Action: third Test December 16, 2006

Crushed by the stuff of folklore

At Brisbane, they were remorseless
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At Brisbane, they were remorseless. At Adelaide, they were first dogged, then ruthless. Today, the Australians were first determined, then majestic. England’s management have made many blunders in this series, but today wasn’t about the losing side. It was about the winners. This is the way Test matches should be won.

When Adam Gilchrist came in, at 365 for five, the game was virtually up. England were hardly going to make 400 to win the Test, or bat two days to draw it, so they were already praying for a monsoon in the midst of a drought. Gilchrist’s innings was the icing on the cake. But what icing.

Andrew Flintoff nearly got him early on, squirting to gully, and what followed underlined just how much Flintoff had achieved in keeping the greatest number seven in history quiet through a whole series. Once Flintoff took himself off, Gilchrist played Twenty20: two runs per ball, a couple of fours per over off the quicks, and a string of sixes that were so massive, they should really have been eights. It was magical stuff. This series hasn’t delivered the knife-edge excitement of 2005, but here was something to go into Ashes folklore.

The game had been shaped by four other batsmen: Matt Hayden, raging against the dying of the light: Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey, maintaining their double run-machine act; and Michael Clarke, easing to another unnoticed hundred. England didn’t hold their half-chances, and didn’t bowl enough yorkers at Gilchrist. The heat of Perth may have got to them, but it could equally have been the heat of the Ashes kitchen, which has been too much for them at most of the critical moments in the past month.

Australia had learnt from their mistake at Perth last year, when the scores in the first three innings were very similar, but their 500 came at a stodgy rate. South Africa were left needing to bat four sessions, rather than six and a bit. One slow, battling hundred – from Jacques Rudolph – was enough to save them. England need three, and the man best equipped to provide one, Andrew Strauss, has once again been rudely Koertzened.

England are back where they were after three days in Brisbane, playing only for pride. And they don’t have enough batsmen: the decision to stick with five bowlers has backfired, with Flintoff seeming unsure how to use Saj Mahmood. Collectively, they need to push the game into the fifth day.

Individually, most of them have points to prove. Alastair Cook has to get past 50, Ian Bell past 60, and Paul Collingwood has to show he can cope with steep bounce. Flintoff himself needs to find his feet and his form, after losing his way as a batsman and now finishing wicketless for the first time in 42 Tests, since Edgbaston 2003. Geraint Jones, poised somewhere between the last-chance saloon and the stocks, needs runs more than anyone. Only Kevin Pietersen has nothing to prove, and the prospect of another duel with Shane Warne always gets his juices flowing. So there should be plenty of interest in the last rites. Then again, it could be all over by lunch.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rama on December 20, 2006, 10:43 GMT

    Andy, teams should learn from the Aussies what negative bowling is all about. Even Ian Chappell and the other commentators said about Aussies negative tactics this Ashes series also Ian said the same in the Champions Trophy in India when the Aussies played WI. All is fair in love and war and also Sticky setting a defensive field even when he is having 550 o/b with champion bowlers and not enforcing follow on after 445 runs o/b. Will any other team in the world do it. Only the Aussies will and can do it after their defeat at the hands of India in Calcutta. Sticky will never ever apply even if they have 800 o/b. I bet the Aussies will never do it and that is a challenge.

    This for Michael. If I am a Moron what are you a Thicko?

  • Rama on December 20, 2006, 10:27 GMT

    Yes,Michael and Rhino. Australia also lost to minnows Bangladesh in an ODI and nearly lost a Test Match in Bangladesh. Will you agree or not. What goes up always has to come down and the time has come for the onetime cons. So, you agree someone has scored a faster century!

  • Stevo on December 20, 2006, 2:28 GMT

    Rama - wake up to yourself!! Gilchrist actually made his reputation on scoring big in dire circumstances. Also you may want to check how many centuries he has scored in tests. Australia is not a great team but a pedestrian one??? That doesn't say much for the rest of the world since Australia has been the number 1 test and odi team for more than 10 years. That includes beating every nation at home and away. Who else has done that? Nobody!! Warne has 699 test wickets - most of which he has had to take on hard Australian wickets - not sub continent dust bowls. Oh, and if the pressure in a odi innings comes at batting number 7 why don't teams put their best batsmen there? Who knew it was such a walk in the park to open an innings?

  • rhino on December 19, 2006, 13:16 GMT

    Rama - what have you been smoking? 90 runs in 20 years??? 19 wickets in an innings??? You're going to drown in that drivel (dribble) old son. If what Gilchrist did wasn't a great feat, then how come only one person in history has done it faster? And by the way the "sherminator" is not Warne - that's what he calls Bell. Stop drinking your bong water mate!

