March 6, 2013

Time for Pup to unleash the mongrel

Come the English summer and the Ashes, Michael Clarke could do worse than look back to 1989 and get some of that Border-Waugh mojo working
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The trouble with cricketers these days, in the post-Waugh era, is that they've about as much sense of history as a mayfly with amnesia. I wonder. Take Matt Prior, who recently spoke of the England dressing room's desire to carve a chunky slice of it by chalking up four consecutive Ashes wins, a feat the national team last accomplished so long before the first chocolate cake was cut on Test Match Special, it predated the first radio.

Of course, for an Englishman to admit to even a twinge of a flicker of sympathy for Australia, especially right now, is to risk copping all manner of Twitterish abuse. Is there anything more insufferably patronising than a pitying Pom? I seriously doubt it. I'd be lying, nonetheless, if I denied deriving any delight from the way, however fruitlessly, Glen Maxwell melted India's middle order on Monday.

As any Pom or Cobber with the vaguest feel for the day before yesterday knows, one-sided Ashes victories are almost as insufferable as defeat. When the opposition aren't worthy of licking your boots, whither the satisfaction, that exquisite, ecstatic, sadistic joy of nose-in-the-air one-upmanship? That's why, for a generation of Australians, Pom-pitying became a pre-Ashes ritual. During the internet's early years, emails would ping over from Sydney and Melbourne with nauseating regularity, generously suggesting that this time, finally, my boys might conceivably bloody a few noses (although, naturally, there wasn't a cat's chance in hell they'd last the full 15 rounds).

The wheels grind quicker now. Bragging rights have changed hands three times since 2005; this hadn't happened in the same decade since the 1970s, and that was the first instance of such volatility since the 1930s. In fact, this is the first time in a generation that England - having won three of the last four rubbers, their best sequence since 1981-87 - have had cause to view the urn as a minor bauble. Back then, the all-together-now retirements of Dennis Lillee, Rod Marsh and Greg Chappell, aggravated by unapproved tours to South Africa, left Australia as the only regular rivals they didn't mind playing.

Sealing the deal was the Botham Factor - until 1989. That was the last time England entered a home Ashes series scenting three triumphs on the trot, the upshot a brutal non-contest that saw the lure of the rand re-infect English nostrils, though far greater blame for their worst home defeat by the oldest enemy since 1948 could be attached to the rise of the new macho army, spearheaded by Steve Waugh and Merv Hughes, conducted by the hitherto affable Allan Border. And boy, does March 2013 smell a lot like March 1989.

Back then, you needed x-ray eyes to find an English hack who wasn't utterly convinced that, for the first time since 1956, the urn would be claimed for the third time running. One national paper sacked its correspondent for such woeful non-prescience. Even yours truly, a confirmed non-gambler, lost £50.

That cockiness, felt the victors, extended to the players. "It was not so much the words themselves as the arrogance with which they were delivered that got us hot under the jockstraps," wrote Geoff Lawson a mite too graphically in his diary. "As well as steeling our resolve, I'm sure these statements put a lot of unnecessary pressure on the England players."

Micky Stewart, England's first official coach-cum-manager, said he first became aware of this ferocity of focus before the first ODI, at Lord's. "We had been practising at the Nursery End and were walking back to the pavilion, past where the Australians were practising. Allan Border was very pally with several of the England team: 'Both', David Gower, Allan Lamb and, from his time at Essex, Goochy. But as we approached, somebody heard him saying, 'Don't talk to them at all as they go by.'"

Border was the No. 1 antagonist. "Gone was the apologetic leader of 1985 who seemed to accept defeat as the natural course of events," attested Mark Ray. "He wanted the Australians to thrash every county team they met and to play as aggressively as possible against England. However, he knew that the best way to get his team to play like that was to do so himself." And so he did, on the very first day of the series, at Headingley, source of so many Australian scars. His frenetic, almost frantic, 66 off 118 balls was characterised by Martin Johnson as "a champagne thrash", even if, by contemporary standards, that does sound a tad flat-plonkish.

That 4-0 walloping was the first of eight series on the bounce to go Australia's way; does a complete role reversal beckon? True, England's Lions have just been resoundingly defanged Down Under, failing to win a single match, but those were all 50-over duels. Right now, probably for the first time since 1882 and definitely since 1977, the Ashes seem to be more of a priority for the Poms. The Big Bash League has inspired more vaulting, individualistic dreams. Only a sense of history can fuel a revival for the Ashes as an even match. Or so the prevailing wisdom goes.

