India v Australia, 4th Test, Delhi, 3rd day March 24, 2013

Watson most culpable of substandard batting order

As a senior player with a good record from his previous Tests in India, much more was needed from Shane Watson in this series
88

With a firm drive back to the bowler, Pragyan Ojha, in Australia's second innings, Nathan Lyon consigned Shane Watson to an embarrassing fate. Lyon, the No. 11, had faced more deliveries in this series than Watson, the No. 4 and supposedly one of the team's senior batsmen. Both men had played three Tests on this tour. Lyon had shown admirable fight and in two of his innings had lasted more than an hour. Watson managed that only once. Plenty of Australia's batsmen were culpable on this trip, but none more so than Watson.

After the match, Watson spoke of his disappointment at his own poor results but he also defended the wider top-order performance by saying the conditions had been difficult. If they were that difficult, how did Peter Siddle score a half-century in each innings in Delhi? How did Mitchell Starc make 99 in Mohali? Why did men batting at No. 7 or below top score in four of the eight innings? How was it that Lyon (244 balls), Starc (254 in two Tests), Siddle (350) all survived more deliveries over the four Tests than Watson, who faced only 239?

In the second innings in Delhi, Watson showed that while the conditions might have been challenging, he wasn't respecting them. On a pitch offering up-and-down bounce, pulling is fraught with danger. Anything that could threaten the stumps needed to be met with a straight bat. But Watson went for a big pull, the kind of shot that brings him countless boundaries on flat pitches in one-day and Twenty20 cricket, and was bowled when the ball kept low. It was a terrible shot in the circumstances.

Watson was the acting captain in Delhi and that made sense for a one-off match, for he is vice-captain to Clarke and was the logical choice as leader. But the vice-captaincy should not guarantee selection and Watson must be sailing dangerously close to losing his place. In the past two years he has scored 627 runs at 24.11 in 14 Tests. That would be acceptable if he was a bowling allrounder, but his primary role in this side is as a top-six batsman. On that alone he should be judged.

When the Ashes comes around later this year, Watson is likely to be bowling again. If he is making runs and bowling he provides valuable balance to the side; if he is still failing with the bat that becomes irrelevant. Watson will probably be in the XI for the first Ashes Test and against England's fast men he could score runs - he averaged 48.00 there on the 2009 tour. But then, he averaged 16.50 in this series having averaged 40.09 on his previous two Indian tours.

That Watson performed so poorly having played six Tests in India before this series made him the most accountable of Australia's batting failures, but he was not alone. The batting throughout the tour was characterised by a lack of patience and an inability to handle the turning ball. There are two sides to batting, the technical and the mental, and on both Australia were beaten soundly in this series.

India's batsmen set the example from the first Test. Collectively they scored six centuries and five of their batsman averaged 50-plus. They were patient and respectful of the conditions, they played with straight bats and they waited for the bad balls to put away. Too often the Australians tried to force the issue, hoping an aggressive approach would put India's bowlers on the back foot. Cross-bat shots and inadequate footwork proved extremely costly.

Three members of the top six averaged fewer than 20 for the series. It is no wonder Australia lost 4-0 with such a malfunctioning batting order.

Michael Clarke scored a century on the opening day of the first Test in Chennai but no Australian made one after that. Three members of the top six - Watson, Phillip Hughes and Matthew Wade - averaged fewer than 20 for the series. That is a figure that bears repeating. Three of the top six. Fewer than 20. No team can carry such inadequacies. It is no wonder Australia lost 4-0 with such a malfunctioning batting order.

As expected, Clarke was excellent in spinning conditions and Steven Smith's footwork also made him a valuable member of the middle order. Ed Cowan progressed throughout the trip and showed that he could bat time, generally forcing the bowlers to get him out rather than getting himself out. But overall it was a miserable tour for Australia's batsmen. The bowlers at times let things slip away but always they found themselves defending sub-par totals, often propped up by their own tail-end efforts with the bat.

It is becoming a worryingly consistent trend. In the past year, Australia have played 13 Tests. Clarke has scored four centuries and the now-retired Michael Hussey made three. Outside of those two, Australian batsmen have made only four hundreds in those 13 Tests: Wade has made two and Cowan and David Warner one each. It's more than two years since Watson has scored a century. In the past year, only Clarke and Hussey have averaged 40-plus, of those Australians who have played more than two Tests.

Often, Australia have got by on the backs of Clarke and Hussey, for before this disastrous tour the only series they had lost since the 2010-11 Ashes was against South Africa at home, and that could have gone either way. But now Hussey is gone and says he's not returning. Clarke cannot shoulder the batting burden alone. And a burden it has become.

There is merit in showing patience in a young, developing batting line-up. But can that come at the cost of a 4-0 whitewash in India and a couple of Ashes drubbings? The conditions in England will be more familiar for the Australian batsmen, but England's attack is full of quality. If the batting falters again in England, what then? Australia would face the prospect of retuning their line-up for another Ashes at home a few months later.

Australian cricket may not exactly be brimming with batting talent at the moment, as shown by the fact that Ricky Ponting, who retired after a woeful series against South Africa, easily topped the Sheffield Shield run tally this summer. But there are other batsmen worth trying. Usman Khawaja is one. Alex Doolan is another. So is Callum Ferguson. The in-form veteran Chris Rogers would be an ideal Ashes pick if he wasn't an opener. Australia have enough of them already.

But what this tour has highlighted is that substandard batting cannot be tolerated indefinitely, especially from senior men like Watson, otherwise this won't be the only thrashing Australia will receive this year.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • himanshu.team on March 25, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    Talking of Watson: I personally feel that an allrounder is good only if he is performing both his duties. One may not be doing good at both aspects, but he must be DOING both. No matter how a batsman Kallis is, he always bowls. May be not as good as Steyn or Phillander, but is always a relaible bowler to fall back upon once the frontline bowlers are out of the attack. Same would be the case with Watson, if he is unavailable to perform either one of the functions he would never be good at the other aspect. Once he is fully fit and starts bowling well, his batting too would improve. Till such time CA must tell Watson to regain his full fitness and only then come back.

  • ygkd on March 26, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    It needs to be said that although too many well-thought-of teens call themselves openers to avoid their deficiencies against the spinning ball when they do see it, there is also a huge incentive for youngsters to want to open, even if they don't really have the patience nor the technique for it. That's because there's so much short stuff these days. If you say you bat at 5-7 you may not get a bat or else you'll come in with no time to build an innings and be expected to go straight after rather negative bowling. Alternatively, you may find your team 3-30 or thereabouts and be expected to resurrect the innings. When you're fighting to be recognised in higher rep cricket, that's probably your best opportunity, if you're stuck down the order. At least you'll get a longer dig. What you probably won't get is to face a lot of spin anyway, because there doesn't seem that much on offer, so even if you're okay with it, you're probably better off facing the new ball and just going with that.

  • ygkd on March 26, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    @Meety - I'm heartily sick of young bats who think they're openers because they can't play spin and I cannot, for the life of me, see how Warner hasn't been amongst their number. As for Cowan, he's okay and will tour, no doubt, but I'd still prefer Rogers. Watson would do too, if he can roll his arm over properly. There aren't too many other candidates for right-handed opener. Kilinger didn't have much of a season and it's hard to think of too many others with any real experience.

  • zenboomerang on March 26, 2013, 1:31 GMT

    Watto showing a declining Test average which was @41.55 before being named VC & now since then is @24.11 - even Katich, North & Hughes were performing better when dropped from the team... Even if he returned to bowling long spells Watto averages less with the bat than Starc & Pattinson over the last 2 years & Starc is a better ODI player with bat & ball... Forget about Watto & Maxwell, make Starc our no.7 with Faulkner/Butterworth no.8, Pattinson no.9, Siddle no.10, Lyon no.11 & we will have the best bowling attack in the world - with the best backups - Harris, Hilfy, Johnson, Bird, Cutting, NC-N, etc...