  • Michael from Brisbane on December 19, 2006, 4:59 GMT

    Rama You are a drop-kick In the history of test cricket Australia has won more tests than any other country. In the history of test cricket Australia has the highest winning percentage of any country. Last time I checked no Asian country has ever won a test series in Australia. Get the picture moron?

  • Andy on December 18, 2006, 9:29 GMT

    Great test match, shame that the poms bowled 2 deliberate wides to Gilchrist when in the 90's to deny him the world record test fastest 100, worst ever sportmanship since the underarm incident and bodyline.

    Hey I also wonder if the aussie 11 will get mbe's etc since as the "Barmy Army" keep saying she's our queen.

    Greatest team ever . full stop.

  • Rama on December 18, 2006, 7:20 GMT

    What is so great about Gilchrist. He thrashed the bowling. Yes, when the bowlers are tired and you have a winning score of almost 400 behind you anyone even a small time bowler can tear you to pieces. Let him play like a Sangakkara or a Kamran Akmal in a pressure situation. Even in ODIs he opens the innings when there is no pressure. Let him come at 7 in ODIs and let us see him get a century then I will really admire him. It is not a great feat. See the young Cook and Bell how they performed in the second innings a really pressure situation with Sherminator breathing down the neck. He was thrashed for almost 90 in 20 years. That is some thrashing and not that of Gilchrist. Contrast this with the fumbling of Gilchrist in the first innings and you can make the difference. Australia is not a great team but a pedestrian one. They are always lucky. They win the toss and it is of great help and then the Sherminator who is called the greatest spin doctor comes and uses the follow thru patches to cleverly to gets his wickets. I challenge to him to get 5 or 6 wickets on the very first day and then I call him a great bowler. Further has he taken 19 wickets in an Innings so far! Any takers.

  • Cricket Lover on December 18, 2006, 4:39 GMT

    The aussie's rock and the ashes is almost ours!!! Great work punta and the boys. You're LEGENDS! Good effort England! A great game of cricket.

  • Flash Ash on December 17, 2006, 22:04 GMT

    Tim

    Read the headlines tomorrow, Endland win by one wicket with two overs to go!! Monty scores first test 50 in partnership with Harmy (Who scores 73 off 35 deliveries!!). Dreaming I'm sure, but England do have a chance, If and its a big if!! KP and Freddie can "put it up'em!!" then the game is still wide open, the game will have a result a draw is not on the cards unless weather intervenes.

    But, lets put the result in perspective, England within 18-24 months will be top test team and Oz for all their gloat about new players will not.

    What we are seeing now is probably the swansong of many of the Oz "Dad's Army" And it's one of the best "swansongs" you'll every witness. Gilly in particular deserves it, he is probably the greatest "all-rounder" of all time, because his dominance has allowed Oz to field the balance of team they do. McGrath & Warnes records stand for themselves as does Ponting, who has quite literally held the team together as Steve Waughs batting used to do.

    Umpiring decisions are part of the game and I don't think we've heard any complaints from Strauss as to the decisions!! He takes it all in his stride, just as Harmy would take McGraths wicket in his.

    Anyway as to the result for Day 5......

    KP & Freddie may the force be with you, Oh!! and you to Jones, Mahmood, Harmy and Monty. If we are going to crash and burn then lets make it close!!

  • Rich on December 17, 2006, 21:27 GMT

    I was lucky enough to watch that magical Astle chanceless-222. Never seen the ball hit to anything like that level.

    Came pretty close a couple of days ago, mind - damn close.

    It really is something to see the ball hit like that - unfortunately this time it was somewhat painful to boot as I hate seeing Hoggard (these days - loved it with Astle) and Panesar taken to the cleaners. I also wasn't too pleased to see Gilchrist escape the lean trot he's been in since Lord's 2005, because I genuinely believed that someone might, finally, have got the wood over him.

    Unlike many English correspondants, though, I never contemplated writing him off, and here is the proof as to why to do so was\would have been pure folly. Class will out.

  • Rama on December 20, 2006, 10:43 GMT

    Andy, teams should learn from the Aussies what negative bowling is all about. Even Ian Chappell and the other commentators said about Aussies negative tactics this Ashes series also Ian said the same in the Champions Trophy in India when the Aussies played WI. All is fair in love and war and also Sticky setting a defensive field even when he is having 550 o/b with champion bowlers and not enforcing follow on after 445 runs o/b. Will any other team in the world do it. Only the Aussies will and can do it after their defeat at the hands of India in Calcutta. Sticky will never ever apply even if they have 800 o/b. I bet the Aussies will never do it and that is a challenge.

