The Ashes 2013-14 October 26, 2013

Finn, Tremlett, Rankin compete for final bowling spot

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England's jetlagged batsmen and a handful of second-tier West Australians will spend the next week hopping around in the WACA ground nets and the middle after the touring captain Alastair Cook foreshadowed a willing battle between Steven Finn, Chris Tremlett and Boyd Rankin for his side's final Ashes bowling spot.

With Tim Bresnan in the latter stages of his recovery from a back injury that is unlikely to allow him to be considered for the first Test, Finn, Tremlett and the former Irishman Rankin will have the bounciest practice and playing surfaces in the country on which to state their cases. Each must try to sway Cook, the coach Andy Flower and bowling mentor David Saker into a decision on who will share pace duties with James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Following England's first training session of the trip, Cook said his side's plans to make the most of the bounce on offer in Australia had been conveyed clearly enough by the selection of the tour party, but it was now up to the bowlers chosen to press their cases. Apart from their height in common, Finn, Tremlett and Rankin all have slightly differing stories and attributes: temperament and stamina will be under scrutiny in addition to bowling skill.

"It's quite clear to see that Jimmy and Broady have done enough over their fantastic careers to be first-choice bowlers," Cook said in Perth. "We tend to play three quicks and a spinner, so there is one space up for grabs. It's pretty clear for everyone to know that and people have to stick their hand up for selection. If they do really well in these couple of warm-up games in the opportunities they get they're going to put their name ahead."

Finn and Tremlett were each part of England's triumphant 2010-11 tour, part of a pace attack that improved with every Test match despite Anderson being the only constant throughout the series. Having begun the tour as the third seamer, Finn was dropped after Perth as his wickets were deemed to have come at too great a cost. Tremlett, in contrast, graduated from a reserve berth to part of the quick-bowling triumvirate in mid-series, and by its end was arguably England's most threatening bowler.

Rankin is the lesser known entity of the three, having switched allegiance from Ireland to England in order to pursue Test ambitions. He has turned plenty of heads on limited-overs duty for his adopted country, but must now show he has the ability to sustain his hostility and accuracy over the longer spells Cook will demand of him in the Tests.

"We think pace and bounce will be quite crucial on Australian wickets. I think that's quite common. Very, very skillful shorter bowlers can have success but, in general, pace and bounce is quite key," Cook said. "[Rankin] gives us that option, he obviously hasn't played a Test match or been around the Test match environment before, so interesting to see how he goes, but I think the next four days might be quite interesting with him, Finny and Broady all bowling."

England's preparation will closely mirror that of three summers ago, the one change being that their tour matches against WA and New South Wales teams will be head-to-head with rounds of the Sheffield Shield, thus weakening their opposition. Cook said his men would take what they could from the success of the previous trip without resorting to facsimile.

"It's very similar to what we did last time in 2010," he said. "That should give you enough time in the middle and some miles in your legs for the bowlers. We've got a long build-up for it and I think you need that for such an important tour.

"I think we'd be foolish not to look back on what we did on that tour and what we did very well. But you've got to remember this is a different side now. Things have evolved. We've got different players, different personnel as well. We can look at the right things we did there and try to replicate them but we can't just copy it outright, because our side is different."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AKS286 on October 29, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    @ ScottStevo on (October 29, 2013, 8:32 GMT) Fella I said axe Clarke from captaincy not from the team he is the one of the world class batsman in test. Your comments about Pak is not valid we can't consider once in a blue moon, WI is not eligible for tests sure, SLC is having nightmare. Swanny & (replacement of Swanny) Monty is responsible for destroying India in India which looks like almost impossible but ENG made it and you all still dream it. 6/9 is an accident since then what he has done? fella Never make exception as an example. Everyone knows Clarke since he became captain problems started till now. I don't understand if Starc is a great bowler then why he dropped 9 out of 11. Swanny is a great spinner he also contributes with bat. Clarke will again hit by back injury after 2-0 down in Ashes.

  • JG2704 on October 29, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    @ScottStevo on (October 28, 2013, 19:07 GMT) Fair enough - but my original response (which you said I was harsh about the Aus bowlers on) was statistically based in response to a guy who said pre series that Aus bowlers were loads better statistically than Eng bowlers and after the series used the stats to say Aus batsmen were better. Re your comms about the batting imploding and the Eng lower order/tail scoring , both teams had inns where the tail did well (Aus in the 1st test) and both teams had inns when the lower order/tail added nothing. In the 1st test the Aus lower order/tail made a game of it and in the 3rd test they imploded. Also , out of interest why are you also not debating with Mitty if you thought our batting was better

  • Yevghenny on October 29, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    but we've seen that scenario so many times where openers get off to a great start, but it is still difficult for new batsmen coming in. England ramped up the pressure and responded when they came out after tea and completely blew Australia away - if that is not worthy of saying England deserve the victory after performing like that, then what is? Australia were always competing with England at durham, never were they ahead. There is a reason 300 is a tough chase, because even if your openers get a century partnership, there's still an awful long way to go

  • on October 29, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    @ScottStevo- sure, couldn't care what the rankings are except you had to correct someone that said that Australia were ranked fifth in world (two points ahead of the mighty windies!). England only have to play to half their potential and they will yet again beat a bog average Aussie team with only one test quality batsman.

  • ScottStevo on October 29, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    @AKS286, I suggest you read the comments I've made that state we bowled well and batted poorly; very poorly. Great idea, axe our only world class batsman and exchange him for a T20 player - where's your logic gone now?! Well, if by Pak, you mean the team that beat Eng 3-0 and are all over SA at home, then I'd say they aren't too bad a team. We recently beat both the WI and SL teams without breaking sweat, also knocked over India 4-0 and stretched SA to the limit. I'd say we'll compete with anyone and couldn't really care what the ranking says. As for Swann, explain why my comment is unfair? He bowled pretty ordinary and took 5 wickets - is that unfair? Spinners in India generally have a bad time, but the same Clarke you dislke so greatly has magnificent figures, 6-9 in one innings! As for Starc, he'll be a great bowler. He's been in the side 11 times and dropped 9 times - never given time to get a rhythm going. In fact, he was dropped after single-handedly winning us a test match.

