Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 1st day December 26, 2010

Clarke lost for words after awful display

70

"What can you do?" Michael Clarke and the Australians are almost out of answers on how to fix Australia's regular batting collapses. There's hard work and trusting your own game, Clarke said, but today that empty philosophy resulted in the hosts edging to 98 all out.

Six months before that it was 88 in Leeds, and at the start of the year it was 127 against Pakistan at the SCG. Last year it was batting problems at Lord's and The Oval that cost Australia the Ashes and after this meagre first innings they look headed towards another match and series defeat.

The locals knew life was going to be difficult after they lost the toss on a seaming surface, but the day quickly unravelled as the batsmen ignored their pre-game discussions. "We had to work hard and be disciplined with our shot selection, we had to leave the ball well and stick to our plans," Clarke said. "We weren't at our best today."

Clarke top scored with 20 while Phillip Hughes (16) and Ricky Ponting (10) were the only other members of the top eight who reached double figures. Edging balls that needed to be left was a feature of the procession. "Our shot selection wasn't great, no doubt," Clarke said. "All our wickets were caught behind the wicket.

"We certainly have no excuses, we played some poor shots today and didn't show enough discipline. As we've seen, when the sun came out, it's a really nice wicket to bat on." England finished at 0 for 157 and the closest Australia came to a wicket was when Alastair Cook was given out lbw, a decision which was overturned when replays showed an inside edge.

Clarke's contribution took his series tally to 135, a haul boosted by 80 in the second innings in Adelaide, and a major reason why Australia are in such a bad position is because both the vice-captain and the captain are struggling. Ponting has only 93 for the campaign and the end of his career comes closer with each failure.

Clarke, the leader in waiting as long as he starts to score heavily again, delivered a spirited defence of Ponting, who is carrying a broken finger. "Ricky has been a wonderful leader and an amazing player for a long time, his record in international cricket speaks for itself," he said.

"He's copped a fair bit of criticism of late and no doubt he'd like to score more runs, as a lot of us would, but there's no doubt Ricky should be the captain of Australia and the No.3 batter for Australia. Runs are around the corner for him. Every player in the room supports him. Hopefully in the second innings he can come out and score one of those double hundreds."

A century to Clarke would also be well timed, individually and for the side. "I thought I played okay today, I was happy I got to spend some time in the middle," he said. "I was disappointed with my shot. I thought I was being quite disciplined till that shot. It's something I've got to keep working on. Keep training, keep trying to get better."

Everyone in the Australian dressing room felt the same after such a poor performance on Boxing Day, which is such a grand cricket occasion. "We're all disappointed, the batters especially," Clarke said. "We knew it was going to be tough. Individually we're all disappointed. Then the bowlers are disappointed because they couldn't get a wicket. We've got to turn it around."

The situation was best summed up by Tim Nielsen, Australia's coach, on Twitter: "That was a terrible day. Well behind the game now and nothing to do but fight our backsides off!" Nielsen, who has had the job since 2007, is in charge of providing the team with some of the right answers.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nadeem1976 on December 27, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    Guys. Simple. Its time for ponting to retire from test cricket or or..give captaincy to somebody else and improve his batting. Otherwise say good bye to cricket before CA fire him on the spot. This is worse performance by ponting that i know for long time. So sad to see a legend go down like that in ashes series. There can be only two reasons; bear with me. #1 either he is too old and has no refelex left to play test cricket and out of form or #2 very important ; may be he is making big bucks before his retirement. Every player needs money.

    Its hard to say that a pro like Ponting will sacrifice his integrity and greatness infront of money therefore i still believe the #1 reason is his poor form. But i been watching cricket for long and i think this is the last chance for ponting to earn big bucks. Sorry punter but you are not helping the cause by getting too much money in your plate. Sorry guys, i can be totaly wrong but i have a valid point.

  • anver777 on December 27, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    Yet a another big failure for Aus top order batsmen..... main batters like Ponting & Clarke r not performing at all for Aus thats why they r not getting that big totals like in the past......An unforgettable BOXING DAY for Aussies !!!!!!!

