England news

Vaughan tips England for Ashes double

Alan Gardner

February 4, 2013

Comments: 107 | Text size: A | A

James Anderson, Matt Prior, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook with the replica Ashes urn, Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 5th day, January 7, 2011
Alastair Cook will lead England in attempting to retain the Ashes twice in 2013 © PA Photos
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Michael Vaughan, the former England captain who led them in regaining the Ashes eight years ago, believes that the current side have "a great chance" to win back-to-back series against Australia in 2013. England will fine-tune their preparations for the Ashes with home and away series against New Zealand and Vaughan suggested the strength in depth at Alastair Cook's disposal makes them strong favourites against an Australia side in transition.

Vaughan's England beat Australia 2-1 in 2005 for a first Ashes triumph in 18 years. That epic contest came against the likes of Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne but current captain, Michael Clarke, is now the only Australia survivor from the series. Their plans were further disrupted by the retirement of Michael Hussey last month and while there are also questions over the make-up of England's best side, Vaughan feels that Cook has a significant advantage in being able to pick from a pool of "20-22 players that are good enough to play international cricket".

The Tests against Australia will provide the bulk of the England narrative in 2013, alongside an ambition in 50-overs cricket to win the Champions Trophy, and Vaughan said Cook's side were capable of extending their run of Ashes success into a fourth consecutive series.

"This year is all about winning these two big Ashes series," he said. "You've got to look at this year as an England player, and Alastair Cook as captain, and think 'I've got two great chances of winning two Ashes'. You won't get a better chance - you do not get a better chance of beating an Australian side than this. They're decent, they're strong, they've got positivity because Clarke's a very, very good captain and leader. But you look down from one to 11, probably one to 20 with the England side, and think 'I'd fancy that'.

"Look at Australia's top six - Hussey, Ponting gone. That top three is going to be got at, especially in these conditions. Clarke, can he keep playing the way that he's played for the last 12 months? You'd think not. England have got a great chance. In England I'd expect England to win comfortably, in Australia, it'll be tight but England should still win."

While only a single ranking point separates second-placed England and third-placed Australia in Tests, there has been anxiety Down Under about the team's overall strategy. Player rotation has become a key issue in Australia but England's gradual movement towards a squad game has caused less of a ripple. James Anderson and Stuart Broad were rested from the Edgbaston Test against West Indies last summer, while rotation in the limited-overs set-up has become commonplace, as both countries try to marshal their resources ahead of two eagerly anticipated series.

"I think rotation is a must in the modern game," Vaughan said. "I think you've got to very clever with the way that you manage the players to make sure they stay fresh for the big moments, the big series. I think where England are very lucky is that they have such a big pool of players to choose from now - there's probably 20-22 players that are good enough to play international cricket for England.

"If we'd tried to do that six, seven years ago it would have been difficult because you'd have been replacing players and rotating them and bringing players in who weren't necessarily ready to play and then the performance levels would drop. I think that's what's happening with Australia, I don't think they've got a big enough pool of players to be able to rotate but they have to rotate because you want to keep the best players fit for the big series."

Before Australia, England's focus is on New Zealand, with the T20 series starting on Saturday. Although Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann have been rested, with Pietersen sitting out the ODIs as well, England will be at full strength again for the three Tests. Nick Compton is likely to resume as Cook's opening partner, with Joe Root the man in possession at No. 6, and Vaughan said that pinning down their favoured batting order for the Ashes will be a priority on a tour that should provide useful challenges.

"New Zealand at home won't be as bad as people think they will be," he said. "I think it will be a series that England will win but New Zealand will put up a fight, they've got one or two decent bowlers. You lose a toss in New Zealand, you can get behind the eight ball quickly, the pitches can do all sorts in those first two or three hours. It's a tour England will certainly fancy winning 3-0, you'd expect, but you can't take any opposition at home lightly."

Yorkshire Tea is now the official brew of England cricket. The Little Urn and the Brew Crew will be entertaining fans during the Yorkshire Tea Break at Investec Test matches this summer - yorkshiretea.co.uk

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (February 7, 2013, 6:58 GMT)

English Series - England will win no doubt. It's a well known fact that Australia can't play a swinging ball (nor can anybody in world cricket ATM). The advantage being to England because they can play better than the Australians. Australian Series - England still, but closer. This series will come mainly down to experience, composure and last but not least skill. With this young Australian team, I can't see them downing a (not too much older) but better team,eEven on flat wickets.

Posted by Shan156 on (February 7, 2013, 6:58 GMT)

@Meety, "which could come out trumps in England", England's bowling trio of Anderson, Finn, and Broad could also come out trumps in England and Australia. The Aussies may have more depth in their fast bowling ranks but the English first choice pace bowlers aremore fit and have more experience among them than any 3 the Aussies choose. Glad that you admit Eng's top 7 and spin bowling is better. Considering the relative evenness in the pace bowling, perhaps the advantage Eng. hold in the other depts should shade it in their favor. Many thought Eng. would lose in Aus. last time but they were far superior to the Aussies that they inflicted 3 innings defeats. Except Perth, the Aussies don't start as favorites at any of the other venues.

Posted by Shan156 on (February 7, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

@Meety, perhaps if you could read, you would understand that I only meant that it is too early to compare Wade to Prior. I have even mentioned that Wade and Lyon may perform as good as, or even better than, Prior and Swann in the long term but atm, they cannot be compared. The English counterparts are proven performers across many conditions while the 2 Aussies are not.

Re: Amla, yes, it was a mistake on my part but his ancestors did migrate from India. I was still correct about Tahir. For some reason, cricinfo didn't publish my subsequent post. The point was that place of birth does not matter. If that is the case, then Douglas Jardine should have played for India. Anyway, what is the need to mention that post in this article? What are you insinuating? That my comments don't mean anything because of that mistake? You have always been perfect in everything?

cricinfo, please publish.

Posted by Meety on (February 7, 2013, 6:23 GMT)

@Shan156 on (February 6, 2013, 0:26 GMT) -re: Prior v Wade. If you understand anything about batting stats, generally FC stats are higher than Tests over time. Priors Test ave 43, FC 40 - it COULD be said, he has overperformed thus far, Wade Test 43 & FC 41, IF you are to say that Prior's FC ave is low because he as improved with age (fair call), how could you possibly exclude Wade from that benefit when he is 5 or 6 years younger? BTW - as Wade is young there is a fair expectation his keeping will improve (like Prior's did once he started playing Test cricket). Wade has already improved after some advice & re-tweaking of his training drills - he has brilliant this past 3 or 4 weeks FYI! BTW - have you finally worked out that Amla is a Sth African born player?

Posted by Meety on (February 7, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

@Milhouse79 on (February 5, 2013, 23:34 GMT) - LOL! Nice to see you remember me, happens when you get your preverbial kicked! @5wombats on (February 5, 2013, 9:34 GMT) - I take it you are still alive!. @JG2704 on (February 6, 2013, 18:49 GMT) - IMO, none of the asian/middle East matches can be taken as much of a guide to the Ashes. So on the positives for England, that means the UAE & SL don't matter & on the negative - the great win in India doesn't matter. That means Oz's better form over the last 18 mths is largely irrelevant & their better performance in SL is irrelevant as well. IMO the only form guide between the two teams is v Sth Africa. We both lost, although I felt Oz played better for no better reward. England have a more settled top 7 & better spin options, but I really rate Oz's pace stocks - which could come out trumps in England. If your saw the WAY Starc bowled the other day (albeit ODIs & v WIndies), you'll know why I am optimistic. Too close to call atm!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 7, 2013, 1:34 GMT)

@pomshaveshortmemories on (February 6, 2013, 10:14 GMT), LOL at you bringing up the result of a T20 warmup game in a story about Ashes Tests!! Look up "irrelevant" in the dictionary some time. I seem to recall a few people made a few comments about England's less than stellar performances in the warmups before the recent Test series in India. How did that one go?