  • 5wombats on October 29, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    It'll be squad rotation like it was last time. I would expect Finn to get the first couple of goes. Don't forget that Finn was the leading wicket taker on either side by the end of the second Test last time in Aus, and then he was dropped! Lurch came in at Perth and was quite superb - something else that people forget, but England's batting was pathetic there and it cost us the match. Anyway - Finn will start and then I can see Bresnan coming back as well. I suspect that Rankin may get a go before Tremlett, depending on how it goes in training. 2 of Tremlett/Rankin/Finn will play at Perth I should imagine.

  • on October 29, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    ScottStevo- 2 and 5 actually. Suggest you check. Australia is below Pakistan. And it is hard to give credit to a team that loses a test series 3-0, and has only won 3 test matches against the last fifteen played against England.

  • AKS286 on October 28, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    @ ScottStevo Fella I read your comments OK. so, kindly tell me what is the summary & outcome of your comments?-- Aus played well than Poms but LOST... what is the logic behind this? just one thing and Oz team will be in track again- Axe Clarke from captaincy. Finch(vc), Marsh, Smith(C), Clarke, Bailey, Watto, Haddin/Handscomb, Johnson, Harris , Siddle, Beer. And your comments on Swanny is not fair. what is your opinion on Oz spinners in India including great Warne. Giles is better than Warne if it is in the context of Indian team. Be serious fella Poms are world no.2 team and your team is in the league of WI, Bang, Pak, SL. Australia is having the world's largest fast bowling talent pool but you select starc who is worst test bowler.

  • ScottStevo on October 28, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    @Yevghenny, ah, I'm not really sure where you're coming from, mate. I didn't claim any such thing. However, with Eng scoring 238 and Aus at 210(ish)/5 with one of our openers in on around a ton, you'd say Aus were in quite a strong position. Then we capitulated and lost 5/60. In the second innings, it was Bresnan who made a 50 to give you guys a half decent total. And chasing 299 Aus were cruising at 100/0. Trust me (and you can check the commentary if you like), there were plenty of people fretting at that point in time and Aus looked, once again, in a very strong position from which they should've won - but once again crashed out. I'm not sure where you come up with that absurd final sentence of yours, but I think you've completely misunderstood what was said, mate. All I've said was that it wasn't the fault of our bowlers that lost us test matches, it was the poor batting performances...I wouldn't say we were robbed, but I'd still say Eng benefited from some 'good fortune.'

  • ScottStevo on October 28, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    @JG2704, to be honest, I'm not really one of those that cares too much for stats, I prefer to watch the match and adjudicate the performances as I see them. It's one of the nuances of the game that makes it so special, that stats only ever tell half a story. I've seen numerous batsmen not score centuries, yet play exceptionally well in tough circumstances. And bowlers wreak havoc without being fortunate enough to kiss an edge or bail. Fine, over a career they're a decent indicator, but people use them on these forums like gospel and manipulate them according to their own viewpoint. From what I saw, I would have the Aus bowling pip Eng's and the Eng batting (or Ian Bell) performing a lot better than Aus. For me, Bell was the difference with some cameos from the bowlers. Ha - try 2 test matches in a row bowling all of day 5 at SA and winning neither!

  • AKS286 on October 29, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    @ ScottStevo on (October 29, 2013, 8:32 GMT) Fella I said axe Clarke from captaincy not from the team he is the one of the world class batsman in test. Your comments about Pak is not valid we can't consider once in a blue moon, WI is not eligible for tests sure, SLC is having nightmare. Swanny & (replacement of Swanny) Monty is responsible for destroying India in India which looks like almost impossible but ENG made it and you all still dream it. 6/9 is an accident since then what he has done? fella Never make exception as an example. Everyone knows Clarke since he became captain problems started till now. I don't understand if Starc is a great bowler then why he dropped 9 out of 11. Swanny is a great spinner he also contributes with bat. Clarke will again hit by back injury after 2-0 down in Ashes.

  • JG2704 on October 29, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    @ScottStevo on (October 28, 2013, 19:07 GMT) Fair enough - but my original response (which you said I was harsh about the Aus bowlers on) was statistically based in response to a guy who said pre series that Aus bowlers were loads better statistically than Eng bowlers and after the series used the stats to say Aus batsmen were better. Re your comms about the batting imploding and the Eng lower order/tail scoring , both teams had inns where the tail did well (Aus in the 1st test) and both teams had inns when the lower order/tail added nothing. In the 1st test the Aus lower order/tail made a game of it and in the 3rd test they imploded. Also , out of interest why are you also not debating with Mitty if you thought our batting was better

  • Yevghenny on October 29, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    but we've seen that scenario so many times where openers get off to a great start, but it is still difficult for new batsmen coming in. England ramped up the pressure and responded when they came out after tea and completely blew Australia away - if that is not worthy of saying England deserve the victory after performing like that, then what is? Australia were always competing with England at durham, never were they ahead. There is a reason 300 is a tough chase, because even if your openers get a century partnership, there's still an awful long way to go

  • on October 29, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    @ScottStevo- sure, couldn't care what the rankings are except you had to correct someone that said that Australia were ranked fifth in world (two points ahead of the mighty windies!). England only have to play to half their potential and they will yet again beat a bog average Aussie team with only one test quality batsman.

  • ScottStevo on October 29, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    @AKS286, I suggest you read the comments I've made that state we bowled well and batted poorly; very poorly. Great idea, axe our only world class batsman and exchange him for a T20 player - where's your logic gone now?! Well, if by Pak, you mean the team that beat Eng 3-0 and are all over SA at home, then I'd say they aren't too bad a team. We recently beat both the WI and SL teams without breaking sweat, also knocked over India 4-0 and stretched SA to the limit. I'd say we'll compete with anyone and couldn't really care what the ranking says. As for Swann, explain why my comment is unfair? He bowled pretty ordinary and took 5 wickets - is that unfair? Spinners in India generally have a bad time, but the same Clarke you dislke so greatly has magnificent figures, 6-9 in one innings! As for Starc, he'll be a great bowler. He's been in the side 11 times and dropped 9 times - never given time to get a rhythm going. In fact, he was dropped after single-handedly winning us a test match.