  • Meety on March 26, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    @DINESHCC on (March 25, 2013, 8:44 GMT) - I think the other bowlers are better than Hilfy. @ygkd on (March 25, 2013, 20:15 GMT) - IMO, the whole Indian tour was always going to cause problems that shouldn't be the same as what the Ashes will throw up. I would love a left/tight opening batting combo, but Watto is about the only opener that I think could handle that role (RHB). That said, I am almost over him. Cowan & Warner have a partnership record that is amongst the best ever for Oz (believe it or not)! I think Cowan is a must for the Ashes, but I have started to gorw cold on Warner, but that is because he isn't much chop against spinners. Cric Oz should ensure that a tour of India does not come before an Ashes battle (home or away). It is just crud experience. I still believe that 2-test tour prior to the 10/11 Ashes was a large factor in why we failed. Anyways - I'v named an A-tour, where I think there will be some useful options.

  • mcj.cricinfo on March 25, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    Watson's dismissals showed a lack of application and discipline. His performance has been below par, his attitude below par, drop him.

    Clarke, Cowan and Smith the only batsman who could handle spin. Hughes started nowhere but made improvement, he was lucky not to be dropped after the 2nd test.

    Both Hughes and Cowan got two dismissals that would have been overturned via DRS.

    Doherty and Maxwell should have never been selected for the tour. Backup spinner should have been O'Keefe!

    With Harris bowling well, he will come back into the test team. My bowling attack would be Pattinson, Harris, Starc and Lyon. Siddle as the all rounder. Bird and Johnson in the squad as backup.

    @RandyOz. Aus top the stats for the averages for the test opening pairs for the last 18 months. Hence the justification for sticking with Cowan and Warner.

    @whoster. Agreed. Clarke our only world class batsman. It's like the 80's with Border.

    @Robert1612. Agreed! Although I'd prefer Siddle instead of Faulkner.

  • ygkd on March 25, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    Gee, @Meety - is that the best Ashes squad we've got? Surely Paine is worth a gig? And Hughes has made runs in the County Scene, but these aren't County bowlers he'll be facing. Cowan and Warner opening with Rogers as back up? How about Rogers and a right hander? We do still have right-handed openers, do we? It's the batting and keeping which urgently need fixing. England'll be crazy if they don't try and exploit spin to some extent, even if it is without Swann. Mind you, swing'll probably do it too.

  • Robert1612 on March 25, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    I said before the game that Watson was a terrible choice as captain, and the manner in which he got out in both innings was irresponsible, not to mention plain stupid. For someone of his experience in Indian conditions surely would know to play straight!!! IF he is bowling may be worth a place as an all rounder, but my first choice now at 6 would be Smith. After the debacle vs India can bet London to a brick there will be dry spinning pitches for the Ashes. Smith needs to spend a lot of time in the nets in the next few months, as he Lyon and Clarke (with a few overs) as well as three of Pattinson, Siddle, Starc, Bird and Harris look like a pretty fair attack. Cowan deserves his place, Warner for the 1st/2nd test at least Clarke Hughes (maybe) + one older batsman - Voges or Bailey. Need a reserve opener (Rogers short term), another batsman and Paine/Wade as Wks. Throw in a REAL allrounder e.g Faulkner and looks a good squad.

  • Moppa on March 25, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    Some interesting comments here. Generally, I think Australia will look a lot better playing in more pace friendly conditions as our best bowlers are quicks and our batsmen prefer the ball coming on to the bat. I think the selectors tried to pick an India-oriented squad, but failed. Maxwell and Doherty were shocking selections. At least one of Warner, Hughes and Cowan should have been left out for a better player of spin, perhaps Voges or Ferguson. Smith and Henriques were clever 'horses for courses' selections, but shouldn't go to England - Anderson and co would chew them up. @John Verdal: Lyon takes 7 and you would drop him? @DINESHCC, Bird has eclipsed Hilf, who is highly unlikely to tour England. My squad: Warner, Cowan, Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke, Watson, Doolan, Wade, Hartley, O'Keefe, Lyon, Pattinson, Siddle, Harris, Starc, Bird, Johnson. Butterworth and Hopes unlucky. Ferguson suspect against good pace. Hilf - see above. NCN and Cutting - well back. Sayers and Mennie - unlucky.

  • on March 25, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    The squad for the Ashes will be very interesting. The chief trouble makers should not go. Khawaja and Johnson have been mentioned around the traps as being slack on tour. Pattinson was in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Watson simply hasn't performed. The interest will be in the second spinner - either O'Keefe or Agar for my mind. Then there's the the fast bowlers after Siddle, Starc and Pattinson - I would say that Bird, Harris and Hilfenhaus are vying for two spots. The two keepers are safe but Wade would be nervous - Haddin was superb in the third test. That leaves the batting. I would bring in Rogers and Burns to accompany Warner, Hughes, Cowan, Clark and Smith. In England the fifth bowler isn't much of an issue so I'd pick six batsmen each test but maybe take Henriques or Mitchel Marsh.

  • himanshu.team on March 25, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    Talking of Watson: I personally feel that an allrounder is good only if he is performing both his duties. One may not be doing good at both aspects, but he must be DOING both. No matter how a batsman Kallis is, he always bowls. May be not as good as Steyn or Phillander, but is always a relaible bowler to fall back upon once the frontline bowlers are out of the attack. Same would be the case with Watson, if he is unavailable to perform either one of the functions he would never be good at the other aspect. Once he is fully fit and starts bowling well, his batting too would improve. Till such time CA must tell Watson to regain his full fitness and only then come back.

  • ygkd on March 26, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    It needs to be said that although too many well-thought-of teens call themselves openers to avoid their deficiencies against the spinning ball when they do see it, there is also a huge incentive for youngsters to want to open, even if they don't really have the patience nor the technique for it. That's because there's so much short stuff these days. If you say you bat at 5-7 you may not get a bat or else you'll come in with no time to build an innings and be expected to go straight after rather negative bowling. Alternatively, you may find your team 3-30 or thereabouts and be expected to resurrect the innings. When you're fighting to be recognised in higher rep cricket, that's probably your best opportunity, if you're stuck down the order. At least you'll get a longer dig. What you probably won't get is to face a lot of spin anyway, because there doesn't seem that much on offer, so even if you're okay with it, you're probably better off facing the new ball and just going with that.

  • ygkd on March 26, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    @Meety - I'm heartily sick of young bats who think they're openers because they can't play spin and I cannot, for the life of me, see how Warner hasn't been amongst their number. As for Cowan, he's okay and will tour, no doubt, but I'd still prefer Rogers. Watson would do too, if he can roll his arm over properly. There aren't too many other candidates for right-handed opener. Kilinger didn't have much of a season and it's hard to think of too many others with any real experience.

  • zenboomerang on March 26, 2013, 1:31 GMT

    Watto showing a declining Test average which was @41.55 before being named VC & now since then is @24.11 - even Katich, North & Hughes were performing better when dropped from the team... Even if he returned to bowling long spells Watto averages less with the bat than Starc & Pattinson over the last 2 years & Starc is a better ODI player with bat & ball... Forget about Watto & Maxwell, make Starc our no.7 with Faulkner/Butterworth no.8, Pattinson no.9, Siddle no.10, Lyon no.11 & we will have the best bowling attack in the world - with the best backups - Harris, Hilfy, Johnson, Bird, Cutting, NC-N, etc...

  • Meety on March 26, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    @DINESHCC on (March 25, 2013, 8:44 GMT) - I think the other bowlers are better than Hilfy. @ygkd on (March 25, 2013, 20:15 GMT) - IMO, the whole Indian tour was always going to cause problems that shouldn't be the same as what the Ashes will throw up. I would love a left/tight opening batting combo, but Watto is about the only opener that I think could handle that role (RHB). That said, I am almost over him. Cowan & Warner have a partnership record that is amongst the best ever for Oz (believe it or not)! I think Cowan is a must for the Ashes, but I have started to gorw cold on Warner, but that is because he isn't much chop against spinners. Cric Oz should ensure that a tour of India does not come before an Ashes battle (home or away). It is just crud experience. I still believe that 2-test tour prior to the 10/11 Ashes was a large factor in why we failed. Anyways - I'v named an A-tour, where I think there will be some useful options.