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 7, 2013, 0:55 GMT)

Shan156 - I believe that was my point exactly, if you look at the likes of Cook, Bell, Swann and Anderson there averages have only got better as they have started to belong at test level. Imagine Wade, Siddle, Warner, Hughes and Lyon in a couple of years. As for Lyon spin bowling averages tend to come down after a tour of India and go up after a tour of Australia - Lyon has played way more test cricket in Australia than Swann. Swann's average in Australia is poor imagine if he played over half his tests there as Lyon has done.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 6, 2013, 22:56 GMT)

5wombats - Back in 2010/11 I wasnt sure how Siddle was getting a game, he is a far better bowler now. Bowls a much fuller length and asks a lot more questions of the batsman. Surely Australia wont make the mistake of bowling at the stumps of Trott or Cook again. I concede England are favourites and should be but dont think Australia have to raise there game too much to compete. Remember last series in England, australia had lost a lot of stars and were one wicket away in Cardiff or retaining the Ashes.

Posted by 5wombats on (February 6, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

@A_Vacant_Slip - - good to see that you are still not in the cordon... Where have I been? thats a damned good question... down a deep dark hole. @Shan156 - hello again mate - it's nice to be back.

Posted by ozziespirit on (February 6, 2013, 20:01 GMT)

Yes, England are the better side. On Paper and historically. But cricket is a five day game that can change at any time. England fans, you may have a surprise or two this year. Fellow Aussies: Let's not go shouting things you may later regret, I for one am going to stick around these boards this Ashes to see who appears or not.

Posted by Shan156 on (February 6, 2013, 19:17 GMT)

@Vishnu27, Compton and Root are definitely better than Warner and Rogers if Lyon and Wade are better than Swann and Prior. Did you watch Compton and Root play in India? A legend like Gavaskar rates Root highly as a batsman. That should give you an idea of how good a player he is. He is still unproven and so is Compton but then Warner has never played an Ashes test either. How does saying Anderson is better than Siddle amount to underrating Siddle? Anderson is a proven performer in all conditions. Siddle is not. While Siddle has the better average, Anderson has played more than double the tests as Siddle.

Re: Bell, well, his overall avg against Aus. is bad because he played a lot of tests at the start of his career against an attack including McGrath and Warne. But, these 2 have retired, haven't they? Since the retirement of those 2 gentlemen, Bell has made merry against the Aussie attack. It is you who seem to underrate Bell.

Posted by Shan156 on (February 6, 2013, 19:02 GMT)

@Shaggy076, Siddle, Lyon, and Wade have played way fewer tests than Anderson, Swann, and Prior respectively. Especially, in the case of Lyon and Wade, they have way less experience that you cannot really compare their averages against their English counterparts and claim that they aren't far behind. They may potentially be as good or better than Swann and Prior but not at the moment. For eg, Lyon's average may balloon after playing a few tests in India and Wade might end up with an average of 30 after the India series. Siddle has played a grand total of 1 test in India. Anderson has played 14 and has a respectable average of under 30. Overall, Anderson has played 77 tests to Siddle's 37. Let Siddle play more and if he still has a better average than Anderson, then credit to him. But, not yet.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 6, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

Personally I agree with those who say they'd rather not have some ex cricketer (even if he was the captain of our best side in the last 30 years) talk about superiority There are arguments for both sides. Australia have (apart from the NZ blip) been in better test form than England since the last Ashes series. They trumped Eng's results/performances vs SL and SA and matched the India whitewash. From Eng's point of view , they've just come off a come from behind win in India and maybe will be rejuvenated under a new captain and feel better as the hunter rather than hunted (re the no 1 status) I feel much will depend on Clarke (who I feel is the best test captain and best batsman) and how Australia cope without Hussey and also how their bowlers hold up. Also much will depend on whether it's the Eng who tamely lost in UAE and drew in SL and lost to SA or the one who beat Ind 4-0 at home and 2-1 away.

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (February 6, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

Hey - @Wombat is that really you!? Nice to see you again. Where have you been? :-)

Posted by cric_J on (February 6, 2013, 15:37 GMT)

I agree that England should win the ashes comfortably at home.Probably 3-0 or so.But if Clarke continues to be in the form that he is and Warner gets going in most of the innnings of the series ,it would definitely make for an interesting watch.The rest of the Aussie batting looks pretty much in pieces.As for the Aussie bowling, the young crop consisting Starc and Cummins is extremely talented and may cause a few problems for England down under, but for that they need to be on the pitch and not in the hospital.On the whole,I think the Ashes down under will provide a much more even contest than the one in England .Though England can definitely win that one as well.

Posted by subbass on (February 6, 2013, 15:13 GMT)

I am sticking with England to win 3-1 at home and draw 2-2 away.

Posted by 5wombats on (February 6, 2013, 12:28 GMT)

@Shaggy076 (February 6, 2013, 11:00 GMT) - those stats about Anderson V Siddle said the same thing in Australia in 2010/11 - and then look what happened. There is simply no comparision between Siddle and Anderson. Anderson is miles better. Siddle may do ok in English conditions - but Anderson will do better. As for Wade V Prior... you're having a laugh - right? England may need to worry a bit about Starc and Clarke - but there's no real threat anywhere else in the current Australia side. If I were Australian I'd be worrying much more about what England have got to be honest.

Posted by Hammond on (February 6, 2013, 11:27 GMT)

I think Vaughan is right. Let's see how far Australia have actually come. Starc will be key for Australia, and who the 3rd England seamer is. The lack of a decent spinner will cost the Aussies overall, not so much here but in England that 4th innings will be tough for the Aussies with whatever bog average spinner they throw at England. Will be tougher now than 2010, but Australia is yet to have their confidence demolished by a test series drubbing in India. Exciting times ahead..

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 6, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

Shan156- The stats say Siddle is in front of Anderson, Wadde is only a run behind Prior and Lyon 2 runs behind Swann. These guys are young in there international careers and if they improve at the rate Anderson, Prior and Swann have then they are likely to end up better players. The question is are they ready to make there mark in the upcoming Ashes series. I agree England at the moment has more experience thus better credentials but the gap is closing fast.

Posted by poms_have_short_memories on (February 6, 2013, 10:14 GMT)

LOL at England losing to an NZ 2nd XI in 20/20!!

Posted by poms_have_short_memories on (February 6, 2013, 10:07 GMT)

When Mitchell Starc ,James Pattinson,Jackson Bird and Peter Siddle blow England away in 2013 i'll be interested at how Front Foot Lunge explains how the minnows of world cricket pulled it off.

Posted by pitch_curator on (February 6, 2013, 8:03 GMT)

I think it will be a match between proven performers (England) and talented youngsters (Aussies). In England, the English shade it as many in the Aussie line up will be playing there for the first time but in the return series, Australia would be slight favorites with their young pace attack in home conditions. Most likely the aussie top order would collapse on a couple of occasions in England. Cant see Warner and Watson making consistent scores at the top of the order in seaming English conditions against this English attack. We could see the emergence of 2-3 stars in test cricket after these series (possibly Pattison and Khawaja).

Posted by SirViv1973 on (February 6, 2013, 8:03 GMT)

Yes isn't great to see Jonsey2 back. when we were giving you a pasting last summer in the ODI series you were hiding away over on the domestic Aus boards. Now Aus have had a few wins over some pretty ordinary opposition you've found your confidence again. I guess we should make the most of your comedy comments as with the tour to Ind coming up and the back 2 back ashes series we might not see all that much of you during 2013.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 6, 2013, 7:11 GMT)

@ jonesy2, Welcome back, we've missed you during Australia's recent humiliations and tribulations. It'll be a sad day when you're absent from the back-to-back Ashes' series, just like you were the last Ashes. Fair-weathering is not the way to support any team mate, just look at how aussie fans treated their team last time, with no one but Englishmen at the grounds to see the home team lose. Shame :(

Posted by Vishnu27 on (February 6, 2013, 6:41 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge: any recollection of how appalling Prior was when he started out? Prior is without doubt one the most improved performers in world cricket in the last few years. His keeping & batting have been diligently improved upon over numerous seasons. Prior was far from a natural with the gloves & his batting suffered with his confidence. It's only in the last 18 months- two years that he has completely silenced his critics. Say what you like, Wade is quality with the bat & he has vowed to improve his glovework. @Shan156: what exactly have you been smoking? Compton & Root over Warner? Really? Looked at those numbers closely? I'd say you're in for a bit of a shock then. Bell may have finally made runs against Australia in the last series, but take away his maiden ton against us in the last test of the series & the numbers drop significantly. It would still be a 50 average for the tour, but overall his Ashes numbers don't stack up well. V.happy for you to underrate Siddle so much

Posted by wakaPAK on (February 6, 2013, 5:31 GMT)

On turning wickets England will have an edge and if we look at the experience in English side... Cook, Petersen, Prior and also Trott are proven compaigners then England seems a dominant side and their bowling is good also but the Aussies batsmen are looking good too despite their inexperience and if they click.... Boom! we'll have a great series. I know there is South Africa but in my opinion England is the most balanced side in Test Cricket with good pace and spin attack, a good wicketkeeper batsman, star batsmen and a good captain. But Aussies after a period of rebuilding are set to fly and take off and England should make sure it's not this series that they take off! Vaughn sees the English experience and he's right in his own way and if you have to bet on England, no one will blame you but despite all that Aussies are looking really good.

Posted by jonesy2 on (February 6, 2013, 3:25 GMT)

haha great comedy from vaughn. i dont need to explain why england have no chance i can just let the fact they have zero depth at all and their best bowler averages over 30 in test cricket do the talking for the might of australia. keep clutching at your straws england and keep believing its very cute and funny but in seriousness england should just focus on putting up a fight and lasting as many days as possible against the brigade of australian fast bowling superstars not to mention the worlds greatest batsman and worlds most destructive batsman.

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (February 6, 2013, 2:53 GMT)

I have some agreement with Michael V but I do rate the Aussie attack, the question is who is going to be fit for more than a game, saying that Anderson and Co. are normallypretty useful at home (SA excepted). The Aussie batting is not dependable at present and the gloveman needs to improve massively. The home series should be England's but I would never presume we are going to win away and start making brash predictions like an Indian fan. DavidPK made reference to 'we' regarding England, if you are english, which I doubt, I would sue whoever was the education secretary when you were at school (grammar, structure).

Posted by RonchiefBSB on (February 6, 2013, 1:19 GMT)

It doesn't require any great skills of analysis to state that England deserve to be favourites at home. They obviously have a relatively settled team, while Australia are certainly in transition especially with their batting and their bowlers have been plagued by injuries. Nonetheless, Vaughan's assertion that England effectively have twice the amount of international standard cricketers to choose from as Australia is curious. By my reckoning, Australia have at least 8 seam bowlers with a sub 30 test average in the mix to tour, and 4 with a sub 25 average. Out of England's likely seam attack of Anderson, Finn, Broad and Bresnan - only Finn is below 30, at 28.5.

Posted by Shan156 on (February 6, 2013, 0:59 GMT)

@Atifkhan3489, "England can't win in Australia". I am sure you must have said the same before the 2010-2011 Ashes too when Aus. still had Ponting and Hussey.

Posted by Shan156 on (February 6, 2013, 0:54 GMT)

@HeadHammerShark, Excellent post. That should shut some of the Aussie WUMs like RandyOZ. Or, perhaps not. But, it is still well put and shows why England have an edge over Australia. I think Eng. will win the encounter at home comfortably while they may just shade it in Aus.

Posted by Shan156 on (February 6, 2013, 0:35 GMT)

@5wombats, it has been a while since we saw your posts. Welcome back.

Posted by Shan156 on (February 6, 2013, 0:26 GMT)

@Shaggy076, @SirViv1973 has posted what I wanted to. But, I will add one more. Prior vs Wade and not much difference there? What are you smoking? Prior is probably only next to DeVilliers as a batsman among current day keepers and way better than Wade. Same with Swann and Lyon. Swann is way way better than Lyon who is not a spinner really, leave alone a good one. And, KP is not a star? Except Clarke, no Aussie batsman would get into the Eng. XI. I would take Compton and Root anytime over Warner, Rogers, and the other unknown Aussie batsmen. Trott and Bell are accomplished players. Bell hasn't done well against the Aussies? Check out his record in the Ashes series 2010-2011. Anderson is way ahead of Siddle and Finn is quality too. It is the other pace bowling slot where the Aussies may shade slightly but then let's see who is fit for the Aussies. It is sad but most Aussies are pretending that the 2010-2011 Ashes never happened.

Posted by whoster on (February 6, 2013, 0:15 GMT)

Still at lot of Test cricket to be played before The Ashes, but England should start firm favourites. Australia have a massive hole in their batting without Hussey, and their bowlers, although talented, are young and unproven. England have a large core of pencilled-in names: Cook, Trott, KP, Bell, Prior, Anderson, Finn (if fit) and Swann - all of whom were involved down under last time. Australia are a long way from knowing their best 11, and that includes their keeper. Too early to make predictions, but at this moment, England have an experienced, settled and pretty successful side. On paper, this looks like the weakest Aussie side since the mid-80's.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (February 5, 2013, 23:34 GMT)

I can't wait until the summer! I just hope that the Aussies on these pages don't disappear (like they did after the 4-0 ODI thumping this summer) after they lose. I want the precious Marcio, Meety and his ridiculous statistics, the hillarious Jonesy2 and everyone's favourite RandyOz to promise that they will post on here when the thrashings start! You boys do know deep down that England are better and will win don't you? You huff and puff and pretend nothing is wrong but secretly know that the Aussie batting line up is a joke and will cost you dearly. I imagine that, after the pastings, the tone of the posts will inevitably revert to mentions of South Africans in the England team, small grounds, injuries, the umpires or some other rubbish. I just can't wait to see Anderson bowling to Cowan! It'll be brief but hillarious!