  • 5wombats on October 29, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    It'll be squad rotation like it was last time. I would expect Finn to get the first couple of goes. Don't forget that Finn was the leading wicket taker on either side by the end of the second Test last time in Aus, and then he was dropped! Lurch came in at Perth and was quite superb - something else that people forget, but England's batting was pathetic there and it cost us the match. Anyway - Finn will start and then I can see Bresnan coming back as well. I suspect that Rankin may get a go before Tremlett, depending on how it goes in training. 2 of Tremlett/Rankin/Finn will play at Perth I should imagine.

  • on October 29, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    ScottStevo- 2 and 5 actually. Suggest you check. Australia is below Pakistan. And it is hard to give credit to a team that loses a test series 3-0, and has only won 3 test matches against the last fifteen played against England.

  • AKS286 on October 28, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    @ ScottStevo Fella I read your comments OK. so, kindly tell me what is the summary & outcome of your comments?-- Aus played well than Poms but LOST... what is the logic behind this? just one thing and Oz team will be in track again- Axe Clarke from captaincy. Finch(vc), Marsh, Smith(C), Clarke, Bailey, Watto, Haddin/Handscomb, Johnson, Harris , Siddle, Beer. And your comments on Swanny is not fair. what is your opinion on Oz spinners in India including great Warne. Giles is better than Warne if it is in the context of Indian team. Be serious fella Poms are world no.2 team and your team is in the league of WI, Bang, Pak, SL. Australia is having the world's largest fast bowling talent pool but you select starc who is worst test bowler.

  • ScottStevo on October 28, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    @Yevghenny, ah, I'm not really sure where you're coming from, mate. I didn't claim any such thing. However, with Eng scoring 238 and Aus at 210(ish)/5 with one of our openers in on around a ton, you'd say Aus were in quite a strong position. Then we capitulated and lost 5/60. In the second innings, it was Bresnan who made a 50 to give you guys a half decent total. And chasing 299 Aus were cruising at 100/0. Trust me (and you can check the commentary if you like), there were plenty of people fretting at that point in time and Aus looked, once again, in a very strong position from which they should've won - but once again crashed out. I'm not sure where you come up with that absurd final sentence of yours, but I think you've completely misunderstood what was said, mate. All I've said was that it wasn't the fault of our bowlers that lost us test matches, it was the poor batting performances...I wouldn't say we were robbed, but I'd still say Eng benefited from some 'good fortune.'

  • ScottStevo on October 28, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    @JG2704, to be honest, I'm not really one of those that cares too much for stats, I prefer to watch the match and adjudicate the performances as I see them. It's one of the nuances of the game that makes it so special, that stats only ever tell half a story. I've seen numerous batsmen not score centuries, yet play exceptionally well in tough circumstances. And bowlers wreak havoc without being fortunate enough to kiss an edge or bail. Fine, over a career they're a decent indicator, but people use them on these forums like gospel and manipulate them according to their own viewpoint. From what I saw, I would have the Aus bowling pip Eng's and the Eng batting (or Ian Bell) performing a lot better than Aus. For me, Bell was the difference with some cameos from the bowlers. Ha - try 2 test matches in a row bowling all of day 5 at SA and winning neither!

  • JG2704 on October 28, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    @ScottStevo on (October 28, 2013, 16:02 GMT) It can happen that way re Swann. There are times when a bowler bowls well and doesn't get the wickets his bowling deserves and there are times when a bowler isn't hitting his straps and gets a bagful.It tends to even itself out - if not over a series then over a career I don't think there was much between the bowling units or the batting units all in all but my point to Mitty (who was saying that Aus were staistically the better batting side in the series and before the series was saying Aus were way ahead re bowlers) was that Eng were statistically the better bowling side in the series. I also would not read too much into the comparative RRs of the 2 sides. Eng batsmen generally speaking don't have the positive mindset and IMO if they were facing Anderson and co their SR would not be better. Also re clearing the tail - both teams had their issues - see 1st test re Eng.

  • ScottStevo on October 28, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    @JG2704, I'm trying to reply, my posts are being moderated more than getting through - as per your earlier one. Maybe it's just slow today. Nonetheless, I disagree, I think Aus did bowl better than England in the series despite what the stats may say. As I said before, Aus batting was woeful at times during that series - a stat inflator if ever there was one! E.g., look st Swann's 5 for. It was perhaps the worst 5 for in the history of cricket. With possibly one half decent delivery at Smith. The woeful full toss at Rogers, the not out off Khawaja, a mistimed slog sweep from Haddin going to slip and the Harris trying to slog him out of the ground too. he just threw down nothing balls and watched as we gave those wickets away. Stats may say he took a 5 for, but IMO, he didn't bowl well at all.

  • ScottStevo on October 28, 2013, 15:54 GMT

    @Hammond, there's a big difference from copping some bad luck, ie, dodgy home town decision, rain cancelling play, etc., to arrogantly stating that it wasn't the good play from your opponent that caused the top order to misfire, it was complacency! Didn't you say you were all about credit where it's due? Think you'll find that over a whole series played, the top 3 doing nothing the whole time isn't complacency, that's getting done. You can only be complacent for so long before it becomes clearly apparent that you're just not that good. 2 and 4 I think you'll find the rankings are, and they aren't all that indicative of how close these teams are. They are indicative that Aus have struggled for results despite playing decent cricket at times and have forgotten how to win when they get their noses in front, as they did countless times in the last series.

  • JG2704 on October 28, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    @ ScottStevo on (October 28, 2013, 10:25 GMT)- One can interpret the stats however they like. What I was saying to Mitty (to begin with) was directed at him as he said that Aus bowlers were far better than the Eng bowlers pre series and now the same person is saying "This will happen" re Eng batsmen in Aus. I never said that Aus bowlers were bad and just that they were maybe not AS good as Eng bowlers and apart from Harris weren't statistically as good. Generally speaking I'm not into the "This will happen or This would have happened if" ... As the last Ashes series brought so many swings in most of the games. I'm quite happy going on record as saying Aus would have won the 3rd but for weather , but anything else is just supposition. I'm going on record right now in saying that the scoreline could be anything in between 3-0 to Aus to 3-0 to Eng. Hard one to predict

  • Hammond on October 28, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    @ScottStevo- so the poms can't be complacent but the Aussies can be unlucky? Wow. I think England at number 2 in the world and Australia at 5 sort of sums up the relative quality of the two teams pretty accurately.