This summer it could be very different. Australia's strongest suit by far is pace, a commodity as vital in the shires as anywhere else on Planet Cricket. This is no time, in other words, for England to trade one c-word for another. Confidence is fine and dandy, but when that overgrows, you can bank on the opposition playing the ace in complacency.

That was precisely the trap David Gower and his colleagues fell into in 1989. It is hard to see Alastair Cook and Co following suit in New Zealand, but they might be best advised to ignore the scores from Mohali and Delhi.

During the internet's early years, emails would ping over from Sydney and Melbourne with nauseating regularity, generously suggesting that this time, finally, my boys might conceivably bloody a few noses (although, naturally, there wasn't a cat's chance in hell they'd last the full 15 rounds)

Twenty-three summers ago, Border's brigade had a dozen fixtures before the main event kicked off; this time they have but two: scant time to make a statement, especially for players largely unversed in the conditions, not least since Somerset and Worcestershire are likely to field bags of second-stringers. The most pressing question, nevertheless, is not whether Michael Clarke and his men have time to score psychological points but whether they have a captain capable of emulating Border's growling lead.

Those who scoff at the aura of captaincy will point out that the Australian Academy had opened for business in 1987, and that Bobby Simpson's appointment as coach had instilled steel as well as an emphasis on fielding. For England, moreover, the winter of 1988-89 had been entirely Test-free - thanks to the cancellation of an India tour rendered profoundly un-PC by captain Graham Gooch's links with apartheid South Africa - whereas Australia had been hardened by a five-chapter odyssey against the marauding West Indies, whom they pressed far harder than England had the previous summer. More store could be set by that than the protagonists' latest form in India.

It would be a mistake, even so, to underestimate the power of a captain's example. Even more than Gower, Michael Vaughan is perhaps the closest tosser-in-chief England have possessed to Clarke, in style, cunning, philosophy and temperament. In 2005, Vaughan delivered his own statement of intent, informing Duncan Fletcher he wanted to go in first-drop, a more challenging role than No. 4. Still more telling were the tactics for the summer's early head-to-heads.

"Leave your ego in the dressing room." That was Michael Kasprowicz's rallying cry while playing for Glamorgan under Fletcher. Now England's coach felt entirely the opposite was required. The biggest bullies were targeted: Matt Hayden and Andrew Symonds. At Edgbaston, Simon Jones crossed the line between fair and foul - as Hayden had so often done with his lips - by collecting the ball in his follow-through and hurling it back. Less celebrated but equally pointed was Darren Gough's earlier dart at Symonds at the Rose Bowl - on a hat-trick, in a T20 international, he greeted him with a bouncer. Almost immediately, Jon Lewis dispatched him for a duck. Perversity thy name is strategy.

Clarke confirmed his own penchant for adventure when he declared on day one in Hyderabad. Not since Bradman has an Australian batsman towered as far above his team-mates as he does now. "He's what Aussies love more than anything else, a working-class boy made good," contends Jarrod Kimber, a converted Pup-ophile, in the terrific new Wisden quarterly, The Nightwatchman. "His problem was that Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting and Allan Border seemed to have no aspiration. They are still seen as battlers made good. Hard men who are heroes to an Australia that likes to see itself as a hard land. It is, to put it mildly, bullshit. The Australian cricket captain is the Prime Minister Australia wishes it had. Steve Waugh is that man, Michael Clarke is not."

Back to the c-word. Another c-word. "Every world-class athlete," a British cycling coach once declaimed, "has a bit of the c*** in them." Notwithstanding Simon Katich's objections, Clarke has yet to show us he is not an exception. If David Steele was the bank clerk who went to war, this Clarke may need to do likewise. The key to confounding the doom-and-gloom-mongers might not only depend on him declaring nine wickets down, or his genius, but his inner Border-Waugh.

Nor would it hurt to remind himself, on a daily basis, of this year's goal: avoiding his country's longest period of cricketing woe since Marconi and his butler started messing about with wires and oscillators.

Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY swamistyle on | March 8, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    Unfortunately, I think this is more like 1985 than 89. In 85 Border was a new young captain leading a young side decimated by retirements & the Rebel tours. We had just been humiliated by the 1984 West Indies & confidence was at an all time low. Border was a nice guy who scored a lot of runs but we still got thrashed by a far more experienced English side. This seems a lot more similiar to Clarke & the Australian side of today than 1989 is. In 89 Border was older & battle hardened. The Aussie side was young but had been together for 3-4 years & was well balanced & ready. While we entered that series again coming off a Windies loss, this time we had been more competitve & confidence was up. This is far removed from today. Also in 89, besides Border, we had a middle order of Jones & Waugh scoring mountains of runs, a new opener in Taylor who took all before him, the world's best no. 3 in Boon, & Terry Alderman taking 40+ wickets. Who exactly are going to fulfill these roles now?

  • POSTED BY Meety on | March 8, 2013, 1:05 GMT

    @Nigel hales - in times like these, the Brittish press can be Oz' greatest ally! I will never forget the taunts of the "Worst Ozzy side to arrive in the country" back in 89. History repeat?

  • POSTED BY DeckChairand6pack on | March 7, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    Urgh, it looks as if we are set for another summer of cricketing mediocrity as Aus and Eng slug it out. The team that is the least rubbish will take the 'honours'. Crumbs Wagner is only military medium. He was made to look like a souped up version of Shoaib Akhtar as the english batters frantically tried to work out which end of the bat to hold! Back on your little segway kp!

  • POSTED BY JimBobBirnie on | March 7, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    I don't think it matters how nasty Clarke is or will be. Fact remains that England's players are far superior to Australia's players and the selectors of 2013 can be relied upon to pick the best 11.

  • POSTED BY DeckChairand6pack on | March 7, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    This contest has great tradition and history and is usually very entertaining. Sadly, in terms of cricketing quality it pales against other match ups. This summer the team which is least inept will probably win.

  • POSTED BY on | March 7, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    Somewhere in there, I think his point was to draw a parallel between what the press are currently saying about the Aus team, and the fact that the '89 Ashes squad was named by the British press as the worst to ever leave Australian shores (that was at the start of the tour).

    This team is young. Clarke is a good leader. We need to be patient and see if they can emulate those of 25 years ago.

  • POSTED BY Sir_Francis on | March 7, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    Interesting essay. However, Mr. Steen forgets a few very important points. Australia's current batting is vastly inferior to Australia's of 1989, let alone England 2013 (Dunedin, today, notwithstanding). AND England suffered from a series of, how to be kind, very poor selectors. Ironically, In Hilditch & Inverarity we have a match for May & Dexter. England had the Summer of Four Captains. We have the Summer off 66 Tourists on permanent rotation. I feel sorry for Clarke. He's starting to remind me of Lara and his poor teams. Although we can call on maybe a dozen quality quicks. Not all on the same day, mind. There does seem to be an injury epidemic. I'm more concerned with Australia giving Bangladesh's record of 21 consecutive defeats a decent go. Hope it rains a bit.

    Sir Francis.

    p.s.

    Go the Black Caps!

  • POSTED BY on | March 7, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    Based on the title and lead-in, I was really looking forward to reading something about the leadership of Border and Waugh, and how Clarke could emulate their success. Instead, I'm left confused and bewildered...what exactly are you on about? Much too self-indulgent writing here!

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    It will be a tight series Aus vs England. Factors like Englands prep vs NZ will give impetus to Englands form going into the Ashes. Australia on the other hand will come back from India feeling haggered, battered and belittled. So even if England does not perform to their greatest against NZ, I still feel they have the edge, but cricket is a funny game so I am calling it even stevens with England to retain.

    By the way Ravi Darira, Dhoni will find that he can not do it to everybody especially when he gets touring to a rampant quick and accurate bowling attack in South Africa. You will find as did Pakistan did recently in the Test series, that batting techniques will account for most problems let alone the week bowling attack India will provide because Ashwin and Jadeja will be fruitless against SA batsmen because they are not Said Ajmal by any distance.

  • POSTED BY ajetti on | March 6, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    An amazing article by Rob Steen! An article so full of puke-worthy tripe that it makes for comic reading! Actually what is the point of the article? That Michael Clarke should bring out his inner Border-Waugh self? Ha ha ha! Why will a Clarke have a Border or a Waugh inside him? Rob, you have topped yourself this time. Keep laughing and pitying the Aussies. You might just have to eat all your words. With relish!

