them the ease of a draw, or as it turned out a chance to win the game by bowling on the last day. As far as the English Team is concerned, I don't believe Flintoff should be dropped as Captain, He is easily the most influential player in the side, and he has lead by example every minute he is out there. I don't find it strange that people were calling for Pontings head after the last Ashes, have gone strangely silent. Giles has to go, my nine year old spins the ball more than him. Here's a suggestion, pick the side on individual merit. Six class batsmen, an allrounder, and four quality bowlers to suit the pitch condition. Tell the players you have been picked on merit, now perform. I haven't seen Mahmood or Panesar play yet, but I have heard from English supporters that they are the goods. If England weren't satisfied with just retaining the Ashes, and picked sides to win, this series would be like the last. Nailbiting, Andrelin rushing, Heart attack material.

Posted by buz on (December 6, 2006, 1:43 GMT)

I don't know what to say. I agreed with Tim that this match had draw written all over it and England contrived to lose it. Was this spineless batting or was it great bowling? I suspect it was a bit of both. I don't like the Australian team by and large, way too much arrogance, but when you are as good as they are, a bit of arrogance is probably OK. They deserve full credit for this one. England has to pick their best team - spinner (Panesar) against "utility" player Giles and although jones kept OK, he didn't perform with the bat. Bring in Read. Plunkett or Mahmood must get a game. The Ashes are lost.

Posted by DK on (December 6, 2006, 1:38 GMT)

As an Aussie I was naturally thrilled with the outcome. Wasn't expecting a win at all. Warnie seems to keep coming up with the goods and Punter and Hussey have been outstanding with the bat. Hussie was the key player we were missing in the 2005 Ashes series who would've bought stability to the middle order. Brilliant player.

If I were an English cricket fan I would be gutted now. I particularly feel sorry for Freddie who I'm sure is doing the best he can for his team. He is such a class player. Must be frustrating as England started off so strongly.

Sure England could have had a better chance of taking wickets with Panesar, Sure they played too defensively and shot selection was poor in their second innings but don't forget that at the end of that last day they were outplayed by the better team just like we were outplayed by England during key moments last year.

Cut back on trying to make excuses, whinging about selection and finding scapegoats for losing and don't forget to give credit where credit's due. The Aussies batted and bowled better on the last day. They were very good at creating chances and pressure with the ball as well as getting themselves out of a potential slump with the bat.

I won't add to the obvious negatives and questions that have already been raised but as dejected as alot of English fans seem to be, take the positives like Freddie does:

- England started off really well with the bat. Got themselves in a good position which was good to see.

- England actually bowled out the Aussies in the first innings.

- They raised their game (well at least in the first innings) in Adelaide after the crushing defeat at the Gabba. They may very well improve their game in Perth too.

Posted by Praveen on (December 6, 2006, 0:45 GMT)

Fletcher didn't back up why giles was picked. Sure, he has experience, and is USEFUL with the bat. But expecting him to bat better at number eight is baffling. His role in the side should be as a spinner, not half batsman half spinner. 27 not out is a good contribution, but panesar could hav thrown his bat for twenty - odd. The duck was understandably made under pressure and the blame shouldn't be put on him. And sure, Panesar is no Warne, but he would have been able to rip the ball more than Giles did. Giles bowled to straight and although his economy was 4.6 runs per over, he created no pressure, wheras flintoff went for 4.9 but bowled two almost maidens when needed. Pick an aggressive option in Panesar than defensive in Giles.

Posted by andrew f on (December 6, 2006, 0:26 GMT)

The win by Australia was nothing short of amazing. I think the biggest problem for England though was they simply did not score fast enough and get enough runs in the first innings, given the pitch was a batsmans paradise. The declaration was at the right time of the match but they needed another 100 on the board by that stage of the game. Australia deserve credit though for being able to bowl as well as they did in that first innings up against favourable batting conditions. Ponting and Hussey are phenominal batsmen, the way they can adapt to any situation and control the tempo of the game is amazing. Clarke's innings under real pressure was superb and then Warnies last day mesmerising the English batsmen was something that will be remembered for years.

Posted by JJ on (December 5, 2006, 20:43 GMT)

Panesar and Read in. Giles and Jones out for good. Stop talking about last Ashes and play this one. We are getting caned both on the pitch and mentally. This could be 5-0.

Posted by Justin B on (December 5, 2006, 20:12 GMT)

I've just seen Duncan Fletcher on the SKY highlights telling us to look at Shane Warne's contribution to the Aussie first innings to see the value of a number eight that can hold a bat.

For the love of Mike...is he being just plainly devious with arguments like that? Warne got those runs because Flintoff was off the pitch and Hoggard had no other support. All Fletch could say to that was the bowlers had to work on their disciplines a bit more....

