Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 4th day December 19, 2010

Unchanged Australia take confidence from Perth

62

Ricky Ponting has told his team to maintain its newly-found high standards after Australia's breakthrough victory ended a five-Test winless streak and squared the Ashes series. The crushing 267-run success gave the hosts some much-needed momentum as the sides heads to Melbourne for a Boxing Day Test that will now be a blockbuster.

"We got a nice old hiding in Adelaide last week and so to bounce back as drastically and dramatically as we have done, it says a lot about us and where we're at," Ponting said after missing the final morning with a broken little finger. The result caused a dramatic shift as the campaign swung in a similar way to the see-sawing 2009 Ashes in England.

"There was a lot of emotion in this win, we hadn't had much to celebrate up to now," Ponting said. "We have now set a new set of standards this week, this is the best way for us to play our cricket, and we have to maintain those standards. We have had a better team performance here than we have for a long time and it is important we don't take this for granted, but make sure this win is significant."

Australia have picked an unchanged 12 for Melbourne and have the option of adding a standby player if Ponting's injury continues to be a problem. Phillip Hughes and Steven Smith held their spots after unconvincing contributions and Michael Beer retains his place as Australia seek stability.

Beer, the left-arm spinner, was released to play for Western Australia in their Sheffield Shield loss to Tasmania and went wicket-less in 11 overs. Australia had huge success with a four-pronged pace attack at the WACA but will need more variety on the drop-in surface in Melbourne, where Beer is in line to debut in front of a crowd that could top 90,000.

"He's grown up in Melbourne his whole life, so he'll know what the conditions are going to be pretty much down there," Ponting said of Beer. "Whether he plays or not will depend on what the wicket looks like a couple of days before the game."

After the innings thrashing in Adelaide, Ponting thought "here we go again" when Australia slumped to 5 for 69 on the first day, but they recovered through the batting of Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson. Johnson then surged Australia ahead in England's first innings before he and Ryan Harris finished off the match.

The Australians were the target of fierce criticism after their performances in the first two Ashes Tests and this was the first time they have sung the team song since they beat Pakistan at Lord's in July. "It has been warranted," Ponting said of the public and media reaction over the past month. "Yes, it has been pretty harsh, but you expect that when you're not performing the way people want you to perform. That is the way the team has taken it.

"We've not been that worried about it, we've just tried to be better to give you guys something good to say about us and we've done that this week. The feeling around our group has been great and nothing has changed. I've just waited for it to click together like it has done this week and that is what makes me so proud of the guys."

The last Ashes series had a handful of key turning points and this campaign has a familiar feel as two solid sides trade blows without any knock-outs. England won the second game at Lord's after being out-played in the drawn opener, while Australia drew level in the fourth Test before losing the match and the urn at The Oval.

Ponting said his side had gained momentum and confidence after failing to grab it in Brisbane and Adelaide. "We've got the tide going back in our direction now and, more importantly, we've got some of our key players going well," he said. "Like Mitchell, who is on top of the world and has as much confidence as he's ever had in his career.

"Mike Hussey is in the same boat, as is [Shane Watson], Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus and Brad Haddin, so we've got a number of guys playing somewhere near their best and that is why I'm confident in this group. It is amazing what impact confidence and that winning feeling amongst the group can have. It can make the team achieve some special things."

Australia squad Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Steven Smith, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Michael Beer, Ben Hilfenhaus.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 23, 2010, 20:17 GMT

    Hauritz is the best spinner in the country at the moment, and a very handy bat---he has scored two recent centuries. But a bad tour of India now means that the selectors seem to be saying "you will no longer play for Australia". Even Warne never did well in India--but the selectors neglect that fact. Melbourne and Sydney are nothing like Perth and Australia needs a decent spinner. Honestly, can you say Beer is better than Hauritz--get real. With no quality spinner, I can't see Australia winning the Ashes. I can see Swan and Panesar wreaking havoc in Sydney---yes, England may play two spinners in Sydney, and with the selectors not willing to play Hauritz, our best spinner, and Sydney and Melbourne not having the bounce of Perth, spin friendly Sydney, you would still have to favour England

  • harry93 on December 22, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    @BPWC White is not in form - he's averaging 28 in the shield. Hodge hasn't even played a shield game.

  • landl47 on December 22, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    Ponting seems to be under the impression that Australia are now playing well. That simply isn't true. Hussey is batting well and holding the side together and even so Australia made less than 600 runs for 20 wickets in both the last two tests (they only made 28 more at Perth than at Adelaide). Johnson and Harris took 18 of the 20 English wickets in Perth, on a pitch that isn't likely to be repeated in Melbourne or Sydney. Johnson's spell of 4/7 was brilliant, but he doesn't have a history of consistency. Harris used the fast bounce and movement of Perth better than anyone, but he only got 2/84 at Adelaide and he was the best of the Aussie bowlers there. After that there's nothing much; Hilf hasn't bowled as well as I thought he would and Siddle has taken exactly one wicket in the last 2 tests and that was one of the luckiest dismissals he will ever get. No top-class spinner and 4 of the top 6 bats not contributing- that's not good form. It's England's turn to bounce back.