  • mcj.cricinfo on March 25, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    Watson's dismissals showed a lack of application and discipline. His performance has been below par, his attitude below par, drop him.

    Clarke, Cowan and Smith the only batsman who could handle spin. Hughes started nowhere but made improvement, he was lucky not to be dropped after the 2nd test.

    Both Hughes and Cowan got two dismissals that would have been overturned via DRS.

    Doherty and Maxwell should have never been selected for the tour. Backup spinner should have been O'Keefe!

    With Harris bowling well, he will come back into the test team. My bowling attack would be Pattinson, Harris, Starc and Lyon. Siddle as the all rounder. Bird and Johnson in the squad as backup.

    @RandyOz. Aus top the stats for the averages for the test opening pairs for the last 18 months. Hence the justification for sticking with Cowan and Warner.

    @whoster. Agreed. Clarke our only world class batsman. It's like the 80's with Border.

    @Robert1612. Agreed! Although I'd prefer Siddle instead of Faulkner.

  • ygkd on March 25, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    Gee, @Meety - is that the best Ashes squad we've got? Surely Paine is worth a gig? And Hughes has made runs in the County Scene, but these aren't County bowlers he'll be facing. Cowan and Warner opening with Rogers as back up? How about Rogers and a right hander? We do still have right-handed openers, do we? It's the batting and keeping which urgently need fixing. England'll be crazy if they don't try and exploit spin to some extent, even if it is without Swann. Mind you, swing'll probably do it too.

  • Robert1612 on March 25, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    I said before the game that Watson was a terrible choice as captain, and the manner in which he got out in both innings was irresponsible, not to mention plain stupid. For someone of his experience in Indian conditions surely would know to play straight!!! IF he is bowling may be worth a place as an all rounder, but my first choice now at 6 would be Smith. After the debacle vs India can bet London to a brick there will be dry spinning pitches for the Ashes. Smith needs to spend a lot of time in the nets in the next few months, as he Lyon and Clarke (with a few overs) as well as three of Pattinson, Siddle, Starc, Bird and Harris look like a pretty fair attack. Cowan deserves his place, Warner for the 1st/2nd test at least Clarke Hughes (maybe) + one older batsman - Voges or Bailey. Need a reserve opener (Rogers short term), another batsman and Paine/Wade as Wks. Throw in a REAL allrounder e.g Faulkner and looks a good squad.

  • Moppa on March 25, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    Some interesting comments here. Generally, I think Australia will look a lot better playing in more pace friendly conditions as our best bowlers are quicks and our batsmen prefer the ball coming on to the bat. I think the selectors tried to pick an India-oriented squad, but failed. Maxwell and Doherty were shocking selections. At least one of Warner, Hughes and Cowan should have been left out for a better player of spin, perhaps Voges or Ferguson. Smith and Henriques were clever 'horses for courses' selections, but shouldn't go to England - Anderson and co would chew them up. @John Verdal: Lyon takes 7 and you would drop him? @DINESHCC, Bird has eclipsed Hilf, who is highly unlikely to tour England. My squad: Warner, Cowan, Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke, Watson, Doolan, Wade, Hartley, O'Keefe, Lyon, Pattinson, Siddle, Harris, Starc, Bird, Johnson. Butterworth and Hopes unlucky. Ferguson suspect against good pace. Hilf - see above. NCN and Cutting - well back. Sayers and Mennie - unlucky.

  • on March 25, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    The squad for the Ashes will be very interesting. The chief trouble makers should not go. Khawaja and Johnson have been mentioned around the traps as being slack on tour. Pattinson was in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Watson simply hasn't performed. The interest will be in the second spinner - either O'Keefe or Agar for my mind. Then there's the the fast bowlers after Siddle, Starc and Pattinson - I would say that Bird, Harris and Hilfenhaus are vying for two spots. The two keepers are safe but Wade would be nervous - Haddin was superb in the third test. That leaves the batting. I would bring in Rogers and Burns to accompany Warner, Hughes, Cowan, Clark and Smith. In England the fifth bowler isn't much of an issue so I'd pick six batsmen each test but maybe take Henriques or Mitchel Marsh.

  • Dangertroy on March 25, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    If Watson isn't bowling, he's shouldn't be playing. I used to think he added balance to the side, but he certainly doesn't at present. Without him bowling, we need to play an another allrounder and he doesn't cut it as a batsman. The team that beat India 4-0 in Australia was 6 genuine batsmen, 4 genuine bowlers and a keeper. That configuration let us carry a person (Marsh was a horror show), as we still had five genuine batsman. Watson is not a genuine batsman. He had a good run for a couple of years, but hasn't been performing since his injury in south africa. If he bowls, he bats at 6 or 7. If he doesn't bowl, he shouldn't be playing.

  • ravi_hari on March 25, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Agreed it was a colossal failure. But whom to blame? If any changes required it should start from the selection panel. The way the team was chosen for India showed complete confusion. Horses for courses was never applied. They picked them and prayed they would do well. It will not work that way. You need to have the right people for a tough tour like India. All the batsmen selected, excepting Clarke, do not have the technique to takle spin. There was no preparation done for the tour. Everyone quotes the loss of Ponting and Hussey as the reason. How can 1 or 2 change the fate of the team. Then what are the others for? For once none of the Australian batsmen bothered about their future, including Clarke. After day 1 in the series, Clarke too threw his wicket away and did not help the team's cause. The bowlers batted well as they had to prove their worth to the team after failing in their own department. It was pure covering up. I dont think Aussies can come out of this quickly.

  • Barnesy4444 on March 25, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    Maybe some more tour matches prior to the first test would have been useful?

    Watson looked solid and fantastic when opener. He handled the swinging and seaming new ball effortlessly. He should open again and be used as a partnership breaker. Hughes 3, Clarke 4, Smith 5, specialist batsman (maybe Khawaja) 6, Wade/Paine 7. Now which opener to drop? Cowan gets regular starts but only 1 decent score, ever. Warner is a potential match winner but his footwork, shot selection and weight transfer is often terrible, even in the first over!!

    Maybe open with Watson and put Warner at 6?

  • DINESHCC on March 25, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    MEETY: Huge miss in your 17. BEN HILFENHAUS. As regards wicket keeper PAINE may be tried instead of WADE

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Can't expect much more from someone bog average to begin with.

  • RaadQ on March 25, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    Sorry, but this article is fundamentally flawed. IF Watson is bowling, as long as averages even 20+ with the bat he should still be selected. He average 30 with the bowl, and in modern times, this is a good number (he averages better than James Anderson at the moment). However, again IF he is NOT bowling, then selection should be based on his batting, which of course isn't good enough at the moment. I cannot see a justified reason to drop Watto any time soon as long as he is fit enough to bowl, conversely, I cannot see any reason to keep him if he cannot. On that merit, he shouldn't be vice captain.

  • Meety on March 25, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    The A-tour will be important. I would like to see the selectors think outside the box & use the A-tour to bed down the preparation for players like Cowan & Lyon who won't be playing in the Champ Trophy. My squad would be; (assuming Rogers will be better off playing County) 1. Cowan (c), 2. Cosgrove, 3. Khawaja, 4. Burns, 5. Haddin/Paine (whoever is going to be the 2nd keeper, acknowledge I didn't select a 2nd keeper but figured they could be on stand by easily), 6. Smith (assuming he is NOT in the ODI squad), 7. Henriques, 8. O'Keefe, 9. Siddle, 10. Cummins (assuming he is fit & NOT in the ODI side), 11. Hilfenhaas, 12. Silk, 13. Bailey, 14. Butterworth, 15. Faulkner, 16. Lyon, 17. Agar (unless he is on that scholarship) The mix would be of players who would be possibly in the Ashes squad.

