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December 5, 2010
Ian Chappell believes Australia's selectors may be forced to skip a generation in a bid to identify a new attack leader, after the three seamers chosen for the second Test at Adelaide - Doug Bollinger, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle - suffered one of Australia's most demoralising days in the field in recent Ashes history.
On a blisteringly hot day, with temperatures exceeding 37 degrees, England's batsmen cruised to 2 for 317, a lead of 72, with Alastair Cook racking up his second consecutive hundred in a tally of 371 runs since his last dismissal on the opening day of the series. Though Australia had their chances early on, most notably when Jonathan Trott survived a run-out chance and a catch in the gully in quick succession, England cashed in with alacrity as soon as the new ball threat had been negated.
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Chappell nominated the 19-year-old Josh Hazlewood, who is currently sidelined with a stress fracture, as the type of player in whom they will have to invest, much as was the case during their last period of rebuilding in the 1980s, when Craig McDermott was also blooded as a teenager. "The fast bowlers I see are handy back-up guys, but not attack leaders, not even into the future," he said. "Australia has got to be looking outside this group and into the next group.
"One of the problems for Australia, if you're a batting side, you say to yourself they've got efficient fast bowlers, but they don't have an attack leader," he added. "Mitchell Johnson was for a little while, and that's why he was such a big loss to the team, even if he was an inconsistent bowling leader.
"Before him there was Brett Lee, before him obviously Glenn McGrath, and before him Craig McDermott and Merv Hughes. These are the fellows you look to on a day like [yesterday], if they get a wicket it helps the rest of the attack. Instead England looked to the scoreboard and thought, let's get on top of them, let's grind them down, because they haven't got that guy who can come back and break open the innings."
Despite his criticism, Chappell said he admired the efforts that the current attack had put in, but felt they were badly let down by their fielders and afterwards lacked the skills to get back on level terms. "Australia had to get early wickets and keep England in bounds," he said. "They got as big a gift as Australia gave on the first day, when Andrew Strauss made a monumental blunder. But they needed to go on from there.
"One of the reasons why Bollinger and Harris were brought in was not just their bowling ability, but they are the type of guys who give you all you've got," he said. "When it's such a hot day, and Saturday was the worst type of hot day, with that hot northerly wind, it's terrible. You've got to know in the back of your mind on such a day, you can't afford to miss opportunities."
One man who didn't offer a single opportunity throughout his day's work, however, was Cook, who finished the day on 136 not out, having compiled an innings that Chappell believed epitomised England's single-minded attitude to their Ashes campaign.
"I'm staggered at his endurance ability," he said. "Forget the batting, just look at the endurance he showed to back up such a long stint at the crease at Brisbane and repeat the dose here at Adelaide. England have talked a lot in the lead-up about how they were determined to make this a special series, but it's one thing to talk about it, you've actually got to do, and England are doing it."
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala