Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth

Smith stands up with hugely significant innings

The Report by Daniel Brettig

December 13, 2013

Comments: 212 | Text size: A | A

Australia 6 for 326 (Smith 103*, Warner 60, Swann 2-71) v England
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Jarrod Kimber's Ashes Report: Writing Steve Smith's Biopic

Few expected Australia to reach Perth with a chance to claim the Ashes in the third Test. Fewer still would have predicted that the author of a pivotal innings in that match would be Steve Smith, a gifted and fidgety young man raised on spin in New South Wales and until recently out of his depth on pitches as fast as the WACA Ground.

But disbelief has required suspension quite often since Ashes hostilities resumed in Brisbane, and so it was that Smith secured his place in Australia's middle order for the foreseeable future with a hundred composed enough to put more experienced team-mates to shame. Australia's close score already looks substantial against a touring side that has reached 200 only once in four innings in the series.

For much of a scorching day England had the chance to capitalise on Australian hubris, as six batsmen perished in a manner they would wish to forget. It took Smith's newfound judgement around off stump and relish on the pull and the drive to lift the hosts to a substantial tally, and by stumps he looked good for plenty more in the company of the juggernaut Mitchell Johnson after stabilising the innings alongside Brad Haddin.

Their composure contrasted with the exits of Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, David Warner and George Bailey, who all had reason to hang their heads in the Australian viewing area. James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann all bowled strong spells for the visitors, but there was evidence of energy being sapped as the day wound down.

England had recalled Tim Bresnan for his first Test since he played at Durham in the previous Ashes. Australia, so unsettled for much of that series, were able to name the same team for the third consecutive Test after Ryan Harris proved his fitness. Clarke won a toss his England counterpart Alastair Cook would have dearly loved to call correctly for, sending Rogers and Warner in to face England's seamers on a pitch that showed the faintest sheen and promised sharp bounce, pace but no undue sideways movement.

Rogers initially looked comfortable, leaving Anderson well then flicking Broad through the leg side when he pitched too straight. But with 11 runs to his name already, Rogers chose to risk a hasty single to the final ball of the second over, challenging Anderson to throw down the bowler's end stumps. He did just that, leaving Rogers to dust himself off after a futile dive and trudge back to the dressing room even before the third umpire delivered his verdict.

Warner was sure of himself and his technique, punching boundaries on either side of the wicket, while Watson grooved his cover drive against a series of overpitched deliveries from Broad. Cook swung his tallest paceman around to the other end, and immediately had the reward of Watson's wicket to a presumptuous drive at a ball nowhere near the right length for the stroke. Swann's high catch at second slip was a sharp one.

Smart stats

  • Steven Smith's unbeaten 103 is his first century in a home Test. In 10 previous innings in Australia he had scored 219 runs at 27.37.
  • Brad Haddin's 55 is his fourth 50-plus score in the series, the second time he has achieved this feat. No other Australian wicketkeeper has more than three.
  • Haddin's series aggregate of 320 is already the eighth-highest by an Australian wicketkeeper in a series. In the 2010-11 Ashes, he had scored 360, which is the second-highest by an Australian wicketkeeper.
  • Australia's last five wickets have averaged 66.50 partnership runs per dismissal in this series; England's average stand for the last five wickets in this series is 14.10.
  • Of the six highest partnerships for Australia in this series, four have been for the sixth and seventh wickets.
  • Graeme Swann has conceded 1223 runs in Tests against Australia in 2013; he is four runs shy of the record for most runs given away by a bowler against an opposition in a calendar year - Geoff Lawson conceded 1227 in ten Tests against West Indies in 1984.

Clarke and Warner prospered for a time, scoring freely with shots both orthodox and less so. Warner was the beneficiary of Bresnan dropping a half-chance from a shovel back down the wicket, and celebrated by depositing the same bowler into the spectators at wide long-on.

Lunch beckoned, but first Cook called upon Swann. After Warner trotted a single, Clarke advanced to drive Swann's second ball, but was done by flight and dip, an off break taking a thick inside edge to Cook, diving forward to claim the chance at short, straight midwicket. The players had not long returned when Warner also departed, undone by bounce as he tried to cut Swann.

Australia's sense of haste was now being maintained well past a point where some careful regrouping was required, and George Bailey did not seem able to rein himself in. Offered a short, fast ball by Broad, he pulled at it airily, losing one hand from the bat shortly before he lost his wicket to the catch at deep square leg. 5 for 143 was wasteful.

The only man who seemed entirely sure of what the day required was Smith, who was content to score at a more sedate 50 runs per 100 balls until very well set. At the other end Haddin enjoyed rich helpings of good fortune, not for the first time in the series, edging or gloving several balls near slips and stumps. Together the two New South Welshmen rebuilt.


Steven Smith made his second Test century, Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day, December 13, 2013
Steve Smith played one of the most significant innings by an Australian in recent times © Getty Images
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Smith did not risk the kind of edge given up by Watson, leaving length balls outside his eye line then playing freely through the leg side when the bowlers angled towards the stumps. Twice Swann was thumped for six over long-on, while Ben Stokes was coaxed into a short ball contest that resulted in a volley of smart pull shots in front of square.

Haddin showed increasing certainty, swinging Swann over midwicket then driving Bresnan delectably through cover, and the middle order pair went to tea with a partnership already worth 77 under the unrelenting Perth sun. Cook returned with a plan to bore the hosts out, alternating 7-2 fields with short bowling to a leg side deployment.

It eventually worked for Haddin, reaping a low catch to midwicket from another pull shot, but was unable to sway Smith, who did not rush at England's dry bowling and waited for his chances to score. The 90s posed few problems, a stand-to-attention drive down the ground followed by another pull shot, and quickly Smith was leaping into the air in celebration.

His first century, at The Oval, had been a major personal achievement in a series previously decided. This one, in conditions that tested his technique and temperament fully, is among the most significant played by an Australian batsman in recent times. It has gone a long way towards sealing the fate of the Ashes.

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by pat_one_back on (December 15, 2013, 0:37 GMT)

@Jarred Hansen, you are on to something there, Warner is great candidate for 3, he's your classic counter attacking first drop with an evolving defensive game, perfect for the gig. Watto can drop to 6 for Bailey until we have a change bowler in our top 6. Hughes thrived when he arrived into a strong team culture and will get that chance again and for all his set backs I expect he'll take ownership of his game as Warner and now Smith have done, from lesser FC platforms.

Posted by pat_one_back on (December 15, 2013, 0:03 GMT)

@FFL-needs-a-hug, you may want to take note that Hadds was picked to keep wicket, there are 6 batsmen in front of him purpose picked to make runs (exc Watto). It is notable when lower order batsmen continually bail out top & middle orders to set match winning totals, no different if Watto and Smith we're taking all the wickets, I think you need get over yourself.

Posted by AB34 on (December 14, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

Remember the khawaja DRS against Swann, that was even worst, clearly show bat hitting ground and day light between bat and ball and still given out because the umpire on the ground gave it out and there was no clear evident that he didn't hit it.

Posted by Mervo on (December 14, 2013, 3:40 GMT)

England have stacked their side with all-rounders. Bresnan, Stokes, etc. That can be a dangerous ploy if they don't take wickets as it puts so much pressure on the strike bowlers and the remaining specialist batsmen.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (December 14, 2013, 3:34 GMT)

Glad Rhino got out quick, didn't want to see him running 3's out there for long. Hopefully Sids and Lyno can hang around for a bit, that should put England in a world of pain.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2013, 3:33 GMT)

English bowlers are giving the Indian bowlers a run for the money - not only is the new ball bowling atrocious, they can't seem to get rid of the ail without conceding tons of runs.... TONS OF RUNS...

Posted by orangtan on (December 14, 2013, 2:03 GMT)

This tour is in ashes, but no need to despair, England bounced back in 2009 after the debacle in 2006-07. The 2015 Ashes are 18 months away, and England's got Sri Lanka and India touring next summer so room to experiment especially against the hapless Indians. However, with the T20 World Cup in 2014 and the ODI World Cup in early 2015, Test matches may go off the boil.

