June 27, 2009

Ashes

The Ponting and Hughes show

Nishi Narayanan

The Australian line-up playing Sussex at Hove is not the most enchanting one, writes Mike Selvey in the Guardian. Unlike their predecessors, they don't swagger or dazzle, but they work damn hard. And they have two specialist batsmen at opposite ends of their careers who will take the breath away at some point in the series.

Ricky Ponting and ­Phillip Hughes. The only questions with these two are: is there any visible sign that age is ­beginning to diminish the powers of the greatest ­Australian batsman of this era (Ponting)? Can he continue to bat like that and get away with it at the highest level (Hughes)? Don't blink when this pair is at the crease.

In the Age Brendan McArdle writes that anything less than a series victory will be a disaster for Ricky Ponting, the coach and his support staff, and the selectors.

Australia should win because it is more talented than England and the four players who will open the batting and bowling — Katich, Hughes, Johnson and Siddle — are stars. But if the events of the last nine months are anything to go by there is cause for concern. It hasn't been a good start in England: our swift banishment from the Twenty20 world championship was no less than we deserved. The selection and tactics for this unique form of the game were atrocious, yet in many ways it's been swept under the carpet as the focus switched to the Ashes.

In the Sydney Morning Herald Valkerie Baynes writes that Mitchell Johnson would probably be serving his country on the field of battle rather than the cricket pitch if it wasn't for a chance meeting with Dennis Lillee.

In the Times Kate Muir and Ben Macintyre interview the creators of the Duckworth and Lewis Method album, Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh.

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Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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