  • Munkeymomo on December 27, 2010, 4:59 GMT

    @MrJames. As odd as it sounds, lots of wins does not a good captain make. Ponting leadership of a phenominal side including some of the best players in history (including himself) was no doubt impressive, however you ge the feeling any one of them could do it, not the least shane warne. He reminds me of the football coach Avram Grant, great at Chelsea FC with all their fantastic players but at Portsmouth and West Ham looks way out of his depth. I fear the same for Ponting. So no, he isnt the best captain you have ever had, he was nowhere near as good a captain as Michael Vaughan and he is not as good as Andrew Strauss. However, who can replace him? Is Clarke any better? Only time will tell. As an outsider, Hussey comes across as a good candidate, if it werent for his age, after that...? Take a punt on Phil Hughes, why not? Someone seems to like him for some reason.

  • cricPassion2009 on December 27, 2010, 4:42 GMT

    1. England are at the top of their game. And we've not yet seen Pietersen and Collingwood pile big runs. 2. It is sick and tiring to note people claim Ponting has won WCs or other matches and Tendulkar has not. These views are posted by folks who are entirely ignorant of cricket and the two teams of top-rated Australia and relatively average India.

    * Ponting's 4 man of the series awards fades in comparison with Sachin's 13 -(including a World Cup player of the series). Sachin has won 55 man of the match awards while Ponting has won 25. Sachin scored 1796 runs in WC and Ponting 1537.

  • mrgupta on December 27, 2010, 3:10 GMT

    @chichawatni: I have pity on you, first this article was in context for Ashes which Sachin doesn't play, secondly there are not one but atleast 60 such innings in ODI and more than 10 in Test where Sachin has been Man of the Match. In 1990 at the age of 17 he 'Single handidly' saved the test match for India against Eng. In 1996 he single handedly to Semi-Finals. In 1998 he Single Handedly won India the tri-series in Sharjah where he smacked 432 runs including 134 in the finals. In 1998 he single handedly won India the test in Chennai aginst Aussies by scoring 155 in the second innings. Then he top scored in 2003 WC where he was also the Man of the Tournament. Recently Sachin single handedly scored 200 in an ODI and Won the match, then scored 160 vs New-Zeland in first test and gave India their first Series victory in NZ in dont know how many years and then scored 214 vs Aussies and Won the match, and he is still going on and on. He did it when he was 16 and still doing when he is 38!

  • dab1 on December 27, 2010, 3:05 GMT

    Ponting played well only because of Hayden and Langer. The best opening pair gave a good start for Ponting to come in and score runs. I would like to see the stats when Hayden/Langer failed to give a good start.

  • Runster1 on December 27, 2010, 1:07 GMT

    @CHICHAWATNI wat the hell? ponting is pathetic and tendulkar has won matches for india and is a much better batsmen. ponting is hopeless. I wud even pick ms dhoni as a batsman captain ahead of ponting.

  • on December 26, 2010, 23:28 GMT

    I have never ever written off Ricky Ponting.

  • Crictragic1 on December 26, 2010, 23:01 GMT

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again. This guy- Steve Smith is not a cricketer of quality; he has neither the technique, nor the temperament. These fly-by-night' sort of cricketers are plentiful in Australia. Only the Australian selectors can't see it ! This is a pretender. There are several top quality cricketers currently playing, who are not given a chance because NSW dominates Australian cricket !

  • on December 26, 2010, 22:57 GMT

    This isn't completely Ponting's fault. Regardless, he has now spent longer as captain than Waugh or Taylor, and he's 36 years old and struggling with the bat, and his team is losing. Hussey is already 35 and won't be there for many more years either. It's time for some serious change - Clarke to be given his opportunity to captain after this series is done, and new batsmen need to be given a go very soon - Cameron White, Steve Smith, Callum Ferguson, and Usman Khawaja.

  • Nadeem1976 on December 27, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    Guys. Simple. Its time for ponting to retire from test cricket or or..give captaincy to somebody else and improve his batting. Otherwise say good bye to cricket before CA fire him on the spot. This is worse performance by ponting that i know for long time. So sad to see a legend go down like that in ashes series. There can be only two reasons; bear with me. #1 either he is too old and has no refelex left to play test cricket and out of form or #2 very important ; may be he is making big bucks before his retirement. Every player needs money.

    Its hard to say that a pro like Ponting will sacrifice his integrity and greatness infront of money therefore i still believe the #1 reason is his poor form. But i been watching cricket for long and i think this is the last chance for ponting to earn big bucks. Sorry punter but you are not helping the cause by getting too much money in your plate. Sorry guys, i can be totaly wrong but i have a valid point.

