Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 1st day January 3, 2014

Trying to turn six into No. 1

Australia's top order has been bailed out time and again by Brad Haddin - but they will need to do better if they are going to top the rankings
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David Warner didn't move his feet. Not for the first time. Chris Rogers was unlucky. At the wrong age to do that. Michael Clarke fended at the moving ball. Easier to do at No. 4 than No. 5. Shane Watson planted the target on the front pad. England found it for the first time this series. George Bailey was dangling outside off. People already murmuring about him there.

Brad Haddin flies in. Situation sorted. Again. Again. Again. Again.

---

Beneath the Big Bash big talk, away from the CA Twitter account's split personality and far from ads for summer's biggest dress up party, Cricket Australia still take cricket seriously. It may not always seem that way as the 'Ashes pashes' are on the big screen but Cricket Australia has been pretty consistent on one thing, it wants the team to be No. 1. It actually want to be No. 1, No. 1 and No. 1. In all formats, the best team on earth. A cynic may suggest that it'll make for better marketing copy, but it's still a worthy, if hard to attain, ambition.

Clarke used his newspaper column to reiterate that this team wanted to be No. 1 straight after Perth. That's when captains speak, after the game, when the result dictates the conversation. Had Clarke been asked to speak when Australia's fifth first-innings wicket fell, No. 1 would have been a sizable distance from his mind. The Australia top order have consistently been awful in the first innings. Only in Adelaide were they anything near passable. In every other innings they've been poor.

Then Haddin comes in. Technically Haddin has batted at No. 7. But in real terms he's batted one, two, three, four, five, six and seven. Add a cape and a moustache and Mitchell Johnson may not win Man of the Series.

Haddin as the permanent saviour was enough to win the Ashes. And it may be enough to win 5-0. But to be No. 1, you are probably going to need a top order. And Australia's next series is against a bowling attack of Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn.

Beating England, while that team is in emotional freefall, at home is just a step in the right direction, not anything more. Australia were naked in a gutter a few months back, and they haven't won three consecutive Test series in a row since the infamous summer of kidding themselves against West Indies, Pakistan and New Zealand. This summer there are far more good signs than back in 2009-10. That's all they are. This isn't some finished product that has honed its game around the world and is ready to tussle at the top, it's an old team with a good bowling attack that's in great form.

Form is, as many cricketers have told us, temporary.

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"Australia have the best bowling attack in the world." It's something you may have heard more than once. Lazy commentators say it, showing that they don't follow the cricket outside of Australia. Coaches have said it, despite the fact it is their job to know how good other countries are. It's not the best bowling attack in the world (unless South Africa has been voted off the planet). But it's really good.

Peter Siddle has improved virtually every part of his bowling. He is a leader and a worker, who never gives up. Nathan Lyon was the boy no one wanted. Considering the menagerie of misfits used as spinners before (and during) his time, surely only a mad scientist selector would change him now. If Johnson keeps bowling the way he is, he may actually explode, as will most batsmen who face him. He could also lose form and confidence and end up sitting on the bench for an IPL franchise. It's all possible. Ryan Harris may not be long for this game. Then again, who really thought he'd play nine straight Test matches against England.

If Australia do win 5-0, in the history of cricket it will probably be the worst batting line-up to have ever swept such a long series

Harris is the only one for who age is a concern. Australia also have James Pattinson (Test average of 26), Pat Cummins (pace like fire, body like paper) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (pace - tick, swing - tick) hanging around.

So it may not be the best on earth, but it's a pretty damn scary attack to bump into on a dark night. With Johnson in this form, it's nuclear.

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India and South Africa are the No.1 and No. 2-ranked sides in the world. Even if India had won in South Africa, their first overseas series since they were in Australia two years ago, they were too many points behind to go top.

India look good right now, but may be a bowler short away from home. R Ashwin is averaging more than five wickets a Test and was just dropped against South Africa. Pakistan were ranked fourth before this series. In recent times they drew with South Africa, and before that they drew with Zimbabwe. Essentially they play in the same manner Saeed Ajmal does press conferences.

England are so bad right now, the hashtag #pomnishambles has been invented.

So, that only leaves South Africa. They are the best team on earth. They have beaten or drawn all their series since losing, to the then-No. 1 side, Australia in '09. In their last seven series, they have won six and drawn once. After Gary Kirsten took over, they became the team that they flirted with being at most times since readmission.

To beat them, you have to shove Graeme Smith aside. Confuse Hashim Amla. Hope AB de Villiers is tired. Then survive the bowling attack. And do it all quickly in a shortened series.

---

If Australia do win 5-0, in the history of cricket it will probably be the worst batting line-up to have ever swept such a long series.

Coming into Melbourne, Chris Rogers was a 36-year-old with a Test average of 31.88 - pretty much the same average that Ed Cowan had when he lost his place. Then England dropped Rogers at the MCG and he made his second hundred and cemented his place for South Africa. He's obviously not rubbish, but at his age, he doesn't need balls bouncing back through his legs on to the stumps. Chances are, no matter how good his career goes, at his age, he'll be a batting coach or commentator by the next time Australia are No. 1 in Tests.

David Warner's form has been amazing, in the second innings when Australia have been smashing the ball everywhere against a Mitch Johnson-ed England. His first innings have shown promise, but he's never gone through. He still has no overseas Test hundreds and in the one second innings when the pressure was on, he failed. After being dropped. His footwork is always going to get negative feedback but he's never going to fix it. In South Africa it will be tested every day.

Shane Watson is batting at No. 3 for Australia, with a Test average of 36.56, and you can see why Darren Lehmann may not have backed him completely as a batsman. It still makes more sense for Watson to bat at No. 5 or No. 6, but then Australia would have no one to bat at three. In the first innings of this series, he has been woeful, but he made a happy slap hundred in Perth, and guided Australia home at Melbourne. Still important, still frustrating, and still a massive lbw candidate.

Michael Clarke has a bad back, and a sensational home record. If he can recreate that away from home, and his back stays good, he'll be a good player to ride to No. 1.

Steven Smith is one of three Trent Woodhill (a see ball, hit ball batting coach) disciples who have made hundreds this series. He made another in England, and gave another way. In India, as his team-mates cried into their cornflakes, he came in and showed guts and feet. Here was another hundred that proved how tough he is. But he's still only averaging 37.41 in Test cricket. It's because Smith either makes runs, or fails. There is no in between. His bowling, and fielding are both useful but, at No. 5, he needs to make it as a batsman. He is probably a six, and maybe so is Watson, and it looks like Bailey might be as well.

George Bailey may not even make it to South Africa. Or Clarke could retire and he becomes captain. One is more likely than the other.

