Peter Roebuck
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Former captain of Somerset; author of It Never Rains, Sometimes I Forgot to Laugh and other books

The voice of New England

The MCG result tells us things about the visitors and the hosts both: one young and ambitious, the other inept and fretful

Peter Roebuck

December 30, 2010

Comments: 40 | Text size: A | A

Chris Tremlett claimed his first Test five-wicket haul, Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day, December 18, 2010
Tremlett: from tentative outsider to strong-minded insider © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Tim Bresnan | Chris Tremlett
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Australia
Teams: England

England's comprehensive victory in Melbourne meant that the Ashes had been retained. It is an outstanding achievement. It's one thing to win the urn on home soil, another to venture overseas and protect it.

Andrew Strauss's side has accomplished a historically difficult feat, and with a game to spare. Unsated, in the way of true champions, they seek to inflict a heavy series defeat of the sort Australia seldom suffer, and even the West Indians have avoided in these years of decline and difficulty. That is the stuff of ambition.

Although the visitors will not agree, the match itself was a letdown, largely because the issue was settled on the opening day, and perhaps even before tea had been taken. It ended before lunch on the fourth day and with supporters still trying to get into the ground. Australian journalists regretting the loss of the three-day Test match of previous years - reporters appreciate a free day as much as the next man - found that it had most unexpectedly been revived in another guise. Truly the boot was on the other foot.

It is curious that three of the Tests have been one-sided and the fourth became a batting bonanza. Spectators yearn for a tight contest at the SCG, with the teams going toe to toe and ending up neck and neck. (Assuming, that is, readers can manage the mixed images!) Although it has been fun watching a visiting team so efficient that at times it has resembled a slick rugby side, a close match provides the tension upon which sport depends. Many Australians who were bored by the easy victories of previous seasons now feel the balance has shifted too far in the other direction. Cricket counts amongst the most cut-and-dried of games.

So many points arise from the contest that it is hard to select a couple for consideration. That sport tells us something, though by no means all, about the state of a nation widens the debate. Indeed the recent and most laudable trend in cricket writing has been to take the game out into the world, where it belongs, and not to pretend that it exists in isolation. Of course that attaches a responsibility sport ought to welcome. That all 22 players appearing at the MCG were pale skins ought to perturb both participants.

Two facts emerged from the match with particular clarity. Australia cannot quite so easily be put into a cosy package and labelled arrogant or condescending or any of the other epithets commonly applied by the occasional visitor moving in a small circle for a short period and nevertheless prepared to pass judgement. Certainly, like the fauna, local newspapers can be a trifle colourful and loud, but it is silly to assume that the entire nation treads that path.

Englishmen were startled to find upon arrival a few weeks ago that hardly any locals expected their own team to win the series. Had they tarried a while longer and listened a little closer they'd have discovered that not many Australian even like their side. If anything, that view goes too far. The players have their faults but they hardly wear horns. Just that none of the moderns has quite captured the public imagination in the way of folk heroes like Doug Walters or naughty champions such as Shane Warne. Visitors don't observe these things because they do not fit the stereotype.

Australians support their team from patriotism not nationalism. Admittedly punters were willing to back the hosts but cricketing folk were pessimistic. Having cast the Aussies as unrepentant loudmouths, these observers were taken aback. Had they not been informed on previous trips that they were doomed? Had not these remarks been only partly humorous? Where was the cocky Australian?

In fact all the assessments were realistic. And all proved correct. Perhaps the truth is that Australians don't stand on ceremony and have a keen understanding of sport. Of course they like to win and wear their desire on their sleeve. As far as can be told, though, they have not resorted to pitch- or ball-tampering to do so. Despite its image, too, Australia comes closer than most countries to attaining the noble goals of the French Revolution.

 
 
The sight of an England team dancing a jig in front of thousands of travelling supporters, none of them inclined to take themselves too seriously, was encouraging
 
England's victory has also offered insights into the state of that nation, all of them positive. The sight of an England team dancing a jig in front of thousands of travelling supporters, none of them inclined to take themselves too seriously, was encouraging. In much the same way one of the pace bowlers had posed for the front cover of a magazine considered in some quarters to be vulgar and dubious, and another has taken to sending entertaining tweets and making lively videos.

