August 11, 2009

Pace battery will win it for Australia

There was nothing wrong with the bowling at Headingley, no leaking of runs, no easing of pressure
  shares 20

What a demolition job the Australians did at Leeds. It was fantastic to see them getting everything right and England having no answers. The hosts were shell-shocked and I can't see them coming back from here. No way.

From the first morning the Australian bowling was spot-on and it was great to see the best of Mitchell Johnson, even though his technical issues aren't fully fixed. With a slingy action there will always be periods of inconsistency for him, but when it's right, gee whiz, what a star. He was bowling at 90mph and shaping the ball a bit, occasionally getting it to come back. That's his shock weapon - I'm not sure whether he knows how he's doing it - but it works so well.

He delivered some rip-snorting short deliveries to Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood, and England's middle order had no idea what to do with him. It was great to see. This is the guy the Australians remember from the home summer, hurrying the batsmen and clipping their edges. He finished with 5 for 69 in the second innings, a haul set up by his three-wicket spell late on the second day. It was outstanding stuff.

There was talk all through the series about how the bowlers hadn't been at their best, but there was nothing wrong at Headingley, no leaking of runs, no easing of pressure (until the tail had a crack in the second innings). They used the short ball well and the rest of the time their line and length was superb. Sheesh, they got it so right. I've been waiting to see it all series.

While Peter Siddle and Johnson got the five-wicket hauls, I thought Ben Hilfenhaus was consistently the best bowler during the game. Stuart Clark was also excellent in the first innings - don't worry about what happened to him in the second - but for me it was all about Hilfenhaus. He pitches it up, gets it to swing and his reward is, he's the leading man for the series with 18 victims at 26.38. He'll be a key figure again when they try to wrap up the series at The Oval next week.

Before that, they have a two-day game in Canterbury, which will just mean giving a few guys a hit or some overs. Brett Lee and Clark will want to bowl well and they will probably have Andrew McDonald and Shane Watson for support. Don't expect to see Johnson, Hilfenhaus or Siddle playing. They deserve a rest after what they did in Leeds.

There are only two realistic options: go with the four bowlers who played at Headingley, or bring Nathan Hauritz in for Clark. It's bad luck for Lee

The selectors will want to see Lee fit and firing, but it's going to be hard to pick him for The Oval. There are only two realistic options: go with the four bowlers who played at Headingley, or bring Nathan Hauritz in for Clark. It's bad luck for Lee, who is a match-winning bowler and a great, but his side injury was poorly timed. It would be a harsh call to leave out any of the guys who played in the fourth Test.

I don't think Ravi Bopara can play at No. 3 again, but don't be fooled by the old-time names being thrown around. They won't go with Mark Ramprakash or Marcus Trescothick. They won't! They would be sensible to bring in the Kent duo of Joe Denly and Robert Key to help stabilise the situation, although I don't think it will matter. It will be a resounding win for Australia at The Oval and they'll take the Ashes back home. The Headingley game reaffirmed what I thought all along, and Ricky Ponting's men will be too strong.

Jason Gillespie is sixth on Australia's list of Test wicket-takers with 259 in 71 matches. He will write for Cricinfo through the 2009 Ashes

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Harrows on | August 14, 2009, 9:52 GMT

    So Hilditch was 'thrilled' with the selections for the first 3 tests? I can only assume he was 'thrilled' with the way his top edge hook shots against Richard Hadlee used to land safely in the hands of fine leg. Pick your 6 best batsmen, a wicketkeeper, and your 4 best bowlers. Please. Clark is a better bowler than Haritz. It's not rocket science. Although I think the helmet Hildich used to wear consisted of materials used by NASA in the 60's. Siddle, Johnson, Hilfenhaus and Hauritz have bowled together 4 times for 2 losses and 2 draws. I guess there is balance in that.