  • Hrazapak on December 21, 2010, 12:40 GMT

    yup thats right.....The Mighty Aussies are back in the business again!!!! Love to see Australia back to winning ways , but the job is not done yet ..there are two tests remaining and you guyz must also remember that if England wins any one of the two tests they are going to retain the Ashes

  • on December 21, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    For most people Australia's victory in the last test was very unexpected. Australia's team selection throughout the series has been so poor. I feel they have tried everything possible to keep Hauritz out of the team selection. Doherty was a terrible decision for the first 2 tests. North was and is a better bowler than Doherty. For a balanced side the Aussies need a quality spinner in the team. Hauritz should be in the starting XI for sure. Based on the series so far Australia are heavily reliant on the 5 players on form Hussey, Watson, Haddin, Harris and Johnson. They need few of the other six to start playing. Ponting looks nervous as a batsman. He needs to go back to basics and start playing game that has made him a great cricketer. Clarke and Hughes are really struggling too. Hilfenhaus should be dropped and surely Bollinger is a better option if fit. I think it will be an interesting game and if Australia lose it will because they'll be missing a quality spinner. Over and Out.

  • medphoto on December 21, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    This is a huge mistake, and as a Melbourne local i am sad to see Australia will pay for it with the ashes.

    Hauritz must play ahead of Beer, and the team cannot afford 5 passengers in the team like Hughes, Clarke and Ponting (and Smith for that matter). There are much more in form batsmen in the country like White, D Hussey, Hodge, Khawaja, Klinger or maybe even Ferguson or Marsh.

    As good an investment in the future Smith is, he can't possibly play as a batsman in the same class as Bell.

  • chad_reid on December 21, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    if aus want to win in Melbourne they need to play a spinner its a flat pitch and swann will have a good time on it. Hughes has been a failure for aus on many occasions plz give some one else a chance steven smith isn't ready for test cricket yet and hilfy and siddlel are basically hopeless when will stupid ponting and the selectors learn when their are other players who can take hughes and smiths spot and score runs and also replace hilfi and siddle and get wickets

  • Slobberdog on December 21, 2010, 3:07 GMT

    Pretty much the same view as Warren Smith. If selectors are going to insist on including a spinner, surely it has to be O'Keefe. He's the only one in the country with a 1st-class avg < 40. To expect Beer, Hauritz or Smith to make significant inroads into world-class batting line-ups is ridiculous. Prefer to see 4 quicks: Johnson, Harris, & two out of Bollinger (if fit), Hilfenhaus & Copeland (also quite economical). Variety is nice, but it's a bit like SAf in the 1990s: you can't pick what you don't have. Lately, it seems like the selectors are trying to invent a spinner. Smith's batting looks inept, but selectors will retain him because half the batting line-up is out of form, his age & the fact that he bowls a bit of spin. They'll probably end up carrying a half-baked all-rounder in the side for a few series until finally they realise he's not the future of Aus cricket. With so many batsmen failing to deliver, you wonder why selectors have gone for the struggling Hughes over Khawaja.

  • chad_reid on December 21, 2010, 3:00 GMT

    if aus want to win in Melbourne they need to play a spinner its a flat pitch and swann will have a good time on it. Hughes has been a failure for aus on many occasions plz give some one else a chance steven smith isn't ready for test cricket yet and hilfy and siddlel are basically hopeless when will stupid ponting and the selectors learn when their are other players who can take hughes and smiths spot and score runs and also replace hilfi and siddle and get wickets

  • the_J_man on December 21, 2010, 1:52 GMT

    i've seen grannie's on walkers with better foot work than hughes has at the moment .this kid will never recover from the damage being done to him by the incompetance of hilditch

  • on December 23, 2010, 20:17 GMT

    Hauritz is the best spinner in the country at the moment, and a very handy bat---he has scored two recent centuries. But a bad tour of India now means that the selectors seem to be saying "you will no longer play for Australia". Even Warne never did well in India--but the selectors neglect that fact. Melbourne and Sydney are nothing like Perth and Australia needs a decent spinner. Honestly, can you say Beer is better than Hauritz--get real. With no quality spinner, I can't see Australia winning the Ashes. I can see Swan and Panesar wreaking havoc in Sydney---yes, England may play two spinners in Sydney, and with the selectors not willing to play Hauritz, our best spinner, and Sydney and Melbourne not having the bounce of Perth, spin friendly Sydney, you would still have to favour England

  • harry93 on December 22, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    @BPWC White is not in form - he's averaging 28 in the shield. Hodge hasn't even played a shield game.

  • landl47 on December 22, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    Ponting seems to be under the impression that Australia are now playing well. That simply isn't true. Hussey is batting well and holding the side together and even so Australia made less than 600 runs for 20 wickets in both the last two tests (they only made 28 more at Perth than at Adelaide). Johnson and Harris took 18 of the 20 English wickets in Perth, on a pitch that isn't likely to be repeated in Melbourne or Sydney. Johnson's spell of 4/7 was brilliant, but he doesn't have a history of consistency. Harris used the fast bounce and movement of Perth better than anyone, but he only got 2/84 at Adelaide and he was the best of the Aussie bowlers there. After that there's nothing much; Hilf hasn't bowled as well as I thought he would and Siddle has taken exactly one wicket in the last 2 tests and that was one of the luckiest dismissals he will ever get. No top-class spinner and 4 of the top 6 bats not contributing- that's not good form. It's England's turn to bounce back.

  • Hrazapak on December 21, 2010, 12:40 GMT

    yup thats right.....The Mighty Aussies are back in the business again!!!! Love to see Australia back to winning ways , but the job is not done yet ..there are two tests remaining and you guyz must also remember that if England wins any one of the two tests they are going to retain the Ashes

  • on December 21, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    For most people Australia's victory in the last test was very unexpected. Australia's team selection throughout the series has been so poor. I feel they have tried everything possible to keep Hauritz out of the team selection. Doherty was a terrible decision for the first 2 tests. North was and is a better bowler than Doherty. For a balanced side the Aussies need a quality spinner in the team. Hauritz should be in the starting XI for sure. Based on the series so far Australia are heavily reliant on the 5 players on form Hussey, Watson, Haddin, Harris and Johnson. They need few of the other six to start playing. Ponting looks nervous as a batsman. He needs to go back to basics and start playing game that has made him a great cricketer. Clarke and Hughes are really struggling too. Hilfenhaus should be dropped and surely Bollinger is a better option if fit. I think it will be an interesting game and if Australia lose it will because they'll be missing a quality spinner. Over and Out.