Posted by Beertjie on (February 5, 2013, 23:31 GMT)

Until a couple of weeks ago I would have disagreed strongly with Vaughan but now... If the squad in India succeeds by some miracle they will be retained en-bloc. But there's no way that disciplined England will not destroy them. Even the addition of a couple of players like Rogers and Paine will not be sufficient. A bold initiative is to leave a place open for Holland in the touring squad. Let him play some games for Aus A and then join the main squad. But all this would not fit the pre-determined ideas of the NSP (Maxwell has great potential; Smith has re-modelled his technique, blah blah), so defeat all round it shall be Although bowlers win matches, this team is seriously weak in batting (as was the 2010 lot). At least we'll gain insight as to whether Hughes and Khawaja are the real deal or need to be replaced by others (who exactly?) for the second leg. By 2015/16 we might be able to beat not only England but also South Africa (sans Kallis!), but by then we'll also have a new NSP!

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 5, 2013, 23:23 GMT)

Meesey - From those stats Prior, Siddle and Swann. However, Wade and Lyon are a lot younger and probably have better stats at this particular stage in the careers as Prior and swann did. But really the Prior/Wade one on stats alone is a close call.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 5, 2013, 23:09 GMT)

HumungousFungus; Look at the stats last sereies in England Hilfenhaus was the best bowler of either side. He was well below his best in Australia. Your right Johnson has failed in Ashes before but a man that can single handedly win a test series in South Africa can bowl and as for Siddle his last 18 months is a completely new man, his stats are as good as anyone in the world. I doubt we will see CUmmins in the best 3 bowlers there is a long queue in front of him.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 5, 2013, 23:05 GMT)

Oze13 - Sorry I didnt realise that Anderson average above 30 and an Ashes average bordering on 40 made him a superstar. Not sure why I compared Siddle to him then. Sirviv1973 - I said both Lyon and Swann would have no impact as Swann has barely had any impact in any Ashes tests. I didnt compare the two. Milhouse79 - Prior/Wade similar starts to there careers. I remember when Prior couldnt catch. Wade two tons in his first year of cricket aint bad. Jamiekeith - Look who doesnt follow cricket. You dont even know who any of the Aussies are. I'm tipping Hughes for a big series, and Warner will outdo Compton. I believe England are favourites for the home series but Australia always compete hard as South Africa found out with a lucky series victory. Bring it on - its not going to be as simple as so many England supporters point out - simply the English side is not as good as some of you make out. Those saying only Clarke would make the English side cmon have a look at some of our bowlers.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 5, 2013, 22:52 GMT)

Not even Wade's severest critics at the time could've guessed just how bad a gloveman he was going to be. For many observers of Australian cricket in the last few years, though, this was no surprise. Wade, as everyone remembers, was hailed as the real answer to Haddin when he was first picked to play Test Cricket.

Australia have been heading downwards on their 'Slide' (don't forget that it was England sent them on their way of course) for so many years, and their quality of crickters is at an all time, appaling, tragically bad, giant Low. The spin and top order departments have been a much-mocked, dispairing, reorcurring nightmare.

Clarke still cannot bring himself to move out of batting almost in the Tail-End of the batting order, the move a real leader would make, to help resolve the crisis after crisis that they find themselves in time and again. And it'll be far worse without Hussey. Far, far worse.

The 'Wade' Saga basically was the last straw for many australian fans.

Posted by WheresTheEmpire on (February 5, 2013, 22:18 GMT)

"Vaughan tips England for Ashes". Wow! Here's some some more totally predictable behaviour: birds eat birdseed, fish swim in water and humans breathe.

For a team that has lost the number one ranking in all three formats in the past few months (is this a record?) there are also some predictable things: England is a team that is living in the past and in rapid decline.

Posted by Patchmaster on (February 5, 2013, 22:03 GMT)

Wade Vs Prior.....Wade can only dream of being half as good as Prior.

Posted by Essex_Man on (February 5, 2013, 21:51 GMT)

Let's hope the Aussies aren't quite so pitiful this time. It'd be nice to see a bit of a contest.

Posted by Vishnu27 on (February 5, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

Absolutely loving the supreme arrogance of English supporters here. Fantastic stuff! Clearly England are going to absolutely thrash Australia home & abroad. It certainly won't be the first time English sporting bravado has plummeted home to roost.

Posted by Vishnu27 on (February 5, 2013, 21:10 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge: so glad you think Siddle to be a "dibbly dobbler". You clearly haven't watched Australia play since 2010. Not only is he the number four ICC ranked bowler (higher than any England bowler), he's probably the most improved player in world cricket. You are really holding on to last time out here as a barometer for the coming Ashes tour late this year. You will not ever see a flat flood sodden 'Gabba pitch like that ever again. The 'G drop in has finally been mastered & is now very quick & bouncy (just ask SL). You lot simply cannot stomach Perth. As Eng cannot handle quick, hostile, bouncing pitches you will not win the 'Gabba, Perth or MCG tests. Cast iron guarantee. Enjoy your gloating. Clearly 20+years of utter domination still rankles very deeply. BTW we didn't get towelled up by the SA at home either. Ouch

Posted by hhillbumper on (February 5, 2013, 20:58 GMT)

Lets face it all of this is just a question of who has the longest wanger at this point until the games are played.Having listened to the Indian fans ranting,which went well for them, Lets play the game on the pitch. Howver the one about Lyon being a spin bowler is a bit like calling Dernbach a bowler.i mean come on a joke is a joke but

Posted by oze13 on (February 5, 2013, 19:45 GMT)

The reality is Australia have one decent batsmen, no spin bowlers, a poor gloveman and a seam attack that breaks down faster than an offering from the Lada car company. In the 10 Tests, Perth is the only place they'll go in with a realistic chance of winning. If they win anywhere else I'll eat Warnie's floppy white hat. Did I mention the fielding? Thought not, that's not particularly good either! No chance! Wade the equal of Prior, stop it my sides hurt from laughing. Siddle the equal of Anderson? Get out of town, Siddle as series progress fades faster than the colour in a cheap T-shirt. Who's writing this stuff?

Posted by SirViv1973 on (February 5, 2013, 18:59 GMT)

@Shaggy076, I don't see how anyone can realistically say the current oz batting line up is as good as Eng's. Of the 2 Eng clearly have the edge with a far more settled & proven line up. In regards the seamers there probably isn't a lot in it. Oz probably have a few more options but if you look at the 2 current first choices of Anderson, Finn & Broad against Siddle,Starc & Pattinson, again the Eng trio are more proven with Starc & Pattinson although both are extremely talented, they are also unproven at test level particularly outside of home conditions. As for the spin element lets be honest oz don't have a bowler fit to lace the boots of Swann or Monty.

Posted by SamRoy on (February 5, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

The only way Australia can win the Ashes is if Pattinson and Starc plays all the 5 tests. They must stay fit. They must take at least 25 wickets each. They must score at least 300 runs each. It may be possible 4 years from now but certainly not now. Oh and everybody knows Hughes can't play inswing (Chris Martin, Kulasekara, Flintoff). Truth is of all young batsman in Australia, Pattinson is the best and Starc is the second best. So pathetic is the talent of young batsman in that country. It's a different issue that they are also their team's main bowlers (and really awesome talents but still very raw).