  • POSTED BY 68704 on | August 14, 2009, 6:23 GMT

    Australia are currently sitting pretty and seem to have an embarassment of riches. It is strange that Hilditch and co do not seem to have the same view of Clark as the rest of the world or even the English batsmen! Unless the Oval wicket is a dust bowl , Australia will be better off playing 4 seamers as they did in South Africa. There is no doubt that Nathan Hauritz has taken the most of his limited opportunity. But Clark and Hilfenfaus really put pressure on the English batsmen and if Australia can bat well in the first innings as they did at Cardiff and Headingley then they should be home and dry. Johnson is coming back to the form he showed against South Africa. And yet this Australian team is not yet a finished product. There are many positives like the maturity of Michael Clarke and the consistency of North, not to forget the success of Hilfenfaus. England were pathetic at Headingley. Australia are ahead, but just so and it is not as easy as Gillespie makes it out to be. Sridhar

  • POSTED BY Woody111 on | August 13, 2009, 5:28 GMT

    I didn't realise Clark had such a golden run in terms of Aus' results with him in the team! Hussey can't open, people have gone on about that ever since he came into the Aus side and not one selector or player has ever made any statement even implying it could happen. The Clark/Hauritz selection is the hardest of the series I think. Watson doesn't seem to be bowling much so we won't see 12-15 overs out of him. I'd go with the same 11. Pace will do the job again and there's wrist and finger spin should it be required. I know this goes in the face of valid commentary on how NOT to use spinners but in the case don't worry about the 5th day pitch: win it in 3. Expect to see big runs from Ponting for his last test in England.

  • POSTED BY Rooboy on | August 13, 2009, 3:50 GMT

    How about we keep Clark in the team and drop Hilditch and Cox instead? Hilditch just comes across as incresingly clueless. hahaha @JulesUK ... I don't think Dizzy said, or even came close to implying, that 'we are invincible', but nice overreaction anyway. And 'this young team that has so far not won a great deal' has beaten South Africa in SA which, apart from Australia in Australia or India in India, is only about the biggest scalp there is. Most of what I've read from the English press and fans indicates that they seemed to believed that once the Warne McGrath era ended they would have a nice little run of Ashes victories, because clearly the Australian team is nowhere near as good as it was when those guys and others were on the park. The fact that seems to have eluded the pommy media and fans is that Australia don't have to be world beaters or even need to have a great team to be competitive with england.

  • POSTED BY dissapointed on | August 13, 2009, 1:57 GMT

    What all selectors don't realise is that the game has changed, in particular pitches. You must field 4 quicks and unless the pitch won't turn at all, a genuine spinner as well. Hilditch and company come from an era when pitches offered assistance, having 3 quicks bowl on featherbed wickets only seeds up retirement. I'd like to see Siddle out for Lee, Hussey out for Hauritz. Clark coming in at 10, Lee at 9 and Hauritz at 8 is worth 50 in its self.

  • POSTED BY nickythetoon on | August 12, 2009, 14:21 GMT

    As an England supporter it's interesting reading the opinion from the Aussie perspective.I can't believe the idea of dropping Clark is an option the Aussie selectors are seriously considering,that would suggest what happened at headingley was a mere coincidence. Ok,England were too bad to be in all depts over the two and half days but that was all to do with the first session and Clark's contribution allowing the other 3 to bowl to their own strengths,all 4 bowling as a reliable unit and even bringing Johnson back to form. Personally I hope they do leave him out as it would certainly help England's cause. Mind you he could be left out,play with 10 men and the aussies would still win if we persist with the deadly duo of Bopara and Bell.

  • POSTED BY del_ on | August 12, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    It amazes me that the average punter can see the obvious, but the selectors (Hilditch specifically) make such uneducated statements about their selections. I understand they see more of these guys and where they're at in training/fitness, but when it comes down to it, it's about performances on the field and blind (bad knee) Freddie can see what Clark brought to the team. It's not all about wickets, but balance and control - two things that Clark provides. Without him there and his first spell, I have no doubt we wouldn't have won the last test the way we did, if at all. It took the pressure off Hilfenhaus to carry us, allowed Siddle to be menacing and Johnson to go all out attack. You drop Clark and you open the door for the English. How about finally dropping the underporming Hussey and trust our batsmen to make runs on a flat wicket (Johnson and Clark prop up the tail anyway) and add Hauritz as an extra bowler to help us take 20 wickets on a flat track?