  • Yevghenny on October 28, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    ScottStevo, I really don't understand what aussies gain from trying to convince themselves they were robbed in the ashes just gone - trying to claim Durham was Australia's all the way is laughable, considering how few chases above 250 had occurred at that ground during the season. You admit your batting cost 3 test matches, so what you're trying to argue is that if Australia had scored 500 each innings in these matches they would have done better? Strewth! You might be on to something there!

  • ScottStevo on October 28, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    @JG2704, despite the statistics, I'd find it difficult to say we batted better than England considering it was our batting line up that cost us the 1st, 2nd and 4th test losses. With that in mind, I think we bowled well enough. At times we should've done better in restricting totals, but we've generally had troubles clearing out the tail end in recent series after doing very well against top orders. You could say that Eng's bowlers did better than ours, I'd prefer to state that it was our batting that was poor (excruciatingly poor at times) which allowed Eng's bowlers to look statistically better.

  • AKS286 on October 28, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    @ Alan Thomas on (October 27, 2013, 21:15 GMT) Fella I know that Taylor not in the Ashes squad but he must be. Bairstow is the weak link but apart of him who will fulfill the lower middle order? Trott..... hmmm no I'll prefer Compton in the middle order. but I want AD HALES in all format of game, he is a raw talent. Root, Cook, Hales, Bell, KP, Taylor, Prior, Swanny, Jimmy, Tremlett, Broad/Bresnan. @ ScottStevo Fella your postmortem report not to be accepted because history passed and latest history is ASHES is in the Poms cupboard. Your reason for happiness is like finding steel from the broken building.

  • on October 27, 2013, 21:15 GMT

    AKS286 - just to let you know, Taylor is not in the touring party so he won't be in the England side. I agree with the rest of your side though (apart from Bairstow)

  • JG2704 on October 27, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    please publish this time , nothing of offence

    @ ScottStevo on (October 27, 2013, 10:29 GMT) Yes , but I'm not being harsh am I? I'm saying that they weren't better than the English bowlers in the test series or are you saying that the stats lie? This is a response to someone (and forgive me Mitty if I'm getting you confused with another poster who was telling everyone pre series that the Aus bowling attack were much better than Eng's) who said that statistically Aus batsmen had a better series than the England batsmen , which I'd go along with. Yes , your bowling attack did all those things but English bowling attack by and large took more wickets at better averages. I'm not saying the Aus bowling attack didn't bowl well , just that Eng did better?

    Or maybe you're going to tell me that Aus batted and bowled better and it was just pure luck that Eng won the series

  • AKS286 on October 27, 2013, 18:21 GMT

    Now I'll choose CT building from these 3 skyscraper bowlers. I want to see Tremlett bowling with Jimmy & Bresnan/Broad. Tremlett will be useful bowler in Oz pitches. Aus definitely going to lose this series.Now this time excuses of pitch & DRS won't work for them. The only thing to concern for Poms is Clarke's influence is reduced by Lehmann so, Aus team regains some confidence and Senior players are now more confident. Clarke's non-performer boys are now axed like Warner, Matthew Waste, Cowan, khawaja, etc but some are still there like Lyon, Starc. This time i'll waiting for big runs from Cook & KP.This is learning tour for Root. Kindly no Woakes & Stokes. Cook, Root, Bell, Taylor, KP, Bairstow, Prior, Swanny, Jimmy, Tremlett, Bresnan/Broad.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on October 27, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    The facts just defeat any optimism Oz can muster: England outclassed Australia in every facet of the game last Ashes, just like all those Ashes before. They are the long-proven superior side. Australia, their media and their fans know they start the series complete and total underdogs. Home advantage will be their only advantage in a nonth's time. The problem that we all saw last time though, is that as England start to take hold of the series, the Australian home crowds in most part just deserted the stadiums, with row upon row of emtpy seats indicative of an attitude that when losing, few Oz fans want to know. That's probably why certain posters have been conspiciously absent these past few months (RandyOz etc etc).

  • JG2704 on October 27, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    @ ScottStevo on (October 27, 2013, 10:29 GMT) Yes , but I'm not being harsh am I? I'm saying that they weren't better than the English bowlers in the test series or are you saying that the stats lie? This is a response to someone (and forgive me Mitty if I'm getting you confused with another poster who was telling everyone pre series that the Aus bowling attack were much better than Eng's) who said that statistically Aus batsmen had a better series than the England batsmen , which I'd go along with. Yes , your bowling attack did all those things but English bowling attack by and large took more wickets at better averages. I'm not saying the Aus bowling attack didn't bowl well , just that Eng did better?

    Or maybe you're going to tell me that Aus batted and bowled better and it was just pure luck that Eng won the series

  • Hammond on October 27, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    On another note in relation to the ICC rankings, Australia better perform otherwise the West Indies will catch us! Never thought in my lifetime I would see the team wearing the baggy green officially 5th in the world in test cricket!

  • Hammond on October 27, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    @ScottStevo- you are being a little harsh- "nullifying the top 3" I seem to remember a lot of soft dismissals, the poms really were a little complacent they just didn't rate the attack that much. Still can't get past the old 3-0 scoreboard if even one other batsman had fired with Bell we could have been looking at a 4-0 or maybe even a 5-0 disaster! Give credit where it is due, just like the old Aussie side in them glory days (sigh) this England team just doesn't know how to quit, and keeps winning all the sessions that count. I hate to say it mate but I really think they have got this series in the bag, our team is on the right track (maybe George Bailey new captain?) but not yet. I am just hoping the defeat isn't too bad I don't want to cry into my Extra Dry too hard.

  • ScottStevo on October 27, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    @JG2704, I think you're being rather harsh on the Aus bowlers. They pretty much nullified your top 3, kept KP relatively quiet, made a mockery of your recent saviour, Prior. On top of that we kept England under 400 for every single innings. Top that off with the scoring rate of around 2 and I'd say that's pretty good bowling. 'Finding a way' only lasts so long and weather and dubious umpiring can't save you from every test match where you find yourselves in a hole. Against Oz, that generally means, just play bog avg test cricket and wait for our batting line up to implode for 50-150 and throw a test match away!

