Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 3rd day January 5, 2011

Hosts slide towards series defeat

There are still two days left in this match, but in reality Australia are simply waiting to become the first team since 1986-87 to be beaten by England at home
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At 3.01pm, with the Test only just past the halfway point, Steve Bernard, Australia's long-standing team manager, basically conceded the series for his team in a tweet from the dressing-room. A couple of minutes later Michael Clarke did the same by handing the ball to Michael Hussey for an over before tea.

Clarke, the new captain, has six bowlers who can play as specialists but at that point only five wickets had fallen and Alastair Cook and Ian Bell had taken England to a lead of 94. It already felt like much more as a new year started with the same result for an out-classed Australia. They are faced with winning the game to draw the series at 2-2 but, as Bernard indicated, that cannot really happen now.

As Cook continued his cross-country conquering of Australia, Bernard tweeted what most were thinking. "The Cook Bell partnership has ensured that it would be difficult for England to lose. They have both looked well in control."

Before online social media became fashionable, and the country's cricket team had undergone a de-valued renovation, Australian cricketers believed they could win from any position. Those were the days, when Steve Waugh was cast as the batsman in the middle, not as the ground's newest bronze statue.

Clarke tried to remain hopeful but looked fanciful instead. "If we can get a 180 to 200-run lead, on the last day of the SCG Test, I'm confident we can still win the game."

In reality the current players are waiting to become the first team since 1986-87 to be beaten by England at home. The past month has given Australian supporters time to adjust their expectations, but this was the day hope finally ran out. They started with a lead of 113 and England three-down, but when they walked off for bad light their opponents had an advantage of 208.

Depending on how well Australia bat in the second innings, the series will end on Thursday or Friday. There will be no celebrating by the bruised hosts, just Barmy Army songs of triumph refusing to leave their ears. The tourists in the stands, with most cheeks as pink as their McGrath Foundation charity shirts, have had plenty to sing about, while even some of the locals' gifts have been taken away.

In this innings Michael Beer, a bright spot in the flagging attack, twice thought he had a maiden wicket through Cook before losing it on Billy Bowden's self-imposed reviews. When he finally broke through, after Paul Collingwood heaved to mid-on, Beer turned and spoke to Bowden just to make sure the dismissal was legitimate. Third time lucky for Beer, but his energy could not change the direction of his new team.

Shane Watson emerged after the pre-tea concession to take two wickets but only one was given. The success was Cook, who sliced to Michael Hussey in the gully on 189, and the failure was Bell. Given out by Aleem Dar, Bell eventually signalled for a review and was judged not out by Hot Spot and the third umpire. Snicko, which takes a couple of minutes to load and isn't employed in the challenges, showed Dar's initial belief was correct.

Bell was on 67 and went on to 115, with the Sydney fans booing and one man in the Members' Stand signalling the review sign as he departed. The technological error was more annoying for the Australians than match changing.

The team is in this position because of three crucial points. Australia's batsmen have been ill-disciplined, the bowlers are merely honest as a group, and England are more accomplished in every discipline except the evenly matched wicketkeepers. There is so much work to do that it is hard to know where to start.

Australia will begin the fourth day waiting for three wickets or an England declaration. The pitch is in good shape, playing more like a day-three Gabba surface than a Sydney turner, but during the series the wicket has often changed faces when England's attack has been working.

Mitchell Johnson had an off day and when he returned shortly before the end it was the visiting supporters who cheered his arrival. He sparked to remove Bell and collected 3 for 97, but needed to fire in the first half of the day. Peter Siddle operated without menace and Ben Hilfenhaus maintained his bowling-machine line.

Beer showed with 1 for 85 off 29 overs that he is the best local spinner of the series, which isn't saying much, but it offers some encouragement. Once again Steven Smith is caught between disciplines, not sure if he's a batter, a bowler or an allrounder. After failing at No.7, his legspin wasn't called upon until the 102nd over.

Smith dropped a stinging caught-and-bowled from Bell on 84 and didn't receive any more chances. Opposition sides used to be the ones to find these sorts of lapses costly against Australia; it has been the hosts' turn over the past six weeks to learn about being wasteful. The Ashes went to England at the MCG last week and it won't be long before they are tweeting positively about their drought-breaking series win.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rooboy on January 6, 2011, 22:58 GMT

    @landl47 - not that it matters, but regarding your comment that Australia have 'had no first innings scores over 300', I'm pretty sure that Australia's first innings score of 481 in the first test was over 300 ...

  • 5wombats on January 6, 2011, 14:03 GMT

    @crikey; "THE ONLY REASON ENGLAND IS WINNING IS BECAUSE THEY HAVE HAD THE BEST OF THE WEATHER AND THE PITCH CONDITIONS..........ALL AUS NEEDS IS EVEN CONDITIONS FROM THE START". As long as I live I do believe I've never read such UTTER TWADDLE. Get real @crickey. England are a good side - with much potential to improve. Australia by contrast are poor. Read the scoreboard.

  • anver777 on January 6, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    Eng's complete domination of this Ashes continues with another innings win on the card........Aussies need a big Post Mortem after this series !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kardon on January 6, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    I think it should be the last test for a few. Probably Siddle and Hilfenhaus should be the first to go. Siddle played the whole seriers yet only had 2 great bowling innings. I think he finished with14 wickets and 6 came on day 1 and another 6 came in the boxing day test. Also Beer was a waste of time. We had Hauritz and O'Keefe who have played atleast 10-15 games at the scg, yet we pick a victorian who has been playing in western Australia and did nothing. Even though O'Keefe is one of the few bowlers who has had success against England with bat and ball during the whole tour. I think Uzman should remain in the team. Put ponting at 5. Uzzy at 3, And hussey at 4. Clarke at 6. Its either that or shed them all and have Watson at 6 and get Shaun marsh to open with either the Kat or Hughes (if you want to develop openers for a few years then you go with young blood) Bowlers might be time for Copeland, Starc, Pattison, Hazelwood, and Bollinger as the spearhead. ALso Clark is still doing well

  • on January 6, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    i have liked what i have seen in clarke as captain...fun loving, enjoys his criket, plays attacking cricket, is not at all arrogant and is a good sport. Compare it to the grumpy ponting who always sledges umpires and players alike, clarke should be persisted with. The bowlers should be dropped though as should smith and hughes. I like Khwaja . O'keefe should be bought in.

  • Nerk on January 6, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    This is part of cricket. Australia have been on top of the world for more than fifteen years. They beat all comers at home and abroad, but now they are in a transitional period. India will have to deal with the same thing in the next two years as their batting greats slowly depart. Sri Lanka too. England and Sth Africa are still relatively young teams, but Sth Africa's batting looks fragile without Kallis. Australia will come back. It might not be this year, it might not be next year, but we Aussies will be number one again. It might be sooner than you think.

  • Okakaboka on January 6, 2011, 2:27 GMT

    Clarke's Captaincy skills have been as predicted. REMEDIAL...I wouldn't get him to Captain a district cricket side let alone a State team...heaven forbid a National team. Fancy handing the new ball to spray gun Johnston.....no pressure, runs flowing....! Durrrrrr!!!!! Come on Cricket Australia....we need a future plan...NOW!!!! We are going to be in the cricket wilderness for a while at test level. We can maintain our number 1 ranking in one dayers when a new set of players come in: White, Bollinger, Mackay, etc. but GET RID OF CLARKE....Useless one day player and even worse Captain!!!!! Also, Finch MUST get a go....perhaps at Clarke's expense because Finch is only a ten times better batsman....Mmmmm??? Make that 20 times better!

  • on January 6, 2011, 2:14 GMT

    The challenge system can ONLY be a valid system if ALL of the technology is used in the process. The fact that Bell was adjudged not out after being given out by the standing umpire and being shown to be clearly out by one of the pieces of technology is a disgrace and makes the referral system a joke and a total waste of time.

  • on January 6, 2011, 2:10 GMT

    Always good to hear a well informed comment by PheonixSteve. England are just the better side by far, you don't get such massive totals being helped out by anything but your own skill and determination.

  • landl47 on January 6, 2011, 2:09 GMT

    Hey, JoeyJoJo- don't know if you've forgotten this, but before the series started the Aussie fans told us that the side to get a decent first innings score and maintain bowling pressure throughout was..... Australia. Just ask popcorn, jonesy2, Something_Witty, Marcio and the rest. Now that they've had no first innings scores over 300 and have failed to maintain bowling pressure to the extent that England have 2 scores over 600 and 2 more over 500, you're telling us that England aren't a good side? England have won every series in every format in 2010/11. How much better do they need to be?

  • Rooboy on January 6, 2011, 22:58 GMT

    @landl47 - not that it matters, but regarding your comment that Australia have 'had no first innings scores over 300', I'm pretty sure that Australia's first innings score of 481 in the first test was over 300 ...