  • medphoto on December 21, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    This is a huge mistake, and as a Melbourne local i am sad to see Australia will pay for it with the ashes.

    Hauritz must play ahead of Beer, and the team cannot afford 5 passengers in the team like Hughes, Clarke and Ponting (and Smith for that matter). There are much more in form batsmen in the country like White, D Hussey, Hodge, Khawaja, Klinger or maybe even Ferguson or Marsh.

    As good an investment in the future Smith is, he can't possibly play as a batsman in the same class as Bell.

  • chad_reid on December 21, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    if aus want to win in Melbourne they need to play a spinner its a flat pitch and swann will have a good time on it. Hughes has been a failure for aus on many occasions plz give some one else a chance steven smith isn't ready for test cricket yet and hilfy and siddlel are basically hopeless when will stupid ponting and the selectors learn when their are other players who can take hughes and smiths spot and score runs and also replace hilfi and siddle and get wickets

  • Slobberdog on December 21, 2010, 3:07 GMT

    Pretty much the same view as Warren Smith. If selectors are going to insist on including a spinner, surely it has to be O'Keefe. He's the only one in the country with a 1st-class avg < 40. To expect Beer, Hauritz or Smith to make significant inroads into world-class batting line-ups is ridiculous. Prefer to see 4 quicks: Johnson, Harris, & two out of Bollinger (if fit), Hilfenhaus & Copeland (also quite economical). Variety is nice, but it's a bit like SAf in the 1990s: you can't pick what you don't have. Lately, it seems like the selectors are trying to invent a spinner. Smith's batting looks inept, but selectors will retain him because half the batting line-up is out of form, his age & the fact that he bowls a bit of spin. They'll probably end up carrying a half-baked all-rounder in the side for a few series until finally they realise he's not the future of Aus cricket. With so many batsmen failing to deliver, you wonder why selectors have gone for the struggling Hughes over Khawaja.

  • chad_reid on December 21, 2010, 3:00 GMT

    if aus want to win in Melbourne they need to play a spinner its a flat pitch and swann will have a good time on it. Hughes has been a failure for aus on many occasions plz give some one else a chance steven smith isn't ready for test cricket yet and hilfy and siddlel are basically hopeless when will stupid ponting and the selectors learn when their are other players who can take hughes and smiths spot and score runs and also replace hilfi and siddle and get wickets

  • the_J_man on December 21, 2010, 1:52 GMT

    i've seen grannie's on walkers with better foot work than hughes has at the moment .this kid will never recover from the damage being done to him by the incompetance of hilditch

  • Street_Hawk on December 20, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    ARE AUSSIES STUPID?? Ricky Ponting's ego is hurting this Australian team. Going with 4 pace man is never an answer in Melbourne. If the pitch behave anything like when Sehwag scored his 195, the Aussie pace attack is going to have a hard time. Remember, Aussies pace attack is as good as Mitchell Johnson. If he delivers, Aussies deliver. If he fails they need a good spinner to keep the pressure on England. Omitting Nathan Hauritz can never be justified. He may not pose huge threat to the Poms but his experience can always be handy compared to Beer.

  • amitava0112 on December 20, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    Australia will get things wrong if they keep the same 12 for MCG..It was great quality swing bowling at high pace by Johnson on 2nd morning which swung the game Aus' way after Poms were 78/0 & subsequent quality battng by Hussey,Watson & great bowling effort by Harris in 2nd dig sealed it for Aussies at Perth-not that their whole team clicked..Phil Hughes for all his great start earlier in his test career never looks a quality player..his batting is filled with technical flaws & sloppy footwork..with Katich injured the selectors should look at Jaques or Hodge or even a more attacking Warner to partner Watson..Spinner Hauritz shd come back -he is the best avalable spinner in Aus & partner Michy,Hilfenhaus & Harris at MCG with Siddle sitting this out, Smith shd keep his place ...for the poms Bresnan shd replace Finn who looks a bit jaded..& Colly shd bat at 6 & Bell at 5....if Johnson is able to maintain his Perth form, Aussies will have an edge else England will claw themselves back.

  • AKS286 on December 20, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    in my opinion i will go for:- s.watson,p.hughes,r.ponting,m.clarke,m.hussey,a.voges,b.haddin,m.johnson,p.siddle,r.harris,m.beer

  • AKS286 on December 20, 2010, 16:32 GMT

    i definately support m.beer inplace of s.smith or hilfenhaus. smith & hilfenhaus both are the flop stars in all format of game. adam voges is best option in place of steven smith & beer in place of hilfenhaus. why beer becoz a left arm spinner is most difficult to play. this young excited left armer is the future of autralia in all format i have believe.in melbourne i'm ready to see beer in action.

  • on December 20, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    Come on Ponting we want a 200+ from you !

  • Beertjie on December 20, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    @Silloh, the great West Indies lost both Sydney tests in '84 and in '88, so the sure way to fail to regain the Ashes is to continue to play 4 fast bowlers! Smith won't be the difference at the SCG, nor will Beer. So amidst all this euphoria, let me agree with @ jpa170478 both about Ponting batting at number 6 and about the absurdity of Beer playing at all. Playing Beer is a sure way to fail in the quest to regain the Ashes. You'd have thought the selectors were a cannier bunch, but they're NOT! They can't recognize a chance when they've got one. Anyone can see that Punter's form is suspect even before the finger, so he has to bat at 6. But even then Hughes AND Pup are just as unreliable. If you want to give them opportunities, why have Smith as well? He's a future all-rounder, but at the moment he's best as roller in pace-friendly conditions. So what happened to all that talk about horses for courses? So Siddle MUST play? Pleez!