  • satishchandar on March 25, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    The problem for Australia is, they look unsettled.. Even in India's 4-0 drubbing down under, Clarke had a massive tour and Punter regained touch in 2 tests and Warner smacked once.. Hussey was as usual fulcrum in the batting unit.. Not they miss guys in the batting line up but i think they should make the likes in the 11 comfortable in their roles even when losing. Like it worked slightly for Hughes and Lyon.. HW gate should have been avoided.. The likes of Warner, Watson had huge expectations coming into the tour as they are regulars in IPL and are known smashers of spin bowling. Especially Watson as he had wonderful record in BD and decent in SL. Bowlers were always expected to struggle as they didn't have enough spin strength to show off. But batting might have earned atleast one draw. They got lots of things to ponder before the Ashes..

  • Meety on March 25, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    My 17 for the Ashes tour; 1. Warner (he'll be hit & miss but statistically has done VERY well with Cowan), 2. Cowan (he'll do well in England), 3. Watson (last chance, only assuming he'll bowl as well), 4. Hughes (did okay in County in difficult circumstances, make or break), 5. Clarke (no point moving him up the order, he score is runs @ 5, if it ain't broke....), 6. Khawaja (solid county form, did well in seaming conditions in the Shield AGES AGO at the start of the summer). 7. Wade (needs to talk to Healy), 8. O'Keefe (he & Lyon are our 2 best spinners, but whilst our batting has been so poor, he shores it up + will take wickets & keep it very tight), 9. Siddle (our best batsmen, & useful bowler too!), 10. Starc (I think he'll be deadly if fit in England), 11. Pattinson (ditto Starc) 12. Harris (play him instead of Siddle @ Lords), 13. Burns (need to blood good young batsmen), 14. Lyon (in case Eng try some dry strips), 15. Smith (worth a go), 16. Rogers (insurance), 17. Bird (pls?)

  • Meety on March 25, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    Watto is defiantely on borrowed time. I didn't want him to play in the WIndies ODI series, he needed to play for NSW in the Shield. I didn't want him to play the 3rd Test against SA because he had done nothing but physio in the 6 weeks leading up to that match. The NSP need to really use the Shield as a the guide to Test potential. Marsh carved a murderous 90 odd in a BBL game, got selected for the India series on the back of this & proceeded to epically FAIL! I feel for Khawaja, he should not of been given an ODI debut, he hadn't played red ball cricket for months. He had his ONE opportunity to play a Shield game get washed out, then they select him for a meaningless bi-lateral series. I think there was nothing to suggest he would of done any better (or worse) than the other batsmen as he had ZERO form. I am not sure that Doolan is an option, his form (POST BBL), has been fairly weak. IMO - Burns is ahead of him, he struggled in the 1st half of the season up & down the QLD order.

  • Un_Citoyen_Indien on March 25, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    Kallis and Sobers could make it to any team purely as batters. Imran Khan, Richard Hadlee and Shaun Pollock could make it to any side purely as bowlers. The secondary skill possessed by each of these gentlemen afforded their sides a pleasant luxury, but make no mistake: they would've made it to ANY team solely on the weight of their primary skill.

    The same cannot be said for let's say a Chris Cairns or an Andrew Flintoff or even a Kapil Dev or an Ian Botham. These gentlemen needed to be firing on both their skills (primary as well as secondary) to even be considered for a place among the very best sides. This is even more so the case for Shane Watson who is in effect only marginally better than a bits and pieces cricketer. A shame really, because he possesses the potential to be so much more.

    So Shane Watson is ONLY going to add value to a side if he BOWLS. And yes, he should bat no higher than #6 (preferably 7 if you have a good 'keeper-batsman at 6) in a strong Australian test team

  • ygkd on March 25, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    1979 saw a WSC-weakened team play in India. Thanks to Border, Hughes and Yallop, however, that team did not go as long without a century as this team has just done. Clarke reached 100 on the first day, and that wasn't matched in 7 more team innings. On the bowling front,there were 3 five-wicket-hauls. Lyon may have had a 10-for, only Wade's keeping let him down. Wade played every Test he could, only missing through injury. Lyon was the one dropped. Haddin did better than Wade. Haddin was dropped. Wade, preferred for his batting, scored just 19 in his last innings and that was better than his series average. Haddin averaged a more respectable 25 and Dhoni a far superior 81. Wade finished with an average of 0.33 stumpings-per-Test. The other two keepers in the series averaged 1.0 and 1.25 respectively. Their glovework was superior. Wade may have made two tons in 12 Tests, which is fair going, yet his batting lacks consistency. As a specialist bat he may improve. As a keeper he won't.

  • venkatesh018 on March 25, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Warner, Cowan, Watson, Hughes, Clarke, Ferguson, Wade, Siddle, Pattinson, Harris and Lyon are the first XI for the first Ashes test. The other squad members: Starc, Bird, Khwaja, Paine, Steve O Keefe (stand byes: Steve Smith, Alex Doolan, Coulter-Nile, Moises Henriques)

  • Amith_S on March 25, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    First Ashes team after this:

    Warner (destructive batsman so keep him in) Hughes (they will perservere. May be opening if Warner continues to think flashing at wide balls with no footwork is a winning tactic) Khawaja (surely as he is one of our best young prospects and best number 3) Clarke Smith (deserves the chance after his performance in India) Watson Wade Siddle (did just enough and tries hard - as usual) Harris (he has come back from injury and is on fire. Our number 1) Pattinson (best of the youngsters) Lyon (he is still our number one, even if he would struggle to get into any other international team)

    Reserve bats:Watson, Cosgrove Reserve bowlers: Bird, Starc and the Hilf Reserve keeper: Paine

  • Someguy on March 25, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    @Kavignar Vaidha - you have an interesting interpretation of facts. Clarke scored more runs against India than any other country, but only because he has played more tests against them. He actually has better records against South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka than he does against India. And only marginally less against England. He made a mockery of the worlds best bowling line-up from South Africa.

  • Someguy on March 25, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    @ InsideHedge - you miss the point. Nobody is saying it's all Watson's fault. Just that he is more at fault than anyone else. Who cares if the rest of the top order can bowl or not? Watson isn't bowling at the moment so it's a moot point. Watson has not scored a century in more than 2 years. All the guys you mentioned have, and average more than Watson in that time.

    If Watson is bowling, he makes a decent bowling allrounder. He should not be anywhere near the top order in a test team.

  • Someguy on March 25, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Watson has to go. Even before his run of bad form, he had 1 "OK" year with the bat, but a top order batsman that can't score 100's is no good to anyone. He has made it to 50 21 times and has only managed to get to 100 twice. That conversion rate is appalling and just not good enough for a top order batsman. He should be batting at 6-7 at best, and only then as a bowling allrounder. If he is not bowling, he shouldn't be anywhere near the test team.

    For now I would stick with Warner, Cowan and Hughes as the top 3. Clarke stays at 5. I think Smith deserves a go at 6 (on the back of his performance in India) and Khawaja has probably earnt a chance at 4.

    For the backup batsman I would take Callum Ferguson. I think the ashes is too important to be risking players with no international experience in an already very inexperienced side. Ferguson was brilliant in the ODI team before his injury and shown he can step up. Also, he was one of the leading run scorers in the shield season.

  • Baxter_P on March 25, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    The shallow pool of batting talent is unquestionably Australia's most crucial problem. The fact that Khawaja never even had a chance in India (despite the terrible form of 3 of the top 4 and Clarke's unavailability in Delhi) and was one of the suspended guys in Mohali makes me think his non-selection is not entirely about his batting. Perhaps it's his attitude, perhaps he doesn't put the work in in training, perhaps it's about 'team culture'; whatever it is, Arthur and Clarke plainly don't think he deserves a test spot. I'd question if he should be in the Ashes party if he's not seen as a viable test option. I expect Dave Hussey to come in, or perhaps Joe Burns. I also expect Johnson to miss the Ashes squad, and Ryan Harris to be recalled - he would be a fantastic add in terms of his bowling, temperament and experience. An Ashes squad with Dave Hussey, Harris and an exciting spinner like O'Keefe instead of Khawaja, Johnson and Doherty is a major improvement.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on March 25, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    you have to give philip hughes and nathan lyon some credit , hughes was unlucky to be on the receiving end of some bad decisions and what can lyon do against India where even the great warne and muralidharan failed ?? considering the fact that not much batting talent is coming from domestic cricket , sticking with these guys is the only option

  • popcorn on March 25, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    Too late! They have NOW discovered that Usman Khawaja was ALSO Available as a member of the Aussie Squad - but he was treated so shabbily, i wonder why they spent so much on a free ride for him without work to India. Sic.