Posted by Maroubra_Flyer on (December 14, 2013, 1:59 GMT)

jb633 sorry for the pain, but you guys just don't get Smith and how much he has improved. To be a good batsman you have to know where your off stump is and leave judiciously. Smith does that and does get his front foot across. He also scores his runs quickly. He has a good eye & hits the ball well, just because he hasn't got a "pretty" technique doesn't make him poor. A lot of good batsman are stand and deliver merchants with little/worse footwork e.g. Sehwag. Its simple, the tide has turned and the "empire" is changing, you guys have always struggled with that.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2013, 1:57 GMT)

jb633 - every innings so far Australia have batted on what was supposedly a road then ran through England like they were batting on a minefield. You are being a bit harsh on Smith too, he is enormously talented and remember Ricky Ponting apparently had poor technique. This pitch has enough in it to make even the very pedestrian Anderson looked dangerous early on. Australia will roll England for less than 200 yet again and the Ashes will be back where they belong..

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 14, 2013, 1:48 GMT)

@cric_J on (December 13, 2013, 15:09 GMT): Great post mate. It's sounds like dejevu all over again, again :)

Posted by dalboy12 on (December 14, 2013, 1:08 GMT)

I think right from word go England has tried to be too smart with selections, picking tall bowlers instead of their best bowlers, something I'm sure they now regret. I don't normally agree with Ian Chappell but he was right when he said 'it doesn't matter how tall someone is, what matters is can they bowl?' I'm sure Tremett use to 140km/h bowler wasn't he? And what has happened to Finn - the guy seems to be going backwards. Clearly the Aussies have worked out Anderson and Swann and in doing so neutralised England. Either Anderson and Swann need to find a way to step it up again, or England need to look somewhere else. Stokes didn't look yesterday --- on the other hand even a Kiwi who hates praises Aussies has to admit that Steve Smith batted very well.

Posted by Clavers on (December 14, 2013, 0:44 GMT)

Who can honestly say they would be terrified by the prospect of facing Jimmy Anderson in Perth? A fine bowler who has come a long way since his first Australia tour eight years ago, but on a horses-for-courses basis England should have seriously considered dropping him for a bowler who can use pace and bounce as attacking weapons.

Posted by warnerbasher on (December 14, 2013, 0:15 GMT)

Thank god the NSW batsmen are scoring the runs and taking the catches. When England fold again sometime on the 4th afternoon the headlines should be that NSW have won back the Ashes. Go the Blues!!!!

Posted by   on (December 14, 2013, 0:05 GMT)

Last time I checked Kyle Mills was a Kiwi. If I was England i'd be dispensing with Swann and Broad, they are losing the psychological war. Stokes apart from being an average Christchurch school boy cricketer is not a specialist in either discipline. Team balance is all wrong without a true allrounder and they dont have balls to pick Finn who'd be good on Aussie pitches

Posted by dinosaurus on (December 13, 2013, 23:56 GMT)

We owe a huge debt to FFL. He has the solution to one of the world's greatest mysteries. He knew that Jardine was right all along. Those dastardly Australians have gone over to Area 59 and organised up a world-wide TV hoax by hiring the same crew responsible for the special effects used by NASA for the fake Apollo moon flights. The whole world is seeing the results. In the real world, Cook won the toss for the first Test in Brisbane. Since England hold the Ashes, the best "grind into the dust" strategy was to bat the whole five days (without the loss of a single wicket). Such was the success of the strategy that it was repeated in Adelaide. And we are on the way again in Perth. By the end of the series Cook will have surpassed all of Tendulkar's batting records (if you count Cook's second and subsequent 1000s as 10 centuries (allow him to keep the first 1000 as the highest individual Test score!

Posted by Biggus on (December 13, 2013, 23:40 GMT)

All the talk is about how Johnson will bowl on this pitch, and we can certainly expect he'll get a bit out of it, but if Harris is really 100% (remember there were doubts he'd even play-unless that was a convoluted mind game) I'd expect him to use this surface equally well. He got a 6 for here last time vs England. I reckon it's a great pitch, plenty there if you can find it, but woe to any bowler who doesn't get their length right.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 23:32 GMT)

At Stewart Ellison .... think you have the wrong team mate, Kyle Mills is a Kiwi not a Englishman. As for jb633 well seems you didn't watch yesturday at all son, Steve Smith left everything outside off stump alone all day, so your comment about him giving a chance is as ludicrous as your comments .....

Just face the facts that Steve Smith batted well all day and didn't look like getting out to this pop gun attack England have, these guys are really passed there use by dates in cricket. Anderson has been for some time now and even the last series you could see he was on the way out, Broads doing all the work but even he isn't that good. Swann i have never rated .....

If you wanna go left field get a kiwi in your team, ala Trent Boult. Looks like i would rather see my kiwi team kick all your arses once we sort out top order out and get Ryder back, dump the Captain and get Dan the man back.

Posted by disco_bob on (December 13, 2013, 23:23 GMT)

England have been rattled by their main plan coming unstuck. That main plan being that Australia will self destruct, MJ will spray the ball everywhere and that Swann will run through the top order and that their trio of basket baller sized pace men, will gain steepling bounce and frighten the Aussie top order into nicking for scores under 10, while broad takes care of the main man Clarke by bowling at his weakness to the short ball. Unfortunately plan b, c, and d, were simply photocopies of plan A, in the hope that no one will notice. So far only Watson has provided the England planmeisters with any semblance of normality.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 23:05 GMT)

Realistically England are a tired team Aussies have rediscovered their mojo but neither side has a great deal to be proud of - I would say that in cook pietersen bell prior broad swann and Anderson they have the basis of a good team that could still be playing in the next ashes series - to that team I would add root and balance to the batting line up (cook, root, bell, pietersen, balance) prior should bat 6 - stokes @ 7 (has acquitted himself well in the toughest test match cricket that exists - 6 is slightly to high for him - ) and in addition to broad , swann and Anderson I would add Tymal mills - left arm angle would be good for swann and he bowls quick too! Genuine Mitchell Johnson pace- I would do the same with the one day side - but blooding different youngsters -

Posted by heathrf1974 on (December 13, 2013, 22:57 GMT)

Unfortunately for England they made the error most touring sides made. They bowled too many bouncers and didn't pitch up the ball.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (December 13, 2013, 22:51 GMT)

2 Things were on show yesterday. ! Australia's batting is still a big problem, not one of those wickets came off unplayable deliveries, they were all very poor cricket shots, Watson and Bailey in particular. 2. England's attack is completely toothless, Trying to bounce Johnson and Smith out with the new ball was particularly pathetic. The ball rarely beat the bat and i can't remember the last Australian to nick one to the keeper. There's just bowling aimlessly waiting for Australian mistakes rather than hitting the good line and length and forcing the mistake. Lucky for England the Aus batting lineup is still scratchy and they are making mistakes on their own. I imagine the likes of Amla, Kallis, DeVilliers would be devestating against this attack.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 22:51 GMT)

As in the first Test at Brisbane, England had Australia where they wanted them, but couldn't supply the finishing touch. Haddin has once again helped Australia out of a poor position. It looks difficult for England to create anything positive at the moment.

Posted by Vishnu27 on (December 13, 2013, 22:45 GMT)

Wow StuartEllison! There I was thinking Kyle Mills was a Black Cap! Think you mean, Tymal. Perhaps. Although, Kyle couldn't do much worse & it fits with current England policy...

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 22:42 GMT)

good yeams won't make execuses. They accept and try to learn. I can see the attitude of this England same as India when thrashed by England.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 13, 2013, 22:38 GMT)

Well done to Steve Smith here, first time around I thought his selection was poor and NSW bias but this time he has shown what other canditates don't have confidence and great knowledge of his game. He knows what shots to play. His average in Perth was very poor before this game and think this shows how far he has come. The batting is pushing closer to where it needs to be.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 22:29 GMT)

Well done Steve Smith - a career defining innings from this whole hearted cricketer who continues to be underestimated by many who should know better. The sky is the limit.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 21:46 GMT)

@Stuart Ellison: Hmmm, not sure if New Zealand would be ok with Kyle Mills playing for England!!

Posted by ChowLee on (December 13, 2013, 21:34 GMT)

Hey Stuart,

Kyle Mills would do an admirable job, but he is a New Zealand bowler and wouldn't qualify!

Posted by JG2704 on (December 13, 2013, 21:24 GMT)

@jb633 - I'd back both sides to score runs on here too - both sides except England that is. I share your frustration and to a degree your views. I definitely would have tried Rankin but maybe for Monty/Bresnan.

Posted by landl47 on (December 13, 2013, 20:40 GMT)

I was away and didn't see the first day, but the pattern is all too familiar. Australia won the toss and batted for the third time; England got the top 5 out for a reasonable total for the third time; Australia's lower order fought back and put a decent total together for the third time. Now if England fall apart for under 200 for the third time, the Ashes will be history.

@Stuart Ellison: I think you might be confusing Kyle Mills with Tymal Mills. Here are some useful tips for telling them apart: 1. Kyle is 34, Tymal is 21. 2. Kyle is right-handed, Tymal is left-handed. 3. Kyle is white, Tymal is black. 4. Kyle plays for New Zealand, Tymal is with the England Performance Squad. An easy mistake to make, given that they have so much in common.

Posted by BigbadBunyip on (December 13, 2013, 20:36 GMT)

Not sure Kyle mills would help much. He is tall, but he's a New Zealander who bowls around 125kph.....

Posted by Chris_P on (December 13, 2013, 20:20 GMT)

@mitty2. Let's talk Test performances about Watson since the last Ashes here. He has played 22 tests, 1142 runs, averaging 27.85 with one century (176 or about 1/6th of his runs in one innings) 22 Tests! He bowls less than 10 overs a test so help me understand why he gets a start? If his & Bailey's isn't a prime example of why the short form cricket shouldn't be a guide ti test selection I don't know what is. His shot in this test would have scored him 4 runs in T20 or ODI, does that say it all?

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 20:15 GMT)

England are mentally gone!!!

Anderson, Broad and Swann have not been as effective and have moved away from a Test Plan that worked.

As for their batsmen .... there is nothing.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 19:49 GMT)

Flower should have made the left field call instead of the usual safety first and gone straight for Kyle Mills in this must win game at the WACA and given the Aussies some of their own medicine.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 19:42 GMT)

England are dead in the water - three tall fast bowlers but none picked here? Picking Stokes rather than a front-line bowler/batsman? Picking Swan who has never performed well in Australia? This is symptomatic of a team who is in denial and is going through the motions - look out, here come the Ashes!

Posted by AussieKev on (December 13, 2013, 19:31 GMT)

SherjilIslam and jb633, while the pitch wasn't as green as it sometimes is, there was plenty in it for bowlers who want to bend their back a bit. Swann was able to get bounce out of the pitch, so why weren't the faster bowlers?

1. They bowled too short, 2. They didn't bang the ball into the pitch 3. I don't think they handled the 41C temperature.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 18:21 GMT)

I think Ben Stokes is a good player but he is batting 2 places above where he should play.He batted no 7 or 8 in the ODIs against Aus.He should have replaced Bresnan.He bowled better than Bresnan.He should have been the third seamer.And considering that this is a bowling friendly track,they should have gone with a specialist no 6 batter.May be Ballance or Bairstow.I feel now Eng have a longish tail which starts from No 6 (except Prior)

Posted by Zak- on (December 13, 2013, 18:19 GMT)

When Smith & Haddin score runs off you, it's time to reconsider your career.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 18:19 GMT)

It's a bird, it's a plane. NO it's the ashes flying away from England :-)

Posted by jb633 on (December 13, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

@JG207, Yeah I agree but we desperately need to win this game and having trundlers on this wicket is getting us nowhere. We surely had to go with a bit of pace somewhere. I can handle guys like Clarke and even Warner making runs against us because they are good players with decent techniques. It pains me to watch Steve Smith making runs against anyone. You have to bowl badly for him to make runs, it's as simple as that. Technically he will always give you a chance as he tends to flirt outside off stump without getting his feet across. However if you bowl slow leg side garbage to him he will feed. Really disappointing. The pitch looks a road though. I know it means nothing as our batting has been inept on any surface but I would back good sides to score lots of runs here. Really good cricket wicket all round I would say.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 18:01 GMT)

2 bad tests....and people are calling for Anderson and Swanns retirement and Cook to step down as captain.Great teams are bound to have a few bad tests.I think Eng will bounce back in this series.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

I don't think it mattered who won the toss here or in the first two games. England would have folded at Perth on day one for 170 or less. The toss is irrelevant. Australia bat deeper and have greater fortitude. Brad Haddin is everything that Matt Prior isn't this series and Mitch a genuine allrounder. The Poms are struggling and about to go under.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 13, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

@AKS286 - Re Tremlett - The problem is there are 3 seamer spots available and they won't drop Jimmy or Broad although there may be a case for the former after 3 tests in a row of not producing the goods. Rankin IMO showed the best all round warm up form of the 3 lankies. Finn was taking a few wickets (not enough) but leaking runs and CT wasn't leaking runs but also wasn't taking wickets. As for Hales/Warner - poor comparison. Without checking my stats , I think Hales averaged about 20 in first class cricket last year and I reckon Warner would be averaging at least double that for his state side and even in a poor run of form would still be in the 30s. There are examples of players who can carry their SF form into the LF - guys like Sehwag,ABDV,KP etc but Hales isn't one of them right now

Posted by Yasin123Patel on (December 13, 2013, 17:13 GMT)

Lots of people here talk about Smith's off side play. Some say eng should bowl him at off stump. But reality is they bowl him at off stump a lot but Smith doesn't hit those just block those balls. He played 147 dot balls. He takes the attack to short balls . So this calculated and mature innings. Some giving excuses that this isn't against quality bowling attack, but remember this the same bowling attack that help Poms to top of ranking and good wins. So, its a brilliant inning from Smith.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (December 13, 2013, 16:45 GMT)

Does the WACA pitch slowed down overnight or English bowlers were too mediocre to take anything out of this pitch?? Any local aussie here like to enlighten me as what i saw it looked English bowlers never looked threatening and most of the aussie wickets were more of a gift to England rather than any bowling intelligence.

Posted by johnnycash on (December 13, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

Steve Smiths technique is not up to test cricket.....ü..ü...apparently from the test experts.

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (December 13, 2013, 16:25 GMT)

Really pleased to see Smith get runs - and at a crucial time too. Great work by Haddin to support. 326 is good for a days play however they really need to kick on tomorrow and put the game out of Englands reach. It looked a good batting surface from the little i saw early morning (UK time) so if Eng get stuck in they could get runs. I hope that Aus bowl well and take the series!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (December 13, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

@patoneback, it is Haddin's job to make runs, why do people always carry on about certain players making runs or bailing teams out? Last summer it was Bell apparently bailing out England. It is Bell's job to make runs, it is no surprise to me nor do I consider it lucky when a batsman makes runs! This whole if it weren't for Bell or if it weren't for Mitch stuff is nonsense. By this reasoning each of 4 bowlers should take 2.5 runs per innings each and the top order batsman all making the same score. Doesn't work like that.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 13, 2013, 16:10 GMT)

This innings from Smith converted me from a doubter to a believer. I look forward to many more efforts against quicks on fast bouncy pitches. If the Ashes are regained. I'd like to see a change in the batting: Bailey has to go, so agree @VivGilchrist on (December 13, 2013, 7:28 GMT) Hughes at #3 and Watto at #6 until Faulkner is fit again. Agree @rickyvoncanterbury on (December 13, 2013, 12:32 GMT) that next summer some bigger changes can be made, but not now unless its someone like Voges as a batsman who can bowl.