  • NALINWIJ on December 20, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    When a team is in a rebuilding phase with no great spinner in sight taking the Ashley Giles type of player may be a reasonable option. Nathan Hauritz fits the bill of a spinner who can be reasonably economical take the odd wicket and add to the batting depth of a susspect batting line up. This would be better than gambling blindly on a player who may be a liability or taking the 4th paceman and keeping Smith as an excuse for not picking a spinner. I would select both Smith and Hauritz for Sydney and omit Hilfenhaus or Siddle depending on their form in Melbourne. If Australia need a replacement for a batsman why not select a Victorian such as Hodge or David Hussy?

  • on December 20, 2010, 10:58 GMT

    aussie batting mainly dependent upon hussey nd watson nd haddin nobody s contributing other thn those three players nd if england remove them cheaply thn aus will be bowled out less thn 150 ponting,clarke nd hughes r not contributing they r getting collapsed easily in there batting

  • chandau on December 20, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    It is surprising how Australia with such a competitive 1st class structure cannot find a decent opener, spinner and an allrounder. Hughes and smith remail the weak links in an otherwise winning combination. Mindboggling the selection of Smith at 6 when there are so many fantastic strokeplayers too many to mention (Other Hussy must be really unlucky). Also why Nathan H is overlooked is a mystery considering a few months ago he was the next longterm spin option. There were so many allrounders in the IPL like McDonald, Voges, et al. but none seem to be good enough for teat cricket. Same goes for openers : why not give warner a try, he may bat like a Shewag :) After all Katich was not an opener till he was forced to save his test spot. Watson was not an opener either till he did well in ODIs. England on the other hand keep ignoring the fact that fast bowling in Auzzy conditions is harder than in the cold wet surfaces of UK. Call up Luke Wright for Collingwood :) cheers

  • MrJames on December 20, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    What a joke in picking Beer. Honestly you cant say Beer is better than Hauritz, furthermore Hauritz's form is amazing right now. If Beer plays, i hope he fails just to see what the selectors do then. The selectors should just man up and admit their mistake in dropping Hauritz

  • on December 20, 2010, 10:09 GMT

    Hussy u beauty... u got stuuning pul shots..u got marvelos coverdrives...you are unbeatable...i love u Mr.Cricket...

  • milepost on December 20, 2010, 9:26 GMT

    A few comments here must be from T20 fans who have never watched test cricket. Hilfenhaus was superb - miserly and on the money creating pressure on the batsmen. Australia outplayed England. Why change a winning sqaud? Oh and critics of Beer? Ever seen him bowl? Almost certainly not. It's great for Hauritz to go back to the sheild and do well but it is time for someone else. Didn't the legendary Shane Warne get picked from obscurity and debut with figures of 1/150? Yep - check out the scorecard http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63565.html. If you were selectors he'd never have had a game for australia let alone stay in the side after stats like that!

  • girikula on December 20, 2010, 9:06 GMT

    I agree with BPWC ****************** : Best team would be : ************** Shane Watson, Brad Hodge, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, David Hussey/Cameron White, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus. Siddle (12th) -------------------- ********************************************************************

  • gargi_vizag on December 20, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    i think the Aussies might have erred in selecting their side for the Melbourne test. I would have thought Hauritz would have added more teeth to their bowling attack and also to their batting depth. My XI for the next test would have been:Watson, Hughes,Ponting, Clarke,M.Hussey,Haddin, Smith, Johnson, Hauritz,Hilfenhaus,Harris.

  • hoarder on December 20, 2010, 7:14 GMT

    How did Ponting and Clarke retain there positions? Both put pressure on the lower order (YET AGAIN) and should have been dropped by now, however they are the golden boys as Captain and Vice Captain. Just because they hold those positions does not mean that they should be exempt from being dropped. Come on selectors - get some guts and replace these two with others that are proving themselves in the Shield competition. As for who else could be Captain - well the selectors have thought for some time that somebody that has no experience can hold the position (i.e. Clarke) - so try anybody else as they could not do much worse than the current Captain has lead his team to in the last 12 months.

  • Seers on December 20, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    I agree with calls for D. Hussey's selection. Also, just as the selectors get some things right (eg. drop North who was never going to be a great test player), they continue to waste selections on second-class players like Hilfenhaus and Siddle and third class like Beer. Stuart Clark, Trent Copeland and Clint McKay are better fast bowler options (as their records show), as is Butterworth if Ricky and Tas selectors really need to keep the Tas quota at 2. Also, O'Keefe is the best off-spinner in Australia and he and Hauritz are far better options than Beer. Also get over Hodge - his first class record, while good, isn't as good as other younger first class batsmen like David Hussey and Phil Jaques? Plus everyone needs to stop bagging Ponting and Clarke, they are great players going through form slumps as has every great bastmen (eg. Tendulkar 2-3 years ago; M. Hussey before this series). Also it is exciting to have two talented 21 year olds in the squad so give them a chance.