  • anver777 on December 27, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    Yet a another big failure for Aus top order batsmen..... main batters like Ponting & Clarke r not performing at all for Aus thats why they r not getting that big totals like in the past......An unforgettable BOXING DAY for Aussies !!!!!!!

  • Munkeymomo on December 27, 2010, 4:59 GMT

    @MrJames. As odd as it sounds, lots of wins does not a good captain make. Ponting leadership of a phenominal side including some of the best players in history (including himself) was no doubt impressive, however you ge the feeling any one of them could do it, not the least shane warne. He reminds me of the football coach Avram Grant, great at Chelsea FC with all their fantastic players but at Portsmouth and West Ham looks way out of his depth. I fear the same for Ponting. So no, he isnt the best captain you have ever had, he was nowhere near as good a captain as Michael Vaughan and he is not as good as Andrew Strauss. However, who can replace him? Is Clarke any better? Only time will tell. As an outsider, Hussey comes across as a good candidate, if it werent for his age, after that...? Take a punt on Phil Hughes, why not? Someone seems to like him for some reason.

  • cricPassion2009 on December 27, 2010, 4:42 GMT

    1. England are at the top of their game. And we've not yet seen Pietersen and Collingwood pile big runs. 2. It is sick and tiring to note people claim Ponting has won WCs or other matches and Tendulkar has not. These views are posted by folks who are entirely ignorant of cricket and the two teams of top-rated Australia and relatively average India.

    * Ponting's 4 man of the series awards fades in comparison with Sachin's 13 -(including a World Cup player of the series). Sachin has won 55 man of the match awards while Ponting has won 25. Sachin scored 1796 runs in WC and Ponting 1537.

  • mrgupta on December 27, 2010, 3:10 GMT

    @chichawatni: I have pity on you, first this article was in context for Ashes which Sachin doesn't play, secondly there are not one but atleast 60 such innings in ODI and more than 10 in Test where Sachin has been Man of the Match. In 1990 at the age of 17 he 'Single handidly' saved the test match for India against Eng. In 1996 he single handedly to Semi-Finals. In 1998 he Single Handedly won India the tri-series in Sharjah where he smacked 432 runs including 134 in the finals. In 1998 he single handedly won India the test in Chennai aginst Aussies by scoring 155 in the second innings. Then he top scored in 2003 WC where he was also the Man of the Tournament. Recently Sachin single handedly scored 200 in an ODI and Won the match, then scored 160 vs New-Zeland in first test and gave India their first Series victory in NZ in dont know how many years and then scored 214 vs Aussies and Won the match, and he is still going on and on. He did it when he was 16 and still doing when he is 38!

  • dab1 on December 27, 2010, 3:05 GMT

    Ponting played well only because of Hayden and Langer. The best opening pair gave a good start for Ponting to come in and score runs. I would like to see the stats when Hayden/Langer failed to give a good start.

  • Runster1 on December 27, 2010, 1:07 GMT

    @CHICHAWATNI wat the hell? ponting is pathetic and tendulkar has won matches for india and is a much better batsmen. ponting is hopeless. I wud even pick ms dhoni as a batsman captain ahead of ponting.

  • on December 26, 2010, 23:28 GMT

    I have never ever written off Ricky Ponting.

  • Crictragic1 on December 26, 2010, 23:01 GMT

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again. This guy- Steve Smith is not a cricketer of quality; he has neither the technique, nor the temperament. These fly-by-night' sort of cricketers are plentiful in Australia. Only the Australian selectors can't see it ! This is a pretender. There are several top quality cricketers currently playing, who are not given a chance because NSW dominates Australian cricket !

  • on December 26, 2010, 22:57 GMT

    This isn't completely Ponting's fault. Regardless, he has now spent longer as captain than Waugh or Taylor, and he's 36 years old and struggling with the bat, and his team is losing. Hussey is already 35 and won't be there for many more years either. It's time for some serious change - Clarke to be given his opportunity to captain after this series is done, and new batsmen need to be given a go very soon - Cameron White, Steve Smith, Callum Ferguson, and Usman Khawaja.

  • balajik1968 on December 26, 2010, 22:11 GMT

    Maybe the pitch had eased out by the time England were batting, but still you can't camouflage the fact that Australia gave England catching practice. I have seen Australia from the 80's, sure there have been blowouts, but that was against some great inspired bowling by the likes of Marshall, Ambrose etc., but I have never seen them come up with such a poor performance even at their weakest. I mean dropping catches, what's going on? What they need is a guy who can kick ass and go back to basics. After all it was the basics which made them a great team. A good disciplined line, catches taken, sharp fielding and above all aggressive running between the wickets made them a great team. Also a positive attitude. The body language of this team sucks.