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (February 5, 2013, 18:50 GMT)

I find it annoying when a former player is sought-out to make comments on an up-coming series and then is carefully quoted out of context to whip up a controversy. It is not too surprising that some of the Australian fans have been whipped into a frenzy by it! However, we will get a better idea of where the sides are after the Australian tour of India and the England tour of New Zealand where we can compare recent results directly. My feeling is that England will start the summer series as slight favourites with Australia still feeling their way towards their best top 6. Australia may have the better attack on paper but, as they are rarely able to field it, that is where it stays usually... on paper. One curious line of thought suggested recently was that a series of dry turners should be prepared for the series, which would play to England's biggest strength. Not sure how @RandyOz would react to finding a dustbowl at The Oval! :-)

Posted by Mitch1066 on (February 5, 2013, 18:39 GMT)

Australia in 2005 2006 were better then England were . England just played out there skins in 2005 to win at home. Where now England are better then Australia are currently and better in squad depth though . Cook trott pietersen. Bell prior are better then Warner Watson wade Cowan . Compton and root too early tell but showing promise . Clarke is brave and bold captain . But possibly he could play up fail middle order ? England in Finn Anderson broad swann panesar are better then pattingson starc Lyon etc at minute though starc cummins pattingson don't get me wrong have huge promise and will I have no doubt be quality bowlers. I think Hughes khawaja too early to tell again to make judgement

Posted by xylo on (February 5, 2013, 18:23 GMT)

I don't see what is there for an expert to tip England over Australia. It is outright obvious that England will dominate Australia in the upcoming Ashes.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 5, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

What a good evening it is to be an England fan: Five years of English dominance over Australia still going strong, and on cricinfo players like Anderson, Cook and Swann are being compared against seamers like Lyon, no.6 batsmen like Clarke and dibbly-dobbers like Siddle. The mess that England left Australia, in after England humiliated them in Austrlaia last time, still hasn't been stopped by the Australian team or management. England have now ended the careers of so mnany Aussie players, from the Petulant Ponting to minnows like Hauritz, and so well practised are they in this art that they'll happily do it all again this year. England inflicted such a devestating wound on Australia last Ashes. How it must mentally strain their fans and players

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 5, 2013, 17:53 GMT)

@Shaggy076, You're analysis is one of most deluded and hilarious I've ever read. Let me assist you with a few things you need to update in your cricketing knowledge: Firstly, chek out the last Ashes, and the one before. Buy the DVD's if you must (send a copy to RandyOz and 'lowercase lunge' while you're at it). Check out the five-year dominance England have had over Aus. It must be hard to stomach, I know. When you've done a bit of research, Let us know how Anderson and co got on. :)

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 5, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

@Meesey, Stat of the day, from which I nearly died of laughter: Prior 3326 test runs Vs Wade 500 runs. LOL. I never thought a couple of posters here would recover after the 'Wade' Saga, but here they pop up again conviently fogetting what no one else will. It was the 'Wade' and 'Lyon' sagas that broke the back of deluded aussie thinking, and exposed them to rational analysis for what looked like the first time. Golden. Anyone remember the last Ashes?

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 5, 2013, 17:44 GMT)

What a joke the Australian cricket team is at the moment, and just look at how strong England are compared to them. Let's take the aussie 'spin' department for starters, shall we, where they are using a seamer (Lyon) to fill the spinners role! And England have Swann, the long-established biggest turner of the ball in world cricket! And Eng have a bowler in Anderson, who is better than all the aussie seamer put together - who can forget his lethality IN AUSTRALIA last time. Some fair-weathered aussie fans seem to have forgotten it by choice (lol). And just look at the world's best test opener, Ali Cook ('Mr 766' to you my australia friends), and compare that to the appaling mess that is the Austrlaian batting order! And check out Capt Cook Vs Captain Coward, Clarke, who has to hide down at 6 to protect himself from the new ball! What a comedy circus Aus are. And don't England know and love it. Expect the aussie fans to desert their team yet again, and rows of empty aussie seats.

Posted by Apocalypse_EX on (February 5, 2013, 17:41 GMT)

Despite what I said in my previous post, Australia could still do it. All they need to look to is the 2005 Ashes for inspiration. Back then Australia came to England on the back of a much awaited victory in India. They had the better batsmen,keeper & spinner yet England could still compete(dominate) & win the series. All it took was Mcgrath stepping on a ball!

Posted by Atifkhan3489 on (February 5, 2013, 17:11 GMT)

I think in english conditions,any team can win but in australia, england can't beat australia.clarke is in sublime form with hughes and warner.The difference will be aussies bowling.they should perform well than english bowlers

Posted by stormy16 on (February 5, 2013, 17:00 GMT)

I agree with Vaughan. Eng batting is too strong with Cook, Trott, KP and Bell are now all world class performers while Anderson and Swan are the same on the bowling front. Aus can throw Clark and not much more. The bowling is still all over the place and at this stage Starc looks the best and he has hardly got started. The batting is way too unsteady - there are hardly certain who will bat at #3 or 5 or 6 and Prior V Wade is Prior by a mile. Besides that Eng are playing well as a team and with the win in India they will and should be on a high.

Posted by stickman7 on (February 5, 2013, 16:28 GMT)

@Shaggy076 not much difference between siddle and anderson, swann and lyon?? Where have you been for the last couple of years? Panesar, Tredwell and briggs are all better bowlers then lyon. Anderson-77 tests( more experinced) 288 wickets (more than siddle) bbi-7-43 (better than siddle) stats don't lie, but your words do. England should win

Posted by Nutcutlet on (February 5, 2013, 16:26 GMT)

I never like anyone, especially an ex-player like Michael Vaughan, shooting his mouth off about England's chances. From an Aussie perspective, such big talk must provide additional motivation, if indeed any were needed. I'd much rather a statement that was balanced, acknowledged that the Australian side has certain obvious strengths & if some of their quicks stay fit & hit form then this could be a very close series. Michael Clarke is a phenomenal bat in the form of his life & objectively speaking, the only real question mark over the Oz team composition is the spinner as there doesn't seem to be any outstanding prospect in that dept, although Lyon is not quite the joke that many regard him to be. No, this sort of bluster does not serve England well. I'd rather MV had said something a little less inflammatory, but as a captain-turned-media-pundit missing the limelight now he's retired, I can see where he's coming from. @5wombats: Welcome back! Hope you're fit & well ;-). India was fun!

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 5, 2013, 16:25 GMT)

Whilst I really hate these futile quips before every Ashes series (no doubt McGrath will be ranting about another whitewash soon?) - I don't understand why people are answering back with the likes of Cummins and Pattinson who are only fit for the shorter formats, NOT TESTS. The usual trolls are making fun of England players that are only going to be considered for the shorter formats, and "not much difference between Wade and Prior" some say? Seriously!?

Posted by Apocalypse_EX on (February 5, 2013, 15:56 GMT)

From a neutral point of view England have a better(&settled) batting order(with players capable of scoring big hundreds) and the better spinnners too. As long as England arent going to play Bresnan & Broad in the same team then their pace attack are helthier too. However I feel that Australia have the better depth(only in fast bowling). The Australians will have to contribute more than the sum of their parts and Clarke will have to continue the form he showed last year(he may have peaked too early IMO). People always enjoy an equal Ashes series & I'm no differnet but here you have to say that England are heavy favourites.