  • POSTED BY swamistyle on | March 8, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    Unfortunately, I think this is more like 1985 than 89. In 85 Border was a new young captain leading a young side decimated by retirements & the Rebel tours. We had just been humiliated by the 1984 West Indies & confidence was at an all time low. Border was a nice guy who scored a lot of runs but we still got thrashed by a far more experienced English side. This seems a lot more similiar to Clarke & the Australian side of today than 1989 is. In 89 Border was older & battle hardened. The Aussie side was young but had been together for 3-4 years & was well balanced & ready. While we entered that series again coming off a Windies loss, this time we had been more competitve & confidence was up. This is far removed from today. Also in 89, besides Border, we had a middle order of Jones & Waugh scoring mountains of runs, a new opener in Taylor who took all before him, the world's best no. 3 in Boon, & Terry Alderman taking 40+ wickets. Who exactly are going to fulfill these roles now?

  • POSTED BY Meety on | March 8, 2013, 1:05 GMT

    @Nigel hales - in times like these, the Brittish press can be Oz' greatest ally! I will never forget the taunts of the "Worst Ozzy side to arrive in the country" back in 89. History repeat?

  • POSTED BY DeckChairand6pack on | March 7, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    Urgh, it looks as if we are set for another summer of cricketing mediocrity as Aus and Eng slug it out. The team that is the least rubbish will take the 'honours'. Crumbs Wagner is only military medium. He was made to look like a souped up version of Shoaib Akhtar as the english batters frantically tried to work out which end of the bat to hold! Back on your little segway kp!

  • POSTED BY JimBobBirnie on | March 7, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    I don't think it matters how nasty Clarke is or will be. Fact remains that England's players are far superior to Australia's players and the selectors of 2013 can be relied upon to pick the best 11.

  • POSTED BY DeckChairand6pack on | March 7, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    This contest has great tradition and history and is usually very entertaining. Sadly, in terms of cricketing quality it pales against other match ups. This summer the team which is least inept will probably win.

  • POSTED BY on | March 7, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    Somewhere in there, I think his point was to draw a parallel between what the press are currently saying about the Aus team, and the fact that the '89 Ashes squad was named by the British press as the worst to ever leave Australian shores (that was at the start of the tour).

    This team is young. Clarke is a good leader. We need to be patient and see if they can emulate those of 25 years ago.

  • POSTED BY Sir_Francis on | March 7, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    Interesting essay. However, Mr. Steen forgets a few very important points. Australia's current batting is vastly inferior to Australia's of 1989, let alone England 2013 (Dunedin, today, notwithstanding). AND England suffered from a series of, how to be kind, very poor selectors. Ironically, In Hilditch & Inverarity we have a match for May & Dexter. England had the Summer of Four Captains. We have the Summer off 66 Tourists on permanent rotation. I feel sorry for Clarke. He's starting to remind me of Lara and his poor teams. Although we can call on maybe a dozen quality quicks. Not all on the same day, mind. There does seem to be an injury epidemic. I'm more concerned with Australia giving Bangladesh's record of 21 consecutive defeats a decent go. Hope it rains a bit.

    Sir Francis.

    p.s.

    Go the Black Caps!

  • POSTED BY on | March 7, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    Based on the title and lead-in, I was really looking forward to reading something about the leadership of Border and Waugh, and how Clarke could emulate their success. Instead, I'm left confused and bewildered...what exactly are you on about? Much too self-indulgent writing here!

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    It will be a tight series Aus vs England. Factors like Englands prep vs NZ will give impetus to Englands form going into the Ashes. Australia on the other hand will come back from India feeling haggered, battered and belittled. So even if England does not perform to their greatest against NZ, I still feel they have the edge, but cricket is a funny game so I am calling it even stevens with England to retain.

    By the way Ravi Darira, Dhoni will find that he can not do it to everybody especially when he gets touring to a rampant quick and accurate bowling attack in South Africa. You will find as did Pakistan did recently in the Test series, that batting techniques will account for most problems let alone the week bowling attack India will provide because Ashwin and Jadeja will be fruitless against SA batsmen because they are not Said Ajmal by any distance.