Previous England teams have tripped the light fantastic but none of recent memory has been remotely as relaxed and yet single-minded as this outfit. A supposedly uptight nation has produced a splendidly outgoing team. Starched shirts have been sent packing, and so have the wild ones. Meanwhile their opponents are surrounded by spin doctors anxious to massage the message and conceal all warts.

The second point to crop up from the MCG was that England's back-up players are not only superior to their opponents but also more mature and confident. Whereas the local replacements floundered, Chris Tremlett took the ball in Perth and promptly emerged as a match-winner. Tall, muscular and persistent, he worried every batsman and deserved his wickets. Adjusting his length he bowled just as well in Melbourne but wickets somehow eluded him. It's not so long ago that Tremlett was regarded as a softy. No less an authority than Shane Warne, once his county captain, tried to goad him into action, to little affect. Somewhere along the way the current team management has been able to transfer him from tentative outsider to strong-minded insider. Presumably the metaphorical carrot and stick were employed. Tremlett embraced both his talent and opportunity.

Much the same can be said about Tim Bresnan. He looks like a Yorkshireman - somewhere between a lump of coal and a porkpie - and he also plays cricket like one. So much of the best of England can be found in its south-west and north-east corners. Honest and skilful, Bresnan landed his fast-mediums on the spot, worried every batsman and kept going throughout a long and probing spell. Jonathan Trott's carefully constructed hundred alone denied the speedster recognition as man of the match.

By all accounts Bresnan is as likeable as he is capable - he was certainly popular during his stint in Sydney club cricket - and he too grabbed his chance with both hands. No hint of fear or doubt could be detected in his work. Plain as day the team's think tank has fostered belief in the rooms. Plain as day, too, a role has been assigned to every player. Bresnan was not asked to take on all Australia, merely to play a part within his capacity, one he had practised a thousand times before.

Contrastingly the Australians seemed to be living on a wing and a prayer. It has been a super reversal, engineered by astute leaders, executed by gifted players, carried out by a disciplined outfit. It has, too, been an expression of New England, with its classless babble. Suddenly Australia looks inept and fretful. It will last as long as England stays young and ambitious and dares to look forwards, and as long as Australian cricket dithers.

My guess is that Australia will take an entirely young side to England in 2013 and that the result will be much harder to predict than might currently appear likely. After all Australia is a modern, intelligent and literate country that celebrates sport and loves winning. The current hullabaloo might seem harsh but it is a necessary part of the restoration.

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It

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Posted by Percy_Fender on (January 2, 2011, 5:30 GMT)

England have not lost a series under Strauss. The closest they came to doing so was in South Africa in 2009 when in two tests they hung on by the skin of their Onions.That was pure Strauss luck.Much the same has gone on in the Ashes and will probably go on for some time.So the latest sprinkler dance will not be a source of amusement for watchers just as yet. They would think that this is indeed the champion stuff that they have been waiting for which these Englishmen are churning out.But whatever, it is nice to read that even the sedate stars like Tremlett are joining this new breed of uninhibited personalities from Ole Blighty.To the many who have seen him, Chris Tremlett comes across as a breath of bresh air at a time when international cricket has ceased to be the gentleman sport cricket was meant to be.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2011, 2:30 GMT)

Being a pom living in Melbourne its been amazing to see the team play as well as they have. I think theres more to come from this Engalnd side over the next 5 years. they are all of a good age to be maturing into fine cricketers. Looking at the Australian team does puzzle me alittle.I feel there's a sense that they still believe that they are the best. The one main problem they have is with there dominance over the last 15 years, that the second tier players that would have made up the australian A side are all of the retirement age. There was a time a few years back that australia wanted to play their A side against the lower ranked sides. How times have changed. I think that the young talent is thin on the ground at the moment here in Australia. Once they give the younger guns a go it takes time for them to horn their skills. With Australians winning ways there could be more downs then ups for awhile to come.And really is Ponting the guy to take them forward?

Posted by   on (January 2, 2011, 1:13 GMT)

The dramatically different results in Perth and Melbourne makes one wonder if the Perth result was to get the crowds to Melbourne. Was the who think a set-up? Perhaps one should check with EasyBet???