  • ScottStevo on October 27, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy, funny that as you've only won once in 25+ years, but you seem overly confident...Funny that England never really get out of second gear, isn't it? Oh, it's complacency, that's why...

  • JG2704 on October 27, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    @ Mitty2 - Fair points re batsmen but I seem to remember someone here putting on a load of stats re how the Aus bowling was so much better than Eng's before the last series.Unless my memory is failing me , I seem to remember that after Harris (let's say he was the best from the 4 tests he played and he'd likely have been the highest WT had he played all 5) the next 3 bowlers were English. And yes , the scoring rate may have been strangled etc etc but in the last 4 series Eng have still won 3 of 4 , drawing the other and have only lost 1 test and that in India , so they've still found ways to win. I personally would like to see them a bit more proactive and can see it costing them in the future , but form can be temporary. Look at Bell who has had 1 good series since India 2011 and how well he did in this series. Re "More will happen in tis Ashes" - Bold statement. I wonder what you'll say if it doesn't go that way - a la the bowlers in the last Ashes?

  • on October 27, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Mitty 2 - your comments do not make any sense, If the pitches in Australia were 'roads' in 2010-11 then how come that on those so-called 'roads' that England's bowlers took 71 wickets against Australia's bowlers 37.

    If Anderson, Tremlett, Bresnan, Finn etc could take wickets on those 'roads' then they're going to be pretty lethal on fast, green pitches.

    Your comments on Cook and Trott are very simplistic indeed and totally untrue.

  • RednWhiteArmy on October 27, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Look how many aussie's are trashing the team that just spanked them without really getting out of 2nd gear! You can just smell the fear, cant you.

  • Hammond on October 27, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge- True, the Aussies scored 4 individual centuries. Bell got 3 on his own. Don't see your point? Still was the worst batting unit we've sent to England in my time, and might say more about how flat the wickets were than how good the batsmen are. It's true what they say though, a century isn't worth much if your team loses, remind me again how many of those centuries gained us a victory?

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on October 27, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    Basically we are in for a tight series that I expect Australia to edge by a couple of tests. If that makes me daft then so be it. It's just cricket, no supporter likes losing in this contest but it's just cricket. I'd rather see compelling viewing than a one sided thrashing but that's because I am a cricket fan first. Those harbouring 5-0 desires might want to seek a little help! Let's hope there more talk about cricket than DRS, abysmal umpiring, walking, tape on bats etc. highlights of last series were Bell's stunning form and Harris' bowling. Oh and all the Aussie century makers (not bad for the worst Aussie batting side to ever visit England). Good luck to both sides.

  • milepost on October 27, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    Hey Henrick, it's just banter, no offence caused I hope. At the end of the day the players will sort out the cricket for us so stats, past records, paper - it all goes out the window. Despite the scoreline I think anyone who watched the last series will know there were many tight sessions and England came good in most of the key moments. Nothing about either side on paper guarantees that will happen again. Posters saying Cook had a field day 3 years ago? So what? That was 3 years ago and he was out of nick 2 months ago. 5-0 predictions to England are a little misguided and quite meaningless.

  • Hammond on October 27, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    Here is my take on this. England looked complacent last ashes, the batting didn't really fire, and the English bowling was hot and cold, and yet they still beat Australia 3-0. They ground them down (and had some luck along the way, especially regarding the weather!). My point is therefore this- if England was able to grind Australia down on flat wickets that didn't offer anything to the bowlers, then what is going to happen to the Aussie batting when the "normal" Australian pitches are prepared? Clarke aside there is no world class batsmen in the Aussie batting lineup. England have 4 in their top order, and Prior is a few classes above Haddin as well. I will expect the England batsmen to actually enjoy the quicker pitches, and if they have a touch of green then Anderson & Broad will carve up. Unlike last ashes this will be no war of attrition, there will be very aggressive fast bowling from both sides, even though I am Australian I have to admit, England have a better batting unit.

  • 1st_april on October 27, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    @DavidBaxter Folks who want Bairstow to be included in the test side are the same people who want Jonathan Trott to be dropped from 50 over side , Nick Compton to be dropped from the test side et cetera...

  • Mitty2 on October 27, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    @landl47, and on combined averages last Ashes, the best six were Smith, Clarke Watson, Rogers, Bell and Pieterson (not in order). Your point is void.

    For people suddenly saying that the English batsmen will suddenly recover their form because of Australian pitches you'll be in for a surprise. Cook scored 766 runs last time yes, but every pitch barring Perth was a road, and no English batsmen scored above 60 runs at Perth. And from all reports the pitches will be faster and be more green. The last three series England have played they've been strangled by NZ and Australian bowlers - scoring at low strike rates and only making above 400 runs against NZ. The Aus and NZ bowlers have bowled tight lines and tight lengths, and the Eng batsmen have struggled. Cook needs balls on the hip or balls short and wide to score runs off, bowl full and he can't score. Trott needs them on the hips/pads, otherwise he can't score. Bowl straight to Prior and he can't score. More will happen in tis Ashes.

  • dunger.bob on October 27, 2013, 1:07 GMT

    If we take it at face value that Anderson DID have a poor home Ashes by his standards, then there are positives in that for both camps. For the English, it's reasonable for them to say they won 3-0 anyway so what's it going to be when Jimmy recovers from his temporary form slump. We, on the other hand, could have some right to say that our batsmen have finally learned how to play him better and that his days of running riot through our batting list are over. .. I think both of those points of view are valid but one is stronger than the other. I'm not going to say which is the more likely though.

    I don't want to put the mocker on him, but I've got a feeling we may see Steve Smith do well in this series. He's unusual, unorthodox even, and I realise his technique looks loose, but I truly believe the boy can bat.