    This for Michael. If I am a Moron what are you a Thicko?

  • Rama on December 20, 2006, 10:27 GMT

    Yes,Michael and Rhino. Australia also lost to minnows Bangladesh in an ODI and nearly lost a Test Match in Bangladesh. Will you agree or not. What goes up always has to come down and the time has come for the onetime cons. So, you agree someone has scored a faster century!

  • Stevo on December 20, 2006, 2:28 GMT

    Rama - wake up to yourself!! Gilchrist actually made his reputation on scoring big in dire circumstances. Also you may want to check how many centuries he has scored in tests. Australia is not a great team but a pedestrian one??? That doesn't say much for the rest of the world since Australia has been the number 1 test and odi team for more than 10 years. That includes beating every nation at home and away. Who else has done that? Nobody!! Warne has 699 test wickets - most of which he has had to take on hard Australian wickets - not sub continent dust bowls. Oh, and if the pressure in a odi innings comes at batting number 7 why don't teams put their best batsmen there? Who knew it was such a walk in the park to open an innings?

  • rhino on December 19, 2006, 13:16 GMT

    Rama - what have you been smoking? 90 runs in 20 years??? 19 wickets in an innings??? You're going to drown in that drivel (dribble) old son. If what Gilchrist did wasn't a great feat, then how come only one person in history has done it faster? And by the way the "sherminator" is not Warne - that's what he calls Bell. Stop drinking your bong water mate!

  • Michael from Brisbane on December 19, 2006, 4:59 GMT

    Rama You are a drop-kick In the history of test cricket Australia has won more tests than any other country. In the history of test cricket Australia has the highest winning percentage of any country. Last time I checked no Asian country has ever won a test series in Australia. Get the picture moron?

  • Andy on December 18, 2006, 9:29 GMT

    Great test match, shame that the poms bowled 2 deliberate wides to Gilchrist when in the 90's to deny him the world record test fastest 100, worst ever sportmanship since the underarm incident and bodyline.

    Hey I also wonder if the aussie 11 will get mbe's etc since as the "Barmy Army" keep saying she's our queen.

    Greatest team ever . full stop.

  • Rama on December 18, 2006, 7:20 GMT

    What is so great about Gilchrist. He thrashed the bowling. Yes, when the bowlers are tired and you have a winning score of almost 400 behind you anyone even a small time bowler can tear you to pieces. Let him play like a Sangakkara or a Kamran Akmal in a pressure situation. Even in ODIs he opens the innings when there is no pressure. Let him come at 7 in ODIs and let us see him get a century then I will really admire him. It is not a great feat. See the young Cook and Bell how they performed in the second innings a really pressure situation with Sherminator breathing down the neck. He was thrashed for almost 90 in 20 years. That is some thrashing and not that of Gilchrist. Contrast this with the fumbling of Gilchrist in the first innings and you can make the difference. Australia is not a great team but a pedestrian one. They are always lucky. They win the toss and it is of great help and then the Sherminator who is called the greatest spin doctor comes and uses the follow thru patches to cleverly to gets his wickets. I challenge to him to get 5 or 6 wickets on the very first day and then I call him a great bowler. Further has he taken 19 wickets in an Innings so far! Any takers.

  • Cricket Lover on December 18, 2006, 4:39 GMT

    The aussie's rock and the ashes is almost ours!!! Great work punta and the boys. You're LEGENDS! Good effort England! A great game of cricket.

  • Flash Ash on December 17, 2006, 22:04 GMT

    Tim

    Read the headlines tomorrow, Endland win by one wicket with two overs to go!! Monty scores first test 50 in partnership with Harmy (Who scores 73 off 35 deliveries!!). Dreaming I'm sure, but England do have a chance, If and its a big if!! KP and Freddie can "put it up'em!!" then the game is still wide open, the game will have a result a draw is not on the cards unless weather intervenes.

    But, lets put the result in perspective, England within 18-24 months will be top test team and Oz for all their gloat about new players will not.

    What we are seeing now is probably the swansong of many of the Oz "Dad's Army" And it's one of the best "swansongs" you'll every witness. Gilly in particular deserves it, he is probably the greatest "all-rounder" of all time, because his dominance has allowed Oz to field the balance of team they do. McGrath & Warnes records stand for themselves as does Ponting, who has quite literally held the team together as Steve Waughs batting used to do.