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There was no shock as Australia lost early wickets. It was green, Australia had been put in, and throughout this Ashes (and the entire mega Ashes) Australia have struggled to score in the first innings. There was no shock that Haddin saved them either. It may have been moving around, and in his bad times he would have nicked off playing a shocking shot, but that wouldn't have felt natural in this series. It all happened exactly as it has for five Tests.

Australia failed, England failed harder. Haddin prevailed.

Australia are old, have a frail batting line up and are relying on a 36-year-old wicketkeeper more than any team should. They shouldn't get to No. 1, but then they shouldn't have won this series without a fully functioning top six. Even with a fully functioning Brad Haddin behind it.

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mysecretme on January 9, 2014, 0:16 GMT

    India can not be called a team yet- only Kohli, Pujara and Rahane proved that they have the potential to be good players overseas. Vijay proved he can play the Akash Chopra role. Every one else in the team disappointed. Worst of all was Dhoni. - Aussies are generally really good at home(last 40 years)- barring one major blip when England won last. Even then, they had a major pain during the last SA visit. If I remember correctly, they could not get Faf out, just like the Indians found out now. I am not sure why they think it will be different now. Except for Kallis, its the same team that won the last test.

    SA are a great fielding(important) and bowling team. I am not sure if Aussies with their current batting frailties will even make one score above 300 against them. Every Aussie batsman needed a dropped chance or two this series before coming off.

  • Thegimp on January 6, 2014, 0:55 GMT

    @Greatest_Game....someone needs a hug

  • on January 5, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    I guess that if this article is correct then it really does mean that England are lower then low to have beeen beaten so comprehensively by an old, injured, unskilled bunch as Australia ..........

    The comments to the effect that we have the best bowling attack and want to be No. 1 are the kind of comments that any half decent captain / coach are going to make - what would have been more of a concern was if they came out and said something to the effect of "we have done well this time, but you know what, we are old and inconsistent, and wouldn't dare dream to aspire to being No. 1...... Really, we have no chance in South Africa".....

    It called keeping the confidence up....... Articles like this one are not unexpected - it hurts to lose and sometimes the easiest way to deal with that is to rain on the parade of others.

  • on January 5, 2014, 11:04 GMT

    @rickyvoncanterbury I think it's misleading. Australia aren't as good as they look, England aren't as bad as players though there is something desperately wrong in their collective heads. Well done to Australia, but realistically - their batting struggled in the first innings every test (best was 230/5) and was dug out by Haddin the real Man of the Series I think, and then scored easier runs when they were miles in front. Johnson is mercurial and always has been, Harris and Siddle are good honest reliable bowlers in the best sense of the words, and Lyon is, well, okay but nothing more. I think teams sometimes have everything go for them and they look invincible (England hosting India a year or two back springs to mind) when they aren't. Australia could find suddenly that not everything runs for them and the RSA batsmen aren't going to hand them wickets on a plate, and Haddin's rescues may stop working

    The good news for Australia is RSA themselves are in a transitional period I think

  • RVC-38 on January 5, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    @ Greatest_Game on (January 4, 2014, 21:10 GMT) yeah mate, winning is good but I am not convinced, England have been below par in all departments, but as an Aussie supporter I am hoping it is a massive improvement by Australia especially batting wise as the top 6 all scored centuries other than beating up on the weak kid. On the pitches I am not expecting or wanting roads, Australia and South Africa have held on to the number one position now and in the past because the pitches offer something for everyone even spin (at times), I do not make comments about the bully BCCI boys and their standover tactics it gets me in trouble, but I will say the home side has the right to give itself the advantage of playing wherever they like, curators and boards morally should prepare fair pitches that offer a bit for all, but suit the home team, a little bit greener, dryer or whatever, that's the home ground advantage.

  • Shaggy076 on January 5, 2014, 5:01 GMT

    Greatest Game: You really have become a grump of late, your team is the best in the world enjoy it. I never said Australia's bowling attack was better than South Africa's and the comment regarding Johnson current form is this series that is current isn't it. HHis bowling in this series is better than Steyn's most recent bowling. I have stated in several posts that Steyn is the deserved world number 1 bowler. Also, watching Johnson throughout his career this Johnson is class, his head is in the right place and now backed it up for 5 games straight. He has never reallybeen inconsistent, he was good between 07 to early 2010 then rubbish from 2010 to his injury in 2012. I'm confident he will be at his best in South Africa and will be interesting to see how he goes.As for Harris he has nowplated 9 tests on the trot.

  • Greatest_Game on January 5, 2014, 2:22 GMT

    @ lara-better-than-bradman. "Indian team exposed SA bowling's weakness."

    SA's ODI team exposed India's batting and bowling weakness. Their club level rubbish bowling was smacked out the park. India were all out for 217 and 146, and could not manage to bat out 50 overs. What bowling weakness did THAT expose??What a joke for the so-called top team. Only rain saved them from a completely humiliating whitewash!

    India made one good test score when SA were a bowler down, & playing with 10 men. The so-called mighty Indian batting still could not win that match, & India's pathetic bowling were 8 runs shy of conceding the largest 4th innings defeat in history - against a 10 man team. India were destroyed in the second test when SA strolled home by 10 wickets after rolling India over for a pitiful 223 after SA scored 500. India did not win a single game. A bunch of club level amateurs got the hell hammered out of them, and exposed nothing but their own incompetence.

    P.S. Bradman was better!

  • __PK on January 4, 2014, 23:28 GMT

    "Haddin as the permanent saviour..." It's something you may have heard more than once. Lazy commentators say it, showing that they don't follow the cricket that's going on right in front of them. Haddin has always had a partner in his saviour work, and apart from the Gabba, it was always a top 6 batsman. Suddenly the top 6 isn't looking so bad. But it's much easier to focus on Haddin.

  • Greatest_Game on January 4, 2014, 21:10 GMT

    @ rickyvoncanterbury, who wrote "and the same as the saffers we did not change any of the pitches to nullify Swann or Anderson, the way it should be, Good luck and hope for an exciting series."

    Good luck to you too, & thanks for the good wishes. An exciting series is always the hope. Pity the Aussies were so sorely disappointed by the Poms self-destructing. It is fun to watch your team win, but wholesale slaughter gets a bit tiresome by match 5!

    RE the pitches, I don't think that SA will suddenly produce any flat tracks/roads like the 2 that suddenly appeared during the India tour. Something tells me that CA will not abruptly cancel half the tour, push CSA into financial crisis, and then 'politely request' different tracks after their ODI team has been slaughtered. What are your thoughts on this?

  • Greatest_Game on January 4, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    @Shaggy076 wrote "Australia has had the same bowling attack for the last 5 games is it that hard to work out what Aus' best attack is?" Yes, it is. Harris is fragile, Johnson unreliable. 2011 in SA Johnson averaged 85, but 2008 he averaged 25. Aus Ashes 2013 he averages 14.0: Aus Ashes 2010 - 36.93. Mr. Reliable is in Aus' BEST attack? Five games & this is the best attack in the world? Joke.

