England v Australia 2010 June 29, 2010

'No need for crisis meetings' - Watson

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Australia have never been whitewashed 5-0 in any format, but Shane Watson insists there have been no crisis meetings as the prospect of being held winless by England looms. However, he does believe the visitors have been caught underprepared after taking a month off following their return home from the ICC World Twenty20.

England took the series with their victory at Old Trafford and at The Oval on Wednesday they could bring the scoreline to 4-0, tantalisingly close to a clean sweep with one match to play at Lord's. Adding to the psychological challenge for the Australians is the return to The Oval, where last year's Ashes defeat was decided, but Watson said the captain Ricky Ponting had kept a cool head over the past few days.

"It hasn't been fire and brimstone," Watson said of Ponting's approach. "We've just talked about the things we can continue to develop and get exactly where we want to. We know as a group we've been slightly below par.

"There's no need to have big crisis meetings and that sort of thing. We are a continually developing group and we have had a bit of time off. The majority of us made the most of it, because we haven't had three weeks off for quite a while. We've made the most of our time off but we've been caught a little bit short here, I think."

The key for Australia to regain some pride in the remaining two games is an improvement in their batting. Their totals have steadily dropped away as the series has progressed - 267 in Southampton, 239 in Cardiff and 212 at Old Trafford - and it has left their undermanned attack repeatedly fighting losing battles.

Watson has been comfortably Australia's best batsman, with two half-centuries and 150 runs, leaving him second only to Eoin Morgan in the series tally. However, he has struggled to push on after reaching fifty when a big hundred could set up an Australian win, and he said switching back to the 50-over version after the World Twenty20 had been a challenge.

"I wouldn't think it's the pressure being built up, because so far I feel I've been able to release that pressure pretty well throughout an innings," Watson said. "It's more a concentration thing, to be able to make sure I give myself a little bit more time.

"There is an adjustment going from Twenty20 cricket to one-day cricket, so I've got to continue to remind myself there's a lot more time in the game. On the opposite side of that, Twenty20 is a thing where you keep going no matter what."

However, the England squad has been more adept at changing formats, having beaten Australia in the World Twenty20 final. It has been a stark turnaround from last year, when Australia thrashed England 6-1 in the ODI series that followed the Ashes and then knocked them out in the Champions Trophy semi-final, but Watson said the 3-0 scoreline was not a great shock to the Australians.

"I'm not surprised, no," Watson said. "I've seen it from afar and also from the Twenty20 World Cup, they've continued to improve as a group and got some guys into the team who are making a big difference. Kevin Pietersen was sorely missed for them during that one-day series we played here and during the Champions Trophy.

"He adds a world-class batsman at the top of the order. That's definitely something that has made a big difference. We knew we were going to be hit very hard by the English, because they're continuing to develop as a very good international team in all forms of the game."

The Australians are likely to stick with their scratchy batting unit, with no room for Shaun Marsh to squeeze into the side. Josh Hazlewood might come into calculations if The Oval pitch provides some bounce, while all eyes will be on Shaun Tait to see how he backs up following his strong return to ODI cricket.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Puppster23 on June 30, 2010, 20:15 GMT

    @manasvi_lingam Ok, so the Aussie batting line-up is a pale shadow of its glorious past, but hey... they still have been beating every team around, hence proving its not names, but performances that truly matter.... Australian middle order let them down in this series against England, and had they played anything like they did today, then they would have had England, on the backfoot in this series.

  • Stewieee on June 30, 2010, 16:49 GMT

    Fresh commentary from the game - "5.2 Tait to Strauss, 2 runs, 93.0 mph, dropped! It was a good ball just outside off, Strauss pushes at it and gets a thick edge which flies to Watto at first slip... but he can't hold on! The ball was really motoring, but he just couldn't wrap the hands round it"

    Hmmm - may be Watson should concentrate more on the field, than worrying about media...

  • dummy4fb on June 30, 2010, 12:52 GMT

    Altho i wud love to see Aus go down 5-0, my guess is England is going to behave like any other team on top on Aussies. I guess they will become too over confident and complacent and give aussies a come back like 2-3.