  • on March 25, 2013, 4:39 GMT

    The difference between the English and Aussie side is their No1 and No 4, which was Cook and Piterson v/s Warner and Watson...having said that you must remember that Cook/Pieterson/Swann/Monty had played 2-3 series here before winning this one.. this Aussie side will learn and they will do better as time goes by.. few things that they do need to do is that they must not fake aggression, Mcgrath was verbal and aggressive but he was more aggressive with the ball, pitching it in the same place again and again...this Aussie bunch needs to perform aggressively with their bat and ball before using their mouth..Also the Aussies must allow their players a chance to play the homework gate made the Aussie team look like school boys and their last day antics confirmed it...you cannot go to press with silly homework problem and then tell the world that you are grown up men..this aussie bunch looked like school boys on field trip and England will make you pay..

  • CSpiers on March 25, 2013, 4:28 GMT

    The Ashes will be closer than alot of people seem to think. England have past there peak with their current players, emphasised by their general lack of performance (apart from the last indian tour) in the last couple of years, culminating in what looks like a series loss to the minnows, NZ.

  • kpkalathil on March 25, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    I hope he will do better in Ashes Series. And Aus. will bounce back. Wait and see

  • thebill970 on March 25, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    Watson hasn't scored a century in about 3 years of test cricket. He has only scored two centuries all up. How does such a player stay in the team for so long? Why do they keep trying to create a specialist batsman out of Watson when the experiment was proven to have failed long ago? I wish Watson would go back to being a bowling all-rounder - he was a much more useful player in those days.

  • CoverDrive888 on March 25, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    It's abundantly clear that our top order batsmen are not equipped for Test cricket. They all have very poor technique compared to the Indians, and are better suited to one-day wickets where they can play away from the body because there's little or no deviation in the air or off the wicket. Watson is a good enough all-rounder (asuming he's bowling) to bat at 6 or 7. However, when you have such a mediocre top order, he looks better than he is and too much is expected of him. The standard of Sheffield Shield is dropping because the best players never play in the comp. And then when we have a promising player, Clarke throws them in at 3 or 4 and they get chewed up and spat out. And further Arthur falls in love with Maxwell's agression and prefers him to Khawaja. We need 6-8 good candidates for 1 to 6 and Khawaja has to be one of those but they won't play him. We need to forget about aggression and focus on good technique.

  • kapilesh23 on March 25, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    "often propped up by their own tail-end efforts with the bat." was absolutely funny line.

  • on March 25, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    English team has been mediocre in NZ - it remains to be seen which team raises its game in the upcoming Ashes

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on March 25, 2013, 2:14 GMT

    I don't get this love for cowan. He gets in, then gets out always around the same time as his opening partner leaving the aussies with two new batsmen at the crease and the bowlers on top. Hes already had 17 tests to improve and his average keeps dropping. The constant trumpeting of eds "improvement" leaves me baffled. Cowan is 30 already, so I think weve already seen the best of him. There are younger batsmen out there who can do the same and have much bigger potential and upside

  • mk49_van on March 25, 2013, 1:27 GMT

    So just why did Khawaja not get a chance when the rest of the top-order failed miserably? Why was he even included in the touring party?

  • Simoc on March 25, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    It is pretty hard to argue with the obvious assessment. A missed opportunity to play Khawaja in the last test given that we will be relying on him to score a heap of runs next time in India. The problem is who to drop. And the answer is probably all of the under performing batsmen, except Maxwell, will be in the first Ashes test in England and changes will be made to the bowling.

  • HatsforBats on March 25, 2013, 0:56 GMT

    With all said and done, this series will have very little impact. This was a squad picked specifically for Indian conditions, and it didn't work. Maxwell, Doherty, Henriques will not tour England or play at home. The Aus squad will return to having Wade @ 7 followed by four bowlers picked from Siddle, Pattinson, Starc, Bird, Harris, Johnson & Lyon. Cowan, Warner & Hughes are much more at home on fast tracks; it should be noted that for all the criticism his poor performance in India warranted, Warner was averaging ~42 before this series with 3 centuries in 15 matches. Reports indicate Watson will be bowling in the Ashes so the top six will finish with Watson, Clarke, & Khawaja. It will be more interesting to see the impact on India. Their spinners will struggle to have the same impact away, their batsmen still look weak against the short ball (even on their own slow pitches), Ishant remains average and their fielding is still below par.

  • on March 25, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    I have been a strong defender, but he should be dropped for the England tour. I suggest a season playing County would do him the world of good.

    To be fair, he has seemed out of form since he came back into the team after his injury, his 80 in Melbourne was excruciating (but he will never get compliments for "grit", unlike his nemesis and critic-fave, Cowan). In India it seemed to me his role wasn't clear, was he a 3 a 4 or a 5? When all the time opening, with its simplicity, is what he wanted, and I think deserved a crack at (Cowan could bat 3 easily).

    Nobody commented on the tempo issues in his first dig... he threw the bat before lunch to "send a message", then was marooned for 35 balls after lunch without scoring. Like Kim Hughes in the Windies in 84 for mine, wanting to counter-attack, knowing you would get crucified if you got out.

    The final indignity was sending Maxwell in when you knew Watto could have played that role but it would have been seen as anti-Cowan. Farewell, ta!

  • HatsforBats on March 25, 2013, 0:37 GMT

    For all the doom & gloom this is only the 3rd series loss for Australia in 2 years, that too in a country where Aus have won just 2 series in 40+ years. There were some terrible performances, but there were positives as well. It all comes down to the initial squad selection: Maxwell & Doherty should be nowhere near the test side. Henriques had a good season but is far from the best 'all-rounder' in Australian cricket. Wade should not have been batting @6 (nor is he our best keeper) and only did so to accommodate Maxwell & Henriques. Watson does not deserve a pure batsman role based on the previous 2 years performances. Positives? Both first choice Aus quicks outbowled their Indian counterparts. Cowan showed substance if not reward. Lyon took 15 @ 37, more than acceptable for a first tour of India, and more importantly showed signs of improvement from start to finish. Smith displayed the great improvement he's made at FC level.

  • hycIass on March 25, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    What a disgraceful performance. For the first time in my 44 years, I couldn't even be bothered watching this team play on the Television. Usually Im glued to the game but these days, with players like Warner,Hughes,Cowan, continually failing to contribute to the batting score, its leaves me cold. Whats more annoying is that if one of those blokes hits a decent score, the media fall over themselves praising them....then of course we have the next 10 games where they contribute bugger all. I cannot for the life of me understand why Khawaja wasn't played as his grit and solidity at the top of the order would have been invaluable. We played him in the ODIs but not in test matches where he is most strong. Lets hope we can get a few tour games against a combined International Ground Staff side, then perhaps we might salvage a Draw.

  • whoster on March 25, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    The big truth for Australia is that Clarke is currently their only batsman of genuine quality. Every other batsman has question marks against them, and none more than Watson. He now averages 35 after 41 Tests (with only 2 centuries), and without his bowling, his place in the side can't be justified. Having said that, he hasn't performed any worse than most of his batting colleagues in recent times, and his experience will probably keep him in the team. The Aussies have some decent fast bowlers, but in every other department they're shockingly poor. When The Ashes come around, there shouldn't be much between the teams in pace bowling, but England are head and shoulders above Aus in spin bowling and batting.