  • POSTED BY elsieb66 on | August 12, 2009, 10:29 GMT

    It's absolutely unbelievable that they are talking of dropping Clark. If we had a Warne, then we could take a spinner to the Oval. But we don't. Leave Hauritz out. We don't need him. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  • POSTED BY Cricket_amit on | August 12, 2009, 10:29 GMT

    Stuart Clark should play at Oval, he has provided the sharpness in bowling attack of kangaroos. Tight line imposed so much pressure on English batting, their middle order looks weak in absence of KP and Bopara failing again. If Australians performs as they did in Leeds, Ashes trophy is waiting for them.

  • POSTED BY tegigis on | August 12, 2009, 9:12 GMT

    God I can't believe the selectors are thinking of dropping clarke again... It's laughable, they're a circus act.

    What's more is why Phil Jaques has been left out of any selection discussion. Why Shane (Ouch my back, hamstring, calf, ankle, knee, neck, heart) Watson got the job ahead of him is crazy, not even taking a back up opener, is ridiculous and Cox's claim that they consider Watson, Hussey and Haddin as back up openers also goes to show how much of a circus the whole selection team really is...

  • POSTED BY Harrows on | August 14, 2009, 9:52 GMT

    So Hilditch was 'thrilled' with the selections for the first 3 tests? I can only assume he was 'thrilled' with the way his top edge hook shots against Richard Hadlee used to land safely in the hands of fine leg. Pick your 6 best batsmen, a wicketkeeper, and your 4 best bowlers. Please. Clark is a better bowler than Haritz. It's not rocket science. Although I think the helmet Hildich used to wear consisted of materials used by NASA in the 60's. Siddle, Johnson, Hilfenhaus and Hauritz have bowled together 4 times for 2 losses and 2 draws. I guess there is balance in that.

  • POSTED BY 68704 on | August 14, 2009, 6:23 GMT

    Australia are currently sitting pretty and seem to have an embarassment of riches. It is strange that Hilditch and co do not seem to have the same view of Clark as the rest of the world or even the English batsmen! Unless the Oval wicket is a dust bowl , Australia will be better off playing 4 seamers as they did in South Africa. There is no doubt that Nathan Hauritz has taken the most of his limited opportunity. But Clark and Hilfenfaus really put pressure on the English batsmen and if Australia can bat well in the first innings as they did at Cardiff and Headingley then they should be home and dry. Johnson is coming back to the form he showed against South Africa. And yet this Australian team is not yet a finished product. There are many positives like the maturity of Michael Clarke and the consistency of North, not to forget the success of Hilfenfaus. England were pathetic at Headingley. Australia are ahead, but just so and it is not as easy as Gillespie makes it out to be. Sridhar

  • POSTED BY Woody111 on | August 13, 2009, 5:28 GMT

    I didn't realise Clark had such a golden run in terms of Aus' results with him in the team! Hussey can't open, people have gone on about that ever since he came into the Aus side and not one selector or player has ever made any statement even implying it could happen. The Clark/Hauritz selection is the hardest of the series I think. Watson doesn't seem to be bowling much so we won't see 12-15 overs out of him. I'd go with the same 11. Pace will do the job again and there's wrist and finger spin should it be required. I know this goes in the face of valid commentary on how NOT to use spinners but in the case don't worry about the 5th day pitch: win it in 3. Expect to see big runs from Ponting for his last test in England.