Posted by   on (January 1, 2011, 3:25 GMT)

India will remain no.1 for 1 or 2 years, but after the Big Three retire, things won't be easy for India. So I expect England or South Africa to take over from then.England have the most balanced bowling attack in the world, but I would rate SA's batting as more formidable.

Posted by LFC_Y.N.W.A. on (January 1, 2011, 2:12 GMT)

Almost every single Indian fan on here is biased. Not one of you can give credit where it is due. India this, Sachin that. Get over yourselves, you're not that good and you have perhaps the shittest bowling attack in test cricket.

India does not have a "god-given" right to be number one. The sooner you get that into your head the better.

Posted by titansnights on (December 31, 2010, 20:40 GMT)

India will be no.1 team for atleast 3 more yrs...thats when the legendary Sachin, Awesome Dravid and Special Laxman will give a hint of retirement....plz stop dreaming my English friends and hail India, for the sake of cricket...

Posted by mamahajan89 on (December 31, 2010, 14:45 GMT)

i love the way you end it mr. roebuck....on a positive note.... i feel luck has not been goin aussie way....that was bound to happen after ruling world cricket for 11 years. i have no doubts watsoever that the kangaroo-emu which are not known to take a step back will make a big move forward with young blood and result would be again complete dominance of england......

Posted by Morpheus273 on (December 31, 2010, 9:21 GMT)

Give me a break. ENG #1 team. Can't stop laughing. Poms only because you beat a declining Aussie side you think you are the #1 side. Pommies, dont forget your big daddy INDIA are the proclaimed and the real #1 team. They have been playing exceptionally well for last 2 years. And their recent performance in SA is a proof of that. So stop dreaming. The player performaces and wins against the Aussies were purely out of the ASHES adrenaline. Much like the fizz in the soda bottle. Wait for the next series and you will be back to your old ways. And for one Darren, no body gave a damn about you as a player when you were playing and certainly no body does now when you say that "Poms can beat India every day of the week". Ex-Poms have this habbit of gaining mileage out of the scarse Pom's wins. He must have thought, by saying this he himself would feel the pleasure of beating Aussies in ASHES, which during his playing days he could not experience. He was a waste bowler you got smacked around.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 8:47 GMT)

feeling bad 4 aussies but ALL STAR 11(england) was better than them

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 6:31 GMT)

The English Media is a Big Mouth and so are there supporters. The reason for their elation and happiness is obvious.After so many years of thrashing from the Australians, they have earned a rare feat. However, it is ridiculous of former English players like Darren Gough to report that "England can beat India every day of the week outside India." Firstly, currently India is not playing England currnently.Secondly, if England cannot beat India in India,then obviously he means England can beat India everday of the week in England which even India can do to England in India.In my opinion , Indian's batting is far more superior than the English team and bowling is as Good as them,if not better. I firmly believe , England will lose the forthcoming series of 2011 with India to be played in England just like they did in 2007 series. But till it happens Darren Gough and others will have to wait.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 2:27 GMT)

People, especially English fans, should not bother much about Darren Gough's statements. He thinks England is no.1 in all 3 formats (all 3? in ODIs England are a good side but nowhere near being no.1) and about being able to India "every day of the week:". Now that is just crap. He should instead just concentrate on praising the English bowlers for their sterling efforts.They are anyday better than Gough,Caddick etc. And Strauss and Flower are sensible people.They have their feet firmly on the ground and know that England have a long way to go to reach the top.

Posted by SA_Scot on (December 31, 2010, 2:12 GMT)

Hey there Sir Freddie Flintoff Whereas I dont think SA, for instance, are far better than "England", I'd still say they are the better team, or certainly it looks like they will be soon enough.

When they play England in the UK in 2012, you'll see. They'll hopefully employ Imran Tahir by then, and with Wayne Parnell, Steyn and Morkel, England wont win. They lost to a weaker SA team in 2008 in England don't forget. So, If SA harvest what has traditionally been a benefit England have reaped, and employ someone who learnt their cricket elsewhere...they will have the best balanced and most attacking bowling lineup the cricket world has seen since the Aussies in their pomp. And the SA batting lineup is definitely more potent than England. No doubt.