  • Sunil_Batra on March 25, 2013, 0:20 GMT

    @handyandy i like your combination of youth and experience. Surely its time that Khawaja got his chance and he will be a future test star for us. Why did they we only one recognised spin bowler on a pitch suited for spin?Do we not have enough good spin bowlers in this country?The pitches in India are quite harsh and with fast bowlers the ball after 20 overs starts to look like a ball 80 overs old,and we continue to select fast bowlers.I think Lyon's figures speaks for this justification. As for the batsmen,maybe Siddle could give them batting lessons!

  • MacdaddyOZ on March 25, 2013, 0:16 GMT

    @handyandy - D.Hussey: a quick fix?

    I wouldn't be calling an average of 23 and only 350 odd runs in this years shield a fix.

  • RandyOZ on March 24, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    There is no doubt about it, Watson and Cowan are protected speices. The current crop of Aussies are literally the least deserving to wear the baggy green in history.

  • Alexk400 on March 24, 2013, 23:52 GMT

    His captaincy is great but his batting contribution is zero and bowling contribution is zero. He should open. There is no other option because he is not doing well in middle order at all.

  • Chris_Howard on March 24, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    CA needs to prioritize Test cricker like the Argus Report said. And to do that, they also have to prioritize Shield cricket. Shield Cricket is currently treated like the poor cousin. And aslo, players need to be selected on 4-day game form, not ODI or T20 like they did with Doherty over O'Keefe.

    In the mean time, I'm with @handyandy. For England, we need to take some mature guys like Rogers and D Hussey.

    And CA should be telling any guy who's trying to get or hold a spot in the Test team to go to England now and play as much County cricket as they can.

    When it comes time to pick the team, and if your Wattos, Hughes, Warners etc have been making runs in England, they're got a lot more chance of being picked than if they've been making runs in IPL.

  • HOMEBREW on March 24, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    Ummm upcoming England tour? What about the other forgotton about Aussie James Hopes? Going good in the longer format (Batting & Bowling). I'd take him and Faulkner along with Ferguson. Get rid of Wade, hoplelees keeper. swap with Paine. Who to leave out? Cowan can go and Watson can open, Johnson & Doherty can go and replace with Hopes & Faulkner. Hughes can go & replace with Ferguson.

    So, i'd have 1. Watson, 2. Warner, 3. Paine, 4. Ferguson, 5. Clarke (c), 6. Hopes, 7. Faulkner, 8. Starc, 9. Siddle, 10. Pattinson, 11. Lyon or Bird.

    Thats my team, but then again it will be up to Clarke, just depends who going to suckup to him.

  • MinusZero on March 24, 2013, 23:04 GMT

    Watson's captaincy in the 4th test show him for what he is. An ODI player. Opening with Maxwell, what was that! On the 5th day, trying to get a result...maybe. On the third day? There was no need to push the run rate with the game in the balance and still two days left. He wanted to play as a batsman and should be dropped as a batsman. They cant keep selecting him if his scores dont warrant it.

  • HOMEBREW on March 24, 2013, 23:01 GMT

    I suspect after this 4 - 0 thrashing, come England the Australian 11 will have plenty of time for: Homework, Golf, Pub Crawls and the like after getting flogged in 2 days againest the Poms. And this coming from an Aussie fan!

    India Tour = PATHETIC. Cowan might hold up one end, but you still need to score runs! Even singles. Not doing this puts pressure on the other batsman to score the runs. I beleive we need a cleanout, get rid of Arthur, Rixon, Howard, Dovey & co. I'd have Mark Taylor as coach, Mathew Hayden as batting coach, Glenn McGrath as fast bowling coach, Shane Warne as spin coach, Ricky Pointing as fielding coach & Michael Beven as team manager. The selectors ARE the coaches ONLY, not players or some bloke who played rugby, or some bloke back in Cricket Australia who has never played for his country. Another point to be made is Australia on this tour looked like they were playing 20/20. We need seperate teams for the 3 formats, as they are differnt games all together.

  • on March 24, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    Looking forward to the customary end-of-tour 'marks out of 10' feature.

    There will be some very low numbers on the Aussie side. Watson, Warner, Wade, Maxwell, Doherty - all had shockers. Hughes and Cowan showed signs of adapting late on but even they were poor. Clarke was the only quality batsman. None of the bowlers put India under much pressure and, overall, Australia are not a good side, to say the least.

    Morale will be at rock bottom going into the Ashes.

  • on March 24, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    hi chris P totally agree with ure comments. For maxwell, we should've had steve o keefe + nathan lyon bowling in tandem. also the batting we needed several good FC players like khawaja(likely to be good against spin), rogers, cosgrove, doolan(FC av 40+), also the team selection - we selected 5 specialist bowlers for the 4th test. why? our batting lineup is too thin. the format should've been 2 spinners and 2 fast bowlers, and the rest batsman as our batting lineup was too thin!

  • TheDoctor394 on March 24, 2013, 21:14 GMT

    For those who think England are getting excited about wiping out Australia, bear in mind that, at the moment, they have other things on their mind, mainly facing a series lost to New Zealand.

  • hhillbumper on March 24, 2013, 20:43 GMT

    given the way england have bowled in new zealand you should have no worries.I mean Jesus they have made Fulton look like a test bowler and even Bangladesh did not manage that one.

  • on March 24, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    my ashes series sqaud in england will be: 1.clarke 2.warner. 3.watson 4.hughes 5.khawaja 6.burns 7.silk 8.wade 9.haddin 10. agar 11. fawad ahmed 12.pattinson 13.siddle 14.harris 15.starc 16.bird 17.henriques

  • wix99 on March 24, 2013, 20:21 GMT

    Watson's position in the team is untenable. Usman Khawaja is the logical first pick as his replacement. However, Callum Ferguson, Alex Doolan or Joe Burns could also be given a chance. Australia's top six for the Ashes should be: 1. Warner, 2. Cowan, 3. Hughes, 4. Clarke, 5. Khawaja, 6. Smith.

  • on March 24, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    The scary thing of this performance with the Ashes in mind is the fact that the batsmen are weak against spin, but worse against swing......

    As for Watson, pure and simple he is not Test standard as solely a batsman, and should not be selected for the Ashes unless he bowls

  • on March 24, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    Come the Ashes,If Australians play anything close to like this, England will make mince meat of them. For the sake of Ashes atleast i hope Oz will raise their game. Other wise Alistair Cook will set some more batting records on fire as will Swann and anderson with the ball

  • Apocalypse_EX on March 24, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    @Kavignar Vaidha are you even up to date on cricket? I aint an aussie but I do know that Michael Clarke came to India on the back of scoring back-to-back double centuries against South Africa, the team ranked no.1 in the ICC test rankings. If they dont qualify as a "leading team" then who falls in that category? I guess its you who needs to verify the statistics.

  • abhinavpraneet on March 24, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    While you have pointed out that most of the Australian batsmen lacked skill to handle conditions presented to them in this series, I think more than skills it is the mental toughness and value for one's wicket that can allow batsmen to play long innings. Be it Australian batsmen in India or Indian batsmen in Australia.

    That toughness only comes with experience and multiple tours. So Australia may have to show some patience with some of these players.

    Though CA may have some words for Shane Watson, who along with Clarke was the senior and experienced player the youngsters in the team would have looked up to.

  • Nampally on March 24, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    It is ironical that Whilst India has finally found reliability in their top 4 batsmen Vijay, Dhawan, C.Pujara & Kohli, the Australian are lacking in them. The transition for the Indians was gradual, nevertheless it was finally achieved in this series. As you rightly state Brydon, the lower order batsmen like Starc & Siddle have performed much better than the leading batsmen Watson, Warner & others. Two words sum up the reason for failures - Lack of Discipline & Patience. Responsible batting demands both these attributes. It was totally lacking in the Aussie batsmen. How many times Warner & Watson perished trying to hit their way out of trouble? Even bowlers like Starc & Siddle learnt from watching the Indian batsmen the requisites for good batting scores. Pujara is the embodiment of these 2 attributes paying rich dividends. In the last 2 series of 4 Test matches each, he has averaged 87 & 84 repectively.Aussies need a sheet anchor like Pujara for the Ashes battle or bring back Ponting!