  • on December 20, 2010, 6:34 GMT

    Whats wrong with putting an in form spinner such as the vics John Holland in the team, took a few wickets against the poms in the first class match and backed it up this week with more wickets against the south aussies

  • Meety on December 20, 2010, 6:32 GMT

    @ MinusZero - I think Hilfy bowled way better than Siddle I think that Siddle will be more suited to the SCG & MCG though! @Silloh - Watto is not a spinner, & the WINDIES pace battery of the 70s,80s & 90s was the most skilled & nastiest quartet ever assembled in the one side, which = a much greater legacy then the current Oz foursome, we can always hope..... I think the side selected with Hauritz for Beer can put Oz up 2-1. The thing we all have to remember is that there is a high liklihood that none of the remaining 2 Tests will have a result - due to weather! If England bowl @ 24 overs a session & a bit of bad weather, only 2 collapses in the same Test is going to deliver the Ashes to Oz. Good thing that I am backing 4 collapses in 4 innings by the Poms!!!!!!

  • on December 20, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    In the tradition of horses for courses, Cmon Hussey White or Hodge. Im a South Australian begging for more Victorians??? What do us fans have to do to get the message through selectors, streak the next shield game with the sign "Give some vics a go"?

  • gzawilliam on December 20, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    "He's grown up in Melbourne his whole life so he'll know what the conditions are going to be pretty much down there," Ponting said of Beer

    I'm a bit confused. How can a player who's only played a small number of first class matches know the mcg pitch? Not even JOhn Holland has had enough time to workout his home pitch.

    If beer plays ahead of Hauritz then the selectors are just plain stupid. We are winning. Hauritz is statistcally the best performing spin bowler in the country. Actually he's the only spinner(including Swann) who has an average under 30 in the first class season in australia. Add in 2 hundreds and he should be a shoe in. You want him to take wickets and perform. Well Hilditch. He is ! Now take notice.

  • Meety on December 20, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    @Warren Smith/Something_Witty re: Spinners. I think Hauritz has to be the frontline spinner in the last 2 Tests. I would love to have seen O'Keefe in the squad (he played for Aus A), how or why Beer has jumped ahead is beyond me given that he wasn't really even a WA player, he certainly would not of played at the MCG very often either. I would love to see MJ claim the #7 spot in the batting line up with Haddin @ #6. This would require MJ to concentrate more on his bating which I beleive he can do & be about as effective as Sean Pollock batting wise. In regards to Smith - his 36 @ WACA needs to be viewed in context, it was really the equivalent of about 80/90 @ Adelaide or the GABBA. If he can get his career average above 40 (remember it took Symonds & Watson quite a few tests to achieve this, I rate Smith as a better batter then Watto), then his bowling could be like Watto & good for 2 wickets a Test, meaning he would not be a frontline spinner but a genuine batting allrounder.

  • King_001 on December 20, 2010, 5:47 GMT

    Australia well done. I am thinking of adding a spinner....preferrably as a middle order batsman. Eg; Cameron White/ David Hussey for Phil Hughes. They also will have to open as we need to prepare for the Sydney test as well. I think the rest will be fine. We need a 4 pronged pace attack with Siddle bowling those bouncers from around the wicket to soften up the batsmen and johnson and harris take wickets from the other end.

  • stormy16 on December 20, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    Yes why change a winning combination but surely you cant ignore that elephant in the room - Smith is not a specialist batsman and was found out in both innings with poor technique and the same goes for Hughes. Get in guys with technique and some form - its not like they can do much worse. Presumably we ignore the repeated failures of Ponting and Clark - more the reason we cant carry guys with no technique as someone needs to cover for these two. Even after a few I am sure we all agree you cant play Beer as a spinner - the real poing being if the wicket warrants a spot for Beer then Swan will be a real threat. So the MCG must not mess around but get plenty of grass and bouce on the wicket and lets throw the 4 seamers at Eng.

  • Something_Witty on December 20, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    MinusZero, Hilfy is our most consistently dangerous and accurate bowler. He has been very unlucky this series.

  • on December 20, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    Idiocy on so many levels. Hughes has to go, as he has major technique problems, getting out to the full ball after the short ball twice in a row. We also need a full-time spinner for Melbourne. And Siddle should go too. This is looking like he mistake in the 2009 Ashes, when we followed up an all-pace win with an all-pace idiotic loss.

  • on December 20, 2010, 2:26 GMT

    Batting # 3 and 4 (pointing and Clarke) still a problem in batting. When we had Katich there was a guaranty for 70+ partnership for opening wicket. Now 2, 3, 4 have to play well...

  • on December 20, 2010, 1:24 GMT

    TheLoneStranger, i agree with you, cosgrove is it red hot form, i would also drop ponting to at least no. 4. If he is not fit i would bring in an experience guy who averages mid 50's in d hussey. I would bring back Hauritz who is in form with bat and ball. However i am a huge trent copeland fan and i think we have to find a way to get him into the side asap. He is a star of the future.

  • raysa on December 20, 2010, 1:12 GMT

    Anyone would think it was a team effort. Only 5 players performed Watson, Hussey Haddin, Johnson & Harris. These 5 made nearly all the runs and took 18 of the 20 wickets, So that means 7 out of 12 didn't perform. Selectors wre obviously full of the stuff when they selected Beer. The best credentialled spinner if you dont pick Hauritz is O'Keefe and by a long way. Hauritz & O'keefe can both bat, more than can be said for Doherty & Beer. Even a channel nine commentator picked up that if 3 fast bowlers plus Watson cant get the job done, what use i4. It's the batting that needs strengthening. Australia won a seies in South Africa less than 2 years ago where Ponting had played more tests than 12 of the remaining 13 players combined. My team would be Hughes, Watson, Maddinson, Ponting/Khawaja, Hussey, Clarke, Smith,Haddin, Johnson,Harris, Bollinger, Hauritz.