Posted by ScottStevo on (February 5, 2013, 15:35 GMT)

I suppose the depth includes the XI's, so in that case, England certainly has far greater depth in batting than Aus, as Eng have 5 proven test match batsmen in Cook, Trott, KP, Bell and Prior with averages of around 40-50+ and are only really looking at 2 positions to be filled at opener and 6 where as Aus only really have Clarke, with possibly Watson and Warner as certainties with almost all places up for grabs. I'm hoping a few players can do well in India and cement down some spots before we get to the ashes...

Pace bowling stocks aren't too disimilar, altough I think Aus potential outweighs Eng. Spin - Aus is well behind.

Posted by RandyOZ on (February 5, 2013, 15:17 GMT)

Does he mean a pool of players that includes the likes of Patel, Bopara, Morgan, Bairstow, Butler, Bell, Broad. Dernbach and Swann? Hahah yeah Australia must be really worried. Vaughan predicted the same thing in 06/07, how did that work out for you mate? With the best fast attack and batsman in the world, Australia are heavy favourites for anyone with a cricketing brain.

Posted by HeadHammerShark on (February 5, 2013, 15:06 GMT)

And they say Australians can't do irony.

Of the top 68 batting averages in HISTORY, 4 of them belong to Cook, Trott, Pietersen and Bell. 1 belongs to MJ Clarke and Chris Rogers doesn't have one as he's played 1 Test and scored 16 runs. But sure - go ahead and compare him to them by all means.

Wade (9 Tests 42.42) looks pretty good but come back in 52 Tests when his record can equal Priors (62 Tests 43.19). Shane Watson has less Test match 100s than Ravi Bopara. I'm not saying he's not the better player, but openers who score nice looking 50's don't win Tests .

As for the bowling: Starc, Cummins, Pattinson and Bird have a combined 77 wickets from their 17 Tests which sounds great until you realise that Finn has 70 from 17 on his own. All of which conveniently ignores that Anderson, Broad and Swann (179 Tests 672 wkts) have a clear edge over Siddle, Hilfenhaus and Lyon (83 Tests 301 wkts) anyway.

Have your opinions, sure - but you can't have your own facts.

Posted by Meesey on (February 5, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

Shaggy076 - if you could pick 1 from each of the pairs below which would it be ?

Proir - 3326 @ 43.19 173 catches 13 stumpings Wade - 510 @ 42.50 29 catches 2 stumpings

Siddle 141 @ 28.51 Andrson 288 @ 30.39

Lyon 61 @ 32.06 Swann 212 @ 29.13

Posted by bouncedout on (February 5, 2013, 14:53 GMT)

@blink182

Very interesting.

Please bear in mind however that simply naming a variety of Aus players does not mean they are test standard. If you really think that Aus have greater depth than England then you are living in the dark ages.

Posted by ravi_hari on (February 5, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

If we compare the teams today Vaughan is right. However, much will change before the first ball is bowled in the first test between the two teams. I think England look stronger in Top order batting and spin bowling. Aussies look better in pace bowling but batting is yet to settle down. Ponting and Hussey absent for Aussies and Strauss absent for England. It is not sure whether the present form will carry through the year for England. Middle order is suspect for both the teams and excepting Clarke Aussies will have to find someone who can take the fight to the enemy's camp. England are overdependent on Anderson and if Aussies can sort him out the confidence levels well be down for England. I doubt if England will use 2 spinners. That will help Aussies. Lyon will be effective if he has to bowl only to the tailenders. Swann will worry Aussies, but facing Indian spinners in 4 tests will sharpen the Aussie batting skills and could blunt Swann. I feel both the series will end on equal note.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (February 5, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

The Australian players keep obliging us by retiring. Good on them.Seriously Clarke could be left propping up an inadequate lineup a while before the summer ends. Their bowling is theoretically sronger but injuries? I am not sure whether 10 Tests of the highest intensity is that easy for the spectator! Thank God this is not the 90's... How are Aus only a point behind us ? They only beat SL who are not too hot at present.Hopefully India will sort that out.

Posted by ShortnStraight_To_Point on (February 5, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

It interesting how rest of the world if Fine when SA or Aussies are no 1 but NO ONE likes to see England there (I am one one them ;)..)....Something to do with the chauvinistic attitude i guess....Sorry guys but u r a PAST, both in cricket and in General world Order....

Posted by ScottStevo on (February 5, 2013, 14:27 GMT)

I don't really see where England has depth. Granted, they have a slightly better looking starting XI, but after that, they are struggling, especially with the bat. As it is they haven't found a 6 as there's nobody good enough and they use Bresnan or Patel as a bowling all rounder. Compton opening the innings looks solid enough, but it's easy enough as an opener to look solid against the new ball in India with their current pace attack and I reckon we'll see a few changes here soon enough. Then who have they got? Nobody...Bowling department depth??? @HumungousFungus, you're kidding yourself! The first 3 names on your bowling list plus Onions - the rest are ordinary. Bresnan is rubbish at test level and I hope he gets treated with the disdain he deserves. Aus pace depth is far superior and more varied. As for spin, England are certainly ahead as both Swann and Panesar are much better than anything we've got. Swann doesn't really do that well against us anyway averaging over 40.

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (February 5, 2013, 14:18 GMT)

Even as an Australian fan I'd have to say England are strong odds on favourites particularly in England. Australia's batting is still fragile and you couldnt name a top 6 with any confidence. In Cook, Trott, Pietersen & Bell England have 4 established players capable of big hundreds in their top 6. And thats what wins series. Australia's bowling line up with their inexperience in England Test conditions could be a feast or a famine. I expect Starc & Bird to be good in those conditions but thats just a hunch. You wouldnt bet on them out-bowling Anderson & Finn who have done it on English Test pitches. On the bright side I would have said something similar before the 1989 tour.

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (February 5, 2013, 14:16 GMT)

Though Australia's pace attack is still very good, I think England's batting is much too good in English conditions. Australia'a batting on the other hand will be tested quite severely by England's assortment of fast bowlers all of whom are very good. Then Swann is the world's greatest spin bowler and Monty Panesar a conjurer in his own right. With that variety, England should win this time also. It will be similar to the ODI series that they played last summer.Australia will be beaten but it may not be so one sided.

Posted by Harlequin. on (February 5, 2013, 14:08 GMT)

@ Rajiv Radhakrishnan on (February 5, 2013, 12:23 GMT) - Good point, I know what you mean, and I may be corrected here but his FC form after he left the Eng team was pretty abysmal as well. But the thing about Vaughan was his captaincy which, in the 05 ashes in particular, was outstanding. Captaincy is a hugely underrated skill and under his watch, England were pulled from the doldrums and we won the Ashes back from the Aussies. That Aus team was well known for putting a lot of pressure on opposing captains but he weathered the storm, and for that I think he deserves a lot of credit. Batting-wise, he was a bit of a Gambir, captaincy-wise, he was awesome!

Posted by Mattzo12 on (February 5, 2013, 14:03 GMT)

As an England supporter the only players I feel are threatening are Starc and Clarke. The rest of the Aussie batsmen while talented are not intimidating to bowlers. Aussie pace bowlers are good but England's batsmen are of sufficient quality to deal with them. I don't see any of them causing undue concern to the likes of Cook, Trott, Compton and Root.

I'm fond of Wade, but there is no question that Prior is superior. As I alluded to above, only Starc and Clarke would make it into my England team. Should be a good contest nonetheless.