This is the stuff of politics...like Tony Blair, Fletcher has been around too long and has lost the plot, but just keep spinning away. His lousy underpraising of Monty Panesar after Old Trafford last summer (when Captain Strauss also had to be reminded to praise the boy on the podium, such was the official line)was bizarre in itself but clearly was driven by a deep attachment to certain favoured sons who aren't delivering now but had been pencilled in all along(Jones/Read is the same thing). This is coming tragically unstuck. What is horrible about the Coach's attempt to rationalise selection policy is that it boxes him into doing the same thing again. He was a total b'stard towards Monty and Read and now nothing will make him look worse than their coming in and doing well (Monty that is, forget Read). Their coming in and doing badly won't prove him right either, because the pressure on them and their lack of play in the last two weeks can only make it harder for them if they do get in.

This series will probably finish Fletcher and do nothing for Freddie's captaincy...should the big lad resign now, and live up to Botham once more?!

Posted by matt on (December 5, 2006, 18:31 GMT)

Despite this dreadful day for us 'poms' there are still a few thoughts to cheer us up in this bleak hour; this current aussie side is probably the best team to have ever played test cricket and to beat them at home was always going to be an almighty task. yet they are without doubt very nearly at the end of their self life, injuries to the key men who carry this aged outfit would completely change the balance of this series, (which still has a long way to go,).and when the day comes for for this team to finally break up the aussie's will probably resemble the england rugby team paying a very heavy price for having no eye to the future. England on the other hand have the opposite problem we seem to be blessed with young talent at the moment, but have a coach with his head stuck in the sand. maybe losing this series would be a blessing a new coach could be installed (how about Tom Moody?) and he could build a team that will dominate ashes series for a good many years to come. so enjoy your gloating while it lasts aussies fans because it might be a long time before you've got owt else to shout about!

Posted by Swayam Maharaj on (December 5, 2006, 17:49 GMT)

I am still in disbelief at England's poor display today. It is quite evident that they do not know how to bat properly in this type of situation. The innings did not call for a total defense, rearguard approach. This is the exact situation that Warne thrives on. England should have been alot more positive - by positive, I do not mean all guns blazing, trying to smash every delivery. But rather, they should have been looking to rotate the strike, and hit the bad ball for four. South Africa's display at Perth last year was certainly a display of this and England should have learnt from this match.

Posted by Henry Money on (December 5, 2006, 17:38 GMT)

Lets please remember that what happened today was as much down to the brilliance of Shane Warne than any other single factor. You can knock everybody in the England side until the cows come home but Warne is Warne and long after we are all gone cricket enthusiasts will wonder how he was so good.

Posted by Tex on (December 5, 2006, 16:33 GMT)

England is trying not to lose rather than win. They don't really believe they can beat Australia. Their second innings display was an absolute joke, no one had the guts to play a shot.Lets be honest England is not that good, check their recent track record, they are a terrible one day team losing 18 or 19 of their last 22 one day games. They are a little better in tests but Australia is a far superior team all around. Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson can't even get on the field for Australia, if they were English they would be 2 of the best bowlers along with Freddie. Down 2 with 3 to go it's going to be an ugly summer for the overrated England team.

Posted by Tauhira on (December 5, 2006, 16:15 GMT)

What a performance by the Aussies! Getting England all out for 129 was incredible. The wickets just kept going and going. Small hiccup when the four opening Aussie wickets went, but the win and a 2-0 lead in the series was inevitable for them.

[Tauhira from Jamaica]

Posted by lachy on (December 5, 2006, 15:50 GMT)

Why *anyone* (let alone an international cricket coach) would go into a match with only 3 wicket taking bowlers is completely beyond me.

One thing you don't hear bandied about by anyone in the England camp about the reasons for Giles inclusion in the team is his wicket taking ability. It's always stuff like 'oh he is a good no. 8' or 'but he can bowl containment'.

Newsflash to D. Fletcher: containment wins *one-day* matches, not tests. To win a test you need to take 20 wickets. To take 20 wickets you need at least 4 wicket taking bowlers. An average of 2.8 wickets a test, a strike rate of around 85 and going for 40 runs per wicket is not acceptable for a frontline bowler, even for Bangladesh.

Posted by ricky on (December 5, 2006, 15:02 GMT)

I don't see why Pietersen's comments were hubristic. I'm not sure I can see a way either. “I see no way Shane can bowl me round his legs”

Posted by Aditya on (December 5, 2006, 15:01 GMT)

Holy cow...you think a Test is over and suddenly it comes to life...I sort of thought that a draw was imminent, and it would be a moral victory for England because the Aussies would never settle for one. But I guess the brilliance of Shane Warne and some indifferent bowling the previous day from England did it for the home side. Funnily enough, this game followed almost the same pattern as the one played between India and Australia at the Adelaide Oval in 2003. However, that time India were the ones chasing and Australia ended up losing. Shows how good a ground Adelaide is to have a pitch that provides for good cricket on all five days.

Posted by Terry on (December 5, 2006, 14:56 GMT)

Mahmood, Panesar and Read must be struggling to keep straight faces whilst they are working on those deficiencies in technical ability, run scoring potential and temperament that our inspirational Team Coach has conferred on them.

Posted by Navin Pinto - Pommie Basher! on (December 5, 2006, 14:53 GMT)

It's time to GLOAT and bash the POMS!

For all the times Fletcher has run his mouth, aired his ignorance with his mindless justification for picking Jones and Giles, it is now time for anyone that still backs him as English coach to hide in a corner. It should be Read, Panesar and Mahmood in - and Fletcher OUT!