  • mmoosa on December 26, 2010, 21:57 GMT

    Time for Smith(out of depth) and Hilfy(no penetraton) to go.This English team is a great specialist batting team,arguably the best unit in world cricket.Tactically sound and skilled in bowling without an express man,the bowlers are all very disciplined and specific as to their roles.Aussie bowlings the opposite-rookie spinner,Wild quick in Johnson,jouneyman Hilfy,unproven Harris and whole hearted Siddle-its almost like the Aussies are relying on unpredictability,the element of surprise and flair to bowl sides out-somewhat like Pakistan.

  • ayeshakhan on December 26, 2010, 21:44 GMT

    hi every1 can australian team selectors tell me role of steve smith in the team. can't bat and bowl.

  • chichawatni on December 26, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    Ponting VS Tendulkar ? Who you want in your team? I will take Ponting because he helped Australia to win 2 world cups and many more games single handedly.He played some great innings. In contrast, tendulkar played many great innings but never helped India to victory. Laxman has played some great innings and that innings will be remembered for ever. even last tour to india Lashman was the one who won the series for india even Tendulkar score many runs. So, i think Ponting is match winner but Tendulkar is being around 23 years but has's won any game for india single handedly, so he is not match winner.

  • on December 26, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    Think about it... from the glory days. The only 2 that have been adequately replaced are Katich for Langer (a drop in class, but still similar type/reliant openers...) & Hussey for S Waugh. Ponting's current lack of form means he's a shadow of himself. So when 9/11 players aren't the legends that we are all used to, these kind of things are going to happen. Australia are ranked #5 with good reason. However, i've been saying this since the day he was appointed, Ponting HAS to go as captain, doesn't have a bit of tactical nous about him & his leadership always comes under scrutiny.

  • on December 26, 2010, 19:26 GMT

    "Mirror, mirror on the wall should I retire?" The answer would be; "Yes." History is repeating itself... The above comments Chappell has written about Sachin.... Chappell, do the same for Ponting... Who knows Ponting might follow Sachin's footsteps.

  • Chapelau on December 26, 2010, 18:44 GMT

    @marcio - great Ozzie name by the way.... as to perspective, I think u r right - lets look at the whole series so far, not just 24 hrs. England have dominated 11 days , Oz just 4... give or take... look at wickets taken, runs per wicket, etc etc... England are a class above Oz and Perth was a blip... not blaming wicket or conditions by the way ... England will win the series 3-1 any takers?

  • shri619 on December 26, 2010, 18:28 GMT

    Ricky pontnig- 1995 to 7th jan 2011........gud bye...!

  • shri619 on December 26, 2010, 18:25 GMT

    mr.chappel pls comment on ponting's future. chappel is the man who one's said tendulkar is getting older he should retire.why you are not saying same about your team's player..?

  • MrJames on December 26, 2010, 18:25 GMT

    Ponting is the best captain we ever had. His record speaks for itself, captaining a team like this is not easy. The Aus team is obviously no longer what it use to be and therefore should cop the criticism as a unit and not just Ponting

  • Toofatforbondi on December 26, 2010, 18:00 GMT

    jonesy2...I love a fair weather fan. The kind that rubs other peoples noses it when your team does well and bleats pathetically when they don't. The match is not over yet, the series is 1-1. And comments about England I just don't get. They're not a great side but a damn sight better than many that have gone to Australia in the past 25 years. Their cricket on this tour has been positive from the very first match, with enterprising declarations, scoring rates above 3 an over, good bowling and great catching and fielding. Stick to 20-20 cricket and wearing pyjamas and leave the longer game to us adults to enjoy.

  • on December 26, 2010, 17:59 GMT

    Ponting was looking like an excellent captain when Hayden, Gilly, McGrath & Shane was around. Now he looks like an ordinary captain. It's all the great players around the Australian team took the team to Glory not Ponting as some claims.

  • AKS286 on December 26, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    clarke,north,katich,smith,hilfy are the next wisdon cricketer of the decade.