  • Silloh on December 20, 2010, 0:09 GMT

    ... sorry, correction ..next test match is at Melbourne.

  • Silloh on December 20, 2010, 0:05 GMT

    The conditions at Perth may be different and probably calls for an Aussie specialist spinner . But just a few days ago I noted there were some who were calling for the return of Warne ... hopefully this was not to be taken seriously, notwithstanding the great man will still outclass thoseshowing potential. The point is why change the winning combination at this time when Smith and Watson can turn a few.It's better to let all the guys know at earliest that they are on the team and with complete focus this must be positive. Years ago the West Indies relied on toatal pace because there was no genuine spinner and they were at the top for a long period., beating everyone in sight at any ground So leave the team as it is ; hopefully Ponting will be fit and the pace with a bit of sledging will bring the results . If you want a good " Beer " come to the Caribbean !

  • on December 20, 2010, 0:00 GMT

    I think given the win, the selectors should slip Hauritz in now, because four seamers won't win them the series.

  • MinusZero on December 19, 2010, 22:54 GMT

    Seriously, how can Hilfenhaus be selected, 2 wickets in two 2 tests at over 100 average. He is not a strike bowler and surplus to requirements.

  • RJHB on December 19, 2010, 22:31 GMT

    Agree with everyone, Beer was a pretty dud pick. O'Keefe is absolutely a better choice on stats anyway. But the fact is he can't get a game ahead of SMith or Hauritz for NSW, through no fault of his own albeit. I think that although there are a few changes needed to the team, the selectors have got it right this time just by not making any changes! Sounds odd, yes, but the team have just won a great match together, keep that feeling and momentum and build some spirit. That is what has really been lacking afterall.

  • yunaimin on December 19, 2010, 21:27 GMT

    If Andrew McDonald gets over his calf injury he should be 6, as he should have been from the start of the series. He has been on fire this season in the Shield: three centuries from five matches, average 74, and ten wickets besides which is only one fewer than Beer. Hughes is a passenger, Smith a luxury Aus can nowhere near afford. Hauritz must have said something about Ponting's mother. Chopping and changing is never good for a side, though, so my MCG XI would be:

    Watson, Hughes/Cosgrove, Ponting (if fit), Clarke, M Hussey, McDonald (if fit), Haddin, Hauritz, Johnson, Harris, Hilfenhaus.

    Batting cover would be David Hussey or Smith in a bind.

  • PlayingItStraight on December 19, 2010, 21:06 GMT

    It's interesting that the Aussies have decided to keep the same 12 players from Perth. While it's not a bad policy to keep the winning team there are still some serious issues that the selectors will need to address in the near future. No surprise that the 3 Aus batsmen who did well in Perth were those with the best techniques ... Watson, Hussey & Haddin ... and these players have been consistent all series. As for the other batsmen in the team - Hughes might be a good thrasher at 1st class level but has serious technical flaws that get exposed at international level, Clarke is fortunate that the Aussies won or he might have found himself back playing for NSW, Smith will be a very good player but needs more time at 1st class level, and Ponting should drop himself down to No 5 or 6. The next guys to come into the team should be technically correct AND in good form - Khawaja and Ferguson both have good techniques but are inconsistent. David Hussey must wonder what he's done wrong ...

  • Soham.Bhattacharya on December 19, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    Hughes is hugely talented but needs time to mature..He has been brought on too early.. and rather than opening he should come at 3/4...with Marsh Opening... Johnson is not consistent thats the problem..He is great on his day..So if Bollinger gets test fit i think aussies would have a potent attack...Johnson Bollinger/siddle Harris and Hauritz with O Keefe as 12th man for now...

    But at this point i think Aussies should pick 4 pacers rather than a spinner... anywyas the quality of spinners they have..their job is to contain..Ben Hilfenhaus does a good job containing... With Harris on Form and siddle working ahrd..and the amazing inconsistent Johnson thats their best bowling line up..

    Clarke also needs rest..but he would be in the team it seems My personal team would be for MCG

    Shane watson,Marsh,Khwaja,Ponting,Hussey,Haddin,Smith/OKeffe,Johnson,Harris,Siddle,Hiklfenhaus

  • kabe_ag7 on December 19, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    Fast bowlers were expected to deliver. The difference between the 2 teams was Hussey. This man is saving a few careers other than his own. Ponting would have been nearer to his retirement if not for Hussey in this series.

  • nzcricket174 on December 19, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    Give David Hussey a go. People say he is not a test quality player, yet he is averaging over 55 at first class level with over 10000 runs.

  • amitava0112 on December 19, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    A big win does not mean that we shd desist from making any changes in the team whatsoever..just like a big defeat shd not be the reason to hit panic buttons & make wholesale changes..Aus selectors hve missed a few tricks here..what is Phil Hughes doing in the opening slot ?.although he did make a blazing start to his test career.his ackward technique & sluggish footwork has alreay started to catch up with him & he does not look a safe opening option anymore..with Katich hurt..Aus selectors shd look that Jaques or Hodge or maybe David Warner(who has at least a better technique than hughes & he is aggressive too like Sewhag) for opening slot...Hauritz is the best available spinner for Aus yet he is again overlooked for Beer who has no performances to back up his selection...at MCG u need 3 pacers & 1 spinner..so Michy,Hilfenhaus ,Harris & Hauritz shd b the bowlers with Smith,Watson & Clarke backups..for Eng-almst same team shd play..so Colly bats at 6 & Bell up at 5 & maybe Bresnan is in

  • jpa170478 on December 19, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    I should celebrating an amazing victory, and I have but the fact that Beer is still in this squad is rediculous, we know this, the selectors do too and I am sure Beer himself must think about it as well. Hughes is a worry but I think he will be given the remainder of the series to have a go and see if he can produce something, Ponting should be batting at 6

  • BPWC on December 19, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    Aust got lucky at Perth because of the great bowling of Johnson/Harris. Smith is very talented but needs more shield time and Hughes still has technical flaws. With ponting a potential non-starter Aust really need experienced and IN FORM players to win the ashes. The rebuild can start after this series and the selectors need to swallow their pride for the sake of this series. Melbourne is home ground for Hodge, D Hussey and Cameron White, so my side would be: Shane Watson, Brad Hodge, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, David Hussey/Cameron White, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus. If Ponting is out, bring in Khawaja at 6 and slide other batsmen up one.

  • TheLoneStranger on December 19, 2010, 12:23 GMT

    A typically gutless and brain-dead effort by the selectors for Melbourne. Neither Beer nor Hughes should ever have been picked in the first place. Hauritz should be waltzing back into the side, but that would be too embarrassing for the selectors; something akin to Gillard admitting that the Libs got it right with the Pacific Solution. I really hope Ponting can't play, because then the selectors might just be forced to pick someone in form. Clarke shouldn't be there either, but Cowards' Castle lacks the courage to pick someone who might actually contribute. We cannot expect Haddin, Hussey and Watson to hold the team together indefinitely. My team: Watson, Cosgrove, Khawaja, M. Hussey, Ponting (if fit and last chance), Smith, Haddin (C), Hauritz, Johnson, Harris, Bollinger (if fit), Siddle (12th) If Ponting isn't fit, David Hussey should get a run.

  • popcorn on December 19, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    Ricky Ponting and the Selectors will be acutely aware that after CRUSHING England at Headingley in The Ashes 2009, they went into the Oval Test with the unchanged side, omitting Nathan Hauritz. This is because, the Oval surface, TRADITIONALLY, assists pace. But it turned out to be a two-faced pitch.Jamie Cox was the selector on tour at that time, he owned up responsibility for that decision He is one of the Selectors here too,so he will be extra careful to study the conditions.This time around, Australia have Steve Smith as a leggie,and Michael Clarke as a left arm offie, so I think they will go with an unchanged side. But at the SCG, they will definitely include Michael Beer.and will drop a pacer.

  • on December 19, 2010, 11:32 GMT

    Even if, as Ricky says, "he's grown up in Melbourne his whole life", Beer has no experience playing on the MCG, that's why he moved to Perth. I've got as much chance as him of knowing the conditions out there! If you want a left arm tweaker who knows the conditions, pick John Holland who is actually good enough to play for Victoria and who bowled well against S.A. today. There's no way Beer should be in the squad outside of Perth and Warne's mad comments.

    If Smith is as good as they claim, he can be given the overs that will be required at the MCG. The pacemen won't have the day out they've just enjoyed at the WACA. The MCG drop in pitch is a very different scenario for them. I'd much prefer a real spinner and Khawaja though.

    I am glad that O'Keefe hasn't been given the curse of being selected as yet another short term spinner for Australia though. He's every chance of being a solid long term player so biding his time in the Shield will do him no harm whatsoever. His time will come.

  • Something_Witty on December 19, 2010, 11:22 GMT

    As a lot of people say, if the selectors really have a grudge against Hauritz, then Steve O'keefe should be miles ahead of Beer. Not only has he had a great start to his bowling career, he's got a great technique and has so far made a lot of runs at state level.

  • StarveTheLizard on December 19, 2010, 11:03 GMT

    The Boxing Day test will be a totally different affair than the Perth test. The pitch is going to be low and slow. Even so, the Australians will go with four fast men. Smith will provide the spin. Watson will provide the medium pacers. Ponting will play no matter what the state of fis finger.

  • sawifan on December 19, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    @Something_Witty, I definitely agree with you about Beer, he isn't even the best left-armer (O'Keefe?!?!) going around. But i am of the belief than you should pick your BEST 4 bowlers. If that means no spinner than so be it. The Windies of the 80's definitely didn't think they 'needed' as spinner (and no, i'm not trying compare the talent of the 2 sides, just the make-up). I would go in the same team as Perth, we didn'y even used Smith or Watson, so we have room to move re: bowling rotation. Either, great win from the boys, hopefully they can keep the pressure on though. Harris and Johnson could turn into the most formidable bowling pair around if they remain consistent (though don't wanna get too excited up 1 game from Mitch!). Bring on 2-1 to AUS after Melbourne!

  • on December 19, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    I have to agree with @Something_Witty Hauritz should be in the team. He has taken plenty of wickets in the recent shield games and has scored two centuries with the bat.

    He may not be the world class spinner we are craving for but he is by far and away our best spinner and it is only stubborness by the selectors that is keeping him out of the team.

  • on December 19, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    @ something_witty. Im a saffa with a keen interest in Aus cricket. I must say respectfully that im not sure that i agree with you about Hauritz. For my money, i believe that Steve o Keefe is Austrlias best wicket taking spinner (early days i know but his strike rate is 47 is SS cricket.) Im also very keen on Copeland and believe that Bollinger was unfairly dropped. I reserve judgement on Johnson (while acknowledging that he is a match winner when on form) until he produces this kind of form consistently. As damaging as he is to the opposition while on song, he is equally damaging to his own side when not and makes Pintings life as a captain extremely difficult sometimes. Smith is technically inept at this level and while talented he MUST make a choice as to what he wants to do soon. Leg spinning and batting are two highly technical and demanding arts. I believe that his current facour in the Aus setup is hurting him long term. Good luck to him but i am worried. Id rather play Khawaja.