  • 5wombats on January 6, 2011, 14:03 GMT

    @crikey; "THE ONLY REASON ENGLAND IS WINNING IS BECAUSE THEY HAVE HAD THE BEST OF THE WEATHER AND THE PITCH CONDITIONS..........ALL AUS NEEDS IS EVEN CONDITIONS FROM THE START". As long as I live I do believe I've never read such UTTER TWADDLE. Get real @crickey. England are a good side - with much potential to improve. Australia by contrast are poor. Read the scoreboard.

  • anver777 on January 6, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    Eng's complete domination of this Ashes continues with another innings win on the card........Aussies need a big Post Mortem after this series !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kardon on January 6, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    I think it should be the last test for a few. Probably Siddle and Hilfenhaus should be the first to go. Siddle played the whole seriers yet only had 2 great bowling innings. I think he finished with14 wickets and 6 came on day 1 and another 6 came in the boxing day test. Also Beer was a waste of time. We had Hauritz and O'Keefe who have played atleast 10-15 games at the scg, yet we pick a victorian who has been playing in western Australia and did nothing. Even though O'Keefe is one of the few bowlers who has had success against England with bat and ball during the whole tour. I think Uzman should remain in the team. Put ponting at 5. Uzzy at 3, And hussey at 4. Clarke at 6. Its either that or shed them all and have Watson at 6 and get Shaun marsh to open with either the Kat or Hughes (if you want to develop openers for a few years then you go with young blood) Bowlers might be time for Copeland, Starc, Pattison, Hazelwood, and Bollinger as the spearhead. ALso Clark is still doing well

  • on January 6, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    i have liked what i have seen in clarke as captain...fun loving, enjoys his criket, plays attacking cricket, is not at all arrogant and is a good sport. Compare it to the grumpy ponting who always sledges umpires and players alike, clarke should be persisted with. The bowlers should be dropped though as should smith and hughes. I like Khwaja . O'keefe should be bought in.

  • Nerk on January 6, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    This is part of cricket. Australia have been on top of the world for more than fifteen years. They beat all comers at home and abroad, but now they are in a transitional period. India will have to deal with the same thing in the next two years as their batting greats slowly depart. Sri Lanka too. England and Sth Africa are still relatively young teams, but Sth Africa's batting looks fragile without Kallis. Australia will come back. It might not be this year, it might not be next year, but we Aussies will be number one again. It might be sooner than you think.

  • Okakaboka on January 6, 2011, 2:27 GMT

    Clarke's Captaincy skills have been as predicted. REMEDIAL...I wouldn't get him to Captain a district cricket side let alone a State team...heaven forbid a National team. Fancy handing the new ball to spray gun Johnston.....no pressure, runs flowing....! Durrrrrr!!!!! Come on Cricket Australia....we need a future plan...NOW!!!! We are going to be in the cricket wilderness for a while at test level. We can maintain our number 1 ranking in one dayers when a new set of players come in: White, Bollinger, Mackay, etc. but GET RID OF CLARKE....Useless one day player and even worse Captain!!!!! Also, Finch MUST get a go....perhaps at Clarke's expense because Finch is only a ten times better batsman....Mmmmm??? Make that 20 times better!

  • on January 6, 2011, 2:14 GMT

    The challenge system can ONLY be a valid system if ALL of the technology is used in the process. The fact that Bell was adjudged not out after being given out by the standing umpire and being shown to be clearly out by one of the pieces of technology is a disgrace and makes the referral system a joke and a total waste of time.

  • on January 6, 2011, 2:10 GMT

    Always good to hear a well informed comment by PheonixSteve. England are just the better side by far, you don't get such massive totals being helped out by anything but your own skill and determination.

  • landl47 on January 6, 2011, 2:09 GMT

    Hey, JoeyJoJo- don't know if you've forgotten this, but before the series started the Aussie fans told us that the side to get a decent first innings score and maintain bowling pressure throughout was..... Australia. Just ask popcorn, jonesy2, Something_Witty, Marcio and the rest. Now that they've had no first innings scores over 300 and have failed to maintain bowling pressure to the extent that England have 2 scores over 600 and 2 more over 500, you're telling us that England aren't a good side? England have won every series in every format in 2010/11. How much better do they need to be?

  • oneteam on January 6, 2011, 1:57 GMT

    Well done to England, they have out played and and prepared Australia on and off the pitch. Now is the time for us to rebuild and I do not just mean the players but the Selectors and the Coaching staff. The contrast in the batting and the bowling is so vast it looks like we are playing on different pitches and using different balls. England have been so disciplined we have not. Smith, Hughes, Clarke and our bowlers have all had good opportunities to fire and they have preformed like my EH on a cold winter morning.Time for Change. Again well done to England, well done to the Aussies for working hard with effort if not with application.

  • crikey on January 6, 2011, 1:30 GMT

    THE ONLY REASON ENGLAND IS WINNING IS BECAUSE THEY HAVE HAD THE BEST OF THE WEATHER AND THE PITCH CONDITIONS.LIKE IN 2007 AND LAST YEAR!!!PARTLY THROUGH LUCK AND PARTLY THROUGH BAD CALLING LIKE THIS TEST.ONCE YOU ARE UP AGAINST IT IT IS VERY HARD TO PICK YOURSELF UP AGAIN.ALL AUS NEEDS IS EVEN CONDITIONS FROM THE START.

  • chasejp on January 6, 2011, 0:51 GMT

    Shhhh....Australia, I will suggest you a secret formula.. Put all the blame on the players and secretly shunt all the selectors and coach to England. (An advice from India.. While sending them, Please dont forget Greg Chappel. We did that successfully some years back, when you were at your peak.)

  • Nishat_India on January 5, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    Hilfenhaus' bowling was one dimensional. All he was doing was outswingers which the batsmen left easily. You need to swing the ball both ways like Anderson to be successful.

  • on January 5, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    To quote a former PM, this is the thrashing Australia had to have. Well done to England, clearly the superior side this campaign. Maybe now, CricketOz will review its selection panel and process, and they will start rebuilding the side from the ground up like they did in the late 80's, rather than the four years of patch-ups that we have seen.

  • Rooboy on January 5, 2011, 23:10 GMT

    For once phoenixsteve, I totally agree with your comments. England have been far too good and that just needs to be accepted and acknowledged, making excuses now is pathetic. Almost all of England's players, Collingwood aside, have played near to their peak whereas most of the Australian players have played well below their best, but sometimes you can only play as well as the opposition let you so credit to England for that. I'm still hoping Aus can keep them to a 250ish lead then rack up 450 and make it interesting but that's more delusion than hope. Selectors clearly have the most to answer for ... if Smith is batting at 7 and not bowling until after the 100th over, then what is his role?! I know Smith is good in the field but this side is no longer good enough to carry a specialist fieldsman!!

  • Kitschiguy on January 5, 2011, 21:55 GMT

    What annoys the most isn't the word 'batter' which is grammatically correct and is used, presumably as a politically correct version of 'batsman', but the word 'fieldsman' which is being used more and more and is unnecessary as 'fielder' is perfectly acceptable and always has been.

  • JoeyJoJo on January 5, 2011, 21:30 GMT

    Don't overrate yourself phoenixsteve. Despite England winning the ashes, I'm not so convinced that they are actually all that great. Against a side who set a decent first innings score to chase and maintain bowling pressure throughout, I think we would see a very different English side from the one on Australia.

  • Vroomfondel on January 5, 2011, 21:28 GMT

    Snicko has been shown to be unreliable, that is why it is not used for UDRS. Technology has moved on. Doubt remains in the batsman's favour. So stop bleating on about Bell, Australia. I'm with Farce-follower, what's all this about Beer's misfortune? Hughes's "catch" was a howler. In this series England is without doubt the better side - better prepared, better led, better disciplined, better players. Australia would struggle to make the top 4 Test sides, without Hussey, Haddin or Siddle they would struggle to make the top 6. I'm sure the rest of the World's Test sides are panting to have a go at Aussie in their own (Australia's) back yard right now.

  • swervin on January 5, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    ponting/clarke whatever - the captaincy ain't the problem - its that clarke etc are just not good enough batsman - that is not to say they can't improve - really aust converted a bunch of losers in the 80s into a champion team - remember the days when boonie could hardly score a run and he became the best batsman in the world for a while...

    pick smith if you really want but there has to be another specialist batsman - they really didn't need to pick beer - sydney has turned like it used for some years - anyway this is so obvious you wonder if the selectors want aust to lose...

  • MisterE84 on January 5, 2011, 18:14 GMT

    PhoenixSteve possibly the best written comment I've seen on here all series. The media here have crucified our team and are looking for scapegoats - its so bad its to the extent, as professional as our team is, that it may even have some negative impacts on the team - which in its re-development phase is the LAST thing it needs.

    As for booing Bell come on guys - im an Aussie and I can recall Symonds, Hayden Ponting and even Hussey not walking in the past when they've hit the ball. The priciple is not good I agree - but pot calling the kettle black if you are going to boo the opposition players when we've done it in the past. It just highlights possibly the DRS is not a bulletproof solution yet and while I think its been better for the game (from the viewer perspective) still needs some fine tweaking. I can understand Dhoni and India though as to why they don't want to use it in its current form.