    Umpiring decisions are part of the game and I don't think we've heard any complaints from Strauss as to the decisions!! He takes it all in his stride, just as Harmy would take McGraths wicket in his.

    Anyway as to the result for Day 5......

    KP & Freddie may the force be with you, Oh!! and you to Jones, Mahmood, Harmy and Monty. If we are going to crash and burn then lets make it close!!

  • Rich on December 17, 2006, 21:27 GMT

    I was lucky enough to watch that magical Astle chanceless-222. Never seen the ball hit to anything like that level.

    Came pretty close a couple of days ago, mind - damn close.

    It really is something to see the ball hit like that - unfortunately this time it was somewhat painful to boot as I hate seeing Hoggard (these days - loved it with Astle) and Panesar taken to the cleaners. I also wasn't too pleased to see Gilchrist escape the lean trot he's been in since Lord's 2005, because I genuinely believed that someone might, finally, have got the wood over him.

    Unlike many English correspondants, though, I never contemplated writing him off, and here is the proof as to why to do so was\would have been pure folly. Class will out.

  • Nick on December 17, 2006, 19:35 GMT

    All this debate is pointless and boring. It's obviously men against boys, the aussies are far too good this time. They have too many match winners. To suggest that England's 2005 win was a fluke is a bit much and a little pathetic. Admittedly the aussies contributed to their own downfall with their arrogance but they were generally outplayed. Maybe this series could have been more competitive if England had a fit Vaughan ,Trescothick and Jones. It may not have been though, the aussies are too good in their own back yard and are deservedly hammering an looking average England side.

  • Peter on December 17, 2006, 13:20 GMT

    I'm as one-eyed an Aussie fan as they come. Amid the debacle of the current series, I ponder the following what-ifs: What if Simon Jones, Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan were fit. What if Chris Read had played for Geraint Jones and Monty Panesar had played for Ashley Giles in the first 2 tests of the current Ashes series. Would it have made an ounce of difference to the results? Quite possibly. However it is painfully obvious to all Pommie cricket fans, the current Australian team is the Invincible team of the modern-day era and their only momentary 'glitch' in recent times has been the demise in England in 2005. I am thoroughly rapt to see the record put straight and the reality check brought down upon an English cricket team suffering from over-inflated egos, according to their non-convincing 2005 success. I hope Ricky Ponting leads this Australian team to a 5-0 whitewash to re-affirm who are the real champions.

  • The Black Hand on December 17, 2006, 12:24 GMT

    The thing I love most about cricket is that regardless of the team you support, there is joy in seeing somebody, anybody playing the game well even if he is a convict. Gilchrist's assault was magical and will be remembered forever by me. I am always glued whenever Shane Warne bowls. It is like watching Dr Who and hiding behind a cushion when England bat second!

  • The Black Hand on December 17, 2006, 12:23 GMT

    The thing I love most about cricket is that regardless of the team you support, there is joy in seeing somebody, anybody playing the game well even if he is a convict. Gilchrist's assault was magical and will be remembered forever by me. I am always glued whenever Shane Warne bowls. It is like watching Dr Who and hiding behind a cushion when England bat second!

  • Justin on December 17, 2006, 11:13 GMT

    Well Tim you are correct on 3 accounts - Cook passed 50, Bell 60 and no...Collingwood cannot bat on fast, bouncy pitches...still a slow pitch bully. Searing heat in the last 2 days...my seats leave me in the sun for the first session, and god blimey i'm sore for it. Not nearly as sore as the countless englishmen on borrowed/bought members tickets who thought they could turn up 30 minutes before play and get a spot in the shade. You never know though, there are thunder storms about - it's raining already and is awfully muggy. Good fightback by England though, although I did nod off numerous times during Bell and Cook's partnership - although being at the ground at 6 and the 6 beers in the first hour may have contributed some.

  • Aditya on December 17, 2006, 9:34 GMT

    As someone hoping for England to retain the Ashes, I'm very dissapointed. I don't think that the Australian team is too old, just McGrath. Gilly can play another 2 years, Warne, proabably another five! McGrath, however, with the exception of the first innings in Brisbane, has been a shadow of the bowler he can be and he should recognize that and retire from test matches (atleast) after the Ashes series. In fact, retiring from all cricket after the World Cup would be perfect.

    In fact, if Australia win the Ashes here, the selectors would do well to rest Hayden or Langer (maybe both!) and try a couple of new faces in the opening slots.

  • Bobo 148 on December 17, 2006, 7:09 GMT

    "Andrew Strauss, has once again been rudely Koertzened."