Posted by PragmaticCricFan on (December 13, 2013, 16:00 GMT)

Sachin's career stats before he scored his hundred at Perth in 1992. M 15, R 837, H 2, A 39.8

Smith's career stats before this match M 14 , R 825, H 1, A 33

This kid can blossom into a wonderful cricketer.

Posted by oval77 on (December 13, 2013, 15:56 GMT)

@valvolux - There was a good article by Ed Smith on here the other day on the fallacy of proscribing sporting defeats to moral qualities such as passion and guts. Sure England are losing now, but it's just the turn of the wheel and bear in mind that we all put most of Australia's performances of the last few years down to an innate lack of guts and backbone. At times it seemed the only weapon Clarke's team had was their handbags back in the dressing room! And they mainly turned them on each other! But you know what, in retrospect it's probably fairer just to say the eleven they had on the field was less skilled than the eleven that beat them. Just as we see happening here.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 15:45 GMT)

2 Years ago in Perth MS Dhoni got suspended for a test against Australia. Surely the time has come to suspend Cook - The bowling rate, the tactics by Anderson and his shoes, the delaying of the game rubbish needs to stop

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

I am South African and will admit our last series against Austrailia was lucky. I am happy to see thise side improve even more and look forward to a good series when the aussies travel to S.A.. We just need to finish these Indians off here.

Posted by pat_one_back on (December 13, 2013, 15:22 GMT)

Australia were choking and the unlikely Steve Smith steps up, who saw that coming?? Potentially an Ashes winning partnership with his very centred NSW Skip Hadds. Kudos to MJ and the Aussie attack but what would they have had to bowl to all series without Haddin's runs?

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 15:20 GMT)

This series, Australia are playing the way England used to do. With a fallible top order, it's the last four or five wickets that provide the bulk of the runs that transforms a dodgy score into a respectable one.

Posted by cric_J on (December 13, 2013, 15:20 GMT)

@JG2704 @NICK Re if Finn/Rankin/Tremlett would have made a difference here, I'd probably say they wouldn't have given that the wicket didn't behave like the fast and seaming beast it was expected to at all. Had Finn/Rankin?Tremlett been in some good touch, they'd have made a difference IMO. But considering Tremlett's lost pace and any sort of threat, Finny's been pathetically out of sorts and Rankin would've been on debut and didn't have any mirror shattering figures in the warm ups, I reckon England were better off with Bres.

I myself was all for picking Finn/Rankin here to provide an attacking edge. But considering how the pitch behaved, who knows Australia would've already got 400+ had Finn been playing. Also, the fact that Jimmy consistently bowled 140+ kmph and even about 145 kmph on certain occasions but still couldn't manage a wicket (tad unlucky IMO) suggests that pace alone doesn't make you look threatening barrin a few deliveries, overs at most.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

I know we all want to see Australia winning regularly again, but this Test series is one of the most one-sided ever seen. England have been out batted, out bowled, out fielded, out skippered and even out kept!! I tell you what folks i'm feeling generous, I'm giving England 180 all out tomorrow. I reckon Mitch may knock up a ton tomorrow...you read it here first. England are also so rank bad it is almost embarrassing. I said almost.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (December 13, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

It might seem obvious to say this but this really is the final frontier for England. If they cannot summon a response tomorrow with both ball and bat this series can only only go one way, 5-0 to Australia. They don't look like doing it at all. Bresnan in for Monty in Perth? What a joke. Saker basically fessed up that someone blew it. I mean sympathy is all we can feel for the English fans so poor are the performances and selections.

Posted by cric_J on (December 13, 2013, 15:09 GMT)

At certain moments during today's play, I almost felt I was watching a repeat of day-1 of the first 2 matches in the series.

Clarke won the toss, again. He chose to bat, again. I went "OMG lucky pup !", again. England managed to get an early wicket, again. They had Australia by the scruff of the neck with half the side gone at a sub 150 score, again. They were pumped up for the next 10 overs, again. I had my hopes up, again. Then England made some arguable (bordering on horrible) tactical decisions, again. The bowlers bowled too short, Cook made some inexplicable bowling changes, there were some weird field placements, again. All this contributed to our taking the foot off the gas, again. I felt "Oh not again !",again. They went after Swann, again. Haddin was exceptional, again. An Aussie ton, again. I felt "When'll we get one ?", again. Johnson stuck on, again. I prayed and hoped for another wicket with no avail, again. We ended the day feeling "so close, yet so far", again.

Posted by stormy16 on (December 13, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

I would say honors even with the critical phase being tomorrow morning. If Aus can push to 400 they will take the advantage but if Eng can restrict Aus to 350 they will be happy having lost the toss on what looks like a beautiful batting track. The Aus batters threw away too many wickets when it was really a 300/3 wicket. I will take back what I have said about Haddin in the past, he has been sensational and a big factor why Aus are where their are in the series. Smith needed runs and delivered when it mattered most and Johnson made vital runs to ensure Aus were comfortably on the better side of 300 than expose the lower order to the new ball. I see alot of talk about a tired Eng etc but honestly, you dont throw excuses around half way through an Ashes series. It all to play for tomorrow morning in what could be a decisive phase of the game.

Posted by AKS286 on (December 13, 2013, 14:52 GMT)

JG2704 on (December 13, 2013, 14:17 GMT) Tremlett lost his pace I agree and as you said that he is scapegoat I'm not agree to you fella. CT was the best bowler after Broad at Adelaide. Can you tell us who is next to CT ? No one Rankin & Finn potential but not performed. Finn also lost his aggression. Onion is with breeding ground of African Deadly Barrage. So, CT is the man as 3rd seamer in current squad. Johnson back with bang due to aggression which we saw in IPL and Ind tour which helped him to gain confidence mean to say shorter format. About AD Hales you can see Warner & KP. After CT my second bowler who can be effective in Aus is S.Meaker and Taylor for Trott.

Posted by geoffboyc on (December 13, 2013, 14:51 GMT)

For the third time in a row England bowl themselves into and then out of a potentially match winning position. Is there no one among the army of back up staff out there who can tell bowlers to bowl exclusively at or outside Smith's off stump for at least the first ten overs of his innings? And why is there no plan to get Johnson other than to try and make him give his wicket away by hooking or slogging. Every time the ball was bowled across him on a length he played and missed; but that was only about five deliveries. The lack of a cricketing plan seems to decrease in inverse proportion to the number of paid pavilion loungers. But test match captains shouldn't need the hangers on to tell them that.

Posted by valvolux on (December 13, 2013, 14:49 GMT)

@thechap no mate its been said so many times by the english . Its a poor excuse and actually sums up england nicely. When they are on a high, they feel like mission complete and forget that their reputation is based on consistency, not one series. England had the players in 2005 and enough players coming through to be the next windies/australia dynasty. They just dont have enough passion or guts to meet the demands of test cricket. Therefore this era of english cricket will be best remembered for their ability to be thrashed when on top, rather than their brief spirts of good cricket. Tired, jaded, demotivated...its like you think thats an issue with the game rather than the players and management. The schedule hasnt changed much, if anything less people play odis and tests these days. The solution to everything, according to the english...is when the english are on top, all cricket should stop to let them have their time in the spotlight. Lights out poms!

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (December 13, 2013, 14:36 GMT)

Watto's days are numbered.

Might as well get rid of him now and blood a youngster against this weak opposition than give him the chance to make a score and persist with his mindless front foot lunging.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 13, 2013, 14:17 GMT)

@AKS286 on (December 13, 2013, 13:27 GMT) I think Tremlett is the bowling version of Hales in your mind. With Hales you assume that his T20 form crosses over and with Tremlett you presume he's the same beast he was last time Eng toured Oz. Tremlett probably was a scapegoat for the batting collapse and bowled better than I expected but 1stly he only took 3 for unless you're going over 2 inns and then it becomes 4 for. I suppose if you count the warm up matches he probably has 5 for but 5 for in 4 inns doesn't have the same achievement value as 5 for in 1 inns. Re aggression , sorry but I think what you saw is as aggressive as he can get these days

Posted by TheChap on (December 13, 2013, 14:13 GMT)

Yep, I've said it on here before and I'll say it again...England look very tired and demotivated. I'm amazed that no cricinfo correspondents (and posters on here) have given it more thought.