I absolutely love it when people write off Warne and McGrath (especially when the Poms do it), because you know it's going to be even sweeter when they come back and whoop some English ass.

The only downside this victory has for Australia is that they will definitely keep the same side for the next test (doubt they'll drop Marto at his beloved WACA) - in truth, playing 4 bowlers and Watson will make them stronger.

Flintoff is useless as a captain - he might be a talented cricketer but he isn't too good at reading the game. Can someone explain why Giles bowled the most number of overs in the 4th innings? I am now convinced the Aussies give him a wicket and a run (and a catch - although that wasn't accepted in this Test) here and there in the hope England will keep picking him!!

I've thought all along this was the worst English side to tour Australia in recent memory, and Mcgrath's 5-0 prediction is more likely to come true than in any previous series.

Posted by James W on (December 5, 2006, 14:40 GMT)

Ahhhh yes Tim, you have been greatly humbled. The 'warne has meet his nemesis' article has provided great amusement throughout the day. Hopefully your anti-australia tone will cease from hereon and i will look forward to perhaps more objective 'wiser' writing from you in the near-future. Good luck.

Posted by Alfie on (December 5, 2006, 14:37 GMT)

shocking. i was the same as alex, mum told me that my dad wanted to speak to me about cricket, she said we were doing rubbish, i turned on the tv to find Australia batting needing 50 to win from bout 17 overs. i was absolutely gutted and nothing since the draw at old trafford last year had i been this gutted about english cricket team (for different reasons, admittely) that sort of batting performance just isn't good enough and just shows how mentally weak the batting must be. well done to the aussies but it is really depressing, english sport is in the dumps at the moment.

Posted by Mohammad C on (December 5, 2006, 13:29 GMT)

Worse even than losing the Second Test is that we face the remainder with a rejuvenated Warne and a McGrath who can still believe in himself. This is what will cost England going forwards. This is what will make it nigh impossible to wrestle the series back. We should drop Giles for Panesar, switch Anderson for Mahmood. Fletcher's strategy is lacking now and Flintoff needs to take more control.

Posted by maxim on (December 5, 2006, 13:15 GMT)

I noticed that David Graveney, chairman of selectors for the ECB, was an orthodox left-arm spinner just like Giles, during his first class career. I wonder if this coincidence has anything to do with his ridiculous fetish for Giles's anemic bowling?

Since DF, Graveney and Flintoff all seems to be behind Giles's selection, I wonder if anything other than widespread public outrage or injury to Giles will get the ECB to let Panesar have a go. It seems the odds are against Panesar in this series.

Posted by Ramachandran N N on (December 5, 2006, 13:11 GMT)

How wonderful and sterling is England's performance. Only they can do it. The others who can match England's performance from a position of strength to utter failure is India,WI,New Zealand. How they crumble even without pressure. What pressure England had this morning to fall like nine pins. The whole England team is bad in all Departments: Brisbane 157 and 370 Adelaide 551 and 129. Only the figures are reversed. What business Flintoff had to declare. He should have ended day 2 and played 1 hour on day three. When they came under immense pressure seeing a score of 551, would not they seeing a score of 700. Nice opportunity squandered esp.when bowlers were not firing up.. I still feel negative tactics from Australia and England themselves did them in. I cannot fathom why they could not play Shane Warne and Brett Lee. The moment Shane Warne comes on England players s--t in their pants. Instead of meeting him in the eye, English batsmen go into their shelland offer no shots. Actually Warne claims his victims thru psychological warfare and intimidating umpires. He should also be penalised for over-appealing and for not giving up looking up at the umpires even when an appeals overturned. I dont think England is going to win any test unless they put up a spirited and aggressive allround display. When I got up this morning I had visualised their defeat at 0630 LT IST and it happened that way.

Posted by Rob on (December 5, 2006, 13:00 GMT)

If you play for containment, you can't win. If you play to win, you can either win, draw or lose. In my opinion England's tacticws stink and have stunk since I seen them play. They have too much doubting their own abilities at the end of the day. They make each other crazy, each with their own frustration.

My advise: If you don't believe in your own ability at least don't let it show. Show a get up and go mentality, go out there and see what happens. You'll find yourself strengthened by your own - makebelieve - attitude, find the opposition more perhaps more intimidated and in the end find yourself winning matches.

Ask the Aussies how it's done.

:-)

Posted by brian on (December 5, 2006, 12:43 GMT)

Well very interesting, The world assumes Monty would have been Warney, I don't think so! My comment was based on the message fletcher sent by not picking an attacking spinner. Has the dude not looked at Adelaide over the lasty 10 years. Chrisd read v geraint jones-big deal jones made no mistakes. I said earlier Flintoff sensational as a player, man, ordinary as a captain. Hoggard out of the attack all afternoon because the aussies jumped into him early- australia 1 england-no idea. As a captain fredddie failed to recognize both jl and mh were happy to sacrifice their wickets to make a point in freddie's mind, which they did! England-push comes to shove - nothing sad but true!

Posted by Chrisso on (December 5, 2006, 12:38 GMT)

I'm a young aussie, and every time I hear someone writing off the aussies I laugh.