    Great line, worthy of Cricinfo's quotes page....

  • Hank on December 17, 2006, 4:23 GMT

    I agree with Mal, you ust be kidding yourself and the rest of England to think Strauss was hard done by in the second innings he is starting to become a bunny.

  • RSN on December 17, 2006, 2:27 GMT

    ASHES INCINERATED!!!!??? Hats off to Australia.

    If Ashes 2005 was a rap on the knuckles for aussie arrogance and complacency, Ashes 2006 is a knockout punch in the solar plexus for the English mediocricity and delusions of grandeur.

  • Eidstrom on December 17, 2006, 1:15 GMT

    Well said Tim. As I arrived home late yesterday from a washed-out match on the other side of the country and settled into the couch to watch the last session, I knew I was witnessing something extra special. Hussey was methodical, Clarke was stealthy and calculating. But Gilchrist didn't just plunder, he destroyed England. I was wearing an ear-to-ear grin for well into the evening for having been lucky enough to see it live, and for once, thanking the weather gods for the storm that allowed me to get home early.

  • Shane Bell on December 16, 2006, 23:23 GMT

    Umpires make there decisions without benefit of a replay. All the commentators thought Strauss was plumb in real motion, that is all the ump gets. Brett Lee doesn't get a lot of bounce because of his height and Koertzen would have taken that in to account.

    Both Panesar and Harmison have been getting bounce and they were both able to get decisions that were also doubtful for height. No mention of those decisions being wrong have been made by you.

    The umpires have had in the main a good series compared to last year, but quite a few of there decisions have been doubtful in this game.

    I don't rate Dar or Koertzen. Koertzen was one the umpires who gave a couple of absolute shockers in last years Ashes and Dar had an absolute shocker in Australia's summer last year.

    I do agree that umpires get it wrong but when it is marginal like the Lee, Ponting and Strauss LBW's you can excuse them.

    All followers of the game have there bias but I think columnists should keep theres in check and report the injustices on both sides

  • Richard on December 16, 2006, 22:31 GMT

    Lets face it, the Poms suck , they were very , very lucky last year and now they are getting hammered, they are still no 2 in the world, I mean lets face it the rest are far behind , wht with the PCB turning a blind eye to obvious drug abuse and SA being smashed by India, the West Indies could come back to being very good again , but after Aus and England the rest are totally mediocre, so dont be too down England you are still no2 behind the "OLD MEN"

  • Sanjay Prakash on December 16, 2006, 22:15 GMT

    Flintoff is due for a big score and hope in the second innings he can just play his natural game and get on with what he does best. The feet feel like they are stuck in buckets of lead but it's time to loosen up just like Gilly did.

    England do have a lot to think about. Geraint Jones has to be dropped for the 4th test even if he scores 300 runs in the 2nd innings. He is there to keep wickets and missing stumping Michael Clarke and also running for the Hussey pull that should have been left for Pietersen are fundamentals that should not have been allowed to happen. With Jones it seems every time there is a chance that goes to him the english hope he can hold on to it. As for his batting, it has not even troubled the scorers.

    There has been mention in the media of the umpiring going against England. Strauss was given out for not playing a shot. When you don't play a shot you are opening the mind of the umpire. The LBW yesterday showed him being hit inline with off stump and to the naked eye he was gone for all money. In 2005 the aussies were at the end of some debatable decisions, but in the end they acknowledged they were beaten by the better team and the umpiring had nothing to do with the end result. Sure decisions go against teams but in most cases the focus when it comes to the umpiring shifts the short comings in their ability to bat and score runs, bowl and take 20 wickets and take catches and complete stumpings. The aussies in 2005 were not able to score runs, take wickets and catches when it mattered. England must acknowledge the same as the umpiring has nothing to do with the England's on field performance and problems.

  • Rupert on December 16, 2006, 21:04 GMT

    What more can you say about Australia? They have the best fast bowler of the last decade - Glenn McGrath, the best spin bowler and philanderer in history - Shane Warne, the number one Test batsmen - Ricky Ponting, the number one one day batsmen - Mike Husssey, the most destructive batsmen - Adam Gilchrist, the best fielder - Andrew Symonds and, the best umpire - Darryl Hair?

    Let's be honest with ourselves if McGrath hadn't rolled his ankle before game 2 of the last series, the Aussies would have wrapped that one up convincingly too. That we did win just goes to show that God has a sense of humour and compassion.

    Could it be that the Australians could literally field another team that are as good as England? Phil Jaques, Marcus North, Brad Hodge, Mark Cosgrove, Adam Voges, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Tait, Nathan Bracken, Stuart Macgill?

