The Ashes 2010-11 December 9, 2010

Gough can't see Australia winning a Test


Darren Gough believes there is no way back for Australia in the Ashes and can't see them winning a Test regardless of who makes up their bowling attack. The situation has become so desperate for the hosts that there are growing calls for Shane Warne to make a comeback but, while Gough thinks the legspinner would seriously consider it, he says Cricket Australia can't be seen to be making such a backward step.

As England completed their crushing innings-and-71-run victory in Adelaide, a campaign was launched to encourage Warne - who last played Tests four years ago - out of retirement to help salvage the series. Bookmakers have cut their odds on such a move, and a website has been launched to raise money, while Warne himself called the talk "flattering".

"It's not going happen. If someone rang Shane and said 'we really need you' I think he'd probably say yes, but Cricket Australia just aren't going to do that," Gough, who struck up a close friendship with Warne during their playing days, told ESPNcricinfo. "They would never ask him because it would be going back on their own statement to back youth. It just won't happen.

"I can't see how they are going to win a game," Gough added. "Their best chance is at Perth where their record is very good, but England have got players who all play well off the back foot so they won't be worried about extra bounce - they'll actually enjoy it. I just can't see that they have the bowlers, whoever they pick, to bowl England out twice."

Gough is bemused by the decision to dump Mitchell Johnson for the second Test despite his wicketless display at Brisbane and thinks the selectors will have to immediately backtrack on that call for Perth. Johnson is currently working with Troy Cooley at the WACA, rather than playing for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield, and could be one of three players recalled alongside Ben Hilfenhaus and Nathan Hauritz.

"The reason they are struggling is because they can't take 20 wickets," Gough, speaking at the Red Tractor beef and lamb launch 'Give the Bird a Break', said. "They left out their best strike bowler in Mitchell Johnson which was a total surprise to me. He's the one guy who can bowl a team out and Ricky Ponting knows that and that's why he has backed him in the media. It will be interesting to see which way they go. They'll have to bring Johnson back to partner Ryan Harris so they have two strike bowlers."

England will also need to make a change to their attack for Perth after Stuart Broad was ruled out for the rest of the tour with a stomach injury. The three reserve quicks - Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad - will play against Victoria in a three-day match starting on Friday and despite his strong Yorkshire connection, Gough would go with Tremlett for the Test match.

"If it had been any other pitch over there I'd have gone for Tim Bresnan but I just think we need that bit of extra firepower at Perth where there's a touch more bounce," he said. "You look at history and the guys that have done well there are the tall bowlers - Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Glenn McGrath - the guys who can hit back-of-a-length to make the most of the extra bounce and carry. That's the only reason I'd favour Tremlett. Bresnan is a fine bowler and in any other conditions I think he'd be the man.

"I think Tremlett has developed a lot over the last few years and his move to Surrey has clearly helped him. The key for England is to continue to be positive and I think Tremlett is the man who can help them do that in Perth," Gough added. "He would send out a positive message that England aren't going to sit back on their 1-0 lead. However, if they come across some flatter pitches later in the series I'd play Bresnan because he bowls good reverse swing and accurately. For this Test, though, they need to replace Broad's wicket-taking ability."

Gough has huge sympathy for Broad having twice experienced the major disappointment of leaving an Ashes tour. In 1994-95 Gough had produced a fine all-round performance in Sydney with 51 and 6 for 49 but then suffered a stress fracture of his foot, and eight years later returned home without playing a game. "He'll be distraught," Gough said. "An Ashes tour is the one you want to play on. I came home from my first Ashes tour and my last - without bowling a ball in 2002 - so I know exactly how he'll be feeling right now."

Darren Gough is launching the 'Give the Bird a Break' virtual Christmas cooking school for men together with Red Tractor beef and lamb. For his recipe videos and top tips visit

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Martin on December 14, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    Usually, in test matches - both teams play on the same pitch. Usually, the better team wins. At the Oval in 2009 Australia had openings on several occasions - they just weren't good enough to take them. Aus got bowled out for 160ish after being about 0/80ish. You can't win test matches playing like that on any surface. I seem to remember Eng being reduced to about 3/40 in 2nd Inns they couldn't put England away. Australia frankly - they just weren't good enough to win or even draw. Same goes for Adelaide 2010. It may be hard for you to accept that Marcio - but it needs to be faced. Bluff doesn't win test matches.