  • POSTED BY ajetti on | March 6, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    An amazing article by Rob Steen! An article so full of puke-worthy tripe that it makes for comic reading! Actually what is the point of the article? That Michael Clarke should bring out his inner Border-Waugh self? Ha ha ha! Why will a Clarke have a Border or a Waugh inside him? Rob, you have topped yourself this time. Keep laughing and pitying the Aussies. You might just have to eat all your words. With relish!

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | March 6, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    Clark needs to show his mongrel……..with CA. If he can't bare his teeth at CA because he is being forced in to incompetent selection, then truly he is nothing more than a batsman on a purple streak but an ineffective, clueless captain.

    While he still had Ponting & Hussy to provide him with direction he seemed effective: without them the narrative is Clarke the superhero surrounded by weak buffoons.Time will tell, but I suspect history will reveal Clarke as a narcissistic wannabe superhero rather than a tough, canny campaigner. Why else would he surround himself, or allow himself to be surrounded, by incompetent batsmen? All that achieves is making Clarke look better than he perhaps really is.

  • POSTED BY perl57 on | March 6, 2013, 19:24 GMT

    Australia and England can give Ashes a rest. By the time Australia battle England, it will be battle of the worst. England won fair and square against a hopeless Indian team. But this lesson on the spin right now will be good for Australia and they will show Monty and Swann some good things to come. So do not put foot in your mouth Poms, it might come from other hole.

  • POSTED BY WalkingWicket11 on | March 6, 2013, 18:58 GMT

    Last time I checked, Australia are playing a Test series in India, so why bother about some series that may happen in future, rather than about the current series? If you only care about the Ashes, don't play anything else.

  • POSTED BY Hardy1 on | March 6, 2013, 16:46 GMT

    Cook-Compton-Trott-Pietersen-Bell-Root-Prior-Swann-Anderson-Finn-Broad

    Warner-Cowan-Hughes-Watson-Clarke-Wade-Henriques-Siddle-Pattinson-Starc-Lyon

    For England, Compton & Root are newbies & have a lot to prove, Trott hasn't been too great of late (although he scored a century in his last Test) & Broad's been having trouble.

    For Australia, Cowan, Hughes, Watson, Henriques & Lyon have a lot to prove (although the last hasn't been as bad as people are making out).

    I think Swann's injury will play a big part in the series, because if he's ok, then he adds a lot with the ball, bat & in the field too, whereas Panesar I feel wouldn't be as strong, especially against Australia's left handers. England clearly have the stronger team (man for man only Clarke is better than his equivalent in the England team) but it wouldn't shock me if Australia did well, at home at least.

  • POSTED BY cloudmess on | March 6, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    Australia had a team of rising stars in 1989 and had started to emulate the hard-nosed attitude of the great West Indians of the time. But, nonetheless, England were woeful. Whereas Australia had a team for the present, Gower's belonged to the past - not just in the shape of waning stars (like Botham), but also in their amateurish mindset. Gower led the side like a 1920s aristocrat, gave his wicket away softly and seemed more interested in procuring a good glass of claret in the evening than in motivating his troops. Most of England's batsmen played with crooked bats and suffered fitness issues. England needed Graham Gooch to knock them into shape the following winter, but it still took over another decade for a harder, more competitive mindset to infect English cricket.

  • POSTED BY fleetwood-smith on | March 6, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    Can't belieive I am hearing an English scribe tell Australia to become more ruthless! After all the flak AB received for baring his teeth! He is of course correct - Australians must unto themselves be true. You don't have to go back to Bradman to find an analogy for M Clarke at the moment - he is more like AB in the 1980s when it seemed Australia only had one scalp worth claiming in the whole line up. Despite the travails in India, I somehow feel that we are not THAT far away from being competitive. A good pace attack, a wicketkeeper who is struggling to establish himself but may yet touch great heights and some promise from Henriques and Maxwell. WE really need some batsmen to stand up and be counted. After the dustbowls have settled in India perhaps Cowan, Watson, Khawaja and Shaun Marsh can prove their worth in the old Dart. Here's hoping!

  • POSTED BY gudolerhum on | March 6, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    In local club cricket on Saturday afternoons, when one was batting and the Captain, sitting in the pavilion or under a shady tree that filled in for that establishment, one would sometimes hear the call from the Captain: "Loose the dogs!" meaning "get on with it", he was planning to declare. The Aussies need to believe in their own abilities and stop experimenting and 'resting' players as often, it does not add to the team's stability. England at home this summer are going to be tough to beat.