    I think Bolinger has been an awesome spearhead for aussies in this series. I dont remember seeing any bowler in past who , despite being relatively new in international cricket and not being the first choice bowler when seniors r in a game, has taken a wicket everytime he has been thrown the ball by a captain. This guys comes back after 20 overs for a fag end spell and first ball lands on target against a settled batsman. Hope CSK retain him :-)

    Also I guess "Rusty" Ponting is the main reason for Aussies losses. Many might deny but if Ricky consistently fails (i mean getting a 70+) then invariably Aussie bating looks weak. He is a match winner for them like Sachin for Ind. They may have players like White, Hussey who can save matches but Ponting is the engine.

  • SnowSnake on June 30, 2010, 11:18 GMT

    Rooboy: You may want to find a different example or drop it all together. The Australia team that visited NZ was not the same that played the WC. Key players were rested for the WC-- Ponting and McGrath were among them. The team was lead by Hussey. The current Aus. team is geneuinly weak. Hussey, and Ponting are not performing well. Also, both are near retirement and Aus. has not yet dropped them. It appears very likely that Aus. will not make any changes between now and WC. This is ominous because two underperforming batsmen will be in Aus. WC team. Aus. selection board did not plan for upcoming retirements and searched enough for new talent. As a result, I see that Aus. team will remain weak for some years to come.

  • johntothejohn on June 30, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    I don't think England should e getting carried away too much just yet, because as we all remember last time the same thing happened and we were white washed 5-0 down under. We are improving that's for sure but we need to keep are feet on the ground. The Aussie team obviously isn't as strong as it used to be but don't write them off just yet, key bowlers are set to return and although Hussey and Ponting are on the decline in a major way, that batting line up has a lot of talent in there when they fire. I recently saw the Aussies dominate India at home a team that has been dominating every other team for quite some time now in ODI's(barring recently when they rested near enough all their first choice players in Zimbabwe)To me the Aussies are still the number one ODI side just look at the rankings they don't lie and they will be the team to beat this world cup I'm sure of that although it is nice to see them getting beaten now lol

  • Gizza on June 30, 2010, 10:54 GMT

    To Wikiwarrior who said: "Australia have never been whitewashed 5-0 in any format" ummm not true New Zealand did a white wash on the aussies 3 nil in the Chappel Handlee just before the world cup... come on dude get your facts right."

    You CONTRADICT YOURSELF and are wrong. Australia HAVEN'T been whitewashed 5-0 ever. They were only whitewashed 3-0.

  • dummy4fb on June 30, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    it's sad and disturbing to see that Marcio & colleagues are unable to digest the whitewash..they must start yogas or even can sell off their tvs to be not aware of wats going on with England and keep dreaming of an Aussie comeback in the 5 match seies of bouncing back...haha...

  • 68704 on June 30, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    Today the difference between teams is so minimal that teams have to be on full strength and in form if they are to win and win consiistently. England has been at full strength and is playing more or less to potential, while Australia has struggled with injuries, a long lay off and a few top players who seem to be unable to come to terms with the conditions and the opposition bowling, This is a meaningless and ill timed contest, a bit like the Chappell, Hadlee trophy has been on occasion.Australia could benefit as they might play better against Pakistan. England certainly have bragging rights, after all they have never ever won a major tournament barring the T20. I do hope that this willl stand England in good stead in the world cup next year in the subcontinent, for they have been pathetic on the big stage. Australia is in transition, now more than ever, cilinging on to their number one status. I am sure they will use this to get their act right for the Ashes and the world cup.

  • AravindSRT on June 30, 2010, 8:27 GMT

    @Marcio - Come on Dude, you got to be kidding...The sub continent fans and teams are more matured than the Aussies. Please recollect what has happened in India's last tour to Aus. recollect what Anil Kumble said at the press conference. Probably, you got to stop sticking pins on Sub continent players' and teams' dolls.

  • vvrr on June 30, 2010, 6:25 GMT

    Time for Ricky pointing to exit or leave captancy to young people and play like sachin as a batsman...

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