  • srivatsan on December 26, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    What can you do?, you can possibly quit international cricket along with Ponting. Losing is one part of it. Losing like the way you folks are going to lose boy it's worse. This is the most un-Australian side I've seen in decades with powerless and politics based selections, entire thing needs a churn..

  • Arrow011 on December 26, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    PONTING should come a bit lower down the order & he can see if that is working. Australia will lose heavily again. Ashes can be applied sideways with 3 fingers on Ponting's forehead, only a red vermilion dot be applied on the second line.Please remove the cap of captaincy also.

    Micheal Clarke is full of hipe, the "PuP" has never grown up, it is time Watson is made the captain after booting out Greg Chappel from the chief selector's role.

  • gerardpereira20 on December 26, 2010, 17:48 GMT

    When you are bundled out for under 100 on day one of a test match there is only one outcome to the match. Australia are poor and things are not going to get any better. Ponting, Hussey and Katich are all the wrong side of thirty. Hughes, and Smith not test material with no up coming youngsters to talk about Australia are about to join the West Indies at the bottom of the heap. In fact with Gayle, Chanderpaul, Bravo, Nash and some good quick bowlers the West Indies look a better side.

  • chiggers on December 26, 2010, 17:41 GMT

    @ jonesy2 - that's what I like about you Aussies; you're such gracious losers...

  • on December 26, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    I'm surprised at jonesy2 's comments. England were awful to watch? I'm a neutral spectator and have been enjoying ashes as much as an english man would do. Its just because they are playing so well as of this moment.

    A great boxing day match. Well played England. Very well played indeed.

  • kabe_ag7 on December 26, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    Ian Chappell: "Ponting is playing well. He just keeps getting out." I like that line of reasoning.

  • jonesy2 on December 26, 2010, 16:15 GMT

    disgraceful cricket from the australians, they are letting the country down, kids watching this will never want to play cricket for australia, hell i lost interest in cricket today.they should be ashamed of themselves. this is rock bottom. forget the ashes lets just focus on proper series where both teams play good cricket, no matter how much england win by they still are awful to watch and an awful team. a world cup win is redemption.

  • SunilPotnis on December 26, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    Ponting's captaincy has reached the stage of perpetual monotony. Clarke should be shown the gates and it is time to start rebuilding Australian cricket with some young folks

  • Pramod75 on December 26, 2010, 15:41 GMT

    I think it is really a selection problem than anything else. AUS cant find a good partner to Watson (heard about Warner recently?), cant drop Ricky & Clarke (reputations precede their form, definitely for Clarke). Smith should be playing bit lower than he is right now (There was someone called Craig White). I think they should let Clarke go out for few matches. Sehwag was also kept out when he was VC. He came back much stronger. And yes, being Indian, I cannot help but join the Sack Greg Chappel movement. He might have right ideas, but there is something wrong about his methods.

  • Jaggadaaku on December 26, 2010, 15:38 GMT

    Clarke said he would make some runs at this Christmas before this match has started. Well, he is the highest scorer in first innings of this test. So, technically he has proved what he said. Mr. Punter it is time to retire. You and your cousin-Hilfenhause are struggling but you both won't retire until the Aus board kick you both out. You guys are getting training from the man who once made his team-mate to bowl under-arm against NZ when NZ required 6 runs in one ball to win. So, you have chances to win some matches one way or another. I am sure you would show some Greg-type skill in this match to save the game. I am sure you would show something, so cricket fans never would forget you like your coach-Greg Chapple.

  • rumyfala on December 26, 2010, 15:14 GMT

    I have a very strong feeling that even if pontng had won the toss he would have sent england in and the aussies would be in the same position. Eng are going to have a 500 run lead. The only way for Aussies to draw this game is to score over 600 runs in the second inings. Anyway only GOD can save the Aussies !!!

  • on December 26, 2010, 15:13 GMT

    I have my fate in Ponting,he will come and he will come hard, things will change its just a matter of time..............Australia we will be back in this game.