    The answer would appear to be yes.

  • Richard on December 16, 2006, 20:15 GMT

    So Tim in your wisdom, who out of the current England set up would actually be able to play in the much maligned old and supposedly useless Aus team? I suspect that there would only be one and he wasnt even born here KP himself might be in the squad, as for the rest of them , I doubt if any of the youngsters would even come close. It will be interesting to see if you publish this comment or not, given your view points on the supposed old and usless Aus team. A supposed " Cricket pensioner" in Adam Gilchrist scores the second fastest century in tests, yet 8 days ago he had been written off by the supposed experts. I am sure those same experts said England would be able to hold the Ashes against the pensioners. Well congratulations to the old guys. 5-0 here we come

  • Sundhar Ram on December 16, 2006, 18:22 GMT

    Here is a glowing example of what bad selection can do to you. Geraint Jones dropped both Hussey and Gilly, and both went on to score centuries. Where is Chris Read?

  • TYU on December 16, 2006, 17:35 GMT

    Englands ashes hopes are now hanging by a thread. Thanks to crap selection, crap batting, being stingy (not securing Troy Cooley)lack of practice and mental weakness. Oh and of course Australia playing so well.

    Anyway, now we are hearing the same old crap about England have to do this, have to do that.

    Before the series started they "had to make a good start", then after the first loss they had to come back at adelaide, then they had to win the toss at perth, then they had to get a lead, then they had to bowl the ausies out cheaply second time round as well, then they had to make a good start. Egland had to do a lot of things but guess what? they failed on every single one of those things. Now "the top 4 have to get hundereds tommorow". Knowing England they'll probably fail that too.Then it'll be "Monty Panesar has to score a triple century to rescue Enland". If England had to do get it right from the start then this series was lost before it even began. There is still hope, I never completely give up hope but if England lose tommorow they'll get exactly what they deserved.

  • Rich Hammond on December 16, 2006, 16:09 GMT

    England have been a pretty big disappointment. However we are facing a fantastic Australia side, so powerful and well rounded with the additions of Clark and Hussey this time around. Just one point that I'd like to raise witnessing Australia regaining the ashes which they inevitably will do. My point is this. Australia have learnt from thier errors, the mistakes that lost them the 2005 ashes. They took England too lightly, particularly Hayden, Gilchrist and to some extent Clarke. All tried to bully England at the wrong times, this time around they look like they are fighting for their lives...incredibly determined. Also Australia have looked inward at both thier mentaliity and weaknesses. They have acted swiftly to erradicate poor middle order performances (Katich/Marytn) and have tweaked the bowling, (no Gillespie/Tait) and the whole approach seems so much more steely, no mor friendliness in the middle. (the Australia of old) My only hope is that England and Fletcher, should he survive, need to look inward and change for the better. Jones is not good enough, Flintoff needs to be free to play down the order and Monty should be played constantly, he is the future now.

    All credit to Australia though, fantastic in all three tests.

    Rich

  • Mal on December 16, 2006, 16:00 GMT

    It's a but much to suggest that Strauss has been "rudely Koertzened". Presumably this implies that he copped a bad decision, but if a batsman fails to use his bat, then the benifit of the doubt should swing in favour of the bowler, as it did (correctly) in this case. Don't play a shot? Then be prepared to be fired out if the ball looks in any way likely to be hitting the stumps. Correct decision Rudi.

  • daniel on December 16, 2006, 15:54 GMT

    Another home series and another aussie win. Only India has taken it to the world champions on their home turf in recent years and that was without two of the greatest bowlers of all time in Warne and McGrath. England sadly couldnt use the aggression they displayed once in the last 18 years even against a side that has a fill in number six allrounder that is still unproven at test level. It shows the flaws of a touring side when Gilchrist who has had one decent innings in the past 2 years rips a side to pieces. A great side is one that wins and takes it to a higher level. Only Australia can lay claim to that. Even if KP has made runs, he couldnt perform the feat of what Adam Gilchrist did today and thats what makes Australia special, no matter what a side does, theres only been one Adam Gilchrist in cricket!

  • Brian Cummins on December 16, 2006, 15:07 GMT

    Duncan Fletcher sees nothing wrong with his selections, so presumably the clown Jones can continue picking himself for the next 10 years. This spineless crew are a disgrace. I am surprised that they have the gall to collect their fat salaries. Can anybody explain the point of the 15 or so backroom staff? I'd love to know what brilliant advice they provide.