It was a massive ask for England to stay fresh over the course of back-to-back Ashes series'. Not one of that Australian side wanted to be held accountable, (or associated with) a 4th consecutive Ashes series loss, and you can see that on the faces of every one of them - particularly Clarke, Haddin and Johnson, two of whom were fighting for their test careers before the first test.

Ultimately, I really think most of that England team don't want to be there (or rather, feel that they shouldn't be there)...it's as bad as that.

Posted by PrasPunter on (December 13, 2013, 14:01 GMT)

Think Rogers / Warner should be the ones for SA. Hughes at 3, followed by Pup, Smith, Watson and Hadds ( very sorry for Bails ) . No problem with our bowling group.

Posted by CricketMaan on (December 13, 2013, 13:47 GMT)

Cook, KP, Root, Bell, Prior that is an intimidating batting line up possibly the best in the world. Aussies beware!! LOL

Posted by Kaka13 on (December 13, 2013, 13:46 GMT)

I do not understand the selection of England team. Probably short of confidence, trying to strengthen all departments so ignoring specialists. why Finn not playing as third seamer (I hope he is fit) and specialist batsman in place of Stokes (Ballance). Today Aussies batsman seems to be in hurry and lost so returned to pavilion in hurry. It is fine to play attacking cricket but it is Test Match not 20:20. Smith superb innings saved day for them. Haddin again showed his fine form. Now depend on English batting hoe they respond to the Aussies bowling.

Posted by Biggus on (December 13, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

@Jared Hansen:- Fair enough, forgot White and Voges, they have to be in the mix somewhere.

Posted by AKS286 on (December 13, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

Chris Tremlett after all the questions of his selection finally he made it. He picked 5 wickets and dropped with no reasons. Tremlett can be a useful bowler in WACA. The only thing CT needs is AGGRESSION in his bowling. Bailey is doing a good job at No.6 position, There is no logic of sending an opener or No.3 batsman to No. 6.

Posted by Redbackfan on (December 13, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

Cook has to be suspended for continued slow over rates surely. They're just as slow when they're batting. Boring cricket on there behalf

Posted by valvolux on (December 13, 2013, 13:22 GMT)

No way in hell Australia will weild the axe on anyone if they keep winning. Stability is the unsung hero in cricket. When was the last time we pummeled a team like this? Against India. We carried Marshy through that series for one of the lowest outputs by a batsman in any series. The great Australian team kept the same team except for injury, no matter how lean a patch the core group was going through. They fortunately had a support cast worthy of a spot in any other international side. England was successful through stability, but now they are forced to make changes their setup has been rocked and lack of depth exposed. England is a tough team with a decent bowling lineup - the likes of Watto and Bails will fill their boots against others, and have so far contributed enough. Not everyone punches out a 50 everytime like Hads. Whilst we had wade as keeper and struggled for a number 6, why was Hads inclusion as specialist bat laughed at? Easily one of the finest in oz.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 13:22 GMT)

@rickyvoncanterbury : Hmm, I'm not sure if Watson would prosper at 6 but it could be worth a try. For a 3, I've favoured Cam White for that position for some time as he's played some great innings at first drop, even against the pommy attack as they destroyed the test side for Australia A.

However, there's a perfectly good number three already in the test side. David Warner. He can play defensive, he can attack, he has shots all around the ground. One of the only ways for him to get out cheap is against a fiercely spinning ball and he won't face too many of them at #3. Given the number of potential openers it's very surprising the idea hasn't been discussed at all that I can remember...

Posted by itzarka on (December 13, 2013, 13:17 GMT)

the heat in perth is too much for england. 41 degrees celcius is the temp and england r just losing their focus. they lost the prev two tests, but seems like they r gonna lose it in an even worse way. 3-0 on cards for aussies...

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 13:14 GMT)

@Biggus : What about Cameron White? He's been in pretty solid form and STILL hasn't been tried as a test batsman (got four matches as a specialist bowler, God alone knows why)

Personally I think we need to see Hughes notch up two spectacular Shield seasons before we bring him into the side like Hussey and Hayden and Katich had to for their recalls. For a guy who's cracked the test side three times his return has been pretty unimpressive.

In contrast I think Khawaja got a raw deal, but I've no idea what to do about him - he's a confidence player who's had his confidence demolished by callous selectors, coaches, pundits and some plain bad luck. I don't know if he'll be the same player that earned his call up again, frankly. Ferguson could be a player to keep an eye on, though, since he had such a great (but brief) ODI career.

I think the next generation coming looks promising though. Silk, Doolan, Carters are

Posted by Biggus on (December 13, 2013, 12:57 GMT)

@ Nutcutlet:- Spinners have a hard time containing in Perth. Better to have them attack or leave them out altogether. I'm going to stick my neck out and state I think the best containment choice on this wicket would have been Tremlett. Have him bowl just short of a driving length on off stump and set two gullies. I know he's only good for 125 ks these days but done well that would have been useful. Stokes was OK but his inexperience here showed.

Posted by Biggus on (December 13, 2013, 12:39 GMT)

@Mangesh Walhe;- Rogers looked to be seeing it like a football until he ran himself out. He knows the WACA and must have been furious with himself. Watson:- It's number 6 or out for him IMHO. Bailey:- Had really hoped he'd work, great guy and good leader, but must be running out of lives. Hughes should get another run but it will be sink or swim at that point. If we were in trouble Marcus North would have been a good short term pick but he's lost his brother in a car accident recently and is taking a break I hear. Then it's a whole lot of young guys, none of whom has really demanded selection, so yes, we're not getting carried away, England are making this easy for us. I doubt South Africa will.

Posted by Mervo on (December 13, 2013, 12:38 GMT)

Rogers is the best opener we have - outside Warner. He knows his work and is good value. Like it or not, there are none better. His first class record is excellent and he has earned his time. The others are coming on. Bailey does not belong in the longer form of the game. He is slogger with no proper technique.

Posted by DickCam on (December 13, 2013, 12:34 GMT)

Let's see. 5 centuries so far in the series to Australia. All from dyed-in-the-wool, true-blue New South Welshmen!

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 13, 2013, 12:32 GMT)

I like the contrast between England and us. We're a bit frantic at times while they're in danger of growing cobwebs occasionally. I've seen a lot of criticism of England's attritional tactics but there's absolutely nothing wrong with grinding your opponent down. In fact our very own Steve Waugh wrote the manual. .. Batting long and tiring the opposition in the field is a great tactic and usually works.

The only difference between Aus. then and Eng. now is that the our blokes used to regularly knock up 120-150 run sessions and end up with 350-400 in a day. Not always of course, but regularly enough to not be a fluke. .. England don't see the value in scoring quickly for some reason. .. It's risky for sure, that's how you get yourself to 5/150, but the thing is it can get you out of trouble just as quickly. .. If you're already in front and start piling them on, well .. England aren't always conservative and Australia aren't always aggressive, it just seems to be mostly the case.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (December 13, 2013, 12:32 GMT)

after the ashes are won, I would still only make 1 change Watson at six that's all, I think there are some young batsmen in the shield developing well, not well enough for the saffers, maybe next summer some bigger changes can be made, but why now. now who does take Watsons number 3 spot???????