You never write off a legend ..... Warne.

The Huss is extraordinary, and Punta has been on fire for the last 4 years (good "purple patch" hey).

If I were the england selectors, I'd pick your best team ..... where the hell is Monty, if this guy can bowl why are the English selctors too gutless to select him.

Posted by John Boxsell on (December 5, 2006, 12:32 GMT)

I must declare that I am an Aussie.

Until today, I wanted England and Australia to share success in order to have a close and exciting series. No more. England deserve to lose 5-0 after today's disgrace.

I disagree with you Tim that England were beaten by three men. Firstly, the attack of Warne et al. is the same (rearguard) attack Australia inflicted on England in 2005. In 2005, England played to win. Today, they played negatively. After that, I have no sympathy and hope that Australia win 5-0 in order to teach England how we play cricket down here.

Posted by Tim on (December 5, 2006, 11:58 GMT)

Right on Tim... England were beaten by 3 great players, although they do posess 2 of their own - Pieterson and Flintoff are world beaters in any team. England have made the mistake of thinking that they are a great team when really as yet they are only a good one. Apart from Flintoff, Pieterson, Hoggard (a great team builder) and Strauss the whole English team should have been highly competitive for spots... they made the mistake of trying to appear 'unified' when they have not really deserved this tag. You can see where the Australian problem lies as any change to their team (apart from clarke) involves removing a champion who has proved themselves over a long period of time. The English team on the other hand have the basis for greatness but must look to build around what they have... every great team needs a spinner who can take wickets on the 5th day - I don't know if monty is that spinner but he is the closest thing so must be played. Every great team needs a mix of different attaking and defending batsman. Why do you think Justin Langer has had such a long run in the Aussie team? Its not for ability but rather the toughness to play and miss, edge and miss balls, but still will his way to runs around more gifted players. In a way winning the Ashes has taken England back a step rather then progressing them further forward. They have tried desperately to mantain their status quo instead of going that extra step to greatness.

Posted by alex on (December 5, 2006, 11:53 GMT)

Tim, who could've blamed you... i woke up this morning, turned on my computer and to my horror and surpise was faced with the aussies needing a paltry 168. It was most upsetting and utterly infuriating. I stand firm with your opinion about the selection...get rid of Gilo and Jimmy and make way for Monty and Saj. An injection of youth and reckless bravado might be what Freddie needs to get his team back to their winning ways.

Posted by notonetogloat on (December 5, 2006, 11:51 GMT)

After two weeks of writing off champion players, it's good to see that when the rubber meets the road, they are still champions.

Warnie, virtually a passenger in the series so far, first stepped up to the crease with his 47 with the bat (how important that was), and then with the ball. How you can be bowled around your legs but lose off stump is unfathomable, but it happened to Pieterson.

McGrath reversed it both ways to the tailenders and they always looked like hunted prey, even if the lbws were a touch dubious. The one he got to cut back from 6 inches outside offstump to be over middle bowling to Collingwood shows that he's not finished by any standard. You only need to compare his bowling today against Anderson, Harmison or even Hoggard. By the way, did you see what Martyn did to Flintoff first ball?? He doesn't have a great attitude but he can time a cricket ball that guy.

To be honest, things went the Aussies's way today. 12 months ago, it didn't at The Oval. But credit has to go to an unbelieveable performance from them. In the first test, England collapsed under the pressure of a pile of runs. In this test, Australia faced the same pressure but stood up to it and returned the serving. The facts are, England have been badly beaten in two tests (the first in margin, the second in manner). This has to be some scarring for the new England team. Flintoff looked rightly devastated and on the verge of breaking down. I didn't see him captain in Sri Lanka, but this series will bring his talent to a standstill if the rest of his team doesn't take some responsibility off his shoulders soon. I'm glad the actual urn is touring the country, I think it is staying in Australia.

Posted by Pete on (December 5, 2006, 11:51 GMT)

I think it's time for England to make some changes to the team. One of them is obivous: Panesar in, Giles out. A quality spinner was needed to tie up one end on that pitch, just like Warne did for the Aussies. A spinner that looks like taking wickets is going to keep things tighter than a defensive bowler, which Panesar has proven in his short test career. His economy rate is better than Giles, showing he keeps it tight, and his strike rate is much better too. Giles didn't earn his wickets through good bowling, it was mere luck that he managed to get two out. And lets look at the attributes that apparently put him ahead of Panesar: fielding - he dropped Ponting in the first innings which proved pivotal in the course of the match - that catch sticks and Australia possibly are forced to follow on. And his batting: he's in the team to stop a collapse so he should have been right in his element today, but he departed for an 8 ball duck. Monty must play the last three tests, otherwise England could easily lose the series 5-0. The other change is Read in for Jones. Apparantly, Jones has a better temperamant for batting in Test cricket, but where was that on the last day when he flashed at an incredibly wide delivery and got caught in the gully? Bowlers are in the team to bowl, and the runs they provide at the end is just a bonus. Before Gilchrist, keepers were generally in the team to keep wickets, and their run scoring ability was a bonus too. If you want to make the batting stronger and leave out your best spinner, play a batsman who bowls part time spin and it will have the same affect that Giles is having at the moment. But if you're picking bowlers because of the strength they provide with the batting, then it really shows the amount of faith that is shown in the top 6 batters, who should be the ones making the runs.