    "We saw recently in Aus & SA there is not much between the bowling line ups that was Australia without Johnson..." WRONG!! Johnson bowled in Perth, in the ONLY match Aus were murdered! 6 @ 27.33.

    "(Johnson's) current form is superior to Steyn…" 5 matches vs a pathetic Eng team & he's 'superior'? Steyn - brilliant for 4 years. Johnson - 5 great matches, plenty REALLY bad matches. Steyn, ave 22.90, Econ 3.26, SR 42.0. Johnson, ave 28.52, econ 3.29, SR 51.9. Superior? Really? Form is temporary, and Mitchell Johnson is the living proof! Next month he'll be bog awful again, or brilliant.

  • mysecretme on January 9, 2014, 0:16 GMT

    India can not be called a team yet- only Kohli, Pujara and Rahane proved that they have the potential to be good players overseas. Vijay proved he can play the Akash Chopra role. Every one else in the team disappointed. Worst of all was Dhoni. - Aussies are generally really good at home(last 40 years)- barring one major blip when England won last. Even then, they had a major pain during the last SA visit. If I remember correctly, they could not get Faf out, just like the Indians found out now. I am not sure why they think it will be different now. Except for Kallis, its the same team that won the last test.

    SA are a great fielding(important) and bowling team. I am not sure if Aussies with their current batting frailties will even make one score above 300 against them. Every Aussie batsman needed a dropped chance or two this series before coming off.

  • Thegimp on January 6, 2014, 0:55 GMT

    @Greatest_Game....someone needs a hug

  • on January 5, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    I guess that if this article is correct then it really does mean that England are lower then low to have beeen beaten so comprehensively by an old, injured, unskilled bunch as Australia ..........

    The comments to the effect that we have the best bowling attack and want to be No. 1 are the kind of comments that any half decent captain / coach are going to make - what would have been more of a concern was if they came out and said something to the effect of "we have done well this time, but you know what, we are old and inconsistent, and wouldn't dare dream to aspire to being No. 1...... Really, we have no chance in South Africa".....

    It called keeping the confidence up....... Articles like this one are not unexpected - it hurts to lose and sometimes the easiest way to deal with that is to rain on the parade of others.

  • on January 5, 2014, 11:04 GMT

    @rickyvoncanterbury I think it's misleading. Australia aren't as good as they look, England aren't as bad as players though there is something desperately wrong in their collective heads. Well done to Australia, but realistically - their batting struggled in the first innings every test (best was 230/5) and was dug out by Haddin the real Man of the Series I think, and then scored easier runs when they were miles in front. Johnson is mercurial and always has been, Harris and Siddle are good honest reliable bowlers in the best sense of the words, and Lyon is, well, okay but nothing more. I think teams sometimes have everything go for them and they look invincible (England hosting India a year or two back springs to mind) when they aren't. Australia could find suddenly that not everything runs for them and the RSA batsmen aren't going to hand them wickets on a plate, and Haddin's rescues may stop working

    The good news for Australia is RSA themselves are in a transitional period I think

  • RVC-38 on January 5, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    @ Greatest_Game on (January 4, 2014, 21:10 GMT) yeah mate, winning is good but I am not convinced, England have been below par in all departments, but as an Aussie supporter I am hoping it is a massive improvement by Australia especially batting wise as the top 6 all scored centuries other than beating up on the weak kid. On the pitches I am not expecting or wanting roads, Australia and South Africa have held on to the number one position now and in the past because the pitches offer something for everyone even spin (at times), I do not make comments about the bully BCCI boys and their standover tactics it gets me in trouble, but I will say the home side has the right to give itself the advantage of playing wherever they like, curators and boards morally should prepare fair pitches that offer a bit for all, but suit the home team, a little bit greener, dryer or whatever, that's the home ground advantage.

  • Shaggy076 on January 5, 2014, 5:01 GMT

    Greatest Game: You really have become a grump of late, your team is the best in the world enjoy it. I never said Australia's bowling attack was better than South Africa's and the comment regarding Johnson current form is this series that is current isn't it. HHis bowling in this series is better than Steyn's most recent bowling. I have stated in several posts that Steyn is the deserved world number 1 bowler. Also, watching Johnson throughout his career this Johnson is class, his head is in the right place and now backed it up for 5 games straight. He has never reallybeen inconsistent, he was good between 07 to early 2010 then rubbish from 2010 to his injury in 2012. I'm confident he will be at his best in South Africa and will be interesting to see how he goes.As for Harris he has nowplated 9 tests on the trot.

  • Greatest_Game on January 5, 2014, 2:22 GMT

    @ lara-better-than-bradman. "Indian team exposed SA bowling's weakness."

    SA's ODI team exposed India's batting and bowling weakness. Their club level rubbish bowling was smacked out the park. India were all out for 217 and 146, and could not manage to bat out 50 overs. What bowling weakness did THAT expose??What a joke for the so-called top team. Only rain saved them from a completely humiliating whitewash!

    India made one good test score when SA were a bowler down, & playing with 10 men. The so-called mighty Indian batting still could not win that match, & India's pathetic bowling were 8 runs shy of conceding the largest 4th innings defeat in history - against a 10 man team. India were destroyed in the second test when SA strolled home by 10 wickets after rolling India over for a pitiful 223 after SA scored 500. India did not win a single game. A bunch of club level amateurs got the hell hammered out of them, and exposed nothing but their own incompetence.

    P.S. Bradman was better!

  • __PK on January 4, 2014, 23:28 GMT

    "Haddin as the permanent saviour..." It's something you may have heard more than once. Lazy commentators say it, showing that they don't follow the cricket that's going on right in front of them. Haddin has always had a partner in his saviour work, and apart from the Gabba, it was always a top 6 batsman. Suddenly the top 6 isn't looking so bad. But it's much easier to focus on Haddin.

  • Greatest_Game on January 4, 2014, 21:10 GMT

    @ rickyvoncanterbury, who wrote "and the same as the saffers we did not change any of the pitches to nullify Swann or Anderson, the way it should be, Good luck and hope for an exciting series."

    Good luck to you too, & thanks for the good wishes. An exciting series is always the hope. Pity the Aussies were so sorely disappointed by the Poms self-destructing. It is fun to watch your team win, but wholesale slaughter gets a bit tiresome by match 5!

    RE the pitches, I don't think that SA will suddenly produce any flat tracks/roads like the 2 that suddenly appeared during the India tour. Something tells me that CA will not abruptly cancel half the tour, push CSA into financial crisis, and then 'politely request' different tracks after their ODI team has been slaughtered. What are your thoughts on this?