  • on January 5, 2011, 17:42 GMT

    Of all the Aussie cricketers I've seen playing in IPL I would any day go for David Hussey and Cameron White. Don't know much about the bowlers being discussed here but O'Keefe is one name that comes up quite often.

    Sorry fellas Down Under. You've copped it real bad this time. Best wishes for 2013.

  • drash1978 on January 5, 2011, 17:25 GMT

    I dont think Australia can win this, cause even if we assume they get England all out in 1st hour tomorrow, They cannot get a lead of 200 by lunch on day 5 cause for that they will have to score more than 400 runs in just about 90-100 overs. With the way their batting lineup is going forget scoring at that pace I doubt whether they would be able to survive till lunch on day 5

  • mogan707 on January 5, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    Greg Chappell, (I think) might has muddled with the team's experienced players.I don't in what position he is .But he has surely dented the hopes of Australians just as he did with the Indian team during his tenure as a coach.

  • mogan707 on January 5, 2011, 16:55 GMT

    The value of a good opener is known with the help of Alaistair Cook.Had Australia had a good opening patnership and at least a good one of two middle order.They would have challenged this English team session by session.But They relied on bits and pieces openers (shane watson is not a regular opener as well as Simon katich).Though Simon Katich settled into the role with the help of Hayden,he was too not a perfect opener.And Shane Watson is not a big innings player like Hayden;He soon tires reaching a landmark and soon loses concentration or satisfies himself.And Australian selectors might have sent a wrong signal by changing the team after its first loss. I hope Australia through MIke Hussey put a brave fight to draw or level the series.

  • Aussasinator on January 5, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    The final bells have rung for Australian cricket. I dont see much scope for analysis too. It's all very stereotyped and boring. The oz media can now keep going wild with its recommendations and condemnations. In another part of the globe, a fascinating series has entered its last day between the No.1 and 2 teams in the world and both have shown what it takes to be there at the top. The difference in class is too apparent. It's time now for India to play England in England. That should be a compelling and better matched series.

  • RohanMarkJay on January 5, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    Australia was a phenominal cricket team for 20 years, but those days are over. Australia underestimated the England cricket team and paid the price. On paper Australia and England look pretty even. With Australia even slightly ahead yet they have been comprehensively beaten by Andrew Strauss and Co. If anything despite the setbacks for Cricket in England over the last 20 years, this series showed that the system they have in place in England works, finds and produces good cricketers who end up playing in the England team, and is able to produce a cricket team of the calibre we saw in this series. Australia has probably the best cricket system in the world yet they lost. Goes to show you can have the best system but it doesn't garauntee players of the calibre of a warne or a mcgrath or a justin langer coming through all the time.

  • on January 5, 2011, 15:08 GMT

    I think the englishmen are on a roll right now and are a team to watch. Australia's decline is really a point to ponder over for the whole of the team of cricket australia and i hope this is not the end of ponting nor the end of the dominance of australia ( as WI had a decline)

  • on January 5, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    So far so good, regarding England's breakthrough into being able to follow a big win with another big win rather than blowing it as per Gabba and many times before. but it's not all done yet, despite J Agnew on BBC R4 doing the usual jump to conclusion. England all out quickly, Australia bat well and are all out or declare around lunchtime on the 5th day with a 200 lead, England blow it - not the likeliest outcome, but possible. And such possibilities keep me nervous and make things interesting contrary to the Agnew commentary school of deeming everything predictable, a foregone conclusion, as early as possible in a match - that is, dull! Anyway, win or lose, after that it's onward towards World Number 1 for England... but not with this team exactly? Don't they need attention to balance - 5 real bowlers or at least better back-up bowling (even Collie's going, and cf Watson's bowling figs)? So Prior to 6, then Broad, Bresnan, Swan... ? And KP, Trott and Bell to practice their bowling?

  • landl47 on January 5, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    England have dominated Australia in every department of the game. Australia really has to go back to the drawing board and rebuild its side, taking its lumps for a few years. So far in this series they've only taken 53 wickets; the spinners between them have 5-633. The top 4 haven't made a century between them, while England's top 4 have 7. I could go on, but you get the idea.

  • disniyaki on January 5, 2011, 14:14 GMT

    In short Autralia has been well and truly beaten!

  • Guernica on January 5, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Yes, I don't understand why you'd pick a player to bat at 7 and effectively play as a 6th bowler. North or White would surely have been a better option. It reminds me a bit of when England fast-tracked leggie Chris Schofield into the team. Though at least they did that against Zimbabwe, not in an Ashes series.