Posted by blink182alex on (February 5, 2013, 14:00 GMT)

As far as strength in depth Eng don't have better test depth.

Start with the WK, Prior is quality but Bairstow's glovework is work in progress, Kieswetter, Buttler + Davies would struggle with the bat Aus have Wade, Haddin and Paine all test quality players

Spin wise Eng are ahead with Swann, Panesar Tredwell Aus have Lyon, Holland and Beer (Doherty is poor) But spin won't be that much of a factor in England as seen by Swann v Tahir last summer

Batting wise England don't have great back ups, James Taylor was out of his depth v S.Africa, Bairstow didn't look like getting runs v WI and Ind, Morgan has been found wanting in tests Patel spends longer at the lunch table than at the batting crease

Aus have proven back up batters like Rogers, Voges, Bailey, D Hussey although they don't get selected for some reason

Bowling wise Aus have tons more quicks, Bresnan is Englands 4th seamer, Aus have Siddle, Starc, Bird, Pattinson, Johnson, Hilf, NCN, Gannon, Faulkner, Harris, Cummins etc.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (February 5, 2013, 13:47 GMT)

I don't feel that Vaughan is overly partisan. He is a lot more balanced that the usual Aussie tub thumping, mouthy, trash talking which we have seen from their ex players for so many years. @ Shaggy - open the other eye fella! Prior the same as Wade? Prior can catch for a start! Lyon as good as Swann? My god. You need a lie down in a dark room my friend. In all fairness, the Aussie bowling might go ok, although I do think it is over rated but the batting depth is the lowest I can ever remember and I remember the 80s! England 4-o to England in England and 3-1 in Australia.

Posted by sando31 on (February 5, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

As the current holders of the ashes urn, England will rightfully start favourites and over the course of 10 test matches will most likely be the most consistent outfit, especially over in eng. However our boys are full of suprises,and it seems the poms have chosen to forget the eng vs sa series and the aus vs sa series. The former was billed as a clash of the titans yet england folded without a whimper, on the other hand aus easily outplayed sa in the first two tests and if it had not been for rotation and injuries may have won the series and the no,1 ranking. Btw Clarke, Starc, Siddle and warner are the key players for us. I know the pommy fans give us no chance but if siddle continues his great form and starc is able to swing the ball accurately and consistently, good luck making a total of 100 england!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by ShanO111 on (February 5, 2013, 13:37 GMT)

Well, well, well............... An year of Quality Test Cricket, 2 Ashes, it will be great seeing how the 2nd and 3rd rank team contest each other. Aussies will have the strongest pace attack in near future if all stay fit involving Pattinson, Starc, Cummins, Siddle, Hilfy, Ryan Harris while England will have the edge in the batting department with the likes of Cook, Bell, Trott and KP and the young talent of Compton and Root. Prior does add a lot to the batting deptt. in addition to his improved keeping skills. England also has superiority over Lyon & Co. in the Spin department. It will be sad not to see Hussey on the field again. Australia will dearly miss him in the year of Ashes. Apart from Hussey, i still think both series will be closely contested and it will not be so easy for England as predicted by Vaughan. Hope to see fascinating cricket.............

Posted by YorkerStump on (February 5, 2013, 13:18 GMT)

As an Englishman, I really think Vaughan needs to just pipe down with his comments and predictions. He is building such a hype that is absolutely unnecessary and unwanted. His "analysis" of anything is short of professional and he's better off having another go at strictly. He was a great cricketer but as a commentator or whatever you want to call him now, he's just cocky and arrogant. As for the double Ashes, the teams as of now are no where near polished! Head to head right now, England may come on top but who knows? Barring Cook and Clarke, you can't say anyone has really been stellar in consistency. If the Australian pace bowlers are fit and primed, then England will expect a massive challenge. I look forward to the back to back series, and hopefully England will have a XI where every individual and can raise their hand and rise to the occasion when we need it!

Posted by cloudmess on (February 5, 2013, 13:09 GMT)

1) Those who take objection to Michael Vaughan's comments - he's hardly going to say that England are going to lose the Ashes, having convincingly won the last two. 2) He also had a decent test career, average of 41. Before captaincy weighed him down, he was briefly the best batsmen in the world. He was an extremely good captain in alliance with Duncan Fletcher in 2004 and 5 (don't forget England also beat SA away in this period), before his 2-year knee injury. 3) I understand that, alongside Clarke, Australia's batting order is 'promising'. But England's batsmen (Cook, Trott, Bell, Pietersen, Prior) have longer, more proven track records. 4) I think the series will be decided on the strength of the support bowlers. England won 2010/11 Ashes, partly because Bresnan and Tremlett came in and were so penetrative. But both have now been lost in different ways. 5) But no, don't underestimate Australia. I thought they were very unlucky not to win recent series 2-1 against SA

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (February 5, 2013, 13:04 GMT)

'Strength in depth' - you hear that phrase thrown about, but England, apart from a purple patch we had during the last ashes, is severely down on bowlers. In fact, its generally pretty bare. The batting has some stalwarts (e.g. Cook) but the jury is still out on root, and Compton et al. Despite what Vaughan says and other english posters whos agenda is only to denigrate, it is actually Australia that has the better depth. Most of the Aus batsmen have played CC here, have toured before (e.g. they have experience of English conditions), the bowlers know the duke (e.g. Starc at Yorkshire). As we all know from 2005, one bowler stepping on the ball can upset the whole set-up. Imagine is Anderson has a training mis-hap and is out of the series? It would be a disaster. That goes a long way in showing how little depth there actually is.

Posted by daybreak02 on (February 5, 2013, 13:04 GMT)

@shaggy076 - Nick Compton will 30 when The Ashes start

Posted by   on (February 5, 2013, 13:01 GMT)

Shaggy076 & Quater Mani, firstly Shaggy are you being remotely serious, only Clarke would get in England's top 6, Prior w/k whose wade? Virginia? Bowling none of the Aussies in a combined side. Mani, surrendered? lost out to a very good side albeit the KP saga didn't help but don't forget they nearly drew the series which would have kept them a No1. Have SA won in India recently? If you're going to comment on these sites at least pretend you know what you're talking about!

Posted by Jamiekeith on (February 5, 2013, 12:59 GMT)

@shaggy076 you clearly don't follow cricket.. Clarke would be the only player that would get in the england team. Who is Roger? How many tests has he played? All the young aussie bowlers can't stay fit, I would still have anderson and finn over ANY of them...

Posted by HumungousFungus on (February 5, 2013, 12:59 GMT)

I think you have to back England in England, although it will be tighter in Australia (especially if England do win at home, which will give Australia an added incentive). Greater bowling quality and strength in depth will count. For all the talk about Pattinson, Starc, and Cummins, the jury is still out on all three of them for me in Test cricket. All three have talent, and have impressed on occasion, but they also appear to be made of balsa wood, and there is no possibility that all three will play in all ten Tests. And then you are back to Siddle, Hilfenhaus, and Johnson, all of whom have been repeatedly found wanting against England. For the series in England, Jackson Bird would be an excellent pick. England, by contrast, can perm any three from Anderson, Broad, Finn, Bresnan, Tremlett, Woakes, and Onions, with Meaker and Harris knocking on the door. Not to mention the massive spin disparity, with Swann, Panesar, and Tredwell being vastly superior to anything Aus can put forward.