Posted by MrIndianCricket on (December 31, 2010, 1:33 GMT)

@Biggus & @dyogesh - Indian cricket experimented with Greg - it didn't work out and I'd keep it at that and nothing more. And I think it's little unfair to generalize Indians by some posts. More so a lot of these erstwhile cricketers have a tendency to go overboard - especially Chappells and Sanjay Manjrekar. It's not just about Tendulkar but about Duminy, India's inability to win in SA, Punter's masterclass in 2010 Ashes .... To me it sounds more of personal hope than any analysis. Just for a counterview - I prefer Tony Grieg, Geoffery Boycott and Harsh Bhogle any day.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 1:19 GMT)

You can see a common theme: virtually everyone hates the side. Perhaps a few players deserve their spots - Shane Watson and Michael Hussey at least - and there are few that would deny a fit Ryan Harris or Doug Bollinger - comfortably the two best bowlers in Australia. What is odd, of course, is that Harris and Bollinger didn't play in the first test, supposedly due to injury, yet both had played happily in Sheffield Shield matches beforehand, and even Bollinger was dumped, not due to form or injury, but due to what amounts to a hunch. The big problem is the others. We have persisted with out of form, and in the case of Marcus North, inappropriate selections. In spite of Victoria's dominance, we have ignored their causes - none of their dominant batsmen nor any of their dominant bowlers, only choosing a fringe Victorian player in Peter Siddle! And we wonder why we lose? There are different opinions about what the team should be but we are in no doubt that this isn't it.

Posted by 5wombats on (December 31, 2010, 0:33 GMT)

What are some of you indian guys on!!!? This is a conversation about THE ASHES - you know - AUSTRALIA V ENGLAND. What has any of what Roebuck says got to do with you? NOTHING. Is that (terrible...) name Chappell mentioned? NO. For petes sake - some of you indians - give it a rest about Chappell. It's HISTORY - LET IT GO!..... And just to give you another target to aim at - I don't know one single England or Australian fan who gives a flying fig about about Indian cricketing issues or goes looking and posting on the SA v IND conversations. Why don't you go there and work out your issues with people who might be interested. When England play Australia I'm NOT INTERESTED in what Indians say about Tendulkar - it's IRRELEVENT. Go somewhere and tell someone who cares.

Posted by dyogesh on (December 31, 2010, 0:33 GMT)

@Biggus, Accusations chappell wanted to ruin the team were too cheap potshots that there is no point in even discussing them. Perhaps, thats why many opponents of thoe crass theories have been absent when such comments are bandied about in comments section. Cheers mate. Don't wish to push this topic further on this forum.

Ind, SA & Eng are the near future competitors. The boxing day tests and Ind v Eng will tell if there is a clear leader or none. In the near future (1 or 2 years), i still favour India but in the longer term (4-5 years), i favour England. Their core players are younger than India. Saffers batting will do alright without Kallis but they'll miss a potent bowler between Steyn-Morkel spells unless Tahir weaves some magic. And i guess none of them can be a champion team as i don't think any of them have the bowlers to dominate all over the world. I can't wait for the boxing day tests to start. And hoping for both the visitors to win them !

Posted by Semoli on (December 30, 2010, 22:21 GMT)

@dyogesh I second what you say. I am tired of this. People are irrational.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (December 30, 2010, 21:41 GMT)

one thing is for sure, cricket is fantastic right now, sri lanka, india, south africa and england are all very closely matched while even after this series I would never write the aussies off, I maintain they have some brilliant players. Even bangladesh, new zealand and the west indies are capable of beating anyone on their day, while pakistan, once they have ironed out their problems, will surely return to challenge the top of the pile. Also love the comment about the south-west and north-east of the england. You may not be entirely popular in Somerset Peter but thanks, the south-west appreciates that.

Posted by Chapelau on (December 30, 2010, 21:16 GMT)

@verleus - not sure what sport you are referring to but Englands bowling attack is way better than India - Zaheer the only credible bowler now. SA have two top class pace bowlers and then nowt else. England has the best all round bowliing attack - AND strength in depth... if Zak or Steyn are injured opposition batsmen lick their lips - not so if Broad or Finn need to be replaced!

Posted by UriGagarin on (December 30, 2010, 20:15 GMT)

Its interesting to see plenty of comments saying that being No1 is going to be tough for England. True - but at the moment England are only a couple of points behind SA and less than 10 from India (as it stands now). The top 4 teams are pretty close at the moment , unlike a few years ago when Aus had 30 + point gap over the 2nd place . Its going to be an interesting couple of years of Test cricket. Bring it on. Andy Flower an Strauss seem intent on keeping the foot on the accelerator and not letting things get out of hand like in 2005. *aside* although to be fair, there was a massive dip in the team due to injury. The Winning Ashes team of 2005 never played together again, so we'll never know how it really would have played out if that team had been kept mostly together for a couple more series. Certainly better than the rabble of 2006/7

Posted by Biggus on (December 30, 2010, 19:34 GMT)

@dyogesh-I have no issue with your comment my friend. I do stand by my assertion that "a great many Indian fans feel compelled to pursue their Chappell bashing with a vengeance" as every time his name is mentioned a substantial portion of the Indian fans (on this site) seem to do precisely that. Greg Chappell was always a somewhat difficult man but he knows the game. He undoubtedly wasn't the best man to coach India but I suspect that was more to do with cultural differences than any attempt to 'ruin' the team, as some of the more conspiracy minded Indian fans have suggested. And who knows, perhaps Chappelli's suggestions that he might consider retirement may have been the very spur that led Tendulkar to 'up his game' and go on to bigger and better things. Like Sydney 2008, Chappell's tenure as Indian coach is some time in the past now and yet hardly a day goes by without some guy raking over the coals. Your's is the only balanced post I've seen to date on the subject.

Posted by sonjjay on (December 30, 2010, 19:08 GMT)

@Biggus I totally agree with you mate.As an Indian even I am tired of my country men still raking up the old issue of Syndey test, Greg Chapel era and bashing all things Ponting.Some of them need to learn to let things go.Anyways this is about the english team and it makes it all the more silly to discuss this here.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2010, 18:24 GMT)

@ Verleus- Sri Lanka struggled against Windies at home. If not for rain we could have witnessed an upset. I don't think SL are the same without Murali and Jayasuriya. So SL as a Test side cannot be compared to India,England or South Africa.As an ODI side they are far better though and one of the WC favourites.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2010, 18:19 GMT)

I like the new positive,confident and clinical brand of cricket by England's team of the last one year or so; in Test as well as ODI and T20. Earlier I felt England used to concentrate only on Ashes , and in the ODIs they never made use of the PowerPlays.Under skipper Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower as coach they are a changed outfit and have got good , solid batting (with X factor of Pietersen) and a parsimonious and penetrative seam bowling attack led by Anderson.England since 2009 are not a boring side anymore .I was not so enthusiastic about watching English cricket earlier (except for '05 Ashes) but since the last one year or so I have become a fan of England.

Posted by dyogesh on (December 30, 2010, 18:03 GMT)

@Biggus, A little more thought will tell you that it is not correct to generalise Indian opinions based on numbers and surely not just on what is written on comments section. What comments do reflect is that there are people holding such viewpoints but not necessarily the majority. And the moment I see some Greg-bashing or Sydney 2008 discussion, i close the comments section. I know where they lead to. Thought this one time i'll reply.

And to clarify, I totally agree on vendetta of SOME people against Greg. I don't think he was a good coach but blaming all the ills on the team is ridiculous. During his time India did win 15 matches chasing, test series win in WI, first test win. If you take Chappelli's view of coaches, then you don't blame him at all for anything. If you take modern day view of coaches, then he needs to be given some credit too. My view is that he wasn't a good coach for that particular team and the mistake lies with both. There are many who would concur with me.

Posted by AJ_Tiger86 on (December 30, 2010, 17:49 GMT)

England are by far and away the no. 1 team in the world in all three formats of the game right now. I find it amusing that some people are suggesting South Africa are much better than England, when only 12 months ago England drew the test series 1-1 IN South Africa, while winning the ODI and T20 series comfortably.