  • whippersnapper on December 19, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    Jeez. O'Keefe must be wondering what he's done wrong. I mean, the bloke was in the Australia A side and played quite well. Averaging 25 with the ball and over 40 with the bat, I can't work out why Beer would be picked ahead of him. Anyway.........

  • Webba84 on December 19, 2010, 8:49 GMT

    Well at least Ponting knows about the history of his players. More than can be said for the selectors, anyway...

  • Something_Witty on December 19, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    I will say it again, Beer should not play. If we want a spinner, Hauritz has done nothing wrong and is in great form with both bat and ball. Kudos to the selectors for retaining Smith and Hughes, who are both long term options who need to be given good opportunities, but Michael Beer is an absurd choice, Hauritz is the best full time spinner in Australia, so why on earth should Beer be playing ahead of him?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Something_Witty on December 19, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    I will say it again, Beer should not play. If we want a spinner, Hauritz has done nothing wrong and is in great form with both bat and ball. Kudos to the selectors for retaining Smith and Hughes, who are both long term options who need to be given good opportunities, but Michael Beer is an absurd choice, Hauritz is the best full time spinner in Australia, so why on earth should Beer be playing ahead of him?

  • Webba84 on December 19, 2010, 8:49 GMT

    Well at least Ponting knows about the history of his players. More than can be said for the selectors, anyway...

  • whippersnapper on December 19, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    Jeez. O'Keefe must be wondering what he's done wrong. I mean, the bloke was in the Australia A side and played quite well. Averaging 25 with the ball and over 40 with the bat, I can't work out why Beer would be picked ahead of him. Anyway.........

  • on December 19, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    @ something_witty. Im a saffa with a keen interest in Aus cricket. I must say respectfully that im not sure that i agree with you about Hauritz. For my money, i believe that Steve o Keefe is Austrlias best wicket taking spinner (early days i know but his strike rate is 47 is SS cricket.) Im also very keen on Copeland and believe that Bollinger was unfairly dropped. I reserve judgement on Johnson (while acknowledging that he is a match winner when on form) until he produces this kind of form consistently. As damaging as he is to the opposition while on song, he is equally damaging to his own side when not and makes Pintings life as a captain extremely difficult sometimes. Smith is technically inept at this level and while talented he MUST make a choice as to what he wants to do soon. Leg spinning and batting are two highly technical and demanding arts. I believe that his current facour in the Aus setup is hurting him long term. Good luck to him but i am worried. Id rather play Khawaja.

  • on December 19, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    I have to agree with @Something_Witty Hauritz should be in the team. He has taken plenty of wickets in the recent shield games and has scored two centuries with the bat.

    He may not be the world class spinner we are craving for but he is by far and away our best spinner and it is only stubborness by the selectors that is keeping him out of the team.

  • sawifan on December 19, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    @Something_Witty, I definitely agree with you about Beer, he isn't even the best left-armer (O'Keefe?!?!) going around. But i am of the belief than you should pick your BEST 4 bowlers. If that means no spinner than so be it. The Windies of the 80's definitely didn't think they 'needed' as spinner (and no, i'm not trying compare the talent of the 2 sides, just the make-up). I would go in the same team as Perth, we didn'y even used Smith or Watson, so we have room to move re: bowling rotation. Either, great win from the boys, hopefully they can keep the pressure on though. Harris and Johnson could turn into the most formidable bowling pair around if they remain consistent (though don't wanna get too excited up 1 game from Mitch!). Bring on 2-1 to AUS after Melbourne!

  • StarveTheLizard on December 19, 2010, 11:03 GMT

    The Boxing Day test will be a totally different affair than the Perth test. The pitch is going to be low and slow. Even so, the Australians will go with four fast men. Smith will provide the spin. Watson will provide the medium pacers. Ponting will play no matter what the state of fis finger.

  • Something_Witty on December 19, 2010, 11:22 GMT

    As a lot of people say, if the selectors really have a grudge against Hauritz, then Steve O'keefe should be miles ahead of Beer. Not only has he had a great start to his bowling career, he's got a great technique and has so far made a lot of runs at state level.

  • on December 19, 2010, 11:32 GMT

    Even if, as Ricky says, "he's grown up in Melbourne his whole life", Beer has no experience playing on the MCG, that's why he moved to Perth. I've got as much chance as him of knowing the conditions out there! If you want a left arm tweaker who knows the conditions, pick John Holland who is actually good enough to play for Victoria and who bowled well against S.A. today. There's no way Beer should be in the squad outside of Perth and Warne's mad comments.

    If Smith is as good as they claim, he can be given the overs that will be required at the MCG. The pacemen won't have the day out they've just enjoyed at the WACA. The MCG drop in pitch is a very different scenario for them. I'd much prefer a real spinner and Khawaja though.

    I am glad that O'Keefe hasn't been given the curse of being selected as yet another short term spinner for Australia though. He's every chance of being a solid long term player so biding his time in the Shield will do him no harm whatsoever. His time will come.

  • popcorn on December 19, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    Ricky Ponting and the Selectors will be acutely aware that after CRUSHING England at Headingley in The Ashes 2009, they went into the Oval Test with the unchanged side, omitting Nathan Hauritz. This is because, the Oval surface, TRADITIONALLY, assists pace. But it turned out to be a two-faced pitch.Jamie Cox was the selector on tour at that time, he owned up responsibility for that decision He is one of the Selectors here too,so he will be extra careful to study the conditions.This time around, Australia have Steve Smith as a leggie,and Michael Clarke as a left arm offie, so I think they will go with an unchanged side. But at the SCG, they will definitely include Michael Beer.and will drop a pacer.