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 12:32 GMT)

Game, set and match Aussies. Same pattern as the first two games. Batting all the way down. We add another 150 tomorrow and i reckon the Poms will make no more than 130-140 1st dig. Three nil job done. Too easy.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (December 13, 2013, 12:26 GMT)

Posted by Biggus (December 13, 2013, 11:16 GMT). I can't quite go with your assessment either, mate. England's bowlers' skills were nullified by the conditions. Stokes bowled with heart (yes, there was the odd loose one) & Bresnan toiled manfully. Broad is an experimenter by nature & perhaps he went hunting more often than he should. Jimmy is the consummate pro, but Swann was flattered by his two wickets; he should have used the condtions a little more than he did. He continues to disappoint on this tour because he can't fulfil his major role of containment. That said, Clarke's men have targeted him with telling effect -- shrewd planning! If a spinner can't get turn, then he should vary the flight. Did he? Not that I saw. The Australian batsmen were in a mood to take on all-comers if there was the slightest encouragement in width or length. Fair do's; it's worked. And what, I suppose, I was really driving at was the fielding effort. That has to be an 8/10, even for a severe critic.

Posted by CricketChat on (December 13, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

Eng should get Aussies below 350-375 to entertain any thought of a win in this test. As much as Eng bowling losing its potency, most of Aussie top order batsmen also came into form together in this series. Hence, the one sided contests. Cook and KP must fire for Eng in the 1st innings or else it's over for Eng.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 13, 2013, 12:15 GMT)

@jmcilhinney on (December 13, 2013, 11:35 GMT) Re would Tremlett,Finn or Rankin have done better?

Answer is we'll never know and from the other games , well none were chosen for the last game and Tremlett - who actually did better than I thought he would do in the 1st test - seemed to bowl at least as well as Jimmy. CT is not the same beast that he was the last time he was down under. So I think we can only go by how Anderson and Broad have bowled in the other games and not how similar Eng bowlers have done. For me Bresnan was a defensive choice and it seems muddled thinking going for a defensive choice when you're 2-0 down in a 5 match series. All we can realistically hope for is a draw. I think the batsmen need to play their natural game and see where it takes us but 1st we need to skittle the tail out and the lower order/tail has been a total thorn in the side

Posted by Moppa on (December 13, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

Great innings from Smith, @cricketcricket1987, on the point of Smith's technique, the thing that distinguished him from other Australian batsmen was shot selection. He left good length balls outside off-stump, unlike Watson. He didn't try to pull higher bouncers, unlike Haddin and Bailey. Oh, and he didn't run himself out. So just smart cricket. As others have mentioned, technique is not the be all and end all. All in, as an Australian fan desperately hoping to regain the Ashes and some national pride this week, I feel we've made a very solid start and if we can sneak to 400 tomorrow morning, England will be under the pump. Still have to bowl smart and full, with a sprinkling of armpit/neck height bouncers. None of this back of a length rubbish that begs to be pulled for four.

Posted by camcove on (December 13, 2013, 12:08 GMT)

@ Mahdi - I understand why you would say that about Hughes, as he has had a few opportunities and not yet proved himself (at least enough to stay in the team - and there is certainly an argument that at least once his being dropped was for team balance reasons). My own view is that he is a prodigious talent and will become a Test superstar. He is unorthodox, no doubt, but you can't score the way he did against the likes of Steyn and Morkel (even if they did employ the wrong tactics) without having real ability. People were saying similar things about Matty Hayden when he was probably older that Hughes is now and not yet established in Tests. For what it's worth, I think three positions are still in doubt in the top 6, and Hughes is head of the queue for Rogers' position. Doolan would be in line for George B (sadly), but at 3, with Watson down to 5 (Smith at 6). If Watson continues to fail, Henriques and M Marsh come into it. Yes, team balance is still an issue, and an allrounder helps.

Posted by warnerbasher on (December 13, 2013, 12:06 GMT)

Me thinks the goose is cooked. The dissapointing thing for me is that after a relatively successful period for England that they have surrendered so meekly. Feel sorry for Cook seems like a nice if slightly dull fellow.

Posted by AMAR3366 on (December 13, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

well played haddin and smith specially smith deserve this hundred.

Posted by Rooboy on (December 13, 2013, 12:02 GMT)

Another nice stat to go with those provided by Mitty2 - Mitch apparently now has more runs this series than any english batsman. Pretty good given his bowling has been half decent as well ...

Posted by ste13 on (December 13, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

England needs change of personnel. They had glory days in the last 4 years, but now I can't see the place for Pietersen, Prior, Swann, Anderson and Broad. In particular, Anderson is a shadow of a man he was three years ago. England does not have a real quick bowler. Steven Finn is not that far away from being that one. I do not know why he is omitted. Just two remind. After mid-year Ashes, I wrote here that England win was unconvincing and the team is running out of steam. It is even worse than that.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 11:59 GMT)

Although they seem safe right now, but Australia should really do something to their batting order. It almost seemed like they were not going to be lucky this time . Luckily for them, Haddin has been in good form and acting as an insurance with help from some or the other person adjacent in the batting order. Smith turned up this time, and all credit to him. BUT what is their top order doing?? You can not and should not ask Warner to calm down and play responsibly. He is performing in his way. Rogers, Watson, Bailey are big question marks though. Ideally, Clarke should be no. 3 or 4. Watson should open or else should be replaced by someone else, may be Tim Paine. No harm in having 2 keepers if both are capable of batting sensibly and consistently. I would like Bailey to raise to challenge and be at no. 4 or 5.

Posted by Pritt32 on (December 13, 2013, 11:43 GMT)

Australia recovered well from a shaky start. Smith ton's could change course of the game. He is an upcoming cricket. England yet again fail to capitalise on opportunities. I think the team needs fresh blood in the squad, as current line up looks ragged. England need to dimiss Australia for less than 400. Judging on the form of the England batmen and their struggles to pass 300, it feels though Australia will claim victory yet again. Things looking good for Australia, but pretty bad for England.

Posted by Wasim_Wasamadroota on (December 13, 2013, 11:42 GMT)

Disgraceful effort England, 87 overs in 6 and a half hours. If it's too hot in the kitchen get on the first flight back to cold, wet, miserable England. Captain Cook should be banned for next test. Come on Aussies put them to the sword, let them wilt in the sun for a while longer then watch them tremble at the knees again as Johnson lets fly.

Posted by whofriggincares on (December 13, 2013, 11:42 GMT)

There is one thing that England have done very well this series, and that is take the foot of the throat! To have a side 6/130 odd (Gabba) and 5/143 here and fail to finish them off must be very worrying for Flower and co.Reminds me a bit of the northern summer when we had them 3 for bugger all on more than one occasion and then along came Bell. If Smith and MJ can take a bit more shine off this new ball and then go on with it England will really be staring down the ashes barrel. Very disappointed with Watto, I have been a stoic supporter of his but his dismissal today was very ugly. I can almost picture him walking back into the dressing room and saying "gee that one bounced more than I was expecting" and one of his team mates saying " you do realize this is the WACA don't you Shane?". He is good enough to play that shot from that length on certain pitches but not this one. What a ripper of an innings from Smith very very impressive. Hope he goes on with it and takes the game away.

Posted by InfiniteWhite on (December 13, 2013, 11:41 GMT)

After witnessing Johnson's short balls, Bresnan's bouncers looked so artificial. There's a distinct possibility that England might field again tomorrow after tea. 3-0 for Australia.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 13, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

England looked a definite chance when Australia went 5 down but they really needed to press their claim then because it's no surprise that English bowlers wilted after a day in that heat. They really didn't do themselves any favours by bowling too short for much of the day and they really seemed to be feeding Smith for much of the time. It really is amazing how often you can say that professional bowlers bowled consistently too short for a whole day. Well played Steve Smith but England certainly could have bowled better to him. Would any of Finn, Ranking and Tremlett have bowled better? Maybe, but there really wasn't much in the previous games to suggest so. The selection blunder wasn't for this game but rather for the touring party. You'd expect Australia to score another 50 at a bare minimum from here so, with scoreboard pressure and being 2-0 down, it's hard to see England being able to score enough runs to win this game from here. I hope they do but I don't see it happening.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

And to think just months ago many were calling for Hughes, Khawaja etc ..when it was clear Smith was the man for the job . I wish him continued success and eventually the captaincy!!