  • handyandy on March 24, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    Watson just isn't good enough as a specialist batsman. As an all rounder sure ... but just his batting ... its not up to scratch.

    Australia needs to rebuild the batting order fast and that means going to the senior shield players. Just pick your best team ... don't worry about age.

    Rogers, Cowan, Warner, Khawaja, Clarke and D.Hussey sound like a nice blend of experience and youth. Bailey and Smith could also be added to the squad.

    Rogers and Hussey are obviously just quick fixes but they will be adequate to get us through the up coming ashes series.

    Both Warner and Cowan are on thin ice. Khawaja will get a second chance to show his goods.

  • on March 24, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    There is nothing much left in assessing the thrashing of the Aussies 4-0 by the Indians as Coverdale has made a 100 percent correct assessment in his report - hats off to him for being so frank and forthright in his opinion - his report deserves to be noted not only by the young Aussie players but also by the Captain, Coach and the CA board

  • iamcd_pati on March 24, 2013, 17:37 GMT

    amazing article. calling a spade a spade

  • Chris_P on March 24, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    The NSL have a lot to answer for. Watson's efforts mirrored his first class form for the past 3 years so anyone who knew that stat wouldn't have been surprised. Doherty averaged 80 odd for the 2 tests he played which had been his average in fc cricket this season, so he played to his form! If Matthew Wade isn't the poorest gloveman to have played test cricket in the last 30 years then I don't know who is. On a tour where it is essential you have a good gloveman, his form was atrocious. How many wickets (and a hatttrick) did he cost Lyon? It is fine having a top bat as a keeper but surely, glovework must rate? As one of our most experienced players in that test, MJ showed exactly what he is worth. Hopefully he has played his last test for Australia. Maxwell, as good as a short form player he is, doesn't rate good enough for even a 3rd XI so how did he ever get a start? The buck stops with the NSL, the Argus report was not followed.

  • Arrow011 on March 24, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    In future world test teams should have 2-3 spinners in their touring party, play 3 fast 2 spin or 3 spinners & 2 pacemen. The logic of 4 pacemen is the most stupid thing in the world best mastered by the West Indies of 70s & the South Africans of this age. Once the South Africans getting a sound whipping in India or Sri Lanka they too will mend their ways. Ajmal & Hereth have taken wickets in a heap even in pace pitches of South Africa so it makes no sense to say a spinner cannot take wickets in pace pitches. Hereth was the leading wicket taker for Sri Lanka in South Africa, their pacemen couldnt take has as many so why make an issue with the pitch ?

  • balajik1968 on March 24, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    Coverdale throws up important points. If the lower order is actually facing more balls than the top order batsman, and more importantly scoring runs and playing time, it simply shows the top order lacks application. Wickets were difficult but not impossible. The English team must be licking its lips. I predict that the Aussies will be routed. Siddle is at best a good support bowler, never the leader of the attack. Harris is too injury prone. Cummins lacks experience at the highest level. Even granted the bowling does well, the batting is of real concern. Cold statistics will tell the truth. Clarke is the only player with a decent average. Everyone else is in their 30's. Compare this to the English line-up, where the top 6 average in the high 40s or 50's. Australia is facing a tough time.

  • on March 24, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    This whole business of captain being a selector is not great for team spirit, one has to ensure all the time that he is in the good books of the captain and hesitates to speak his mind, Tim Paine is clearly the best keeper aussies have he should play, Harris, Starch, Pattinson and Lyon shud be the bowlers, Watson if he bowls would also help him in his batting. Clarke has his favorites in the team Wade being one of them so Australia needs to fix that problem before anything else, captain cannot also be the selector.

  • Kunal-Talgeri on March 24, 2013, 17:04 GMT

    I hope I am wrong about this, but this Test series showed the factions in the Australian side, owing to personalities. In the past, it was commendable that the likes of Steve Waugh/Gilchrist and Warne were able to leave their differences in the dressing room -- and play as a team. It helped that they were a winning team! From 2006 onward, Watson aimed to develop his all-round abilities like a Freddie Flintoff. He has been on the right path for most of the past five years. But his persona is at odds with Clarke's captaincy style. It amazes me that in such a backdrop, Clarke -- a young and untested captain -- gets to be a selector. Obviously, it will heighten the personality differences in the rank and file. This is a really sad state of affairs for fans like me that has had nothing but respect for The Australian Way.

  • on March 24, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    Many Ausie fans have commented here as if the Ausie team cam improve / perform better elsewhere than in India!!! But they add that India will come a croper in SA, assuming that Indians are winning only because of home conditions. I also agree that Indians are not doing well abroad. But, why different stick for India and Australia? If Australians can be lauded that even with these bowlers who ensured that in all 4 Tests their team conceded 1st inning lead, can perform wonders elsewhere and NOT in India, why should India be belittled for winning in India?!!!

    The days of Australian domination are over. All Ausie fans must admit that. Once India was being accused of relying too much on Sachin. Now, Australians are relying ONLY on consistently losing Captain Clarke!!!! Verify the record and statistics. Clarke scored most of his runs, 100s, 50s, 4s and 6s against India. Against other leading teams, he could not reproduce the same level of success!!!!

  • blink182alex on March 24, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    Chris Rogers should be in the Ashes squad, for me he would be in the side. The selectors seem to think he is too old, but he is 35 and could do well in the 2 ashes series, he would only be a short term option but i think you select your best 11 for an Ashes series regardless of age.

    1. Warner 2. Watson 3. Rogers 4. Hughes 5. Clarke 6. Voges / Khawaja / Smith 7. Haddin.

    I think this is our best batting line up. Cowan has stickability but just doesn't go on, 1 century and averaging 33 from 17 tests just isn't good enough. Watson bats best as an opener, Hughes scores the most runs every shield season, Clarke bats best at 5 and Voges has an excellent international record although the no 6 spot would be up for grabs, Smith batted well in this series but may struggle with swing, Dave Hussey could be a short term option. A lot could depend on how a few of those go in County Cricket before the squad is announced.

  • InsideHedge on March 24, 2013, 16:30 GMT

    Altho India had a far weaker pace bowling line-up, they played the same two (Ishant/Bhuvi) right thru the series. Both bowlers picked up crucial wickets throughout the series. Oz may have more talented bowlers but the inability of the team to play a consistent bowling line-up hardly helped matters, some of the men clearly didn't know if they were coming or going.

    Finally, the fitness records of these fast men is shockingly poor. It's all very well having the talent of Patto, Cummins, Starc, Bird, Ryan Harris (remember him?) etc but their inability to stay fit causes disruption.

  • SamRoy on March 24, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    For me if Watson doesn't bowl in the Ashes and Australia persist with him as a middle order batsman then Australia must play 5 bowlers. I think Starc should come at 7, Pattinson at 8, Siddle at 9 followed Bird and Lyon. It will be good to play Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja. Best lineup : Warner, Watson, Burns, Khawaja / Bailey, Clarke, Haddin, Starc, Pattinson, Siddle, Bird and Lyon.

  • InsideHedge on March 24, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    It's unfair to blame just *ONE* player for Australia's 4-0 loss, had this been a close series one could micro-pick. What about David Warner? He was a major flop, clearly his failures played on his mind, leading him to lose his rag in the last Test. Cowan's improvement also needs to be put into context, he kept getting out after doing all the hard work. Phil Hughes was a walking wicket, rarely has an Australian batsman been so fortunate - "homeworkGate" gave him a lifeline and altho he improved, it's all relative as he was so abysmal in the 1st two tests.

    All of these batters can't bowl, so their deck is heavily stacked. Watson is a very underrated bowler, I reckon you're barking up the wrong tree, Brydon. And Clarke was fortunate in the 1st Test with his ton, the ump missed a clear bat-pad after he'd middled one, the point being that in the other two tests he contributed little with the bat but plenty off field!