  • Farce-Follower on January 5, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Whats this crap about Beer and his misfortune? He bowled a no-ball and Phil Hughes got it all terribly wrong...The Aussies are stressed out.

  • phoenixsteve on January 5, 2011, 13:18 GMT

    Great performance by England AGAIN! I am reading all kinds of excuses/reasons why the Aussies lost. Blame is being heaped upon Ponting, Clarke, Beer & anyone else who can somehow be criticised? The selectors get blamed. The UDRS get's blamed, the popping crease gets blamed & the Australian 'curators' get blamed. Lady luck get's blamed....& so on! Australia have been a great team & they still are a good side. You don't go from greatness to rubbishness because of a couple of personnel changes? Why have the Aussies lost? They've lost because they have come up against a better team! Better led & focussed, in better form possibly with better talent available..... In cricket (like all sport) generally someone has to lose & someone has to win (draws apart) There's no shame in losing & Test cricket owes Australia a huge debt. It changed the way test teams scored runs, it set the standard for fielding and messrs Warne and McGrath showed a new way to bowl - a ruthless way! THANKYOU AUSTRALIA!

  • danmcb on January 5, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    Sad to hear the booing of Bell yesterday, damn those grapes must taste bad. Clearly a lot of supporters forgot the occasion in the first test (I think it was) when England lost a review against either Hussey or Clarke (I forget), when snicko did (eventually) show a clear edge missed by hotspot. Maybe they are just bitter that we have someone at number 6 (!!) who can score a valuable ton, as long as he has partners to bat with. Bell deserves much respect for the way he has turned his game around in the last few years, and will likely evolve into a player to be feared at 3 or 4 in the order. I doubt the ungentlemanly behaviour of a few bitter has-beens will worry him much as he follows that road. So boo away fellahs.

  • goodhoot on January 5, 2011, 12:56 GMT

    The captaincy must be called into question now we've conceded the trophy.I've seen enough of our two test captains and players to contemplate that; 1.It's not good enough to stand and watch and wait for the bowlers to do something. 2.It's not good enough when the bowlers are spraying them everywhere to stand and watch without talking to them or taking action if they keep bowling where the captain does'nt want them to bowl. 3.Lack of game plan,if you're told to bowl to a plan and a field set for that plan and fail to do so,you're outta the attack for a while,until you can bowl to the field or plan 4.If you think an English batsman has a weakness,suggest your thoughts to your captain. 5.If you are in the top 6 batters,play like a no 3,watch the ball,play it on it's merits or leave it 6.Make their bowlers bowl at you,not draw you into a false shot and your likely downfall. That's simply what the poms have done to us and our test team's fallen big time for it.Space prevents more..

  • on January 5, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    My sentiments entirely Martin and a spinner no balling? How unprofessional and unnecessary unless your Kerry O'Keefe and that neither of them are! Australia has been beaten by concentration confidence and craft!

  • on January 5, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    Im from NZ and all the talk on radiosport over here has been about an australian decline rather than the fact of what has finally been said and conceded which is that Australia has simply been completely outclassed. I find this annoying as this english team has worked very hard to get to this point in their development and I think they really deserve the respect and kudos that I feel they are not recieving over here. I feel this way as in my cricket lifetime of 30 years we have had 2 good eras and the rest has been very poor so when it is your turn at least get some damn respect for your effort and toil and often heartbreak.

    Well done english, keep the development going on the up until the end of your era, which interestingly will be determined by the talent coming through and how the selectors choose to use it, witness Australia always putting the newbie in at 6 (until the talent ran out)

  • Vindaliew on January 5, 2011, 11:47 GMT

    Australia basically picked Smith and Beer because of their spirit, energy and attitude - the kind of person the opposition just wants to slap and pays the price for being distracted with non-cricket thoughts. Something like England's Swann, or Australia's Warne and Symonds. The selectors fail to see that those have great skill in the first place, and their character is just a bonus. Picking people simply because of their energy and spirit, regardless of their ability, is just asking for it. Yes, Beer can look real cheeky if he gets a wicket (like in the pic above) and rub it in to the opposition, but how often is that going to happen?

  • on January 5, 2011, 11:26 GMT

    I agree Martin..it was a no ball. And in the case of Bell on 67 when umpire Aleem Dar got the message that there was no clear evidence that he snicked the ball, he was BOUND BY THE RULES OF CRICKET TO SAY 'NOT OUT'. The review showed no clear evidence that it was out, therefore there was doubt. He could not stick to his original decision because now there was doubt, the benefit of the doubt has to go to the batsman. He was right. He can only go on the evidence he has. Snicko wasn't in the picture at that stage. Oh! and by the way, when you ask for the score, why isn't it 488 for 7 ... not 7 for 488? THE SCORE is 488....the score is not 7 wickets.