  • POSTED BY Rooboy on | August 13, 2009, 3:50 GMT

    How about we keep Clark in the team and drop Hilditch and Cox instead? Hilditch just comes across as incresingly clueless. hahaha @JulesUK ... I don't think Dizzy said, or even came close to implying, that 'we are invincible', but nice overreaction anyway. And 'this young team that has so far not won a great deal' has beaten South Africa in SA which, apart from Australia in Australia or India in India, is only about the biggest scalp there is. Most of what I've read from the English press and fans indicates that they seemed to believed that once the Warne McGrath era ended they would have a nice little run of Ashes victories, because clearly the Australian team is nowhere near as good as it was when those guys and others were on the park. The fact that seems to have eluded the pommy media and fans is that Australia don't have to be world beaters or even need to have a great team to be competitive with england.

  • POSTED BY dissapointed on | August 13, 2009, 1:57 GMT

    What all selectors don't realise is that the game has changed, in particular pitches. You must field 4 quicks and unless the pitch won't turn at all, a genuine spinner as well. Hilditch and company come from an era when pitches offered assistance, having 3 quicks bowl on featherbed wickets only seeds up retirement. I'd like to see Siddle out for Lee, Hussey out for Hauritz. Clark coming in at 10, Lee at 9 and Hauritz at 8 is worth 50 in its self.

  • POSTED BY nickythetoon on | August 12, 2009, 14:21 GMT

    As an England supporter it's interesting reading the opinion from the Aussie perspective.I can't believe the idea of dropping Clark is an option the Aussie selectors are seriously considering,that would suggest what happened at headingley was a mere coincidence. Ok,England were too bad to be in all depts over the two and half days but that was all to do with the first session and Clark's contribution allowing the other 3 to bowl to their own strengths,all 4 bowling as a reliable unit and even bringing Johnson back to form. Personally I hope they do leave him out as it would certainly help England's cause. Mind you he could be left out,play with 10 men and the aussies would still win if we persist with the deadly duo of Bopara and Bell.

  • POSTED BY del_ on | August 12, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    It amazes me that the average punter can see the obvious, but the selectors (Hilditch specifically) make such uneducated statements about their selections. I understand they see more of these guys and where they're at in training/fitness, but when it comes down to it, it's about performances on the field and blind (bad knee) Freddie can see what Clark brought to the team. It's not all about wickets, but balance and control - two things that Clark provides. Without him there and his first spell, I have no doubt we wouldn't have won the last test the way we did, if at all. It took the pressure off Hilfenhaus to carry us, allowed Siddle to be menacing and Johnson to go all out attack. You drop Clark and you open the door for the English. How about finally dropping the underporming Hussey and trust our batsmen to make runs on a flat wicket (Johnson and Clark prop up the tail anyway) and add Hauritz as an extra bowler to help us take 20 wickets on a flat track?

  • POSTED BY elsieb66 on | August 12, 2009, 10:29 GMT

    It's absolutely unbelievable that they are talking of dropping Clark. If we had a Warne, then we could take a spinner to the Oval. But we don't. Leave Hauritz out. We don't need him. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  • POSTED BY Cricket_amit on | August 12, 2009, 10:29 GMT

    Stuart Clark should play at Oval, he has provided the sharpness in bowling attack of kangaroos. Tight line imposed so much pressure on English batting, their middle order looks weak in absence of KP and Bopara failing again. If Australians performs as they did in Leeds, Ashes trophy is waiting for them.

  • POSTED BY tegigis on | August 12, 2009, 9:12 GMT

    God I can't believe the selectors are thinking of dropping clarke again... It's laughable, they're a circus act.

    What's more is why Phil Jaques has been left out of any selection discussion. Why Shane (Ouch my back, hamstring, calf, ankle, knee, neck, heart) Watson got the job ahead of him is crazy, not even taking a back up opener, is ridiculous and Cox's claim that they consider Watson, Hussey and Haddin as back up openers also goes to show how much of a circus the whole selection team really is...

  • POSTED BY JulesUK on | August 12, 2009, 9:08 GMT

    Amazing how one good win brings the ex-Aussies players out with all the "we are invincible" chat!

    The problem is, this Aussie team's current confidence is built on shaky foundations, unlike when Dizzy played.