Posted by Special K on (December 5, 2006, 11:46 GMT)

Further to what I said earlier, could this game have been a defining one for Duncan Fletcher?? Surely he as coach should have drilled greater discipline to his players, paticularly after lunch.

Also his favouritism towards players and his heavy influence on selection on overseas tours may have cost them. Jones did not contribute runs with the bat, and was out to a poor, rash shot in teh second innings. Giles, well poor old Ashely, he's put down a catch that could well have decided the fate of this series, he was a penetrative as a plastic knife and his batting in the second innings produced a nice duck.

Of course, it is too early to speculate on any fallout until the end of the tour as performances may improve, but if things stay ugly, there could be a fallout similar to what awaited the Aussies last year.

And on the Aussie side, Damien Martyn may have decided his own fate with his second innings dismissal. With Shane Watson seemingly a certainty once fit, and Michael Clarke grabbing his chance with gusto, there seems no other choice. An interesting time ahead for selection of both teams for Perth.

Posted by Richard Woolley on (December 5, 2006, 11:44 GMT)

A few months ago before the Ashes tour I e-mailed Tim writing that Fletcher had become a liability and should be sacked as England coach. I supported Boycott's article about him in the Telegraph when he called for Fletcher to go saying that he had passed his shelf life as coach. I could see this Ashes disaster coming: negative man management, poor selections (Jones and Giles over Read and Panesar, Harmison over Mahmood), tolerance of mediocrity (Fletch said that Harmy had bowled well in Adelaide despite taking no wickets, he also thinks Giles is a world class cricketer), feeble excuses; all this smacks of Fletcher and he must carry the can. Tim is right about the dreadfully slow run rate on the final the pitch notwithstanding, again Fletcher must take the blame: they were either batting for the draw or adopting a policy of wait and see, a fatal strategy which terribly backfired as negative tactics tend to do in any sport. Paul Collingwood who made over 200 in the 1st innings should have been batting fluently and positively in the 2nd innings and he scores 20-odd off 100 balls. Pathetic! The run-out of Bell wouldn't have happened if England had been positive and looking for runs. Fletcher's negative mentality has obviously rubbed off on the other players and he must take the blame and be sacked. Fletcher also had the casting vote over the choice of captain and now the choice of Fredy looks like to have been mistaken. Maybe he chose Flintoff because he wanted Jones and Giles in the side (both are good mates of Fred) like he did and felt that he was easier to control. Fletcher is a control freak in my view not dissimilar to Gordon Brown. Strauss had just led England to victory over a good Pakistan side whereas Flintoff's England couldn't even beat Sri Lanka at home. They drew a series they should have won 3-0. He's too much one of the boys in my view to be successful as skipper. If you look at successfull England captains in Australia in the past such as Jardine, Hutton and Illingworth well they all had a tough, ruthless streak to them; be just as hard on your own players as the opposition. Flintoff great bloke though he is just isn't like that. I think that had Vaughan been captain England wouldn't have capitulated in Brisbane nor would they have adopted negative tactics in Adelaide; he would also have stood up to Fletcher a bit more being his own man. Australia now only need to win 1 of the 3 remaining Tests to secure the Ashes. I can't see England retaining the urn now.

Posted by Rob on (December 5, 2006, 11:38 GMT)

England well and truly beaten by.......dad's army!?

Posted by S A Newton on (December 5, 2006, 11:31 GMT)

Tim, you are right, England was felled by three mighty choppers in Ponting,Hussey and Warne (a man who deserves his own hypertext link for commentators with the advice: "Never write off, ever!" A point I have to make, and not as a counterpoint to your own but other commentary I have read re Hussey being compared to Collingwood - it's apples to pears. Hussey is multi-faceted, he can graft or go for it and yet his wicket seems no more in danger when he accelerates. This is due to his superb shot selection, footwork and, after 15,000 first class runs, intuition. Collingwood played well in the first innings, he played the game on his terms. It is almost unfair to heap this on him when so many others have their hand up to be slapped for losing this game, but he did not play his second innings as his team needed it to be played. He plodded and prodded and did not protect the tail when as little as 25 more runs may have put the game beyond Australia's reach. He is no Hussey. He needed guidence, and where was it?

Posted by Andrew Dodds on (December 5, 2006, 11:16 GMT)

Actually, I think Flintoff should take some flak for the original declaration - they should have been looking for 650 or more to completely close Australia out. 550 meant they were always going to have to bat again, on a worse surface.

Let's face it - Flintoff's record as captain is not good. Apart from the excellent win in India first off, he managed to draw the Sri Lanka series against all odds, and he's now managed to lose a test after declaring the first innings..

Speaking of which, is Hoggard injured, or is there a compelling reason why a bowler who gets 7 wickets in the first innings should only get 4 overs in the second?

