Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 3rd day December 5, 2010

Australia feeling hurt - Watson


Often the Australian cricket team seems removed from the thought patterns of the rest of the country, but over the past week the players have been asking the same question as everyone else. Why aren't they taking wickets?

In England's past two innings they have scored 1068 runs for the loss of only five batsmen, and they still aren't finished after being 4 for 551 when rain arrived at tea. "That's something we've been talking about the last week, really," Shane Watson said. "What are the reasons why we haven't been able to get as many wickets as we would have liked?"

He blames fine England batting and Australian bowling that has been unable to build and then sustain pressure. The same problems were highlighted and discussed after the draw at the Gabba, but there have been no answers provided despite a re-worked attack that includes Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris.

"You can't take anything away from the English, they have batted very well, Alastair Cook especially through these last two Tests," Watson said. "His concentration is something we have to do as batters, and stay out there for long periods of time. The wickets have been fairly flat, but that's no excuse as well. We're skilled enough to make the most of what's out there."

Cook was dismissed early in the day when he was caught behind off Harris, but then it was Kevin Pietersen's turn to burn off a long period of frustration during a masterful 213 not out. Once again, Pietersen and his team-mates were allowed to wait for the full ball on their legs or the short one outside off. Throughout this innings they have scored at almost four an over with only pockets of danger from the hosts.

"It is unfortunate and it's very disappointing we're where we are," Watson said. "But there's a couple of days for us to do everything we possibly can to draw the game." That task first depends on an England declaration, and the response will then start with the opener Simon Katich under a fitness cloud.

Katich hurt his heel and didn't field late in the day, but he is determined to make some impact on this match after being run-out without facing a ball in the first over on Friday. "It's going to be interesting to see our running between wickets after the first innings," Watson said. "If I call it might make things a little bit easier. He'll be sweet. He'll be out there fighting his heart out."

England's position has become so strong - even though the series score-line is still 0-0 - that the Australians are admitting to the pain of being so unthreatening. "It hurts," Watson said. "It hurts in general whether it's in our own conditions or anywhere else around the world. We have so far been outplayed in these three days, that's the reason why it does hurt, because what we've been doing hasn't been good enough."

Despite the state of the match - England have a lead of 306 - Watson still believes. "I never doubt our ability and our talent," he said. "It's more so what we can produce on the day and the last three days haven't been good and they have been better than us, no doubt.

"The only way we can turn that around, in this game anyway, is to bat as long as we possibly can." The rain may encourage Australia again, with showers forecast over the rest of the contest, but in their current state, even that might not be enough.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 7, 2010, 14:08 GMT

    credit to england played some good cricket espeacially with the bat,aussie down but not out,i am expecting to watch some good episodes from the aussie team in their home soil.

  • ganesh on December 6, 2010, 5:49 GMT

    Currntly looking upto the squad of aussie..there is no bowler who can dominate the english such as mcgrath or warne...Last week as said by jef thompson....this is worst bowling attack since 30 yrs...Nothing can ponting can he himself is out of form....

  • Sage on December 6, 2010, 5:44 GMT

    Well, Shane Watson should not blame anyone. When Sri Lanka toured Australia the Aussies were too complacent and lost the series. Sri Lanka has improved a lot since lately and if given opportunity to play longer test series they will perform much better. But what did Ricky Ponting do, took a break of the last game and played Sheffield shield match. Now 4 test innings are gone, where is Ricky Ponting? I know he is a great batsman but looks like the Aussies are going to lose the ashes badly this time. I think England has a great cricketing side right now. The last two test innings Englishmen took the Aussies bowlers to task by scoring heavily. Mind you they are playing in Australia. Australian team is missing something…may be confidence? They also don't gel well.

  • Dummy4 on December 6, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    Its overconfidence thats killing Aussie cric. It seems they lost the plot to prepare next gen players - like it was done in past. Esp - when Waugh was captain - lot of new guys were mixed in the team and given chance to groom well. Recently - we have hardly seen any quality player being moulded properly. And here are the results. Just see - almost all AUS bowlers got chances recently and - they never tried to keep 1 or 2 as main weapons!!!

  • Mike on December 6, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    Is it possible to just call up Stuart Clark for this ashes series? He is the only bowler in Australia who seems to bowl the ball in the same place for a whole over.

    We need a Mcgrath badly. Not a pacey swinging hero bowler like we are picking. A steady line and lengther. Siddle should be doing it but just doesn't.

    Clark you seem to be the only one capable. Come back!

  • Dummy4 on December 6, 2010, 4:58 GMT

    Sorry to disagree with you Gopal but New Zealand has the worst bowling attack in tests by a country mile!!!

  • Anver on December 6, 2010, 4:49 GMT

    Top order batsmen's prolific form continues for ENG in the Ashes and dominating the series so far......but Aus will come back hard !!!!!!!!

  • Dave on December 6, 2010, 3:16 GMT

    i think the problem with current captains in the world is because they are batsmen. Captains are only important when in the team is in the field. Ponting and strauss both think like batsmen and hence cannot set proper attacking fields for bowlers. ponting is only captain because of warne's off-field transgressions, he is a great player but not a great thinker. We have seen great bowling captains in the form of kumble and imran khan as well as a pseudo-captain in warne (who should have been one), as they have a bowling mindset - get the batsmen out, and the intelligence to devise plans to get them out. They also understood what their bowlers want in the field by being bowlers themselves and can set fields accordingly. I think maybe teams would have more success if they employ bowlers as captains instead of employing batsmen.

  • Dave on December 6, 2010, 3:08 GMT

    the concept of selecting a young bowling attack is flawed. there needs to be a leader who is experienced who knows how to deal with bleak periods, which generally comes with age. aus best attack at the moment would be s. clark as the leader of the attack and mr reliable, bollinger for x-factor and mongrel, harris/hilfy for some swing which is vital to any attack, siddle to do the donkey work and okeefe should be blooded and persisted with as a spinner. Given aus main issue is not taking 20 wickets, 5 bowlers may be needed. As for the batting lineup, north needs to go asap, doesnt matter if he scores a double century in the 2nd innings. Clarke is a classy player and will come good, but maybe a layoff is required to get him fit.

  • Dummy4 on December 6, 2010, 0:45 GMT

    Australia has no answer in their own grounds they are no where against England team. The teamwork for Australia is very very time great team is crumbling. Ponting again one more failure as captain.needs lots of improvement

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