Posted by cyniket on (December 30, 2010, 17:47 GMT)

all this talk about the no.1 side is so tedious. There is no clear no.1 side at the moment. Australia have had a bad series here, but their recent record against the "top 2" sides is pretty even. Verleus, I really don't see england quaking in their boots about the bowlers you mentioned, they're nothing special and england came through much sterner examinations this and last winter.

Posted by nag42408 on (December 30, 2010, 17:02 GMT)

if this england team comes and win a test match in India i will aspect them has world no 1. I am not even asking them to win a series in India.Talking about Ashes they retaind Ashes not yet won the series.Pls inform it Gough about it who is giving interview to english press the england is no 1 side in the world.

Posted by Verleus on (December 30, 2010, 16:04 GMT)

I think this victory against a sub standard Australia is being over hyped by the English,even talks about England being a possible No1 are going around..But really- England..!No 1!.Gimme a break!..Lets see if they can even get through at home against a good bowling attack like Sri Lanka...Some good bowling from Johnson in the 2nd test and they fell like a pack of cards...What'll they do when they face Malinga and Co.?And then the wizard Zaheer when India tour there..!Really,neither English bowling nor batting is comparable to that of India or SAF.Even Sri Lanka are better.And Graeme Swann-the best spinner in the world...??!!Lets see how he fares against the Indian team in July....people who can actually play against spin...As for ponting,sad to see him go after one series failure...what would have happened if we had removed Tendulkar in '05-'06..??Its unfair,and the poms deserve some payback,and they gonna get it from India and Sri Lanka this summer..!!

Posted by Biggus on (December 30, 2010, 15:50 GMT)

@MrIndianCricket-Had I not heard this sentiment from innumerable Indian fans countless times I would not have taken issue with it. Sure, we value free speech but when it takes the form of an endless vendetta it is merely tiresome and redundant. You guys really know how to hold a grudge. If you think that's a good quality so be it. If you feel that Greg Chappell's influence on the Indian team was negative then you should feel happy that you are rid of him, yet a great many Indian fans feel compelled to pursue their Chappell bashing with a vengeance. Why do they do this? Perhaps from a heartfelt concern for the Australian team? I think not. The reason can only be that he has offended your tender sensibilities and you will not rest until you feel you have paid him back by somehow 'damaging' his reputation. How childish! This is not a mindset that I would choose to adopt, but if you feel it's an admirable stance I wouldn't wish to stand in your way.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2010, 15:31 GMT)

Agree with CricketFan1980 re making too much of the successes so far. The failure in the Third Test match remains a big question mark against England. For years they have followed success with failure and there is no proof so far that they are reversing this tendency. My gut feeling is that it comes from a paralysing combination of a) instant complacency and b) more important, inability to carry the responsibility of winning - namely, oh no, now we've got to do it again and again and again, it's all too much... The fine quality they have developed - particularly in the last couple of years I think - is coming back from the defeats which, effectively, they crave and collectively inflict on themselves (as per Third Test mentality: "But how can we lose against this lot? Ah, bat terribly, that's always worked in the past"). So winning or even just not losing the Fifth Test seems crucial to this team fulfilling their potential - whether or not that means becoming World Number 1 Test team.

Posted by MrIndianCricket on (December 30, 2010, 15:04 GMT)

@Biggus - Greg Chappell pushed Indian Cricket back by a couple of years - so I understand @amit1807's sentiments - though in sledging terms. But it's interesting to see you comment on "free and honest" speech and still deride views on what Indians do with their cricketers. As it stands today - both Chappell brothers were wrong about Indian cricket and cricketers.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2010, 14:08 GMT)

It is great to see England dominate Australia so consistently, though the 2005 and 2009 Ashes were more pleasurable in terms of absorbing cricket played by both teams. I have never seen an English side play this clinically over the last few years.I am sure India vs England in England next year is going to be a gripping series. The best thing to have happened to cricket is that of Australia's decline as you now have India,South Africa and England fighting for world dominance.England has also improved in the ODI format unlike in the past and is a contender for the World Cup.But England must keep winning consistently if they are to become the world's best team and should not become like Michael Vaughan's men after 2005 Ashes whot thereby went into decline with loss of form and injuries.And yes England needs to do well in India and Sri Lanka :D

Posted by Biggus on (December 30, 2010, 14:03 GMT)