Posted by gbqdgj on (February 5, 2013, 12:54 GMT)

Sorry Prior = Wade, in what world does Wade even hold a candle to Prior. As for the bowling debate, I think Anderson is probably the best paceman due to be on show followed closely by Siddle, Finn edges Starc in English conditions and vice versa down under, Cummins and frankly Watson (should he bowl) are better than Broad and Bresnan by a country mile. Swann and Lyon...one clear winner there. Had another chuckle at Warner = KP...in tests...really? I'd say Clarke edges Cook but they are the two really big stars batting. As for the rest Watson = KP, Warnes edges Compton, Bell, Root and Prior decimate Khawaja, Hughes and Wade but I give an advantage to the Aussie tail batting wise. So all in all, I think it will be a close (and great) test series. I fancy England to win the series in England and Australia to edge the series down there...unless Australia pick Johnson, in which case, as an England fan "Happy days are here again"

Posted by   on (February 5, 2013, 12:23 GMT)

I've always had a problem with Michael Vaughan. He had 6, just 6, good months of Test cricket, and yet we think of him as some great player. After 2002/3 he avearged 36 for the rest of his career till 2008! In 2005 he averaged 32 in the Ashes, thanks to the 166 he made. His ODI record is a disgrace. People like Thorpe, Trescothick are just forgottem even though they did so much more!

Posted by Energetic. on (February 5, 2013, 12:22 GMT)

10 Test matches straight is going to cause a lot of problems. Just shows how unpopular Cricket is same boring old repeated matches :)

Posted by   on (February 5, 2013, 11:55 GMT)

hehe well england didn't even put up a fight and just surrendered their number one test rankings to the proteas. And the aussies with their 'mediocre' team almost made SA weep down under(they might've even won the series if not for their ridiculous rotation policies). Complacency leads to nothing but humiliating defeats. Aus 2-2 Eng in Eng, Aus 3-1 Eng in Aus.

Posted by Harlequin. on (February 5, 2013, 11:42 GMT)

Fairly optimistic from you there Shaggy076! I'd say Anderson has the edge on Siddle, but the rest of the Australian pace attack is better than England. Finn and Starc on par perhaps, but Cummins and Pattinson are better than anything else England have got. Lyon vs Swann, no contest, and I think spinners will still have a role to play - if Lyon lets off the pressure then it could have knock-on effects. Batting wise Warner = KP, Cook = Clarke, Watson = Bell, Khawaja = Compton, but Root looks to have the edge on Hughes (although it's probably too early to say) and I'm backing Trott to come good again for the Ashes. As for Prior & Wade, I choked on my coffee when I read your comment about them!

Posted by Chris_P on (February 5, 2013, 11:07 GMT)

No surprises here, anyone with any knowledge of cricket should see England favoured to win. That said, I don't believe the series in Australia will be the frog march of the last episode down under. The Australian side is still got a few spots to tick off before being the complete team, but I am more than happy with the pace bowling stocks. The process for the top is slowly getting there, to be down so many areas & still keep #3 ranking means something is working.

Posted by 68704 on (February 5, 2013, 11:04 GMT)

I think most of the English supporters have not seen the full Australlian pace trio of Pattinson, Staarc and Cummins in action. If they are fit, we could be for some interesting days. A lot of England"s success has been built around the success of Cook and Trott and it seems possible that Cook too could have a lean series if Clarke is due to have one as per Michael Vaughan. It is not only aussie commentators and media that take on the opposition, the English do too . Fitness will be key and also how the summer is going to be. If it is warm and sunny then lots of the English advantage might suddenly dry up . England could win but I suspect Clarke will be a much better leader and some of the australian batsmen making runs will make the series interesting. I expect england could be surprised if they underestimate Australia. Lets hope the aussie quicks remain fit and Cummins returns. Ramanujam Sridhar

Posted by bumsonseats on (February 5, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

potatis non of the what i would think will start the 1st test in england other than starc have played any 3/4/5 or 5 day cricket in england. a few played odis which if you remember they werehammered an lost 4 - 0 so that knocks your theory down. i feel we should be to strong in the uk over 5 tests.but australia even the team they have now ran the saffas close in oz something we did not. so will be close over there. but and its a big but your quicks will have to come to the party in oz and be up and running and more importantly be fit. lets wait till after the indian series to see how many are still standing

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 5, 2013, 10:45 GMT)

@Potatis on (February 5, 2013, 9:47 GMT), who says that the England team is underestimating Australia now such that they can continue to do so? This is Michael Vaughan speaking, who has nothing at all to do with the England team. What he does or doesn't say does not reflect what the team and the management are thinking. That said, no doubt that they are thinking that they have a good chance and, if they play to potential, should certainly win at home and could do away as well. That doesn't mean that they think it will be easy. They will know that they need to be on top of their game, which they were not against SA.

Posted by Selassie-I on (February 5, 2013, 10:45 GMT)

We certainly do have the advantage Vaughny, we certainly do. It's something i've not seen too much in my lifetime!

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 5, 2013, 10:38 GMT)

I think Australia holds and advantage in the 2nd and 3rd paceman. To choose between Patterson, Bird, Johnson, Starc, Hilfenhaus, Harris vs Broad, FInn and Bresnan. Anyway only time will tell - I'd like to know who the players 13-22 are for England.

Posted by Batesta on (February 5, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

Now that is news worthy, let's ask the ex-English captain who he thinks is going to win and then report it as some huge shock!

Posted by   on (February 5, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

Donot take AUSSIES too easy because they have the capability to win back to back ashes, their strength in england will be starc clarke warner watson .

Posted by Potatis on (February 5, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

@satishchandar, Aus has lost only one series since 2010 compared to how many lossses by Eng? You believe what you want about the settled team. Aus batsmen have experience playing in Eng county cricket, it's no big deal. I hope the English team believe all this hype about their team, and continue to underestimate Australia.

Posted by Charlie101 on (February 5, 2013, 9:46 GMT)

I agree with Michael Vaughan but Starc does make me nervous as he is a fine bowler and he could just be the difference for Australia down under when you would think that their batsmen will perform better. Hussey is a massive loss for Australia and there does not really seem to be a number 6 hence the talk of Haddin playing as a batsman.

Posted by Hardy1 on (February 5, 2013, 9:43 GMT)

Ok just read what he actually had to say & I take most of that back, it wasn't too partisan.

Posted by Hardy1 on (February 5, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

Michael Vaughan's the most partisan commentator out there so it's hard to take anything he says seriously. Having said that England do have the better team I would say & are certainly favourites at home, but I'd say Australia probably have the edge in Australia despite Hussey's unexpected retirement.

Posted by 5wombats on (February 5, 2013, 9:34 GMT)

Ashes? - Did anyone mention The Ashes...? Of course England will win The Ashes - it's nailed on....

Posted by satishchandar on (February 5, 2013, 9:30 GMT)

A neutral will surely say "England upper hand".. They even won in Asia with the current team. Australia are in transition with the top order very unsettled. Bowling lineup if they turn up with all their first choices will be good one but the batting of England in England is also very good. With the addition of Compton and the emergence of Bairstow and Root, they got a decent batting lineup which can stand against quality bowling. I would say England batting ahead than Australia bowling. England's bowling Vs Australia's batting is where England hold a HUGE advantage. As a starter, i would consider it a UPSET is Australia manage to win a game leave alone the whole series. A new team. They need some time to get settled..

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