  • Richard on December 16, 2006, 14:42 GMT

    I am sure England would love to have a few " OLD GUYS" like Haydon and Gilchrist to be in their team. As I said before experience counts.Well batted to all the so called old washed up Aussies

  • snoopthedoop on December 16, 2006, 13:18 GMT

    Sorry - have to say it but it really was master and apprentice stuff today.

    England won the 2005 series with a fully fit squad and mental toughness. BUT in 2006 it seems as if that series was enough and they could waltz through this one with limited preparation, zero desire to win anything else (The Champions Trophy) and keep the Ashes as - well - a birthright. You got to work for it fellows!!

    Dad's Army (thanks Beefy and note to you - do not give champions of any age extra incentive to perform)has shown the newbies that if you want something really badly you have to fight.

    It is not over yet but there are no odds on any other result than an Aussie win tomorrow.

    What a shame Husseys and Clarkes knocks (Pup's the pick) will be forgotten and relegated to the shadows in the blazing glory of Gilly's knock (syrupy comments intended). A privilege to watch a master of the game at work and washing away a horrible run of outs.

    Steve Waugh talked and taught mental disintegration, today Gilchrist practiced it on England.

  • Aditya on December 16, 2006, 13:17 GMT

    Woah, what was that? "It was a stealth bomber, sir". A stealth bomber...yes,..words like "Blitz" and "Adam Bomb" come to mind. For all people say, Gilly is still the most devastating player in the game, and on his day he can take any attack apart. I think England lacked intensity in the field in this innings, and looked like they didn't know what to do after conceding a lead of only under 30 runs. They looked dazed and unsure of whether to take the initiative or not, as Navjot Singh Sidhu would have put it: "as confused as a child in a topless bar".

  • jibril on December 16, 2006, 13:06 GMT

    What would I not give for Viv Richards at one end and Gary Sobers at the other and the wounded Windie pride in them and than I would see how far Brett Lee and Glen Mcgrath would contain them !!! But I am sorry. I apologize, as a cricket lover, to all Australians, that I ever thought that England had a chance to win this Ashes. I have been cruelly let down by a team that knows not how to fight! Last year, Australia should have held its head high as Michael Vaughan held the Ashes. This Year, England should drown in shame as Ricky Ponting takes back what is his.

    MBE's? OBE's? For What ? For playing good cricket ? THAT IS THERE BLOODY JOB!!! But I am sorry, they do deserve the MBE's etc for good cricket. They only play it in the cycle of Hailey's comet.

    This has been written in lue of the autopsy of English cricket despite signs of life last year and it has been confirmed that it is in fact, very much dead.

    jibril

    p.s. NO englishman should play in the English team. Lets get all the proteas and indians we can get. They atleast fight

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  • jibril on December 16, 2006, 13:06 GMT

    What would I not give for Viv Richards at one end and Gary Sobers at the other and the wounded Windie pride in them and than I would see how far Brett Lee and Glen Mcgrath would contain them !!! But I am sorry. I apologize, as a cricket lover, to all Australians, that I ever thought that England had a chance to win this Ashes. I have been cruelly let down by a team that knows not how to fight! Last year, Australia should have held its head high as Michael Vaughan held the Ashes. This Year, England should drown in shame as Ricky Ponting takes back what is his.

    MBE's? OBE's? For What ? For playing good cricket ? THAT IS THERE BLOODY JOB!!! But I am sorry, they do deserve the MBE's etc for good cricket. They only play it in the cycle of Hailey's comet.

    This has been written in lue of the autopsy of English cricket despite signs of life last year and it has been confirmed that it is in fact, very much dead.

    jibril

    p.s. NO englishman should play in the English team. Lets get all the proteas and indians we can get. They atleast fight

  • Aditya on December 16, 2006, 13:17 GMT

    Woah, what was that? "It was a stealth bomber, sir". A stealth bomber...yes,..words like "Blitz" and "Adam Bomb" come to mind. For all people say, Gilly is still the most devastating player in the game, and on his day he can take any attack apart. I think England lacked intensity in the field in this innings, and looked like they didn't know what to do after conceding a lead of only under 30 runs. They looked dazed and unsure of whether to take the initiative or not, as Navjot Singh Sidhu would have put it: "as confused as a child in a topless bar".

  • snoopthedoop on December 16, 2006, 13:18 GMT

    Sorry - have to say it but it really was master and apprentice stuff today.

    England won the 2005 series with a fully fit squad and mental toughness. BUT in 2006 it seems as if that series was enough and they could waltz through this one with limited preparation, zero desire to win anything else (The Champions Trophy) and keep the Ashes as - well - a birthright. You got to work for it fellows!!