  • kinkycad on December 26, 2010, 15:07 GMT

    Hughes is not not test class/put of form Smith is hopeless: worse batsman and bowler than North! Ponting has been getting some very good balls to be fair (but never was much of a captain) Clarke is a good player but should be rested for a while as was Pieterson for England for a while Aus best team in batting order Watson, Katich, one of the new young guns at 3, Hussey, Ponting ( to protect from the new ball a bit ala Lara and Tendulkar in later years) another new player, Haddin, M Johnson, Hauritz ( Ponting no longer captain so no problem!) Harris Siddle or Hilfenhaus (occasionally gamble on Tait for one off appearances as his fragile body offers something!)

    new players should be Ferguson and the young Asian background who's name/spelling escapes me batsman lol)

    Hussey as captain forr now

  • MisterE84 on December 26, 2010, 14:39 GMT

    I agree here with heathr1974 - the mental strength of the team just seems to collapse when Hussey does not make runs. Haddin and Watson have shown good skill but too have crumbled in the death situation at time - but there are plenty worse. The Ashes are gone now with sunny Melbourne forecast, so I'd do the following for the dead Sydney test:

    * Drop Hughes for S. March --> better new ball technique * Drop Clarke for Khawaja --> better prospect and in form * Give Ponting one last hurrah --> well past his best but I hope he tons up at Sydney just out of respect for this guy * Lower S. Smith to No.8 - he is not up to No. 6 standard yet but surely his leggies are as good as Beer * Bring in New No. 6 in form and less than 30 (Ferguson, White etc) * Bring back Doug the Rug I think he had one bad game not 100% fit when fit is more potent than either Siddle or Hilfenhaus

    Pray that M. Johnson can become more consistent coz rite now he's just an 'X-factor' and not a 'Champion'

  • mazahirfaraz on December 26, 2010, 14:38 GMT

    i don't know what's going on with australian cricket.their selection committe seems to be a bunch of jokers.selection of hughes, smith and beer is horrible.smith is batting at no.6 , he even can't find his place in bangaldesh.they should have gone for experienced players in this important series like hodge,hauritz and may be in form khawaja.hughes has no tehnique.

  • HawK89 on December 26, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    Not enough discipline from the openers. Katich is the only one that plays like an opening batsmen. Ponting has faced the new ball far too much this series, and so have the middle order. Ponting has taken too much criticism, he can only give the bowlers the best opportunity to get a wicket, not hand it to them. If fielders drop catches, bowlers bowl rubbish, then what can he do?, also he is NOT an opening batsmen, so he shouldn't be doing an openers job when they fail. He's a stroke maker and his records reflect it. Once Ponting is gone, hussy isn't far at his age, as well as katich, they will be just as bad as NZL, WI and Pak.

  • bobinthegong on December 26, 2010, 14:13 GMT

    Fair dinkum. There were about 10,011 pommies there at the ground today. There were over 80,000 AUSSIES. WHAT WERE YOU BLOKES PLAYING FOR? Get some mongrel, or get out.

  • on December 26, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    well done english. they are on verge of making ponting retire :)

  • indianpunter on December 26, 2010, 14:04 GMT

    Australia are in woeful shape. They simply cannot afford the luxury of steve smith at number 6. Isn't there a better batsman in all of australia to bat at that position. Australia look a batsman and a bowler short. How can they go with 5 pace bowlers. horses for courses, anyone? Just because you have a team that won a test in perth, it is pig headedness not to include a spinner for MCG. They will only realise this when the ashes are lost. Greg Chappell will destroy australia, just the way he did India.

  • nshiv on December 26, 2010, 13:56 GMT

    Is it the Greg Chappel effect with Australia as was with India !

  • corpusninja on December 26, 2010, 13:50 GMT

    Time for Ponting to bow out of the game graciously rather than try and sustain a career in some vain attempt to improve his stats. A year ago, it was only a loss of form, now it's a bit pathetic.

  • KingPunter on December 26, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    Cannot believe he came out to speak these words. This is horrible cricket. I think more than any training in nets these guys need training in some conf room, where some senior guys can come and tell them the importance of that cap which they are wearing. At the moment they seem to have forgotten about it. Rather than thinking about winning series these players hould think of winning sessions, probably it might help them....

  • murthydn16 on December 26, 2010, 13:36 GMT

    Mr. lefthander is absolutely on the point. Does chappel has the guts to ask ricky to retire now?

  • Marcio on December 26, 2010, 13:01 GMT

    I suppose the complete lack of perspective from cricinfo comments writers (and some staff) is to be expected in this case. Few posters have the capacity to see beyond 24 hours, and this is yet another perfect example. The reality is that conditions are what separate these two teams more than anything else. The same Engbatting lineup that couldn't score more than 160 in the last test is none for 160 here. In that game the same AUS bowlers swung and moved the ball prodigiously - here it barely moved an inch. The whole pitch, and weather conditions had changed in 3-4 hours. The batsmen and bowlers have not suddenly been transformed. It is the conditions that are central to what is happening, and they are soaring wildly from one session to the next in some of these games. So, despite the very poor batting performace, the reality is that Australia will still, I predict, draw this series 2-2, after they win in Sydney. I might point out that at this point the series is still 1-1. Perspective.