    I worry about Cook and Trott. We saw virtually nothing from them in England compared to the avalanche of runs they put on last time down here. We have to control them.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on October 27, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    England have won every Ashes for years now and they've thoroughly deserved to do so. Thei fast bowling has been better than Australia's, their Spin department is and has been just lightyears better. Last time in Oz, Cook had an absolute field day, amassing, as we all know, 766 runs. He loves those Aussie pitches. And he'll be hungry for more. It was effectively 4-0 in the last Ashes, iit could finish 5-0 this time

  • Biggus on October 26, 2013, 23:50 GMT

    Let's try to keep the comments informed and civil gents. Despite our long and fierce rivalry we've mostly been able to stay friendly and acknowledge the good performances and qualities of our opposition, and it would be a pity were we to lose that. As for the coming series I reckon England will fancy their chances of adding to their growing recent list of series wins against us, but I personally think this England team's performance in their home series was less than totally emphatic and that it's a weaker team than we hosted here last time, so if our batting works then England will have a real fight on their hands. That's the fulcrum of the series, whether we can conjure up serious runs. I'm not overly worried about the English talls, you still have to bowl well no matter how big you are. It's not a bad bowling line up but not one you lose sleep over, I save that for our batting. Our bowling should be OK especially if Rhino stays fit. Way too risky to predict a series result really.

  • TheBigBoodha on October 26, 2013, 23:38 GMT

    More than a little predictable, just choosing your tallest bowlers. One of England's problems is that they are very robotic and unimaginative in their approach to test cricket. It is a rather limited.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on October 26, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    England have won every Ashes for years now and they've thoroughly deserved to do so. Thei fast bowling has been better than Australia's, their Spin department is and has been just lightyears better. Last time in Oz, Cook had an absolute field day, amassing, as we all know, 766 runs. He loves those Aussie pitches. And he'll be hungry for more. It was effectively 4-0 in the last Ashes, after it finishes 5-0 this time the political daggers will be finally out for Michael Clarke- Sutherland has said he'll stay, but Clarke? I wouldn't think so.

  • on October 26, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    @milepost - While I wouldn't call myself a cricket expert, a term reserved for people such as Ian Chappell, Geoff Boycott or Gideon Haig, I have been an avid follower of cricket since the 1972 Ashes series and seen all the greats of the past 40 years. I assure you that I do know what I am talking about even if I am from Sweden. But let's look at the upcoming Ashes instead! Can Australia beat England? Yes, but everything points to a comfortable series win for England which paradoxically may be Australia's best hope. But if Anderson, Broad and Swann perform as well (or "as badly") as they did this summer, that's no less than 70 of the 100 Australian wickets this series which should be more than enough to win. Australia may win a test, but England will retain the Ashes.

  • milepost on October 26, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    Jg2704, I don't use stats at all, I hate them. I was just responding to a cricket expert from Sweden.

  • milepost on October 26, 2013, 20:20 GMT

    Steve Back, just try reading.

  • SDHM on October 26, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    Regarding the bowling attack, I'd be hugely surprised if it wasn't Rankin walking out at the Gabba; looked impressive in the ODIs and he is genuinely the bowler a lot of people who haven't seen Tremlett bowl in recent times think he still is: pace, hostility, fire, awkward bounce. Think the mroe interesting slot is the no. 6 position, as it has been for a while now. Wouldn't have taken Bairstow and I'd think he's currently behind Ballance (although much depends on the warm-up games), but I really hope England go with Stokes. He easily has the talent and potential to bat six and on better Test wickets than he gets at Durham he should flourish. His bowling has come on leaps and bounds too.

  • Yevghenny on October 26, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    England have match winning bowlers to call on, and serious competition for the 3rd spot. If australia can overcome them, they will deserve the series

  • on October 26, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    @ milepost: "Henrik Lovén, lets see, If you judge ability on stats it will be a long winter for you in Sweden."

    What is that drivel supposed to mean?

  • JG2704 on October 26, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    @milepost on (October 26, 2013, 12:45 GMT)Jimmy had a pretty off series but still was very influential in the tight 1st test. Also we didn't all say Australia are/were rubbish. Harris is a class bowler but will he stay fit for a whole series? Also notice you use stats when it suits , but when it goes against your argument they go out the window

    @Lyndon McPaul on (October 26, 2013, 16:27 GMT) Very few of us think England are great. Yes Australia are well capable of beating us but while you're expecting this and that to improve could English fans not also realistically expect the performances of some of their players to improve. Jimmy had a relatively poor series and besides Bell , all of the batsmen are very capable of big improvement.

  • on October 26, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    Sorry James but Don't agree about Bairstow, do you remember him against Roach 12 months ago, he was great in the Lord's test against South Africa but has done little else - the Aussie wickets won't suit him they will expose his weakness against the short ball , they should have taken a second specialist keeper instead.

  • on October 26, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    To all the English fans. You're team is good but not great and capable of being done over if Australia hit their stride early. Unfortunately from an Australian perspective; a lot depends on Mitchell Johnson being able to keep the ball on the pitch but if his good form continues in the ODI's there is cause for optimism. I'd also realistically expect Siddle's performance to pick up 10-15% at least with the extra bounce, for Harris to be continue being awesome and for our batsmen to fare better than England. If the Ashes in England is anything to go by I would expect that Anderson might start strongly for one test but then be ground into the dust after one decent session of batting by Oz but for Broad to get stronger through the series. A 'workhorse' bowler like Bresnan will be worth his weight in Gold if he is fit. Swan's impact will be significantly reduced with Australian pitches holding together much better the English dustbowls of the previous series.

  • jmcilhinney on October 26, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    @milepost on (October 26, 2013, 12:45 GMT), I'd say that those stats actually show that Harris is better than the rest of the Australian bowlers because they are the ones he was competing with for wickets.

  • milepost on October 26, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Henrik Lovén, lets see, If you judge ability on stats it will be a long winter for you in Sweden.

  • hhillbumper on October 26, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    @ electric loco. Thanks for the insight as ever.This is the same team with all the fast bowling talent who lost the last test series when England didn't even play to their best. Guess what lets see what happens at the end of it. Lets see if you continue your normal searing insight. For what its worth Watson is an Inducker candidate,Clarke you bounce on Middle stump and the rest will pretty much take care of themselves.

  • on October 26, 2013, 15:15 GMT

    @ milepost - funny you should mention it cos to judge by many Oz fans who post here, it seems Australia certainly is lala-land where they still believe they are #1, that their players are decidedly better than anyone elses, that Khawaja is the new Greg Chappell, that foreign bowlers who take more than 20 wickets per series at under 30 and each turn in a match-winning performance are having a poor series while their second-best bowler only managed 17 wickets at 31.58.