Posted by TYU on (December 5, 2006, 11:12 GMT)

Tim why are you being apologetic towards England? England cannot take comfort in the fact that they were beaten by something special. It was all their own fault, if the team has a deluded attitude like this, it will never get far. They tried to survive, not attack, they played silly shots and were spineless. The aussies just did what England allowed them, thats all, nothing special.

"dreadfull pitch"

the aussies didn't seem to have much trouble scoring fluently on this so called dreadfull pitch? besides, why is it that every pitch that is not a batting paradise (which this was on the first 3 days at least) is called a bad pitch? Funny, I thought cricket is supposed to be a game for both bowlers and batsmen. Considering that there was no help for the bowlers on the first 3 days, its only fair that it starts to break up towards the end so the bowlers have something to work with. Tim, that is what test pitches are supposed do. This was a very good test pitch, not dreadfull. Again, I question your knowledge of cricket.

"Outrageous fortune supplied his first wicket as Andrew Strauss was given out caught off his pad. Outrageous willpower did the rest"

no, stupid shot selection and an inability by England to handle any pressure did the rest. Why are you trying to take the blame off England here? this is unbelievable.

"with help from some skilled reverse-swing from a revitalised Brett Lee."

Again an unbelievable comment. Both of Bretts wickets came because of awful shots. Both deliveries were wie and should not have been played. He may have been swinging it a bit but that at the end of the day, it was Englands poor batting that helped.

"If England had played a full bowling attack in these two Tests … well, it surely wouldn’t have been this bad. Harmison, Anderson and Giles have taken six for 853 in the series. No team can afford that. The price they have paid for dropping two young bowlers who were doing well, in Panesar and Mahmood, has been an awfully high one."

I agree with you for once.

Posted by KevininChina on (December 5, 2006, 11:01 GMT)

Devastated! Absolutely devastated! I have been rattling on for weeks in various columns and blogs about the farce that has become part of the English selection policy. Fletcher et al. must be the only group of people who still justify the Giles selection obsession because of his "extra batting skills at number 8". Jones doesn't even warrant a mention (however, I must admit that his keeping skills are definitely showing signs of improvement. They are up to average level now). Read must play in the two day game on Saturday and I trust he will be able to muster a few more than the eleven in so that Jones managed in this five day debacle. Panesar, Mahmood in Perth, please Duncan, Please!

Posted by Special K on (December 5, 2006, 10:46 GMT)

The England of 2005 disappeared and the England of the mid 90's reared its ugly head. Despite their big turnaround in fortunes in the last 4 years, England showed they still have plenty of work to do.

Most culpable today were the batsmen. Only Andrew Strauss can really hold his heads, as he was unfortunatne with a bad call, and the tailenders should never have to be in a spot of trying to call. But look at the rest of the dismissals of the more accomplished batsman:

Bell - hesitated, and did not commit to a yes or no. If he ahd either commited to the run or called NO loudly he might have made it. Pietersen - bowled round his legs by a beauty, but his ego - "I cant see how Shane could bowl me behind my legs" added to this. We all know if you let Warne pass your pads on the full on a wearing track you're asking for trouble.

Flintoff - chased a wide one that he should have let go.

Jones - same as Flintoff, but even more unforgiving when you consider how wide teh ball was.

Giles - the man chosen because of superior batting - all at sea, left ones he should have played and played at one he should have left.

England seemed to panic today, when they had the simple task of batting all day on a pitch that produced so many runs prior. They had the chance to reinforce some confidence before the 3rd test and go in on a high, now they will be demoralised and this could just be the sort of loss that could spell the start of a 5-0 loss. They have now given Australia all the confidence, who now only need 1 more win to get back the Ashes.

We all know what changes need to be made, but it is doubtful they will happen. Jones and Giles need to be replaced by Read and Panesar. Perhaps with them they may have had a tigher batting performance today and a more penetrative spinner to do what Warne did. Also, tongue in cheek here - perhaps Monty might have made a better hash of the Ponting catch??

Also a bold call here - Mahmood and Plunkett for Harmison and Anderson??

Either way, England have a long way to go here. It would seem that as in 2005, the second test may well just shape the series.

Posted by Fredda on (December 5, 2006, 10:39 GMT)

Tim, As an Aussie I cant believe it either, this morning I was bagging Warney's negative bowling, McGrath's selection when injured and Brett Lee's average of 48 against England. I would have bet my house on this turning out a boring draw. Here's hoping for Monty to play in Perth !

Posted by Nik on (December 5, 2006, 10:33 GMT)

You forgot to mention the 4th! Duncan's incredibly blinkered vision has helped the aussies no end. He has to go.

Posted by john ron on (December 5, 2006, 10:33 GMT)

I heard them say on the radio that after two overs harmison simply shrugged and indicated that he no longer wanted to bowl today. Instead of standing up to be counted and doing what he's payed for he effectively threw in the towel. He did bowl a couple more near the end when it was as good as finished but at that earlier crucial moment England's main strike bowler, the man they should be able to turn to for inspiration & wickets, was shown to be a coward. There's no place for cowards in our team.

There was an air of cowardice in much that went on today - the slow scoring, the fear of defeat, the thought in English minds that despite the lead, and the fact Australia would be batting last, that they believed much more in the Aussies ability to somehow contrive a win than they could manage to do so for themselves.