  • Marcio on December 14, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    @5wombats "In fact SA only managed to scramble a draw in the final test as a result of a pitch specially prepared for their bowlers." Pot kettle black. Short memory of the dustbowl you guys whipped up for the 5th test last ashes series?

  • Martin on December 13, 2010, 21:52 GMT

    The usual silly, factually incorrect stuff here. @CricketFan1980; SA v Eng series was DRAWN my friend. In fact SA only managed to scramble a draw in the final test as a result of a pitch specially prepared for their bowlers. As for the Eng series in India - umpires played their part in that.... Goughie is right; Aus won't win a game in this series. @LePom - bang on comments; "For a while Australia has managed to hide its decline by a mixture of bluff and reputation, but the bluff has been called and the reputation is in tatters". This is how Australia fronted up in England summer 2009. And they lost. Bluff doesn't win test matches.

  • kiran on December 13, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    I don't think Australia are going to give England the easy cake walk gough is expecting. Australia sill definitely come back very very strong. i expect Ponting to come out firing. Johnson and Harris would definitely bowl a lot better and i look forward to these guys to make Australia win this test.

  • md on December 12, 2010, 20:03 GMT

    I guess English are getting carried away with just one victory. Remember Indian Team were also in the same position in 2003-04 tour of Australia where the first match was drawn at brisbane and in Adelaide India won the match and were leading the series but in the next game at Melbourne Australia turned it around by leveling the series. I guess English Team and their media are prematurely getting excited which their habit since they always been suffering at the hand of Australia. Moreover,too much is being made of this victory.It must be seen as any other victory.

  • Jack on December 12, 2010, 18:58 GMT

    Great logic, Goughie- the pitch has bounce so play someone who already ought to get bounce on any wicket. Seriously, I'd play Bresnan and Shahzad-who will both get bounce at the WACA if its needed- and drop Swann. Pietersen and Strauss both are in the wickets and can provide spin if needed (!) but pace wins at the WACA, not spin. As it is, Australia are the team who bizarrely might end up with the right kind of selection if only because they have no decent spinner that would feel obliged to play (sorry Beer - you aren't even a half-decent spinner!). Thus, I make Oz slight favourites - Johnson can't be as bad as he was at the Gabba. Can he?

  • Dummy4 on December 12, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    To Vivekanand Joshi, I agree with you about sleeping lions being dangerous and I believe if England (I am English by the way) are over complacent they will let Australia in the door. You mentioned Ponting being likely to score big at Perth because he will feel his position as Captain under pressure of being axed. Well...i've got something to say about that. if Ponting does score BIG then you have to question his loyalty to his country and his selflessness because if he can only score highly when his position is under pressure then perhaps the Aussie selectors should threaten him with the sack every match. Ponting needs to come down off his cloud and start playing for his team rather than his own personal fate...and the same is to be said of Hussey and Clarke who will only perform better suddenly it seems when there's talk of them being dropped. They are too inconsistent.

  • Amit on December 12, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    "Wicket taking ability of Stuart Broad" - HAH! What a joke!! Broad is the most over-rated cricketer in the world together with Harbhajan Singh. 99 wickets in 35 test matches at an average in mid-to-higher 30s, well figures do speak for themselves. Someone who cannot even average 3 wickets per test match is an ordinary bowler. And only ordinary bowlers get hit for six sixes in an over.

  • Dummy4 on December 12, 2010, 11:00 GMT

    @ CricketFan1980 "Keep in mind that England dropped quite a few catches against Victoria as we speak" Two of them were by Prior, who was fielding out of position and was only in the side to get some batting practice and one hard chance by Davies who won't even be in the side in the next test. So to pin any hopes that this bodes well for Oz is clutching at straws..

  • David on December 12, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    No offence Darren but stick to dancing or is it cooking now either one is hopefully better than your bowling was. The aussie team reminds me of the English team 5 years ago so perhaps we need to use the same strategy as them Eg look for some South African second stringers with obscure links to Australia so they can play for us.

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