    England will not be as bad again as they were at Headingly - whoever plays - and if they can put a bit of pressure on the Aussies will feel it. Look how their bowling went a bit awry at the end of the Leeds test. This was just two lower order batters having a go, in a situation where Australia were guaranteed to win.

    The Aussies have a young team that has so far not won a great deal, which will test them. Conversely the older guys that were here in 05 will not want the "double Ashes losers" tag which is of course unheard of for a Aussie cricketer over the past couple of decades. Plus they have the "stick or bust?" conundrum where a draw would retain the Ashes, whereas England just need to win.

    It's far from a forgone conclusion Dizzy!

  • POSTED BY CharonTFm on | August 12, 2009, 8:07 GMT

    Australia should rejoice that they actually have a headache selecting the best team. We have a great contingent of fast bowlers, and now that Hauritz have stepped up into the No 1 Spinner role, then we should go with the team that will win us matches. So far I believe having 4 Quicks is a much better position for Australia to go in winning. First 2 days, the quicks should have plenty of opportunity to get on the batters nevers, which leaves the 3-part timers to do their jobs on the last few days. Between the 3 of them I'm sure they'll be able to bowl over 20 overs each day.

  • POSTED BY SpinMeOut on | August 12, 2009, 6:30 GMT

    To fairdinkum, dropping Clark for Hauritz effectively means Australia goes in to the match with 3 pacemen, 1 spinner, & 3 part-time spinners. England go into the match with 4 (maybe 5) quicks, and 1 unsuccessul spinner (Swann). Over the last 5 or 6 years, England quicks have averaged less than 30 runs per wicket at the Oval, their spinners over 60. England have to win this match. A draw is not good enough. In 2005 Warne took 12 wickets at The Oval and the game was still a draw, so if the curator is to help England, he's certainly NOT going to prepare a spinners wicket. Last time England tried to spin Australia out was Cardiff ... hmm, that plan didn't work too well did it. If Australia leave Hauritz out and go in with 4 quicks, 3 part-time spinners, only then does Australia have all bases covered.

  • POSTED BY Rusty_1 on | August 12, 2009, 5:36 GMT

    I, along with every other person I spoke with - even English supporters, was stunned Clark was left out of the first three tests. I rejoiced at his recall & tight bowling display. I am now dismayed (as it appears everyone else is) that they are even considering dropping him. It appears that the only thing to suffer during the warne/mcgrath era was our selectors, who now need to work to earn a living and are being found out. I can only pray that this is a bit of subtle media by-play, hoping that the English prepare a seam friendly pitch to suit their bowlers cause they think we are thinking it will offer turn??

  • POSTED BY Graduated_Cheetah on | August 12, 2009, 4:49 GMT

    What is wrong with Aussie Selectors? Why do they keep talking about dropping Stuart Clark after every match?

    Australia should go unchanged in the final game. These 11 names will bring nightmares to the England players. Leaving Clark behind would be the biggest mistake and would definitely bring some smile back on England players.

  • POSTED BY fairdinkum on | August 12, 2009, 2:48 GMT

    I agree with your sentiments but now that the pace duo of Johnson and Siddle have found better form, surely Clark will make way for Hauritz if the pitch will take any spin at all. Then Watson can be a back up. All bases covered and the curator at the Oval won't know what to do to give England the advantage.

  • POSTED BY Andy_P on | August 12, 2009, 1:44 GMT

    Why not drop Hussey and bring in Hauritz? Aside from Huss, we have a firing top order and we have some depth with Clark and Johnson who can contribute with the bat. This talk from Hilditch about Clark being expendable show's how little he understands our success during the McGrath/Warne era. When have his chosen three ever applied good pressure and cut through Englands top/middle order, as Clark did in the 4th Test. The comments from Hilditch smack of completely blind faith, rather than sensible team construction. To conclude that Clark does not rate over the other three is ridiculous. Siddles five-fer in the 1st innings were all tail-enders, as was his sole wicket in the 2nd. It's not about how many wickets they took, but who they were and how they got them. If they won't drop Hussey, then Clark should be selected over Siddle.

  • POSTED BY SpinMeOut on | August 12, 2009, 1:26 GMT

    After 3 frustrating tests with the Australian bowlers battling to take 20 wickets we finally play Stuart Clark and surprise surprise, we have taken 20 wickets inside 3 days of cricket. Stuart Clark brings the much needed balance (& height) to the Aussie bowling attack and his worth is much more than his 3 wickets he took. Clark's match statistics are now 23 matches, 18wins, 4draws, 1loss. In the 11 games Australia have played without him, they have lost 6 and won only 3. Yet the selectors will consider dropping him for the 5th test to bring in Hauritz.

  • POSTED BY BiSONN on | August 12, 2009, 0:39 GMT

    I don't think Hauritz should play. Australia should go in unchanged. The combination bowled so well that Australia wouldn't even have had time to bowl Hauritz, besides in the second innings towards the end, even if they had picked him. The way these four bowled together was fantastic. Dropping Clark, if they go that route, would be a big mistake in my opinion. He gives the stability this young Australian attack needs in such a high pressure game. Johnson was absolutely stunning, no doubt, but what if he starts off with a few bad overs at The Oval? Knowing Clark isn't there, there will definitely be added pressure on him to get it right quick, and I don't think that's what he, or Australia, needs right now.

  • POSTED BY SpiritoCricket on | August 12, 2009, 0:17 GMT

    Hilditch is talking about dropping Clark again!!!! So it is alright in his opinion to leak runs and not be able to sustain pressure? If the Oval is a paradise leave out a batsman- Watson and bowl 5 bowlers. Hussey can open the batting ( he as done it for WA) and as the only reason that Watson gets selected is due to his 'promise' he can wait until the ODI to get injured again.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY SpiritoCricket on | August 12, 2009, 0:17 GMT

    Hilditch is talking about dropping Clark again!!!! So it is alright in his opinion to leak runs and not be able to sustain pressure? If the Oval is a paradise leave out a batsman- Watson and bowl 5 bowlers. Hussey can open the batting ( he as done it for WA) and as the only reason that Watson gets selected is due to his 'promise' he can wait until the ODI to get injured again.

  • POSTED BY BiSONN on | August 12, 2009, 0:39 GMT

    I don't think Hauritz should play. Australia should go in unchanged. The combination bowled so well that Australia wouldn't even have had time to bowl Hauritz, besides in the second innings towards the end, even if they had picked him. The way these four bowled together was fantastic. Dropping Clark, if they go that route, would be a big mistake in my opinion. He gives the stability this young Australian attack needs in such a high pressure game. Johnson was absolutely stunning, no doubt, but what if he starts off with a few bad overs at The Oval? Knowing Clark isn't there, there will definitely be added pressure on him to get it right quick, and I don't think that's what he, or Australia, needs right now.

  • POSTED BY SpinMeOut on | August 12, 2009, 1:26 GMT

    After 3 frustrating tests with the Australian bowlers battling to take 20 wickets we finally play Stuart Clark and surprise surprise, we have taken 20 wickets inside 3 days of cricket. Stuart Clark brings the much needed balance (& height) to the Aussie bowling attack and his worth is much more than his 3 wickets he took. Clark's match statistics are now 23 matches, 18wins, 4draws, 1loss. In the 11 games Australia have played without him, they have lost 6 and won only 3. Yet the selectors will consider dropping him for the 5th test to bring in Hauritz.

  • POSTED BY Andy_P on | August 12, 2009, 1:44 GMT

    Why not drop Hussey and bring in Hauritz? Aside from Huss, we have a firing top order and we have some depth with Clark and Johnson who can contribute with the bat. This talk from Hilditch about Clark being expendable show's how little he understands our success during the McGrath/Warne era. When have his chosen three ever applied good pressure and cut through Englands top/middle order, as Clark did in the 4th Test. The comments from Hilditch smack of completely blind faith, rather than sensible team construction. To conclude that Clark does not rate over the other three is ridiculous. Siddles five-fer in the 1st innings were all tail-enders, as was his sole wicket in the 2nd. It's not about how many wickets they took, but who they were and how they got them. If they won't drop Hussey, then Clark should be selected over Siddle.

