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Peter English at the SCG
January 6, 2011
Shane Watson was almost too depressed to speak after another one-sided Ashes day left him and his team-mates searching for answers. He's been one of the few Australian players to have made a serious mark on series, but his mistakes have also cost the team at crucial times.
Today he ran himself out, ending his counter-attack at 38, and by stumps the best Australia could hope for was avoiding an unprecedented third innings defeat of the campaign. They were 7 for 213, still 151 from making England bat again, and even some predicted morning showers should not be able to hold off the tourists on Friday.
"It's not great being a part of something that has been so disappointing," Watson said. "It would be nice to be in the golden era, but we're not playing well enough to be part of that this year. Going into this series I thought there were going to be defining moments in our careers and there has been - on the wrong side, unfortunately."
Australia used to have "Tough Day" Tim Nielsen to analyse these types of performances, but in this series it has been "Bad Day Watto". Unfortunately for Watson he's been required during four of the Tests. "There's no doubt we've let ourselves down in the way that we've played," he said, covering this match and the entire series.
"The English have played extremely well in the last two games, they've made the most of the conditions, whether it's been swinging or seaming, or going reverse and turning. Hats off to them, they've played unbelievably well. We haven't played up to our standard."
He thinks the hosts under-estimated how strong England would be in Australia this time. "With the history of the Ashes and how it's panned out, and playing in our home conditions, it has surprised me in a way," he said. "The way they've played, and how complete they are as a team, it's very impressive. The Australian team hasn't done that."
He now calls David Saker, the England bowling coach, his "ex-good mate". He was joking, but was also disappointed that an Australian has been so successful in helping the old enemy. Saker and England's attack haven't been responsible for all the dismissals.
Watson has been involved in three run-outs, causing the exits of Simon Katich in Adelaide and Phillip Hughes in Melbourne. Today he did it to himself, ending up at the same end as Hughes when he didn't bother to look at his partner when going for an unnecessary second.
"It's not good, it's hard to put a finger on it to be honest," he said of the reasons why he's so often involved in mix-ups. "It's a horrendous situation to be involved in three run-outs now. It's something I've got to work on. It's not good enough."
The same sentiment applies to the team's overall performance. "We don't want to be losing the support that we've had for such a long time with the Australian fans," he said. "We've got to play so much better to keep the faith."
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