  • Greatest_Game on January 4, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    @Shaggy076 wrote "Australia has had the same bowling attack for the last 5 games is it that hard to work out what Aus' best attack is?" Yes, it is. Harris is fragile, Johnson unreliable. 2011 in SA Johnson averaged 85, but 2008 he averaged 25. Aus Ashes 2013 he averages 14.0: Aus Ashes 2010 - 36.93. Mr. Reliable is in Aus' BEST attack? Five games & this is the best attack in the world? Joke.

    "We saw recently in Aus & SA there is not much between the bowling line ups that was Australia without Johnson..." WRONG!! Johnson bowled in Perth, in the ONLY match Aus were murdered! 6 @ 27.33.

    "(Johnson's) current form is superior to Steyn…" 5 matches vs a pathetic Eng team & he's 'superior'? Steyn - brilliant for 4 years. Johnson - 5 great matches, plenty REALLY bad matches. Steyn, ave 22.90, Econ 3.26, SR 42.0. Johnson, ave 28.52, econ 3.29, SR 51.9. Superior? Really? Form is temporary, and Mitchell Johnson is the living proof! Next month he'll be bog awful again, or brilliant.

  • IndianEagle on January 4, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    Definitely AUS can win if their top order fires as like india did but what india lacked was bowling of likes zon, siddy and rhino. Indian team exposed SA bowling's weakness.

  • becham100 on January 4, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    I agree with the article. To beat SA down under...well you need performance at the top of the order. Does anyone seriously think that warner or watson are capable of handling steyn on a consistent basis? Also, SA have a Brilliant batting line up much better than England. Just look at what Smith and Amla did at Perth in 2012.

  • RVC-38 on January 4, 2014, 11:36 GMT

    @ Unomaas on (January 4, 2014, 10:58 GMT) and we would not expect anything else from the Saffers tough hard cricket, we were expecting that from the poms as well, and the same as the saffers we did not change any of the pitches to nullify Swann or Anderson, the way it should be, Good luck and hope for an exciting series.

  • Unomaas on January 4, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    Not one Saffa here is denying the potency of the aussie attack! What we are denying (and very vociferously at that!) is the contention that this aussie attack (and its reserves) have gained the right to be compared to the saffa attack. Saffa attack has put in the yards, done the work and blown away all pretenders and incumbents. All we are hearing from aus supporters is subjective gobbledy-gook based on a 5 test streak (at home). In fact, it sounds awfully similar to the grand standing of David Saker and co. just before us Saffa's landed in England and blew them away.

    Say what you wanna say about the saffa's, they ain't gonna cower behind their batsmen and make roads for the aussies to protect their no. 1 ranking. Bring it on! We'll fight fire with fire! Just make sure to bring the famous aussie verbals along to get us all pumped up!

    @Beertjie on (January 3, 2014, 22:29 GMT) Agreed! St Georges + Newlands best 2 spinning tracks in SA. Play Robbie P and our batting looks better.

  • Shaggy076 on January 4, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    Greatest Game; Australia has had the same bowling attack for the last 5 games is it that hard to work out what Australias best attack is? We saw recently in Australia and South Africa there is not much between the bowling line ups and that was Australia without Johnson who current form is superior to Steyn and Harris who averages 22 at test cricket. The South African attack is very good but so is the Australian. On how pitches I will say ours is better as we saw Philander really struggle with our type of wickets.

  • RVC-38 on January 4, 2014, 9:09 GMT

    @ Beertjie on (January 3, 2014, 22:29 GMT) That would have to be the same as England's big win in India papering over the cracks, your only as good as your last series.

  • andrew-schulz on January 4, 2014, 8:21 GMT

    More needs to be added. How about, instead of saying the top order is poor therefore Aus don't deserve to win (a ridiculous assertion as the top five all average 40 or close to in this series, and the only one who doesn't, Watson, averages more than 50 over 6 Tests, all against a leading Test nation) how about we say what a great side this could be if we found 2 or 3 good Test batters in the next 3 years, and looking closely at Silk, Lynn, Burns, Patterson, Doran and Carters, that prospect looks reasonably good. There are a few veterans around with great prospects too. Kimber you are still trying to cover for yourself after your pathetic article of doom and gloom after the first day of the series. Pessimists are useful, and keep things balanced, but what some of you are saying is just plain stupid. Greatest game, mcDermott has never sounded anything other than totally sensible in his assessments. Do you think the same about McGrath after his comments about this attack?

  • andrew-schulz on January 4, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    Anyone who would rate India as 'looking good' and Australia as 'old, frail, and should not get to number one' cannot be taken seriously. Australia have had two bad series away from home, but even before this summer still had a much better away record than India or England. They have also been massively competitive against South Africa home and away in recent times and have no reason to fear them. In fact, there is a very good case to argue that Nathan Lyon's superiority over Peterson and Tahir, and Watson's flexibility (now that Kallis is not there), as well as Siddle's mental strength over Morkel's frailty, does indeed make Australia's the best bowling attack on earth. Don't call other commentators lazy- perhaps it is you who knows very little about cricket in other parts of the world. And your constant speculating that Johnsonwl fall flat is becoming tiresome. He has been wonderfully consistent over almost 20 international games since coming back in Perth in 2012.

  • Mitty2 on January 4, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    Greatest_game, you're the same poster who was bagging MJ's bowling just before he dominated again in Melbourne right and won MoM, right? No one's disputing SA's standing at number one, don't be ignorant - they're the only side who can win away and they're the only side with genuine champs in both batting and bowling. What people are saying is that a win in SA is not probable but possible. Havent lost a series there for over 4 decades, their pitches play much the same as ours and we have the bowling line up who is the only one in history to take 100 wickets in a five match series (will happen tomorrow) and based on our brilliant and memorable display of attacking cricket so far - dismantling a team with a better batting line up on paper an a more experienced bowling line up (like yours), there's every reason we can win. Although with Twatto at 3 and Bailey at 6 we currently have only 5 capable batters.

  • on January 4, 2014, 7:39 GMT

    Australia's top order have been bailed out? I'd say they've all contributed when needed as a team.

    Rogers: 417 Warner: 523 Watson: 345 Clarke: 363 Smith: 327 Bailey: 157 Haddin: 465

    England's top run scorer is Pieterson on 288, lower than all of the Aussie top six except for Bailey, who has had two less innings than most of the batsmen in the series and was on 39 and going well when Clarke declared in Perth.

    Apart from Clarke and Bailey (the latter in his first series), the top 7 batsmen are all averaging more than their career average. Who was it that said Australia massively depended upon Clarke and would lose if he didn't score runs?