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 11:34 GMT)

Not quite sure why people keep bringing up Hughes! He's not a Test batsman irrespective of how ever many changes he gets. Against good bowlers, he's a walking wicket - lets discuss others e.g Doolan, Maddinson et al. No khawaja or Hughes please

Posted by cricketcricket1987 on (December 13, 2013, 11:34 GMT)

@Maroubra_Flyer For a middle order batsmen, he is terrible on the off side and if England had any patience today, they would have bowled a 4th stump line to him all day and he'd of eventually knicked off. He's not a bag slogger against the spin and like many Australians is decent on the long hop. Really annoyed Finn isn't playing...rather he take 5-100 off 25 overs than 0-77

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (December 13, 2013, 11:33 GMT)

@FrankWoods - agree with you about the Bailey shot - he is lucky to be in the team - not up to test standard as his 1st class record would indicate. Yet they picked the guy seemingly based on his ODI performance on Indian roads. Bad decision.

They should have gone with a younger, more promising player, like Maddinson, Silk, or Hughes

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 13, 2013, 11:32 GMT)

I thought Stokes and Broad were Englands best bowlers. Stokes is as quick as any of them and he he was getting some zip off the pitch. The one that got Haddin was a beautiful short ball. It got way too big too fast on Hads and he was only halfway set when it got to him. Nice bowling and nice captaincy actually with the funky leg side field setting. Broad is a trier and has some bottle. He seems to lose it occassionally but always comes back in his next spell. We know he's a dangerous customer on his day and even his average days are not too bad. .. I can't help it, I'm actually starting to warm to Broad. I like a player who won't give up.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (December 13, 2013, 11:31 GMT)

Good inngs . by young Smith who got in and went on to the 3-fig. taking full adv. of the limited Eng bowling to put his team at adv. with them looking to push on to a 450 + score tom.He looks like an player on the improve and has to carry on the good job by scoring consistent 100s at this level which he will do if he keeps going in the same vein . Also he will give himself the best chance of playing for Aus in M/order for some period of time and make it his own. If only some other of his mates had not frittered away their wickets and made it big like him it would 've been even better .Warner will be esp. disappointed with not making it count as he looked good for a big 1 . He will look to make amends in 2nd inngs - if he gets the chance that is and Aus do need to bat again which looks a bit unlikely .

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (December 13, 2013, 11:30 GMT)

Out: Watto In: Maddinson

Forget all the talk about technique - it is all irrelevant. Why? Because what matters is HOW MUCH not HOW

Posted by Elbow on (December 13, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

Eng need to get a genuine quickie in the team, the balls not moving, so Jimmy and to a lesser extent broad are less effective. Adding 2 more fast medium bowlers makes no sense! If the tall lads on the bench are out of form, throw in someone like Mills and tell him to not worry about runs and just HIT the Aussies....I've heard experts say he (mills or another wildcard) needs to earn is place, rubbish we need to win the match and we are fighting rockets with pop guns! Oh and Batsman, how about doing some batting! This reminds me of India's performance during the last series in the UK, experienced players not performing.....change of attitude or personnel required!

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (December 13, 2013, 11:26 GMT)

England have to look deep into themselves now, they represent communities, towns, cities, that have been giving it to us for 5 years, god help them, 4 days to go.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

england must be sanctioned for slow over rate. terrible slow play. why dont the umpires hurry them on??

Posted by IndianInnerEdge on (December 13, 2013, 11:19 GMT)

What a fascinating, riveting days play, Congrats to the two captains for their 100 tests, SS was magnificient, for me the real hero was Haddin-the way he constructed this innings laid the basics for the position aus are in, whatz up with swann-why so many deliveries on the leg-middle line when surely his job is to hit top of off, surely he has to pitch it outside off? i thought england missed a trick by not playing a taller bowler with more pace like rankin or finn for bresnan....all in all, Aus in a good position, However Eng can still come back.....AS a neutral, i want 5 hard fought days of even and skilful cricket......cheers :!

Posted by Rufus_Fuddleduck on (December 13, 2013, 11:18 GMT)

The match is Australia's to lose. Nothing remarkable about the recovery - it was only that the top half was in the Christmas mood which wore off halfway in the day's play. Cook really deserves a better bowling attack if he is to make his 100th memorable.

Posted by Biggus on (December 13, 2013, 11:16 GMT)

@Nutcutlet:- Have to disagree mate, except for Anderson's first session and some short periods from some of the others I thought it was a pretty awful effort. To a great extent the short balls were far too short, you should be aiming for the batsman's armpit, what I call a West Indian length (thinking Garner, Croft, Ambrose and Walsh in particular) instead of two feet over the batsman's head and you ALWAYS have to have a gully in, preferably also a short leg. Swann got spooked and started bowling darts, and there isn't enough turn in the pitch for that to have much effect. If you can't beat the batsman in the air at Perth as a spinner you haven't a chance. England require something akin to a miracle here.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 13, 2013, 11:11 GMT)

Agree @ModernUmpiresPlz on (December 13, 2013, 5:59 GMT) about Bailey. Great guy to have around but not in this particulat test team. The same applies to Watson: No more chances if you're going to be that irresponsible. Hughes in for Watson and Voges for Bailey. I'm not keen on oldies, but he gives you a part-time spinning option and is in good scoring form. See how he goes and keep watching guys like Lynn, Doolan, etc. Play them next summer if they can back up their form, in next season. Don't worry about an all-rounder until guys like Agar and Faulkner warrant a top six spot (if they ever do). No Kato type-axing on the grounds of age, but reckless batting like Bailey demonstrated and Watson should not be tolerated.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 11:08 GMT)

From Australia's point of view, today's play can be sorted into the three categories of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The Good is Smith standing up and silencing a few doubters, Warner making a decent score at a good clip, and Haddin being the ever-reliable rock. The Bad is the terrible undisciplined way in which most of the top five got themselves out. The Ugly are Watson's continual underachievement and Bailey's dire run (indicating he likely isn't up to it) with Roger's form coming in behind them; the big hole left by the absence of reliable players at #3 and #6 is a serious ongoing weakness. There is still a lot to work on in the Australian team but at least the ship has changed direction.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (December 13, 2013, 10:59 GMT)

More timewasting from England, the most negative team in world cricket. Negative selection too - if any pitch is going to suit Finn or Rankin surely this is it? A bit of pace could have made a difference against Smith.

Posted by Broken_F-ing_Arm on (December 13, 2013, 10:55 GMT)

Fantastic innings from smithy, like Clarke's 148 in Adelaide, wonderfully paced and constructed, a big innings in the context of the game, and a great chance for him and Johnson to build a huge partnership tomorrow and pretty much grab the ashes. Once again brilliant supporting from Haddin and Warner. And thank God, I was really disappointed to see Rogers fall early in the fashion he did and when Bailey played that horror hook shot I almost through something at the tv

Posted by Biggus on (December 13, 2013, 10:53 GMT)

@rickyvoncanterbury:- Bresnan looked pretty tame. Didn't really see him hurry anything of the pitch all day. If this is the fully fit good as new comeback Bresnan we've seen the best of him and it's past. Bit of a shame since I've always rated him.

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 13, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

@ Haiphong : re Watson. I agree with most of what you said but I don't like him at 3. He's an all-rounder because he doesn't quite cut it as a pure batsman or bowler. He should be at 6 (Sorry George) freeing up a position for someone who can score hundreds. No 3 is too important a slot to have someone with his conversion rate blocking it up. At 6 his habitual 50's & 60's will do more damage to the opposition anyway. .. Long story short, he should be at 6 not 3.

Posted by Adoh on (December 13, 2013, 10:46 GMT)

Yep, if someone with such poor technique as Smith can score a century against this attack, it's a pretty crappy attack.

Posted by Maroubra_Flyer on (December 13, 2013, 10:45 GMT)

Cricketcricket1987 what poor technique? Many cricketers don't have the "ideal" technique but still manage to succeed - Viv Richards, Don Bradman, Doug Walters etc. That's why Australia has succeeded over the past 130+ years, we don't train the natural instinct out of our cricketers. Smith is good off both the back & front foot and also good at using his feet to the spinners. Granted he has a high backlift, but so did Lara. His pulling was exceptional, he played the WACA well, England didn't. If you take your time & get used to the bounce then you can settle. Let's see what England make first before we decide it a good wicket!