  • CricketChat on December 26, 2010, 12:57 GMT

    Really sorry batting performance from Aus, especially after resounding victory in the last Test. With overall decline in their performance of late, more matches are evenly contested. I am sure they will fight back rest of the series. First of all, this is Ashes series and for some players at least, could be career ending unless they perform much better.

  • sixnout on December 26, 2010, 12:49 GMT

    The game is not over yet..We could still see the Oz put up a fight in the second innnings...This is a funny game....Every time you think its down, its up to bite you. It could be a stretch for the Aussies to save this game. Stranger things have happened though.

  • Something_Witty on December 26, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    Also, for all the people who rubbish the idea of coaches, is it REALLY just a coincidence that Buchanan coached Aus through a real period of dominance, then as soon as Tim Nielsen comes in we submerge into a prolonged period of mediocrity? We can't even beat a semi-reasonable England side on our home turf. Surely Nielsen's place has to be under review....

  • Something_Witty on December 26, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    Not play so many woofy shots, that's what you can do. Easier said than done I know, but someone surely has to be questioning Justin Langer's merit as batting coach, and indeed, Tim Nielsen's credentials as coach.

  • lefthander on December 26, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    If Sachin Tendulkar is playing to eke out a career, he is wasting his time and should retire immediately http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/287961.html

    does Ian Chappell has the guts to tell Ricky Ponting to retire? Can he , will he...or advices are only for others.

  • on December 26, 2010, 12:12 GMT

    I dont mean to hurt Australians but I think they had enough now. It is time for a new team to follow West Indies and Australia of the past. Which team? I dont know.

  • on December 26, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    That batting performance was a joke. There was some very poor shot selection and a lot of wafting outside off stump. The batsman are getting lazy and have forgotten how to grind and guts out an innings. We need Steve Waugh and Allan Border to come back as batting coaches.

  • on December 26, 2010, 12:04 GMT

    Johann3 i agree, ive been saying for sometime its time the selectors must go and be replaced with new guys like mark waugh, craig mcdermott, damian flemming, greg blewett. guys that havent been out of playing for that long that have strengths to bring to the table. Selections have been australia's achillees heal for sometime.

  • johntycodes on December 26, 2010, 12:04 GMT

    Yeah sri lanka but we are still way ahead in the one day rankings from anyone and next year will win our 4th world cup in a row.

  • heathrf1974 on December 26, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    The major problem for the Aussie side is their mental toughness is non-existent as a team. Like Pakistan, great one day, awful the next.

    I disagree with cricket CricketingStargazer, this is not the reserve bowling lineup. These are their best bowlers with the exception of maybe Finn for Bresnan. The depth of English cricket at the moment is probably the best in the world.

  • aus-j on December 26, 2010, 11:53 GMT

    i think, ponting must gave up captency, like sachin or lara, when he getting old for the game and when your team not playing good cricket, its normal to fail soon,also australia need to get 2 new openers to side, drop watson to number 6, then, he can ball more without thinking of opening batting, then train one spiner for long time, not changing all the time, cos they need more time to learn, cos its very hard to replace spinking, but need give time...

  • RAVI_BOPARA on December 26, 2010, 11:51 GMT

    ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT... THE ASHES ARE COMING BACK TO ENGLAND AND THE AUSSIES WILL NEED TO SACK PONTING AS CAPTAIN AND PLAYER AND THE COACH ALONG WITH SELECTORS... GIVE WATSON THE CAPTAINCY.. THE AUSSIES ARE IN DISARAY... HOW NICE TO SEE FOR A CHANGE.. COME ON ENGLANDDD !!!

  • on December 26, 2010, 11:28 GMT

    Ponting is dwindling into a shame i never liked him but his record USE to speak for itself but self pride is making him bow out in shame even a hundred now wont help is cause. Years now he should have been batting at no.4 if he wanted to preserve him self and also allow someone else to be groomed in that position, well I'm happy Australia getting some blows and now they are thinking if they should have played Beer but he is not the answer either Hauritz should have been on this side since the beginning but no Ponting again.....lol at least Australia won't become lame like WI they will be back soon

  • anurag38 on December 26, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    A piece of advice from Ian Chappel to Ricky. Stand infront of a mirror and ask - mirror mirror should I quit now or wait till I get the boot?