    England haven't taken 20 wickets in a match yet and tomorrow looks like their best chance of the series, provided the Aussie top six aren't bailed out again and Clarke declares…

  • Mitty2 on January 4, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    @B.C.G, that's funny - really is. One of the great things of the Saffer fans when steyn and philander were getting cartered (and Morkel bowled really well because he adapted) in adelaide and brisbane was the doctored pitches excuse. Never heard such trash in my life. Until recently, I thought it only NZ, SA and Aus who dont doctor pitches. But as seen by CSA bending to the BCCI's will by not only dumping Edwards but actually producing Indian sttle tracks and as seen by the NZ bloke who asked the curators to prepare green tracks for India - it's only true for Aus. We are famous for the distinct characteristics in our pitches - brisbane's got bounce but 9 times out of ten is a pitch that enables big scores scored at 4+ an over, Adelaide's a slow, batter's wicket and Perth's obviously a paceman's paradise. All three of those pitches played to those descriptions in that series. If we doctored, than why would we allow perth to be green? Think about it. Ridiculous.

  • ygkd on January 4, 2014, 5:17 GMT

    There comes a time then when Australia has to look at the prospect of not being saved by a keeper's runs. Gilchrist was a rare talent doubly blessed by being in a champion team. Haddin has found rare form in a lesser team. The next choice is between wickets and runs. South Africa went for runs, but it helped that in de Villiers there were plenty of runs on offer and enough glove-work to support a mainly pace attack. If Australia is going to rely more on Lyon it will need glove-work. The batting must find players to hold down a spot, players like Hodge, Klinger etc. Are we still producing them? Or have we gone so far down the limited-overs road that everyone is now everything and nothing? Rogers has been okay because he allows Warner to bat like he does. Imagine if Warner was paired with someone of the same ilk? And followed by more of the same? Number one is a long way off. There must first be a solution to the problem of too many number six batting styles, a la T20, from U19s onwards.

  • on January 4, 2014, 2:26 GMT

    Jarrod Kimber would like us to think that he is the best analyst in world cricket but his predictions were more in-line with Ian Botham than reality.

  • Thegimp on January 4, 2014, 1:24 GMT

    @Greatest_Game ........someone needs a hug.

    Mate no-one is saying Australia is #1 again. Clarke is saying he wants #1 but what Captain doesn't. Captains should say these things, it's why they are Captains. What would we be saying if Clarke said "We want to be #2 in the world"?

    Australia's bowling attack is long, there's no denying that. Australia's batting is frail, no denying that either, but mate, if the batting is sorted out, they are every chance of taking the Saffas position....there's no denying that!!!

  • VivGilchrist on January 4, 2014, 1:00 GMT

    Mr Kimber, the spokesman of the Haters! Well done, Sir.

  • Beertjie on January 3, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    Great to read such a sober assessment, Jarrod. Spot on@ handyandy on (January 3, 2014, 10:48 GMT). Good to see Lynn so prominent this season and waiting eagerly to see how much touted others fare. Of course, there are always the likes of Hughes to recall! @Unomaas on (January 3, 2014, 13:58 GMT), agree about the all pace attack at Centurion, but a good spinner is a necessity for the other two tests and with Clarke's recent luck with the toss, it will be interesting IF Aus can post a decent score. Time to man up, mates, or the Ashes will be shown up to be papering over the cracks.

  • RVC-38 on January 3, 2014, 22:18 GMT

    It is good Australia are playing the Saffers, it gives the neutrals someone to go for , fair dinkum who do you want to compare the Aussie attack to, England hahaha, India hahaha should have had a world record chase against them test 1 and beaten by 10 wickets again test 2 hahah and I remember Indian supporters bagging Steyn, IMO whether you like it or not, SA statistically are number 1 and Australia and Pakistan are next because they have world class spinners in Ajmal and Lyon ........... India hahahah oh sorry I forgot you do not like sledging...

  • ygkd on January 3, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    Australia's batting does not produce enough long-form spot-specialists. Limited-overs has killed that off. The bowling is much better, but injuries to the younger pace brigade are still too common especially amongst the very tall ( which is almost all of them). The reality is that South Africa are number one for a reason. They have spot-specialist batting and enough pace bowlers who come from different moulds not simply from the 6' 7" one with a dodgy back. Australia has some experienced old-style players like Clarke, Haddin and Harris who they rely on and an in-form Johnson, but much of the next generation are too pre-occupied with the Big Bash. How will that get Australia to number one in the Test rankings? Thanks to Kimber for putting some sanity into the media's offerings.

  • on January 3, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    "... If there were to be a World Test Championship, Australia would not be invited. That's not a myth, that's fact. It's also not a mistake, it's well earned..."

    Do you recall that silly comment Mr Kimber. It was August 2013.

    That is the problem with making predictions and assertions based on your own prejudices. You end up looking like a fool.

  • Shaggy076 on January 3, 2014, 20:40 GMT

    Now Jarrod analyse the South African batting ie still question marks on A Petersen, Duminy and Kallis replacement. Du Plessis record is comparable with Smith and Graeme Smith is on the decline. South Afrixas batting is better than ours but the gap is not as large as you make it sound. As for the bowling Steyn slightly better than Harris, Johnson in current form is better than Philander. I will give Morkel the edge over Siddle and thesppin bowling Lyon wins hands down - Again I will give it to South Africa but the gap is quite small.

  • Greatest_Game on January 3, 2014, 20:09 GMT

    @ xtrafalgarx challenged us to "Name one batsman, unless he is an all time great, who has come into a side and is a ready made match winner. What young player is consistent straight away after walking into a test team?"

    What an easy out - unless he is an all time great. A clever way to negate any "young player (who) is consistent straight away after walking into a test team?"

    Check the records of Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock. That chappie Tendulkar came in at a young age & seemed to do well right away. But should we discount them as all time greats?

    Here's news. When they walk into the team they are not all time greats, they are nobody in their first match. Every single one of them - it is all the same. No player starts as an an all time great!

    What you are saying is "name one batsman who did not suck when he started, except for all those batsmen who did not suck when they started.

    Dude, you are beginning to sound like McDermott!.

  • Greatest_Game on January 3, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    @ xtrafalgarx. Who are the Aus attack? CA pick a dozen or more a year. If you have a cricket ball, a run-up & a heartbeat you are automatically an Aus bowler. Agar, Ahmed, Beer, Bird, Cummins, Coulter-Nile, Doherty, Faulkner, Harris, Hastings, Hazlewood, Henriques, Hilfenhaus, Johnson, Lyon, Maxwell, McKay, Pattinson, Siddle, Smith, Starc, Watson, & maybe a few others I've missed, all are/have been/may be/who knows part of Australia's "bowling attack."

    That's 22 players - 2 full cricket teams. Starc & Pattinson are veterans with 12 tests each! Harris an old timer with 19! Even Rob Quiney bowled his 25 overs, conceding just 29. He also scored 9, so does that makes him an all-rounder in Aus?