  • POSTED BY sents2013 on | March 6, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    Australia will win the Ashes series. England are not a great side, they just appear better because of some poor form and team selection from India. Michael clarke is a great player, he just used to play with his equals like ponting, gilchrist, Hayden. Australia is in transition stage, it takes a lot more courage to captain the side now. Also playing in India is different from playing in their home conditions. Watson should be 100% fit for that and Johnson, starc and Steven smith should be in playing 11. England only got good captain and Pieterson. nothing more.

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    There is too much over analyzing. the only difference between Ind and Aus this series has been MS Dhoni, he scored a crucial 200 or else Aus would have won the 1st test, and they would have been a different team in the second..but do not worry, Dhoni does it to everyone....

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    I think Mr. Steen is wrong about the cause of England's demise in 1989. The Australians under Border and...more importantly...Bobby Simpson's managership were well organised, focussed and agressive but they capitalised on England's organisational shabbiness. It wasn't overconfidence that undermined England, it was an unsettled captaincy after Ted Dexter took it off Gooch, wanted to give it to Gatting but was forced to give it to Gower. 29 players were selected with too many journeymen being picked on weird selectorial hunches, no one other than Jack Russell and Robin Smith were consistently picked, key players being injured, others being rushed back immediately after recovering from injury, lack of cohesiveness and the rebel South African tour being picked which derailed the national side. Australia were solid, England were in a mess...overconfidence was really low down on the list.

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    Times have changed just like Britania ruled the world once the great Ozie team is no more and mark my words it will take generations before they can recover, how do you replace, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Mcgrath, Langer, Haydon, Hussey, Pointing to name but a few, these players come every 50 years and Australia will never be the same best we all get used to it just look at the West Indies.......

  • POSTED BY MrKricket on | March 6, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    CA is guilty enough in all this agreeing to this stupid tour schedule. Just look at 1989 where Border's boys played 12 lead up games according to the author and this year (like the two previous failed campaigns) there's a lousy couple of games. Whatever happened to acclimatising? Australia needs a month in India before playing Tests, the same as England. SA is more like home so probably doesn't need the prep.

    Ah for the good old days! We should have appreciated them more. Look at the team from the Fifth Test in 2001 - hard to have a better line up that all played in the same side. Langer, Hayden, Ponting, M Waugh, S Waugh, Martyn, Glichrist, Warne, Lee, Gillespie, McGrath. We'll never see their like again. 65 000 runs and nearly 2000 wickets!

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    This was the first home Ashes series I remember. I was 10, and so excited that my hero, Gower, was back as captain. An order of Gooch, Broad, Gower, Lamb, Gatting, Botham was much about which to boast! The series would have been 6-0 if not for the weather. I saw S.Waugh get a 100 at Lord's and Lawson 74. Complete thrashing, the only good thing to come out of it was Robin Smith.

  • POSTED BY heart_king on | March 6, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    ashwin's 18 wickets includes 8 lbw i am not sure why is that?

  • POSTED BY trumpoz on | March 6, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    The Australian side could do worse than look to the 1989 Ashes side and lead-up to it. The philosophy was pick players and stick with them. Go back to the team of the 1st test and stick with it in the 3rd and 4th tests. Let them feel what it is like to get pounded in India.... let them feel the pain. If they are deserving of a place in the Australian side they will get better.

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    Clarke will easily become a scrappy mongrel, he is Aussie crickets Javed Miandad. Only problem is, his team mates are not as hardened as he can be. Dont see the top 4 very settled and only good pace bowlers dont get you wins. England right now are better, but you dont get complacent against Aussies of all people!

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 7:02 GMT

    stormer1980 Stuart M still goes down as 1 of the greatest leg spin bowlers of all time, there arent many who have taken 200 wickets & 2 take 200 + wickets in the era of Warney makes his legacy even better

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    I watched Cloud Atlas last night and it made more sense than this article.