It's gutting to lose but it's especially saddening to lose in such a manner.

Posted by Purush on (December 5, 2006, 10:29 GMT)

Well,blame it on Collingwood.Had he scored another 20-30 quick runs instead of this rubbish,attritional game of eating up balls, he would have increased the target and thereby ensured that aussies had less overs to get those runs.England lost a game they could have drawn. I guess the writing is on the wall, it has to be "Ponting's Ashes". well, i would like to say a BIG THANKS to Martyn for his contribution to Australian team in all these years.Well done, mate.

Posted by TY on (December 5, 2006, 10:28 GMT)

tim, i think the reason hussey was sent in before martyn was to maintain the left-right comination at the crease.

After the openers they always kept that pattern.

Posted by Marc on (December 5, 2006, 10:19 GMT)

Head up, Tim, you weren't the only one, only you have to come off the fence writing to a tight schedule. Gloating in hindsight is all too easy.

England have thrown away this test match, and I have to say: needlessly. I have not gone in for the Fletcher-bashing that has gone on the last few days because I believe the absence of Vaughan and Trescothick rather tied his hands: with an inexperienced opener and a wobbly nr. 3, you need to shore up the batting, especially since Adelaide is a batters' pitch - you can't afford to fail. Hence Fletcher's understandable frustration with Giles (though it's a bit unfair to make him scapegoat).

I seriously doubt that England can win two out of three and avoid defeat in the third. So I think it's caution to the wind now in the lower order and bring in Monty and Mahmood for Giles and Anderson. England must win the next match to have any chance of taking the series to the last match, so I don't think it's advisable to experiment with the top-order batting.

Posted by mas on (December 5, 2006, 10:07 GMT)

tim u r dead right.they were so defensive today i couldnt believe it was the same team that scored 551 a couple of days ago.there was just no strategy today.fletcher has to go. he has paid the price for his selection blunders. i sympathize with flintoff he really bowled his heart out but there was no one on the other end.monty could have done that job very well.i think from the next test he should step up in selection matters.but i hope this isnt the end of the ashes campaign for england. they should be very agressive in their approach from now onwards. three changes should be made. panesar for giles read for jones mahmood for anderson. remember last time they had to win the series this time a drawn series will be sufficient to retain the ashes.

lastly aussies played brilliantly. it really takes some doing to beat them .congrats to them.

Posted by KPs Skunk on (December 5, 2006, 9:58 GMT)

Tim

It was more than special it was glorious. I wonder what KP and Lord Fletchers books will be titled now.

Posted by Graham on (December 5, 2006, 9:58 GMT)

All that needs to be said is that, as Tim points out, Harmison, Anderson and Giles have taken six for 853 in the series, while our best bowler for the last 12 months has sat next to an equally bemused Chris Read twiddling his thumbs. This deck could have been transplanted from Wantage Road; a motorway for the first 3 days that is slow and gets slower before disintegrating into a dust bowl that makes quality spin unhittable. Warne was exactly that - unhittable - in bowling 27 overs for 26; Ashley Giles was clearly not. I've seen Panesar bowl similar spells to that of Warne for Northants in those sorts of conditions and his absence has cost us any hope of retaining the urn. Fletcher has reached his nadir in my estimations and his stubbornness, masquerading as "loyalty", can be excused no longer. He had been proved completely wrong with his selections, both with Panesar and Read (has he now remembered why they dropped Geraint Jones yet?), and now is the time for him to admit to his mistakes and correct them before he is embarrassed even further.

Posted by az on (December 5, 2006, 9:51 GMT)

Warne the defensive spinner picked to bat at 8 bowl a rare match-winning spell of the ilk of Giles at his prime.

On a serious note England has a so called 5 pronged bowling attack that has bowled Australia all out once in 2 tests for 500+. The old men who bowl in the 4 man attack for Australia have bowled England all out 3 times, 2 of which for less 200.

The old brigade bowling as over the hill they are reason for the 2 nil lead

Posted by brian on (December 5, 2006, 9:49 GMT)

Seriously Tim, do you actually watch the game? Outrageous willpower? Warne simply adjusted and bowled to the conditions. England can place this defeat fairly and squarely with the message sent by Fletcher in the team selection. They set out for a draw and reaped what Fletcher sowed. Flintoff as a player in the final innings was magnificent: as a captain, conservative, directed(from outside) and unimaginative. You need to face the fact it is not 2005 and the mental approach shown by England is vastly different. Additionally accept the Australians were sensational. It's never over until the fat lady sings, someone needs to buy Duncan an aria for christmas!

Posted by Suresh Kulkarni on (December 5, 2006, 9:44 GMT)

Well I am turning out to be something of an experienced critic of the game. In 3 of my last messages (2 of them were not published by Tim for some reason)I said that Duncan Fletcher loves mediocracy and the selection of Giles and Jones over Panesar and Read showed that. I am glad England paid for it. I also said that Harmison, Anderson and Giles must have done something sensational in the nets to merit their selection (I did not want to further criticise Duncan)and that despite a fine batting performance in the first innings who was going to bowl Australia out? Well that was prophetic.