    If McDermott thinks Aus have the best attack he is selling snake oil. Aus do have the most BLOATED bowling attack in the world, just like the fans' inflated opinions of their team after they finally won a test series, even if only against the miserable, 'fell for their own hype & imploded' Poms.

  • Greatest_Game on January 3, 2014, 19:23 GMT

    At long last a, writer who grasps the screamingly obvious subtleties of the 'best bowling attack' debate!

    Jarrod writes "Australia have the best bowling attack in the world." It's something you may have heard more than once. Lazy commentators say it, showing that they don't follow the cricket outside of Australia. Coaches have said it, despite the fact it is their job to know how good other countries are. It's not the best bowling attack in the world (unless South Africa has been voted off the planet)."

    Jarrod has the honesty to state the disturbing truth that journalists & coaches deliberately ignore the superiority of SA's attack. Steyn & Philander are well atop the rankings for good reason!. It is a disgrace that supposed pundits refuse to admit the inconvenient truth that the Saffas who keep beating all are truly the best, & justifiably #1.

    Pretending SA does not exist will not magically solve any team's problems. Bowlers don't bowl better if lied to. There's no shame in honesty

  • SICHO on January 3, 2014, 18:43 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx funny you mention all those names, if only half of them can step in the field for more than 6 sessions. (one dimensional) Hilfenhous, Pattinson, Bird, Hastings, Starc, its not like these guys have set the world on fire against quality oppositions. Some of those guys were miserable and pathetic against England, some were carted all over the WACA by Amla, Smith and AB(including Johnson).

    Like you said, you don't know anything about the back-up except for De Lange and Abbott. The same way you never knew who Philander was is until he destroyed Australia. Its not like you also knew about De Lange and Abbott up until they made their debut. So your knowledge of SA back-up is narrow and limited. Lol funny you mention Lyon like he's the new Murali. He's no different from Robbie P, he's only good when batsman go after him. Nothing more. The difference is that the SA pacers are too good to depend on a spinner like the Australians.

  • kenna123 on January 3, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    Smack bang on the money. We also have no batsmen coming through Shield cricket to put pressure on anyone in the side. Winning is papering over the cracks. We need some batsmen to start scoring runs in FC. Doolan getting picked with a FC ave of 37? Bailey getting picked at around the same? Madness.

    Hughes is one that definitely has to be on the trip to SA. Best young batsmen in AUS by a mile, and has form with 3 centuries(including a double) in his last 4 first class matches. He's scored the runs, he deserves another shot. I would give him a shot at no. 6. Watto holds the number 3 spot(as long as he bowls) until we find a decent replacement.

  • soviet-cricket on January 3, 2014, 17:20 GMT

    SA 3 fully fit + 3 fully fit backup vs Aus 4 train trash + 7 injure prone back up attack

  • NixNixon on January 3, 2014, 16:45 GMT

    Jarred great article. Im a big fan of your honesty and deep insight on the game. As far as some of the comments go, its laughable that some actually believe that australia has a better pace attack than sa lol!

  • Nickoshot on January 3, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    This series has really be the battle of the last five wickets Australias top order has average 136-5 in the first innings the second 5 wickets 215. Haddin destroyed moral and scored important runs then Mitchel Johnson has blasted out Englands final five leaving England in deficit.

    Joint man of the series for me

  • xtrafalgarx on January 3, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    Also about the bowling, i think you are selling McDermott short Jarrod. He said he thinks Australia has the best "attack" in the world, not just the current guys but by the back ups. You judge attacks on the quality of the guys not playing. Steyn, Morkel and Philander a fantastic, but De Lange, Abbott are good bowlers but mostly inconsistent and no where near the class of their predecessors, and we havn't heard or seen many of the others.

    Contrast that to Australia, If it's not Harris,Johnson,Siddle it's Pattinson,Starc,Cummins, then it's Bird, Bollinger, Coulter-nile then it's Hilfenhaus, Bird, Hazelwood then Cutting,Hastings, McKay so on and so forth. THAT'S FIVE ATTACKS! All ranging from very good to decent in skill.

    Also considering that SA don't have a spinner half as good as Lyon as chicko said, I would say Australia has the best attack in the world. So much depth in terms of fast bowling it's mind boggling, more than any other country i can think of by a country mile!

  • B.C.G on January 3, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    @Mitty2-Why mention the 44 yrs on & on & on?Isn't history meant to be rewritten.Just because they haven't lost in 44 doesn't mean they wont lose one in the 45th.

    We chased 310.Yeah also add inside/outside edged;chinese cut 310.Haddin & Khawaja the most guilty.

    ' Saffer bowling line up will never be deemed great because of their lack of spinner'.Oh so Lyon with an avg. of 33 is grt.The last time Lyon bowled against SA,his arms almost fell off bowling in Adelaide.Also SAfrica have played Ajmal & co. in the UAE & have won a test & the ODI's 4-1.Lyon having success seems remote.

    The 500s were scored on deliberately prepared glass flat pitches to negate Steyn & co.Plz answer this-In the one test(Perth) which had some life,'Bradmansque 'Clarke flopped in both innings as did the others.

    Being optimistic ain't bad but this is fantasy.

  • xtrafalgarx on January 3, 2014, 14:25 GMT

    Ridiculous sentiments being written here. Name one batsman, unless he is an all time great, who has come into a side and is a ready made match winner. What young player is consistent straight away after walking into a test team? Langer, Hayden, Martyn, Waugh - All these guys struggled in the early years in the team and all went on to be Australian greats.

    Smith is inconsistent, Of course he is! Look around the world, how many 24 years olds are!? Guys like Virat Kohli and Pujara are the exceptions but i think those guys will be classed along some the batting greats to be honest.

  • Unomaas on January 3, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    Agree with the article premise! The top 6 aussie batter stocks have been inflated and were it not for Haddin, it would have been a repeat of the tame pom ashes series.

    If we really had to be honest, the aussies totally negated the Pom's bowling attack through pitch preparation and crowd terrorising. Jimmy Anderson skillful as he is, ain't gonna scare anyone with his bowling.

    The success to bowling in Aus was laid out in the days of Lillee. If you wanna compete, get yourself a fast agressive bowler willing to sledge and hurt batsmen, a skillful seam bowler who can maximise pitch conditions and a tireless workhorse that can keep in tight. Throw in a spinner or 4th seamer to carry the extra load.The pom's don't quite live up to the expectation but the saffa's do.

    I'm expecting a bowlers fire fight on green mamba's when the aussies land in SAF. The winner will be determined by which batting group can endure the best. I'd even say that SAF will field an all pace attack at Centurion.

  • on January 3, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    Excellent article!! There is so much more this team needs to work at. But this series is a start. And a good start will get better in Feb.

  • foozball on January 3, 2014, 12:57 GMT

    @AidanFX, it's not the bowling that's the problem. Maybe you missed the 90% of the article that focussed on the top 6 batting positions. Oh, and the article's title.