@amit1807kuwait-Why not just give the Greg Chappell bashing a miss mate. He's our's and we'll deal with him as we see fit. It may be Indian tradition to treat your cricketers as deities and not utter anything that may offend them but in Australia we value free and honest speech, even if it may sometimes offend, as long as it is offered in a constructive way.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2010, 13:35 GMT)

Actually I expected some tight contests but this series has provided none except johnsons 6 wicket howl on perth where he changed the course of the game ... hope SCG provides a nail biter .... one thing I have noticed is India's Dust bowls are better than Aus bouncy and SA's fast wickets as there is some entertainment all 5 days (unless its a draw) and toss dosent play a vital role

Posted by amit1807kuwait on (December 30, 2010, 13:31 GMT)

Whilst everything currently points to a bullish trend about this English team and a downward slide for the Aussies, I'm sure if the Aussies get rid of Greg Chappell and appoint someone more worthy as their chief selector (and in my opinion even a sweeper on the street could be more worthy), they would be able to unearth and bring forth more talented players.

Posted by CricketFan1980 on (December 30, 2010, 13:13 GMT)

I think too much has been made with one test match still to go. If England loses the Sydney test match, it will only extend Australia's undefeated run at home (spoiled only by South Africa recently). India have retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy against a full strength Australia in 2003/04 after a very long time and that was a monumental effort. It is a great effort from England and if for one moment they think that their job is done, they might run the risk of drawing a series they must have won 4-0. If not the partisan English fans, I am sure Strauss and Flower must be mindful of that, if they target the no. 1 ranking in test cricket. All the very best to this talented bunch who still have some areas of improvement.

Posted by ulmo on (December 30, 2010, 13:12 GMT)

George I think they key word is in these days WI has done pretty well in 2009 and 2010. They havent white washed like they used to. I think he is talking about the present team.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2010, 9:28 GMT)

All great teams produce a steep decline - its physics 101 - What goes up has to come down...the fall is steeper because a generation misses out and good young players take longer to develop when 9 out of 11 spots are taken for 5-7 years - no vacancy for openers, No 3, Fast bowlers and a Mcgill with a fantastic strike rate sits out waiting for an injury to happen, , led by a flinty eyed captain with his twin providing the class... all ride into a glorious sunset sort of together, but the fading punch drunk team would take some time rebuilding

Posted by george204 on (December 30, 2010, 8:49 GMT)

"a heavy series defeat of the sort Australia seldom suffer, and even the West Indians have avoided in these years of decline and difficulty" eh? Are you forgetting that in the last decade, WI have been whitewashed by England, Australia, South Africa & Sri Lanka?

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Peter RoebuckClose
Peter Roebuck He may not have played Test cricket for England, but Peter Roebuck represented Somerset with distinction, making over 1000 runs nine times in 12 seasons, and captaining the county during a tempestuous period in the 1980s. Roebuck acquired recognition all over the cricket world for his distinctive, perceptive, independent writing. Widely travelled, he divided his time between Australia and South Africa. He died in November 2011

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2014 in review: Player strikes, defeats against fellow minnows, and mountains of debt for the board marked another grim year for Zimbabwe

    The first Boxing Day classic

Ashley Mallett: Nearly 150 years ago, the MCG saw the start of a much-loved tradition, with a match starring Aboriginal players

Could McCullum win the Nobel Peace Prize?

The Beige Brigade salivate over B Mac's incredible feats and sixes, and the deliciousness that is Hagley Park

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Watson's merry-go-round decade

In January 2005, Shane Watson made his Test debut. What does he have to show for a decade in the game?

Power to Smithy, trouble for Dhoni

Australia's new captain admirably turned things around for his side in Brisbane, leading in more departments than one

Why punish the West Indies players when the administration is to blame?

As ever, the West Indies board has taken the short-term view and removed supposedly troublesome players instead of recognising its own incompetence

Rudderless Shami proves too costly

Mohammed Shami bowls a few really good balls, but they are interspersed with far too many loose ones, an inconsistency that is unacceptable in Test cricket

Australia's 50-50 lifelines

Three Australia players made half-centuries on day one at the MCG; for each of them, the innings' meant different things

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