  • vineetphysics2006 on December 26, 2010, 11:17 GMT

    Mr. Chappel why don't you say now that Ponting is just looking to eke out a career out of cxricket at this stage..........and if he take an honest mirror whether he deserve to be in oz team....the answer would be a Big NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!..........don't be so supportive Mr. chappel...........

  • Indianbeast on December 26, 2010, 11:15 GMT

    Who is the coach of Australia? he nearly did the same to India, and check how India is performing now!

  • kabe_ag7 on December 26, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    Well you can always apologise on twitter, for one.

  • lankan_style on December 26, 2010, 10:29 GMT

    Don't you see it? For Australians its just a begining of a great era of cricket. I am pretty sure no one in 70's or 80's thought Windies gonna end up like this, but they did and thats the same thing gonna happen to aussies.

  • on December 26, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    Could Ian Chappell comment on whether Ricky Ponting must retire now?

  • johann3 on December 26, 2010, 10:12 GMT

    It's unfair to expect Hussey to bail these guys out everytime. The spotlight needs to go on Clarke, Hughes and Ponting. They have to go.

  • CricketingStargazer on December 26, 2010, 10:11 GMT

    A wake-up call for some of the overconfident Australian fans who thought that the last Test showed the true balance of power in the series and who seriously believed their own hype about their team´s power and infalibility. England field a reserve seam attack and still dismiss them for under 100. The sad fact is that the Australian resistence is so poor at times that it is taking away the credit from a good England side for winning.

  • coeurlion on December 26, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    'What can you do?' Plenty! Even you said it Clarke... hard work and discipline. You're the main offender. But you and your teammates weren't up to the challenge. Even Mr. Cricket couldn't paper over the batting cracks. It took Cook and Strauss to show you how it's done. Disappointed? You should be ashamed!

  • johann3 on December 26, 2010, 9:59 GMT

    Its the fault of the selectors. They should have dropped Hughes and Clarke. What a cock up. I hope their heads roll.

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  • johann3 on December 26, 2010, 9:59 GMT

    Its the fault of the selectors. They should have dropped Hughes and Clarke. What a cock up. I hope their heads roll.

  • coeurlion on December 26, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    'What can you do?' Plenty! Even you said it Clarke... hard work and discipline. You're the main offender. But you and your teammates weren't up to the challenge. Even Mr. Cricket couldn't paper over the batting cracks. It took Cook and Strauss to show you how it's done. Disappointed? You should be ashamed!

  • CricketingStargazer on December 26, 2010, 10:11 GMT

    A wake-up call for some of the overconfident Australian fans who thought that the last Test showed the true balance of power in the series and who seriously believed their own hype about their team´s power and infalibility. England field a reserve seam attack and still dismiss them for under 100. The sad fact is that the Australian resistence is so poor at times that it is taking away the credit from a good England side for winning.

  • johann3 on December 26, 2010, 10:12 GMT

    It's unfair to expect Hussey to bail these guys out everytime. The spotlight needs to go on Clarke, Hughes and Ponting. They have to go.

  • on December 26, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    Could Ian Chappell comment on whether Ricky Ponting must retire now?

  • lankan_style on December 26, 2010, 10:29 GMT

    Don't you see it? For Australians its just a begining of a great era of cricket. I am pretty sure no one in 70's or 80's thought Windies gonna end up like this, but they did and thats the same thing gonna happen to aussies.

  • kabe_ag7 on December 26, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    Well you can always apologise on twitter, for one.

  • Indianbeast on December 26, 2010, 11:15 GMT

    Who is the coach of Australia? he nearly did the same to India, and check how India is performing now!

  • vineetphysics2006 on December 26, 2010, 11:17 GMT

    Mr. Chappel why don't you say now that Ponting is just looking to eke out a career out of cxricket at this stage..........and if he take an honest mirror whether he deserve to be in oz team....the answer would be a Big NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!..........don't be so supportive Mr. chappel...........

  • anurag38 on December 26, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    A piece of advice from Ian Chappel to Ricky. Stand infront of a mirror and ask - mirror mirror should I quit now or wait till I get the boot?