  • on January 3, 2014, 12:55 GMT

    chicko1983, I'm sure Ryan McLaren will surprise you greatly as he pings out Shane Watson, again and again, if he gets past Philander and his Jedi seaming powers. Also a very competent no 7 batsmen. The other option is to put Robin Peterson at 7, and play Marchant de Lange, or Kyle Abbott. The Kallis bowling hole can be filled; let's hope that Faf bats like he did in Australia.

  • ArunKRajendran on January 3, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    I loved this one in particular , " To beat them, you have to shove Graeme Smith aside. Confuse Hashim Amla. Hope AB de Villiers is tired. Then survive the bowling attack. And do it all quickly in a shortened series. " so what India did in the SA tests almost shoved Smith aside, confused Amla for sure and survived the bowling attack for all but 1 session of play, so why did they lose still ?? AB wasn't tired :- )

  • chicko1983 on January 3, 2014, 12:15 GMT

    Jarrod, Sth Africa don't have a spinner half as good as Lyon. The spinner is included in the bowling attack. Also, Kali's now being retired, Sth Africa don't have a fourth seamer, whereas Australia have Watson. Harris is as good as philander, when fit, and Johnson will trouble smith, again. Morne is currently under an injury cloud and was only doubtful to start the second recent test, but did well. Steyn averaged 32 for the two tests against India. So at the moment, I would say the overall Aussie attack of Harris, siddle, Johnson, Lyon, and Watson is the best and most rounded in test cricket at the moment. Steyn and philander and morkel are very good but Sth Africa will need one or two more bowlers otherwise the big three will be overworked.

  • on January 3, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    Except for india (for a very short time) with exceptional batsman conquered the number 1 ranking. But with really set of bowlers, it is possible to attain the ranking. As long as these australian bowlers can bowl well for the next few years, they would be able to challenge the number 1 ranking with one or two exceptional batsman. Offcourse, they have to play against SA and beat them convincingly to get the people's verdict as a number 1 test nation !

  • on January 3, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    You haven't mentioned, an up and coming young NZ side who have just added Ryder to their list, remember we drew the last series in Aussie when Boult debut, watch out were coming after you. Latham and Rutherford to open

  • on January 3, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    AWESOME ,I just kept reading and reading and reading and more reading , its so damn funny and at the same time DEAD-SERIOUS. Jarrod, oh boy, keep writing man , I know Australia wont turn up No.1 in the next 2 years at least but u my friend are surely THE NO.1 WRITER . Great Article , more please!

  • AidanFX on January 3, 2014, 11:36 GMT

    Pattinson, M Marsh, Starc, Cummins, Hughes, Maddinson - along with Lyon, Smith - There is plenty of talented youth around.

  • vj_gooner on January 3, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    Whatever said here is pretty true. Another brilliant column Mr.Kimber!

  • foeofdevil on January 3, 2014, 11:20 GMT

    Yeah, Haddin is impressive with his batting, playing match saving knocks throughout the series. Man of the series he, on my opinion.Nice to see him playing bold without any shaky legs.Rest of the Aussie team surviving every test particularly.One more tough bowler and a well settled top order may get them their dream NO.1.

  • on January 3, 2014, 11:19 GMT

    I couldn't agree more with this article. We should not get drunk on our own success in this series as the weaknesses are obvious for all too see. It is sad to see that Alex Doolan's first class record isn't exactly setting the world on fire either. But having said that, we are heading in the right direction and are infinitely more competitive then we were in Lords in 2013.

  • Tova on January 3, 2014, 10:59 GMT

    As an Aussie supporter I reckon this article is pretty accurate. With our under performing batting lineup, I am still shocked that we could possibly win this series 5-0!

  • on January 3, 2014, 10:56 GMT

    fantastic article focusing on the reality

  • Amit_13 on January 3, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    A tad harsh! Haddin and Rogers are to be celebrated for not giving up, EVER! At their age, they kept their ambition alive to play for their country and win. They are doing that. No one controls the game, the pitch, the swing or David Warner. But these two have kept a lid on things that seemed willing to explode at times. Never know, the next thing CA preaches might be the Hussey, Haddin and Rogers method of making to test cricket... LATE!

  • handyandy on January 3, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    Absolutely correct ... this isn't the beginning of a new era for Australia.Australia's top performing cricketers are unlikely to be around for more than a couple of more years.

    For Australia to move forward a number of younger cricketers are going to have to step up over the next few seasons.

  • Ms.Cricket on January 3, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    The margin between success and failure is a fine one. Australia are up because Haddin and Johnson have fired, otherwise it was as close as the last Ashes series in England was where Bell and Broad were the men of the hour.

  • cric_freakNo2 on January 3, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    Excellent Article :) perfect Justification of why South Africa should be number 1 team in world.Until Aussies find five geniune batsmen,No.1 is out of their reach.For india, until they find 4 bowlers who can take 20 wickets each and every test(which isnt possible outside INDIA)they have no right to be No.1.

  • Brett_in_China on January 3, 2014, 10:26 GMT

    Jarrod, you are really reaching here. "Haddin as the permanent saviour was enough to win the Ashes. And it may be enough to win 5-0." If England were ANYWHERE near good enough, it would not be (maybe) 5-0. I agree, the top order are not good enough. And there you have a point. But you are really trying to take the spotlight of England's abysmal performance. Why not talk about the lack of discipline from England when bowling to Haddin? Why not talk about the dreadful feilding? And you aren't going to mention Melbourne? "Beating England, while that team is in emotional freefall, at home is just a step in the right direction, not anything more." Why are England in emotional freefall? Poor luvvies. They are not good enough. Australia are. Yes, there is South Africa to come. It will be a very good test of skills. And I bet if the result does not go the way you are implying - not stating - you certainly won't refer back to this article. Unless you use it to to describe South Africa.

  • on January 3, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    I would concur entirely with what Jarrod says. It was a case of how poor England has been and not how great the Australian team is.

  • PutMarshyOn on January 3, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    Too true, too true. And it isn't as though we are all deafened by those banging on the door. Aust batting is in a sorry state but I guess if that is pointed out CA will point to the Ashes.

    There is some hope against SA. Mighty batting line-ups have been undone by good pace attacks before (e.g. 2005 Ashes), and the SA lineup is less mighty without Kallis. Still SA have 3 out and out star batters, we have 1. Can't see anything other than an SA win.

  • tinkertinker on January 3, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    Also just a passing mention in this article of the man who actually made a 100 today...you know smith one of those same top 6 bats who apparently failed again today...

  • Bonehead_maz on January 3, 2014, 10:06 GMT

    "Australia failed, England failed harder. Haddin prevailed." is absolutely perfect. Haddin has however (apart from Melbourne) always had a partner. The damage of Haddin + outweighs even Mitch ? (he had good help !)