  • POSTED BY JM_RSA on | March 6, 2013, 7:00 GMT

    I feel for Australia, they are really getting hammered by India. 1st thing i would do is to get rid of Micky Arthur. Clarke is a positive cricketer and Mickey Arthur is the oppositte. I fail to see how this works when startegising.Then bring in people who were part of the great australian team with mentoring. Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, etc

  • POSTED BY stormer1980 on | March 6, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    There is so much pressure on this young man .. Ima a Saffa fan but I feel for PUP ... He doesnt have the players of the 90's calibre and he has to be the lone ranger where runs is concerned on a number of occassions and be the captain ... If CSA is not careful , they are going to destroy a player who would could become one of there best players in there history .. a natural cricketer this guy is .. and his teams needs to rally around him , if spin is the problem for the batsmen , bring in Shane Warne and Stuart Mcgill (this guy just played in the wrong era , cause he was a very good bowler).. let them speak to batsmen , let him even bowl to them .. This is why we got rid of Mickey Authur ... safety first coach ... I still believe , Oz has got a good team , just find the balance though ... PUP in at 3 actually and Watson 4 ... and find place for Mitchell Starc ...

  • POSTED BY stormer1980 on | March 6, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    There is so much pressure on this young man .. Ima a Saffa fan but I feel for PUP ... He doesnt have the players of the 90's calibre and he has to be the lone ranger where runs is concerned on a number of occassions and be the captain ... If CSA is not careful , they are going to destroy a player who would could become one of there best players in there history .. a natural cricketer this guy is .. and his teams needs to rally around him , if spin is the problem for the batsmen , bring in Shane Warne and Stuart Mcgill (this guy just played in the wrong era , cause he was a very good bowler).. let them speak to batsmen , let him even bowl to them .. This is why we got rid of Mickey Authur ... safety first coach ... I still believe , Oz has got a good team , just find the balance though ... PUP in at 3 actually and Watson 4 ... and find place for Mitchell Starc ...

  • POSTED BY JM_RSA on | March 6, 2013, 7:00 GMT

    I feel for Australia, they are really getting hammered by India. 1st thing i would do is to get rid of Micky Arthur. Clarke is a positive cricketer and Mickey Arthur is the oppositte. I fail to see how this works when startegising.Then bring in people who were part of the great australian team with mentoring. Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, etc

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    I watched Cloud Atlas last night and it made more sense than this article.

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 7:02 GMT

    stormer1980 Stuart M still goes down as 1 of the greatest leg spin bowlers of all time, there arent many who have taken 200 wickets & 2 take 200 + wickets in the era of Warney makes his legacy even better

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    Clarke will easily become a scrappy mongrel, he is Aussie crickets Javed Miandad. Only problem is, his team mates are not as hardened as he can be. Dont see the top 4 very settled and only good pace bowlers dont get you wins. England right now are better, but you dont get complacent against Aussies of all people!

  • POSTED BY trumpoz on | March 6, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    The Australian side could do worse than look to the 1989 Ashes side and lead-up to it. The philosophy was pick players and stick with them. Go back to the team of the 1st test and stick with it in the 3rd and 4th tests. Let them feel what it is like to get pounded in India.... let them feel the pain. If they are deserving of a place in the Australian side they will get better.

  • POSTED BY heart_king on | March 6, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    ashwin's 18 wickets includes 8 lbw i am not sure why is that?

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    This was the first home Ashes series I remember. I was 10, and so excited that my hero, Gower, was back as captain. An order of Gooch, Broad, Gower, Lamb, Gatting, Botham was much about which to boast! The series would have been 6-0 if not for the weather. I saw S.Waugh get a 100 at Lord's and Lawson 74. Complete thrashing, the only good thing to come out of it was Robin Smith.

  • POSTED BY MrKricket on | March 6, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    CA is guilty enough in all this agreeing to this stupid tour schedule. Just look at 1989 where Border's boys played 12 lead up games according to the author and this year (like the two previous failed campaigns) there's a lousy couple of games. Whatever happened to acclimatising? Australia needs a month in India before playing Tests, the same as England. SA is more like home so probably doesn't need the prep.

    Ah for the good old days! We should have appreciated them more. Look at the team from the Fifth Test in 2001 - hard to have a better line up that all played in the same side. Langer, Hayden, Ponting, M Waugh, S Waugh, Martyn, Glichrist, Warne, Lee, Gillespie, McGrath. We'll never see their like again. 65 000 runs and nearly 2000 wickets!

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    Times have changed just like Britania ruled the world once the great Ozie team is no more and mark my words it will take generations before they can recover, how do you replace, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Mcgrath, Langer, Haydon, Hussey, Pointing to name but a few, these players come every 50 years and Australia will never be the same best we all get used to it just look at the West Indies.......