  • dirtydozen on October 26, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    despite having a weak one day team australia has proved its fighting spirit even now as well defeating india in india at least in one or two games. No need to blame india's poor bowling, but still aussies performed. But one important thing is aussies should either persist with bailey as no 6 and hughes as wicket-keeper at 7 in place of haddin. No use of having haddin.

  • on October 26, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    @ Henrik, First of all im not even sure if u are being sarcastic or not, but anyway anderson can only get out tail enders lol he took 22 wickets, and id be surprised if any more than 10 were of the top order. Bowling average of 30 says it all, dont see how he is rated so highly? hes actually just your standard test bowler, i mean even siddles average is better, and siddle cant actually do anything special with the ball haha

  • milepost on October 26, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    Anderson admitted he had a poor ashes.

  • dirtydozen on October 26, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    If rankin can for netharland then why can't cooper play for australia,despite having a good list A average of 40.

    England use irish players and later on they dump them (eg- morgan<for test>, joyce)

  • on October 26, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    If England all fire then Australia don't have a chance in this series unfortunately. The way England's batsman stepped up their game at the Oval in the final innings would be very worrying to Australia.

    However, there could be complacency from England and none if the top order appear to be under any pressure for their places so they might not achieve the monumental form they showed in 2010/11. If they don't then Australia will have a chance in the series.

    Australia have some fine potential in their seam attack but injuries are such a problem for them. Mitchell Johnsons form has improved but he has such mental baggage against England that if it doesn't start well for him then it go horribly wrong.

    I've not seen enough of Ballance to comment on him, personally I would go with Bairstow who I think will enjoy the tracks in Australia. Without Compton Root has to open and we need six specialist batsman because Prior has had a rotten 2013 with the bat. I hope he can turn that round.

  • on October 26, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    If England all fire then Australia don't have a cganc

  • CodandChips on October 26, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    Land 47 good point. I think it proves that too many players are picked on what they might do only in their best form (eg Broad) or what they achieved in their prime (Trott, Anderson etc). Makes the omissions of Onions, Taylor etc even worse and undermines our own domestic system. Hopefully the players can prove me wrong.

  • 2.14istherunrate on October 26, 2013, 13:57 GMT

    The timing of tour games with rounds of Shield games says one thing only. CA do not give a damn at all about hosting and the impressions made. In anyone's book leaving a side free from domestic duties so it can play the touring side just seems like a basic necessary courtesy, so this situation merely continues the excruciating manners of CA from last tour when in a sour grapes display of extraordinary meanness they denied the victors any champagne at their victory parade on the excuse of there being an economic crisis. CA must learn to behave better and be somewhat less obvious in their extraordinary lack of decent courtesies to us. This is simply a disgrace. Maybe they want us to reciprocate!

  • milepost on October 26, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    @Henrik Lovén, you are in lala land. Anderson publicly admitted he had a poor series. How many wickets would you expect your number one bowler to get against a team you all said was rubbish? Speaking of lala land, what is the weather like there? All your stats point out is that Harris is better than both Anderson and Broad and he played one match less.

  • landl47 on October 26, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    Cook says this is a different side, but it's not VERY different. The line-up for the first test in 2010/11 was Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Collingwood, Bell, Prior, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Finn. Nine of those players played all 5 tests; the two who came in were Tremlett and Bresnan. Of those 13, only Strauss and Collingwood are not with the squad this time, though Bresnan isn't yet fit.

    If you look at the Australian side, it was very different to the one that will take the field in Brisbane. Watson, Clarke, Haddin and Siddle will be there (if fit) and Johnson might be. It's somewhat odd that England will have far more players who have played in an Ashes series in Australia than Australia will.

    BTW, the top 6 in the batting averages for the combined sides last time were Cook, Trott, Bell, Pietersen, Hussey, Prior. Can you spot which one won't be playing this time?

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on October 26, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    Well, I really thought ,the 'duel' he meant -fast bowling - was 1 between struggling, ageing and off form batsmen from his team trying to somehow cope up to challenge from world's no.1 pace battery - including the fastest in the world Mitch who just is getting better -and faster! - by the day and is set for a defining Ashes,a.l.a Warne's Ashes in '05, Mcgrath's in '07-'08. Did get me napping there ,I admit! .Though ,if 1 asks me the duel should mean is 'spin' bowling duel -I don't mean G Swann or Monty here ! Well, compared to the Aussie pace attack at least the Eng counterparts look like ,well 'spinners' ! -:)

  • EnglishCricket on October 26, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    I want to see Rankin in the side especially in Perth because of that height, pace and bounce he naturally generates. He will be a nightmare for any batsman in the world including the Aussie on these sorts of pitches despite being brought up on them. Should be a cracker of a series down under!!!

  • on October 26, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    England will be downright stupid to go into the game with just four bowlers, didn't they learn anything from the Ashes? In batting order Broad, Swann, Anderson, Finn and Rankin (or Tremlett) is the right way to go. The batting lineup of Cook, Root, Trott, Pietersen, Bell and Prior really should be strong enough and it isn't as if this "tail" is completely inept at batting.

    Front-Foot-Sponge, I agree. Anderson was really poor in the Ashes with just 22 wickets (2x5, 1x10) only winning the 1st test for England and Broad only got 22 wickets (also 2x5, 1x10) only winning the 4th test for England. Compare that with with Australia's ace bowler Ryan Harris who got as many as 24 from only four tests (2x5) and didn't win any match for Australia. Sheesh, some people really do live in lala-land...

  • hhillbumper on October 26, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    It should be an interesting series.If the weather is hot will the tracks bounce or be roads? We have the bowlers to exploit the situations but then so do Aus.We have the superior spinner which if Johnson plays could be more of a factor with his footmarks against the right handers.Can Aus sort their batting out or will it collapse again? Cook especially plas well on harder pitches and you would imagine that Root should go better as well.It will be an interesting series and could define England for a while.They need to stop being so inconsistent though and the batting needs to click as a unit more often.more from Prior will also help the cause.