  • Mitty2 on January 3, 2014, 10:05 GMT

    Oh and shall I continue? We scored over 500 twice in a row vs this great SA bowling attack with a batting line up that included a way past it Ponting, a not up to it Quiney, a 30 averaging Cowan, a cant use his feet Warner and the worst Australian keeper for the last 30 years. It is a universal fact that the Saffer bowling line up will never be deemed great because of their lack of spinner (that Tahir Adelaide game still makes me laugh) and once/if you see off the new ball, scoring becomes very easy (to where even Vijay and Rahane - two batters who havent had a FC game outside India - can cash in) and often, because of the fact that Graeme Smith rivals Cook as the most defensive/reactive captain in world cricket, scoring is often quick. Oh and to say it again, we have not lost a series in SA in 44 years. 44. This even with the average touring 2011 side.

  • Mitty2 on January 3, 2014, 9:57 GMT

    I dont understand you, Jarrod. Let's just understand this - you say England are in mental freefall, but that's only because of Australia. Swann has taken over 250 wickets, so too Anderson (over 300), Broad over 200 and Panesar over 150. All but broad have been smashed despite very good careers. Swann/anderson have been compared to Warmer/Mcgrath. Anderson has been compared with the best bowler of this generation. Credit to the batting line up for monstering such an experienced, successful batting line up, no? Warner (likely could have had 3), clarke, smith (who averages above 50 at no. 5, jarrod) all have two centuries, and Watson, Haddin and Rogers have centuries each. No English batsmen have a century - only a kiwi. We have scored over 400 so many more times than England. We have not lost a series in SA for 44 years. We have scored almost a 1000 more runs than england have. We have a better batting line up in 2011 (when we last played in SA) where we chased 310. Poor article.

  • on January 3, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    Worried about Warner ! Seems to be losing his focus ... Needs to play with caution in the first innings and put more price on his wicket... SA and Eng(At their home) ll not be as generous !

  • on January 3, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    Brilliant article ! As usual Kimber is spot on about the players ... Smith needs to be more consistent than hit or miss to be spoken as the next aussie captain ... Someone like Lynn could replace Bailey for the SA series .... Watson needs to go ... Replace him with Burns/Khawaja at number 3 !

  • venkatesh018 on January 3, 2014, 9:47 GMT

    Can't agree with you more Jarrod. If Aussies win 5-0, it would have done so with one of the weakest "Australian top six" ever seen in an Ashes.

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  • venkatesh018 on January 3, 2014, 9:47 GMT

    Can't agree with you more Jarrod. If Aussies win 5-0, it would have done so with one of the weakest "Australian top six" ever seen in an Ashes.

  • on January 3, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    Brilliant article ! As usual Kimber is spot on about the players ... Smith needs to be more consistent than hit or miss to be spoken as the next aussie captain ... Someone like Lynn could replace Bailey for the SA series .... Watson needs to go ... Replace him with Burns/Khawaja at number 3 !

  • on January 3, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    Worried about Warner ! Seems to be losing his focus ... Needs to play with caution in the first innings and put more price on his wicket... SA and Eng(At their home) ll not be as generous !

  • Mitty2 on January 3, 2014, 9:57 GMT

    I dont understand you, Jarrod. Let's just understand this - you say England are in mental freefall, but that's only because of Australia. Swann has taken over 250 wickets, so too Anderson (over 300), Broad over 200 and Panesar over 150. All but broad have been smashed despite very good careers. Swann/anderson have been compared to Warmer/Mcgrath. Anderson has been compared with the best bowler of this generation. Credit to the batting line up for monstering such an experienced, successful batting line up, no? Warner (likely could have had 3), clarke, smith (who averages above 50 at no. 5, jarrod) all have two centuries, and Watson, Haddin and Rogers have centuries each. No English batsmen have a century - only a kiwi. We have scored over 400 so many more times than England. We have not lost a series in SA for 44 years. We have scored almost a 1000 more runs than england have. We have a better batting line up in 2011 (when we last played in SA) where we chased 310. Poor article.

  • Mitty2 on January 3, 2014, 10:05 GMT

    Oh and shall I continue? We scored over 500 twice in a row vs this great SA bowling attack with a batting line up that included a way past it Ponting, a not up to it Quiney, a 30 averaging Cowan, a cant use his feet Warner and the worst Australian keeper for the last 30 years. It is a universal fact that the Saffer bowling line up will never be deemed great because of their lack of spinner (that Tahir Adelaide game still makes me laugh) and once/if you see off the new ball, scoring becomes very easy (to where even Vijay and Rahane - two batters who havent had a FC game outside India - can cash in) and often, because of the fact that Graeme Smith rivals Cook as the most defensive/reactive captain in world cricket, scoring is often quick. Oh and to say it again, we have not lost a series in SA in 44 years. 44. This even with the average touring 2011 side.

  • Bonehead_maz on January 3, 2014, 10:06 GMT

    "Australia failed, England failed harder. Haddin prevailed." is absolutely perfect. Haddin has however (apart from Melbourne) always had a partner. The damage of Haddin + outweighs even Mitch ? (he had good help !)

  • tinkertinker on January 3, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    Also just a passing mention in this article of the man who actually made a 100 today...you know smith one of those same top 6 bats who apparently failed again today...

  • PutMarshyOn on January 3, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    Too true, too true. And it isn't as though we are all deafened by those banging on the door. Aust batting is in a sorry state but I guess if that is pointed out CA will point to the Ashes.

    There is some hope against SA. Mighty batting line-ups have been undone by good pace attacks before (e.g. 2005 Ashes), and the SA lineup is less mighty without Kallis. Still SA have 3 out and out star batters, we have 1. Can't see anything other than an SA win.

  • on January 3, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    I would concur entirely with what Jarrod says. It was a case of how poor England has been and not how great the Australian team is.

  • Brett_in_China on January 3, 2014, 10:26 GMT

    Jarrod, you are really reaching here. "Haddin as the permanent saviour was enough to win the Ashes. And it may be enough to win 5-0." If England were ANYWHERE near good enough, it would not be (maybe) 5-0. I agree, the top order are not good enough. And there you have a point. But you are really trying to take the spotlight of England's abysmal performance. Why not talk about the lack of discipline from England when bowling to Haddin? Why not talk about the dreadful feilding? And you aren't going to mention Melbourne? "Beating England, while that team is in emotional freefall, at home is just a step in the right direction, not anything more." Why are England in emotional freefall? Poor luvvies. They are not good enough. Australia are. Yes, there is South Africa to come. It will be a very good test of skills. And I bet if the result does not go the way you are implying - not stating - you certainly won't refer back to this article. Unless you use it to to describe South Africa.