  • POSTED BY fairdinkum on | August 12, 2009, 2:48 GMT

    I agree with your sentiments but now that the pace duo of Johnson and Siddle have found better form, surely Clark will make way for Hauritz if the pitch will take any spin at all. Then Watson can be a back up. All bases covered and the curator at the Oval won't know what to do to give England the advantage.

  • POSTED BY Graduated_Cheetah on | August 12, 2009, 4:49 GMT

    What is wrong with Aussie Selectors? Why do they keep talking about dropping Stuart Clark after every match?

    Australia should go unchanged in the final game. These 11 names will bring nightmares to the England players. Leaving Clark behind would be the biggest mistake and would definitely bring some smile back on England players.

  • POSTED BY Rusty_1 on | August 12, 2009, 5:36 GMT

    I, along with every other person I spoke with - even English supporters, was stunned Clark was left out of the first three tests. I rejoiced at his recall & tight bowling display. I am now dismayed (as it appears everyone else is) that they are even considering dropping him. It appears that the only thing to suffer during the warne/mcgrath era was our selectors, who now need to work to earn a living and are being found out. I can only pray that this is a bit of subtle media by-play, hoping that the English prepare a seam friendly pitch to suit their bowlers cause they think we are thinking it will offer turn??

  • POSTED BY SpinMeOut on | August 12, 2009, 6:30 GMT

    To fairdinkum, dropping Clark for Hauritz effectively means Australia goes in to the match with 3 pacemen, 1 spinner, & 3 part-time spinners. England go into the match with 4 (maybe 5) quicks, and 1 unsuccessul spinner (Swann). Over the last 5 or 6 years, England quicks have averaged less than 30 runs per wicket at the Oval, their spinners over 60. England have to win this match. A draw is not good enough. In 2005 Warne took 12 wickets at The Oval and the game was still a draw, so if the curator is to help England, he's certainly NOT going to prepare a spinners wicket. Last time England tried to spin Australia out was Cardiff ... hmm, that plan didn't work too well did it. If Australia leave Hauritz out and go in with 4 quicks, 3 part-time spinners, only then does Australia have all bases covered.

  • POSTED BY CharonTFm on | August 12, 2009, 8:07 GMT

    Australia should rejoice that they actually have a headache selecting the best team. We have a great contingent of fast bowlers, and now that Hauritz have stepped up into the No 1 Spinner role, then we should go with the team that will win us matches. So far I believe having 4 Quicks is a much better position for Australia to go in winning. First 2 days, the quicks should have plenty of opportunity to get on the batters nevers, which leaves the 3-part timers to do their jobs on the last few days. Between the 3 of them I'm sure they'll be able to bowl over 20 overs each day.

  • POSTED BY JulesUK on | August 12, 2009, 9:08 GMT

    Amazing how one good win brings the ex-Aussies players out with all the "we are invincible" chat!

    The problem is, this Aussie team's current confidence is built on shaky foundations, unlike when Dizzy played.

    England will not be as bad again as they were at Headingly - whoever plays - and if they can put a bit of pressure on the Aussies will feel it. Look how their bowling went a bit awry at the end of the Leeds test. This was just two lower order batters having a go, in a situation where Australia were guaranteed to win.

    The Aussies have a young team that has so far not won a great deal, which will test them. Conversely the older guys that were here in 05 will not want the "double Ashes losers" tag which is of course unheard of for a Aussie cricketer over the past couple of decades. Plus they have the "stick or bust?" conundrum where a draw would retain the Ashes, whereas England just need to win.

    It's far from a forgone conclusion Dizzy!