  • JayanDamodaran on March 24, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    This is a transition phase for Australia, no doubt. The bowling unit looks good and can excel in English conditions. If Pat Cummins returns, it will boost the strength. But batting.... especially when none except Clarke averages 40 plus!

    An international test team should posses at least 4 guys in the top 6 averaging above 50. But it's not impossible for guys like Cowan, Hughes, Smith and Watson to perform better in England. May be in 2 years time at least half of these will average 50 plus!

    Right now what Oz batsmen need to do is believe in yourself and perform in England as if there is nothing to lose, just the way Peter Siddle batted.

    You shall overcome!

  • on March 24, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    After this series loss looks like several heads may roll in the Australian cricket especially the Coach Micky Arthur's position will be in doubt.. On the Players front, I think Philip Hughes, Ed Cowan, Glen Maxwell, Xavier Doherty, Moises Henriques may give way for newcomers. Usman Khawaja is very lucky for not getting a game in India and this helped him to secure his future without playing a game in India. Good luck for the Selectors to break their head and come out with a strong team to handle the English team.

  • tomjas on March 24, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    Ferguson is a poor fc player - no way he should be playing tests

    Pick Rogers with 19000 fc runs @ 50 and Cosgrove with 9000 @ 40+

    Cummins and Harris are fit again so Australia will win a test but lose the series due to inept batting

  • GeoffreysMother on March 24, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    Good article. Australia should go in with 4 quicks (Pattinson, Siddle, Starc and Johnson) who can all bat plus Lyon and hope to restrict England's batting totals. This gives enough cover for Johnson, who can win a test match on his own, but has days when he will run up at Lords and pitch it at the Oval. I would also go with Haddin who seems both a better keeper and batsman than Wade. At least this would provide some continuity in the team. In India, selection showed consistency in the batting line up, which failed, whilst having a merry go round in the bowling.

  • on March 24, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    common aussies u can bounce back its sure

  • Leggie on March 24, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    Australia's batting has been a concern for a long time and it's just that people have been turning a blind eye for long. Who can forget the collapses against SA, and the II innings vs New Zealand in 2011/2012?. Conveniently after those failures, Australians faced one for the worst Indian bowling attacks and plundered at will. Even then it was obvious that it was only the likes of Hussey/Clarke and to some extent Ponting was scoring. BIG LESSON for Australia and the cricketing world in general, get back to the drawing board even while you're winning. Analyze the runs scored, how it came and under what conditions while you're still winning. If you don't do it, then it becomes too late. India's 0-4 drubbings in England/Australia and Australia's fate in the current tour are best examples of what happens when you don't identify your weaknesses early.

  • sachin_vvsfan on March 24, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    I expected him to be more responsible this time. But he did the same what he did in hyderabad. When the ball is keeping low why did you even attempt a cross bat shot man?. This is not T20 Watson and his place in ashes might not last for more than 2 matches if he continues to do the same

  • InnocentGuy on March 24, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    Ah come on, they are alright. It's tough to ALWAYS have a team that performs well in ALL conditions. Everything is a phase. Good or bad. They will do well in England. India will get thumped in South Africa. And the ball rolls on...

  • realfan on March 24, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    get warner, watto, wade, maxwell, out and bring in clarke, haddin, kawaja and o 'kefee ( i dont know the last two guys performances, but according to aus fans they are good ) so have this team for ASHES and play with some intent instead of sledging... you can easily demolish ENGLAND , even you can whitewash them......

  • on March 24, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    Rogers being an opener is irrelevant. He could do a job and perhaps there's a case for him opening and Warner moving down the innings to 3 to replace Hughes with Clarke at 4. Smith and Watson in the middle, Wade at 7, Lyon, Pattinson, Jackson Bird and Starc to complete the bowlers. There will be the debate over Khawaja but I don't see now that picking Smith above him is a risk with the bat.

  • srikanths on March 24, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    OZ batting definitely a big worry but just give them sometime. Greats have retired and this is a team in transition. They did well, almost won against SA at home , the team needs experience in playing spin. Still feel that Watson can come good in England, so will Cowan and with some luck Warner.Hughes needs to be encouraged

    Their pace attack is very good. a fit Pattinson Starc,siddle with either Bird or Hilfenhaus or a Harris could be a real handful in England. Not sure what is happening to Cummings. Batting may be Callum Ferguson can come up. Brydon coverdale will know better

  • srikanths on March 24, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    OZ batting definitely a big worry but just give them sometime. Greats have retired and this is a team in transition. They did well, almost won against SA at home , the team needs experience in playing spin. Still feel that Watson can come good in England, so will Cowan and with some luck Warner.Hughes needs to be encouraged

    Their pace attack is very good. a fit Pattinson Starc,siddle with either Bird or Hilfenhaus or a Harris could be a real handful in England. Not sure what is happening to Cummings. Batting may be Callum Ferguson can come up. Brydon coverdale will know better

  • on March 24, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    Rogers being an opener is irrelevant. He could do a job and perhaps there's a case for him opening and Warner moving down the innings to 3 to replace Hughes with Clarke at 4. Smith and Watson in the middle, Wade at 7, Lyon, Pattinson, Jackson Bird and Starc to complete the bowlers. There will be the debate over Khawaja but I don't see now that picking Smith above him is a risk with the bat.

  • realfan on March 24, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    get warner, watto, wade, maxwell, out and bring in clarke, haddin, kawaja and o 'kefee ( i dont know the last two guys performances, but according to aus fans they are good ) so have this team for ASHES and play with some intent instead of sledging... you can easily demolish ENGLAND , even you can whitewash them......

  • InnocentGuy on March 24, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    Ah come on, they are alright. It's tough to ALWAYS have a team that performs well in ALL conditions. Everything is a phase. Good or bad. They will do well in England. India will get thumped in South Africa. And the ball rolls on...

  • sachin_vvsfan on March 24, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    I expected him to be more responsible this time. But he did the same what he did in hyderabad. When the ball is keeping low why did you even attempt a cross bat shot man?. This is not T20 Watson and his place in ashes might not last for more than 2 matches if he continues to do the same

  • Leggie on March 24, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    Australia's batting has been a concern for a long time and it's just that people have been turning a blind eye for long. Who can forget the collapses against SA, and the II innings vs New Zealand in 2011/2012?. Conveniently after those failures, Australians faced one for the worst Indian bowling attacks and plundered at will. Even then it was obvious that it was only the likes of Hussey/Clarke and to some extent Ponting was scoring. BIG LESSON for Australia and the cricketing world in general, get back to the drawing board even while you're winning. Analyze the runs scored, how it came and under what conditions while you're still winning. If you don't do it, then it becomes too late. India's 0-4 drubbings in England/Australia and Australia's fate in the current tour are best examples of what happens when you don't identify your weaknesses early.

  • on March 24, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    common aussies u can bounce back its sure

  • GeoffreysMother on March 24, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    Good article. Australia should go in with 4 quicks (Pattinson, Siddle, Starc and Johnson) who can all bat plus Lyon and hope to restrict England's batting totals. This gives enough cover for Johnson, who can win a test match on his own, but has days when he will run up at Lords and pitch it at the Oval. I would also go with Haddin who seems both a better keeper and batsman than Wade. At least this would provide some continuity in the team. In India, selection showed consistency in the batting line up, which failed, whilst having a merry go round in the bowling.

  • tomjas on March 24, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    Ferguson is a poor fc player - no way he should be playing tests

    Pick Rogers with 19000 fc runs @ 50 and Cosgrove with 9000 @ 40+

    Cummins and Harris are fit again so Australia will win a test but lose the series due to inept batting

  • on March 24, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    After this series loss looks like several heads may roll in the Australian cricket especially the Coach Micky Arthur's position will be in doubt.. On the Players front, I think Philip Hughes, Ed Cowan, Glen Maxwell, Xavier Doherty, Moises Henriques may give way for newcomers. Usman Khawaja is very lucky for not getting a game in India and this helped him to secure his future without playing a game in India. Good luck for the Selectors to break their head and come out with a strong team to handle the English team.