    Dad's Army (thanks Beefy and note to you - do not give champions of any age extra incentive to perform)has shown the newbies that if you want something really badly you have to fight.

    It is not over yet but there are no odds on any other result than an Aussie win tomorrow.

    What a shame Husseys and Clarkes knocks (Pup's the pick) will be forgotten and relegated to the shadows in the blazing glory of Gilly's knock (syrupy comments intended). A privilege to watch a master of the game at work and washing away a horrible run of outs.

    Steve Waugh talked and taught mental disintegration, today Gilchrist practiced it on England.

  • Richard on December 16, 2006, 14:42 GMT

    I am sure England would love to have a few " OLD GUYS" like Haydon and Gilchrist to be in their team. As I said before experience counts.Well batted to all the so called old washed up Aussies

  • Brian Cummins on December 16, 2006, 15:07 GMT

    Duncan Fletcher sees nothing wrong with his selections, so presumably the clown Jones can continue picking himself for the next 10 years. This spineless crew are a disgrace. I am surprised that they have the gall to collect their fat salaries. Can anybody explain the point of the 15 or so backroom staff? I'd love to know what brilliant advice they provide.

  • daniel on December 16, 2006, 15:54 GMT

    Another home series and another aussie win. Only India has taken it to the world champions on their home turf in recent years and that was without two of the greatest bowlers of all time in Warne and McGrath. England sadly couldnt use the aggression they displayed once in the last 18 years even against a side that has a fill in number six allrounder that is still unproven at test level. It shows the flaws of a touring side when Gilchrist who has had one decent innings in the past 2 years rips a side to pieces. A great side is one that wins and takes it to a higher level. Only Australia can lay claim to that. Even if KP has made runs, he couldnt perform the feat of what Adam Gilchrist did today and thats what makes Australia special, no matter what a side does, theres only been one Adam Gilchrist in cricket!

  • Mal on December 16, 2006, 16:00 GMT

    It's a but much to suggest that Strauss has been "rudely Koertzened". Presumably this implies that he copped a bad decision, but if a batsman fails to use his bat, then the benifit of the doubt should swing in favour of the bowler, as it did (correctly) in this case. Don't play a shot? Then be prepared to be fired out if the ball looks in any way likely to be hitting the stumps. Correct decision Rudi.

  • Rich Hammond on December 16, 2006, 16:09 GMT

    England have been a pretty big disappointment. However we are facing a fantastic Australia side, so powerful and well rounded with the additions of Clark and Hussey this time around. Just one point that I'd like to raise witnessing Australia regaining the ashes which they inevitably will do. My point is this. Australia have learnt from thier errors, the mistakes that lost them the 2005 ashes. They took England too lightly, particularly Hayden, Gilchrist and to some extent Clarke. All tried to bully England at the wrong times, this time around they look like they are fighting for their lives...incredibly determined. Also Australia have looked inward at both thier mentaliity and weaknesses. They have acted swiftly to erradicate poor middle order performances (Katich/Marytn) and have tweaked the bowling, (no Gillespie/Tait) and the whole approach seems so much more steely, no mor friendliness in the middle. (the Australia of old) My only hope is that England and Fletcher, should he survive, need to look inward and change for the better. Jones is not good enough, Flintoff needs to be free to play down the order and Monty should be played constantly, he is the future now.

    All credit to Australia though, fantastic in all three tests.

    Rich

  • TYU on December 16, 2006, 17:35 GMT

    Englands ashes hopes are now hanging by a thread. Thanks to crap selection, crap batting, being stingy (not securing Troy Cooley)lack of practice and mental weakness. Oh and of course Australia playing so well.

    Anyway, now we are hearing the same old crap about England have to do this, have to do that.

    Before the series started they "had to make a good start", then after the first loss they had to come back at adelaide, then they had to win the toss at perth, then they had to get a lead, then they had to bowl the ausies out cheaply second time round as well, then they had to make a good start. Egland had to do a lot of things but guess what? they failed on every single one of those things. Now "the top 4 have to get hundereds tommorow". Knowing England they'll probably fail that too.Then it'll be "Monty Panesar has to score a triple century to rescue Enland". If England had to do get it right from the start then this series was lost before it even began. There is still hope, I never completely give up hope but if England lose tommorow they'll get exactly what they deserved.

  • Sundhar Ram on December 16, 2006, 18:22 GMT

    Here is a glowing example of what bad selection can do to you. Geraint Jones dropped both Hussey and Gilly, and both went on to score centuries. Where is Chris Read?