  • on January 5, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    Troubled times for the Aussies. The next Ashes series is 2013 and Ponting, Katich and Hussey will be gone, possibly Haddin & Johnson too. The selectorial policy has been muddled and mindboggling. Looking at Khawaja and Beer you have to wonder why they have only now been picked for the last test, even on limited viewing they seem to be far superior to Smith and Doherty.

    The real problem for Australia is nos 1, 2 & 3 as Hussey, Ponting, Watson, Haddin, Johnson looks a very strong middle order (4-8) to me.

  • Sumeet.Gupta on January 5, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    It's not rocket science to understand that your #6 batsman must actually be a specialist batsman. Or, if you move your 'keeper to #6, you've got to play with 5 specialist bowlers. Steve Smith, no matter how talented, is neither a #6 Test batsman nor the 5th specialist bowler. Sydney's the place where Warne and Mcgill played together umpteen times. Circa 2011, we have Beer and Smith trading their guns. I don't believe it that the Aussies let the Ashes go so easily. I hope Aus regain some of their confidence when India tour them next year. Just to digress, with India giving SA a tough time, all seems hale and hearty about the test cricket:)

  • on January 5, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    Michael clarke has a huge job on his hand. This will test how capable he is as an Aussie skipper. First, the thing that is lacking in this team is "Self belief". Granted, that you cannot be winning all the matches but you shouldn't loose hope even before the first ball is bowled. The team does not lack for talent but it will take a few series to instill self belief in them. Once, they find it, it is only a matter of time to grow into a team that can threaten the no. 1 position. But Michael has to take a leaf out of steve waugh's or saurav ganguly's book. You just have to be patient and stern with your team. Looking forward for how this little drama is going to pan out! But what i can say is that next couple of years is going to be a great treat for test cricket fans. Hurray for SA, India, Eng and Australia. Teams to watch out for :) Sumptuous :D

  • jondavies01 on January 5, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    @ Martin Crapper - I couldn't agree more. The argument that he "lost" the wicket employs the same backwards logic used by the Nine Network commentator who says the no-ball shouldn't have been reviewed because spectators want to see the new guy take a wicket on his debut and they don't want to see an umpire calling no-balls. If that's the case, why bother to have any rules at all?

  • Dr.Qwert on January 5, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    there are 11 players in australia that would be competitive with the English team but they weren't selected, they opt for an out of form Hughes instead of an inform Marsh. when you start off loosing an early wicket you're behind the 8-ball from the start. they opted for Steve Smith over countless better options, if you need a batting allrounder who bowls spin then White, North or even Dave Hussey would have been a better option & then he's retained when we have a specialist spin bowler. they drop Hauritz & now he's in the form of his life for 2 fairly average bowlers. & select unfit/out of form players in Clarke at the start of the series & punter in Melbourne, you can't carry 1st & 2nd drop as a team!

  • Dishanstc on January 5, 2011, 10:45 GMT

    I think Australia lost the Ashes even before it started

  • on January 5, 2011, 10:19 GMT

    I have to say australia are a 1 man team. If johnson fires with bat and ball australia win, if he has an average day or a poor day australia loose. We have CA and the selectors to thank for the position we are in at the moment. We drop hauritz who i think would have troubled both england openers, but no we pick 2 spinners because we think peterson cant play left arm authordox, yet we dont pick our best left armer in steve o'keefe. We stick with fast bowlers who cant take wickets and maintain line and length, if johnson is playing then you need other bowlers who can keep it tight. Copeland is that person. our entire batting lineup except for hussey is terrible and i include watson as his 50's should turn into big hundreds, he is letting his team down. The selectors wont pick dave hussey, mark cosgrove, shaun marsh, chris lynn. Until form players are picked we need to get used to getting our backsides flogged by most world cricketing nations.

  • on January 5, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    the australian selectors should have retained North and Hauritz instead of Beer and Smith. basically australians are on decline and it would take atleast another 60 years to make a great side of 98-07. until then they will win some and loose some and will be an ordinary side.

  • _Australian_ on January 5, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    I now know how the England supporters must have felt for all those humiliating series defeats. I just hope we don't take 24 years to get our act together again. Australia have been taken to the cleaners by England in all departments. For the time being I can't see us having a bowling attack or batting line up worthy of doing any damage in test cricket. I hate end of eras and change when you are the ones going down.

  • TheDoctor394 on January 5, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    I'd like to think Peter English is a good enough writer to not go for this "batter" thing which too many commentators and players say nowadays. This is cricket, not baseball.