Only place where I may go wrong is that I said England had come to Australia wanting to lose no more than 4 tests. I was banking on the second test ending in a draw. Now I have a serious chance of being proved wrong.

Posted by Kutch on (December 5, 2006, 9:42 GMT)

What a difference a day makes for de Lisle. The gags written on December 4 now a haunting reminder of the need to play out the length of a test match.

It was an amazing last day, and obviously one that no one could have predicted, but I am still at a loss for the posting of yesterday. I hope this is not construed as gloating, but yesterday has tarnished your credibility. Hindsight allows me to say it was premature, but you were writing off champions on a few days poor performance. Worse, you are giving all the credit to 3 players today. This team has won 8 from 8 this year, including 5 away. A frightening prospect for an opposition that refuses to pick match-winning bowlers. Where to now for Giles, Anderson and Harmison, and more importantly, Flintoff?

Posted by Vernon on (December 5, 2006, 9:37 GMT)

Very insightful Tim. Pity about the Strauss decision but it seems England froze.

Trying to make sense of the change in batting order. One thought I had is that Australia did not want two right handers in at the same time in case Giles bowled over the wicket and two feet outside leg stump (ala Warne).

It could also be, as you imply, that Australia just went with who they had more confidence in. When Martyn did bat he batted like someone really angry that he had been denied the chance to save his test spot.

You would think Australia, with that win, is now more likely to go to Perth with 5 bowlers although Watson would now be a risk unless he can sneak a game in beforehand.

If Panesar is as good as everyone in England thinks then he should be in the team for Perth. If the quicks aren't up to it then you could do worse than play Giles as well.

Posted by W on (December 5, 2006, 9:34 GMT)

Always a laugh to see the Poms get stuffed. They're useless at rugby, cricket and running their own country. No gloating, just laughter.

Posted by Paul G on (December 5, 2006, 9:32 GMT)

Warne is well past his best, cannot regularly bowl a flipper or a wrongun but still makes B grade journos eat their words. Flintoff is a super cricketer but an absolute dud as a captain and even makes Ponting look intelligent. Vaughan is not the answer as it will be a free wicket for the Aussies. Put Strauss in now and show some bottle.

Posted by Slip on (December 5, 2006, 9:29 GMT)

Tim it would appear that on the fifth day of back to back tests it was not Dads Army that wilted in the sun.

Posted by David on (December 5, 2006, 9:27 GMT)

My goodness Tim, hardly any Aussie bashing. What's happened, oh that's right Dad's Army flayed the young ones, again. Another thing, Warnie, Punter and Mr Cricket would probably like to point out it was a team effort - three phenomenal players in one phenomenal team. The aging veterans may have gotten out cheaply but they came out looking to win and all got out playing positive shots, something those other whipper snappers will probably learn with a bit of experience. That set the tone of the win. I hope you continue the verbal flogging of Warnie seems to help him, though I doubt he knows what a Nemesis is. KP probably does. Cheers

Posted by person on (December 5, 2006, 9:20 GMT)

i think Duncan Fletcher now understands the futility of choosing Giles...

Duncan Fletcher: "One bad session can cost you the match. I've got to speak to the batters and ask why they closed up ... the instructions were to have a go like we did yesterday. We included Giles because we wanted to bat to No. 8 ... we think Ashley can do a better job at that." He got a duck at the 2nd innings and his 27 not out doesnt make up for poor bowling.

Posted by Kezza on (December 5, 2006, 9:15 GMT)

I cannot believe England's attitude with the bat today. They played like they were going to lose and guess what they did. Had they attacked the bowlers they may have drawn the match. I think Englands selection policy is wrong like you said also. I personally think Monty should of played, and if Fletcher is worried about the lower order then perhaps he should drop Anderson and Giles. Put Flintoff in at 7 and bring in another Batsman in at 6. So the bowling attack would be Flintoff, Hoggard, Harmison and Panesar. IMO England are one strike bowler short, and Flintoff has too much on his plate. Maybe the should of stuck with Strauss as captain. On a positive note I thought Hoggard and Collingwood were brilliant and its ashame that their efforts came to nothing. Thats three test matches in about 5 years at Adelaide where a player who made a double hundred has played in a losing side.

Posted by Richard on (December 5, 2006, 9:10 GMT)

Dont ever discount experience, Warne is not labled as the greatest ever for nothing. He will have the ability to do the same when he is 40. Well played Aus

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim de Lisle
Tim de Lisle is a former editor of Wisden. He fell in love with newspapers at the age of seven and with cricket at the age of 10. He started in journalism at 16, reviewing records for the London Australian Magazine, before reading classics at Oxford and writing for Smash Hits, Harpers & Queen and the Observer. He has been a feature writer on the Daily Telegraph, arts editor of the Times and the Independent on Sunday, and editor of Wisden Cricket Monthly, where he won an Editor of the Year award. Since 1999, Tim has been the rock critic of the Mail on Sunday. He is deputy editor of Intelligent Life, the new general-interest magazine from the Economist. He writes for the Guardian and makes frequent appearances as a cricket pundit on the BBC and Sky News.

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