  • on October 26, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    Aussies shud go all out attacking.. thats their natural game.. If they get it right it might be their only chance to create 1 or 2 upsets...

  • CodandChips on October 26, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    Rankin will win but it should be Finn. We should be picking our own young English bowlers eg Willey, Jordan (yes he is English). Good luck Tremlett (who doesn't deserve to be there instead of Onions)

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on October 26, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    Are you for real are you for real? England have batting and bowling problems on form. Anderson was poor in the Ashes and Broad might well go another 60 overs without a wicket. Australia should bring in Bailey as well as Johnson who will be too much for a struggling England batting order. Let's see who gets some runs in the shield.

  • dunger.bob on October 26, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    I guess the first order of business is to say welcome gentleman, and Stuart, to our sunburned land. Hopefully it won't be just the burned land before the summer is over. I say that in a cricketing sense as well as literally.

    England is obviously in the box seat again. As the article clearly alludes to, apart from some minor tinkering here and there the English team is already more or less picked. They have a very settled and successful team and barring injury there are only one or two positions at most not locked in.

    We on the other hand are more or less a rabble and almost the exact opposite. We only have a few positions tied down in the batting (and even that depends on Clarke's crook back) but it's our bowling that's hurting the most. Siddle and Harris are almost certainties but it gets a bit murky after that. The best of the rest of our quicks are all injured. Pattinson, Starc and Cummins all out together. Bloody beautiful. .. Still, hope springs eternal. Someone might emerge.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on October 26, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    England are sitting pretty with just one or two spots to ponder over; Australia on the other hand need to do some homework on all eleven spots! Even Clarke might not make it for first test, and there only seems to a long list of short-format specialists to choose from that are doubtful at best for tests. Be interesting to see what both teams go with, and see if selectors have learned anything at all from past series.

  • CrICkeeet on October 26, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    Bailey should get a chance in Aus team, if u look at the horrable batting lineup in test in d last two series (ind nd eng) He can b better than khawaja, cowan, warner nd evn Watson (TEST match watson, ok! avg.36+ )

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  • CrICkeeet on October 26, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    Bailey should get a chance in Aus team, if u look at the horrable batting lineup in test in d last two series (ind nd eng) He can b better than khawaja, cowan, warner nd evn Watson (TEST match watson, ok! avg.36+ )

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on October 26, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    England are sitting pretty with just one or two spots to ponder over; Australia on the other hand need to do some homework on all eleven spots! Even Clarke might not make it for first test, and there only seems to a long list of short-format specialists to choose from that are doubtful at best for tests. Be interesting to see what both teams go with, and see if selectors have learned anything at all from past series.

  • dunger.bob on October 26, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    I guess the first order of business is to say welcome gentleman, and Stuart, to our sunburned land. Hopefully it won't be just the burned land before the summer is over. I say that in a cricketing sense as well as literally.

    England is obviously in the box seat again. As the article clearly alludes to, apart from some minor tinkering here and there the English team is already more or less picked. They have a very settled and successful team and barring injury there are only one or two positions at most not locked in.

    We on the other hand are more or less a rabble and almost the exact opposite. We only have a few positions tied down in the batting (and even that depends on Clarke's crook back) but it's our bowling that's hurting the most. Siddle and Harris are almost certainties but it gets a bit murky after that. The best of the rest of our quicks are all injured. Pattinson, Starc and Cummins all out together. Bloody beautiful. .. Still, hope springs eternal. Someone might emerge.

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on October 26, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    Are you for real are you for real? England have batting and bowling problems on form. Anderson was poor in the Ashes and Broad might well go another 60 overs without a wicket. Australia should bring in Bailey as well as Johnson who will be too much for a struggling England batting order. Let's see who gets some runs in the shield.

  • CodandChips on October 26, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    Rankin will win but it should be Finn. We should be picking our own young English bowlers eg Willey, Jordan (yes he is English). Good luck Tremlett (who doesn't deserve to be there instead of Onions)

  • on October 26, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    Aussies shud go all out attacking.. thats their natural game.. If they get it right it might be their only chance to create 1 or 2 upsets...

  • hhillbumper on October 26, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    It should be an interesting series.If the weather is hot will the tracks bounce or be roads? We have the bowlers to exploit the situations but then so do Aus.We have the superior spinner which if Johnson plays could be more of a factor with his footmarks against the right handers.Can Aus sort their batting out or will it collapse again? Cook especially plas well on harder pitches and you would imagine that Root should go better as well.It will be an interesting series and could define England for a while.They need to stop being so inconsistent though and the batting needs to click as a unit more often.more from Prior will also help the cause.

  • on October 26, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    England will be downright stupid to go into the game with just four bowlers, didn't they learn anything from the Ashes? In batting order Broad, Swann, Anderson, Finn and Rankin (or Tremlett) is the right way to go. The batting lineup of Cook, Root, Trott, Pietersen, Bell and Prior really should be strong enough and it isn't as if this "tail" is completely inept at batting.

    Front-Foot-Sponge, I agree. Anderson was really poor in the Ashes with just 22 wickets (2x5, 1x10) only winning the 1st test for England and Broad only got 22 wickets (also 2x5, 1x10) only winning the 4th test for England. Compare that with with Australia's ace bowler Ryan Harris who got as many as 24 from only four tests (2x5) and didn't win any match for Australia. Sheesh, some people really do live in lala-land...

  • EnglishCricket on October 26, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    I want to see Rankin in the side especially in Perth because of that height, pace and bounce he naturally generates. He will be a nightmare for any batsman in the world including the Aussie on these sorts of pitches despite being brought up on them. Should be a cracker of a series down under!!!

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on October 26, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    Well, I really thought ,the 'duel' he meant -fast bowling - was 1 between struggling, ageing and off form batsmen from his team trying to somehow cope up to challenge from world's no.1 pace battery - including the fastest in the world Mitch who just is getting better -and faster! - by the day and is set for a defining Ashes,a.l.a Warne's Ashes in '05, Mcgrath's in '07-'08. Did get me napping there ,I admit! .Though ,if 1 asks me the duel should mean is 'spin' bowling duel -I don't mean G Swann or Monty here ! Well, compared to the Aussie pace attack at least the Eng counterparts look like ,well 'spinners' ! -:)