  • tikna on January 5, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    Seriously amongst the n number of blunders that cricket australia have done in this series Steve Smith experiment stands out to me (apart from axing Hauritz and calling Beer later). He doesnt bowl on a wicket supposedly good for spinners till a 100 overs and bats poorly.

    I wish they`d have called up D.Hussey in the team despite his age.

  • on January 5, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    I don't like all this talk of Michael Beer "losing" wickets - yesterday he bowled a no-ball. If you want to get the batsman out, don't ball no-balls. It's not rocket science and it wasn't a wicket. It was a no-ball.

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  • on January 5, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    I don't like all this talk of Michael Beer "losing" wickets - yesterday he bowled a no-ball. If you want to get the batsman out, don't ball no-balls. It's not rocket science and it wasn't a wicket. It was a no-ball.

  • tikna on January 5, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    Seriously amongst the n number of blunders that cricket australia have done in this series Steve Smith experiment stands out to me (apart from axing Hauritz and calling Beer later). He doesnt bowl on a wicket supposedly good for spinners till a 100 overs and bats poorly.

    I wish they`d have called up D.Hussey in the team despite his age.

  • TheDoctor394 on January 5, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    I'd like to think Peter English is a good enough writer to not go for this "batter" thing which too many commentators and players say nowadays. This is cricket, not baseball.

  • _Australian_ on January 5, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    I now know how the England supporters must have felt for all those humiliating series defeats. I just hope we don't take 24 years to get our act together again. Australia have been taken to the cleaners by England in all departments. For the time being I can't see us having a bowling attack or batting line up worthy of doing any damage in test cricket. I hate end of eras and change when you are the ones going down.

  • on January 5, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    the australian selectors should have retained North and Hauritz instead of Beer and Smith. basically australians are on decline and it would take atleast another 60 years to make a great side of 98-07. until then they will win some and loose some and will be an ordinary side.

  • on January 5, 2011, 10:19 GMT

    I have to say australia are a 1 man team. If johnson fires with bat and ball australia win, if he has an average day or a poor day australia loose. We have CA and the selectors to thank for the position we are in at the moment. We drop hauritz who i think would have troubled both england openers, but no we pick 2 spinners because we think peterson cant play left arm authordox, yet we dont pick our best left armer in steve o'keefe. We stick with fast bowlers who cant take wickets and maintain line and length, if johnson is playing then you need other bowlers who can keep it tight. Copeland is that person. our entire batting lineup except for hussey is terrible and i include watson as his 50's should turn into big hundreds, he is letting his team down. The selectors wont pick dave hussey, mark cosgrove, shaun marsh, chris lynn. Until form players are picked we need to get used to getting our backsides flogged by most world cricketing nations.

  • Dishanstc on January 5, 2011, 10:45 GMT

    I think Australia lost the Ashes even before it started

  • Dr.Qwert on January 5, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    there are 11 players in australia that would be competitive with the English team but they weren't selected, they opt for an out of form Hughes instead of an inform Marsh. when you start off loosing an early wicket you're behind the 8-ball from the start. they opted for Steve Smith over countless better options, if you need a batting allrounder who bowls spin then White, North or even Dave Hussey would have been a better option & then he's retained when we have a specialist spin bowler. they drop Hauritz & now he's in the form of his life for 2 fairly average bowlers. & select unfit/out of form players in Clarke at the start of the series & punter in Melbourne, you can't carry 1st & 2nd drop as a team!

  • jondavies01 on January 5, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    @ Martin Crapper - I couldn't agree more. The argument that he "lost" the wicket employs the same backwards logic used by the Nine Network commentator who says the no-ball shouldn't have been reviewed because spectators want to see the new guy take a wicket on his debut and they don't want to see an umpire calling no-balls. If that's the case, why bother to have any rules at all?

  • on January 5, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    Michael clarke has a huge job on his hand. This will test how capable he is as an Aussie skipper. First, the thing that is lacking in this team is "Self belief". Granted, that you cannot be winning all the matches but you shouldn't loose hope even before the first ball is bowled. The team does not lack for talent but it will take a few series to instill self belief in them. Once, they find it, it is only a matter of time to grow into a team that can threaten the no. 1 position. But Michael has to take a leaf out of steve waugh's or saurav ganguly's book. You just have to be patient and stern with your team. Looking forward for how this little drama is going to pan out! But what i can say is that next couple of years is going to be a great treat for test cricket fans. Hurray for SA, India, Eng and Australia. Teams to watch out for :) Sumptuous :D