Posted by disco_bob on (December 13, 2013, 10:45 GMT)

I have a feeling that the plan was to put runs on at a brisk pace in order to try and sucker England into doing the same. It was almost comical to see the short ball barrage England served up compared to MJ's. It was hand grenades, vs hand bags. The disdain on Haddin's face when he so nonchalantly deposited Bresan into the sight screen covers was poetic.

Australia still finding their feet in the Batting department but it's all beginning to come together like the well oiled machine of old. I can't wait for Hughes to make his long overdue return to a team that is not going to blame him for it's own shortcomings. Hat's off to Lehmann.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 13, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

Another frustrating day for England and surely the final nail in the coffin.

Infuriating/damaging to have Aus 5 down for less than 150 and not be able to make further inroads for some time. Now I think we see the problems with England's naturally defensive mindset. Australia 6 wickets down but significantly with England you'd expect them to be 75 runs or so less after a day's play. If England were either leading the series or the series was level there'd be less of a problem. 1 down and it wouldn't be disastrous but realistically Eng need to win this match to retain the Ashes and at least draw it to to have any chance. Because an aggressive scoring rate is SO alien to them it means that they'd be going against the grain playing for the win even if it's what they really need. I worry about them being caught between 2 mindsets. Also I think I'd have either played Stokes or Bres and not both. Would have either gone with the extra batsman or Boyd

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 13, 2013, 10:42 GMT)

At 5/150 or so I was thinking here we go, the collapse that's still in us. They looked like they were playing a T20 at times and I've got to say England's fielding went up about 3 notches today. So happy that Smith got his ton and is still not out. He needed some and boy, what a time to deliver. Johnson looks suspiciously like a batsman at times doesn't he. Swann nearly got him twice in the one over but that was the only time he looked in any trouble. .. I wouldn't like to see our bowlers batting for too long so I reckon if they can play normally and get to 400 they should hit out then, go the tonk, and get the Poms in to bat.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 10:41 GMT)

Stokes is a good to very good county player. This is a bit high for him. Australia edge the day which is a comeback from a profligate shaky start. If they get to near 400 they are unlikely to lose. In that situation it depends on how England bat as to whether they can draw or slide to another defeat.

Posted by Mitty2 on (December 13, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

@meety, great point, the selectors certainly should be given credit for sticking with the side, as Smith's century shows the benefits of it. Kinda makes the muddled selections in England ridiculous, although we did learn a few important things by moving everyone everywhere such as: Clarke can score outside of 5, Watson fails in every position, Faulkner can handle the rigours of test cricket and Warner is an opener only. But of course on the flip side we also got to see how bad the selectors were with the examples of Agar/Lyon and dropping Hughes for Khawaja.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 10:34 GMT)

PLEASE no more Watson at no.3. It is too painful to watch... He, along with Rogers and Bailey must watch their backs... Phil Hughes is on fire and should be back for the boxing day Test.

Posted by Redbackfan on (December 13, 2013, 10:32 GMT)

Weel done to Smith it's good to see they are persisting with him cause he has the talent just needs consistency. Why does Hughes not get the same treatment and get persisted with and not shuffled around the order. Some on here say he's had so many chances just remember Langer, Hayden and Martyn had multiple chances and look at there careers. The break from cricket Haddin and Johnson had has done wonders and both are in sparkling form maybe that's what Watson needs cause he is ordinary at the moment. The only way he can stay in the team is if he bats at 6 and bowls more but his body isn't up to it. I'm sure if you gave someone else a go at number 3 they would do a better job than Watson. North, White and Hughes are all in good form and so are a few others. @ rickyvoncanterbury I would rather Johnson at 3 too

Posted by Nutcutlet on (December 13, 2013, 10:31 GMT)

Can't fault Eng's effort in the field today, but there was precious little (alright - nothing) in it for the bowlers. Eng doesn't have an express like MJ & it is only that type of bowler who's going to blast batsmen out on this strip. The wickets that were gleaned were some Christmas gifts to the belaboured bowlers - not one was really got out with a great delivery. Swann pulled off a fine overhead slip catch, but his role as a containing bowler failed miserably: zero maidens, going at 4.17 off a shy, light work-load of 17 overs. Bresnan, back from injury, bowled the most (21) & was the 2nd most economical -- has justified his place, IMO. Frankly, I don't think it would have mattered who Eng had selected, the wickets weren't there to be had. From what we hear Finn is in no form whatsoever & would have been belted round the WACA. Cupboard bare, England? On this track it is! The batting had better be good! Well done to Steve Smith - great knock, uncomplicated, hitting throgh the line.

Posted by JG2704 on (December 13, 2013, 10:30 GMT)

@jb633 - To be fair Jimmy has kept a lid on the scoring rate even if he's lacked threat. If you're not taking wickets - which is what we want - then that's the next best thing and it's not like he's the only bowler not taking wickets.

Posted by thrawn on (December 13, 2013, 10:27 GMT)

@haiphong

People want Smith in the team as he has shown significant improvement this year - averaging 41 in test cricket.

Watson on the other hand has averaged 29 in tests, and performed poorly in the previous year too. He's been in the team far too long with no results.

Posted by Mitty2 on (December 13, 2013, 10:23 GMT)

AUS - 35/1724 vs. ENG - 40/799

That's 925 more runs for loss of 5 fewer wickets. Lolololol - the younger side is the side that's on the decline!

Wickets on the first day of the past three WACA Tests: 12, 10 and 10 and we only lose 6. Top that with the fact that the team batting first of recent usually wins and the Ashes are won. England really needed to get us all out before the day's finish if they wanted a chance in this series.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (December 13, 2013, 10:19 GMT)

What about Bresnan... if he was a bouncer you would stay right away from him.... but from 22 meters away with bat or ball you would give it to him.

Posted by coeurlion on (December 13, 2013, 10:19 GMT)

Always had a soft spot for Smith... great ton! If he can improve his bowling, he'll be a wonderful asset for us. He's young and he'll learn. At 326/6, I think it's advantage Aus. Day 2 is going to pretty interesting.

Posted by Biggus on (December 13, 2013, 10:17 GMT)

I'll be very surprised if we haven't just wrapped up the Ashes today. I'm pretty sure we'll use the wicket better than England and I'm expecting them to really flag as the game goes on. Today was nothing, one day like that is an uncomfortable novelty. Wait until day 4 in this sort of heat, you have to experience it to know, it's not just draining physically but mentally as well. After 3 or 4 days of it you've just had a gutful and feel like spending the day in the local pool. It's hard on locals, it must be horrendous for the tourists. On a different note Stuart Broad must be one of the most reactive bowlers I've seen, always shifting fielders to cover the last pie he's bowled. Needs a far more assertive Captain.

Posted by cricketcricket1987 on (December 13, 2013, 10:15 GMT)

If someone with as poor a technique as Smith can score runs on this wicket then there is definitely hope for England!

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (December 13, 2013, 10:14 GMT)

Well played Smith and congratulations on your century. This could be the knock that regains the ashes for Australia. This was a pivotal innings, Australia have been superb this series. Very well done to them!

Posted by Rooboy on (December 13, 2013, 10:14 GMT)

@Mitty2 - not true. Several English bowlers have registered centuries this series ...

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (December 13, 2013, 10:13 GMT)

@Mitty2, top stats! Top day again for the Aussies.

Posted by Meety on (December 13, 2013, 10:11 GMT)

Smith's ton is exactly what the NSP/Lehman are trying to achieve by picking the same team from test to test. Smith has always had the talent & is now starting to deliver, great temperment shown. Loathe to say what a match winning first total is on this pitch, but 300+ is a good starting point. == == == A bit of a whinge - play went half hour over time & England still only delivered 87 overs. Yes, it was darn hot, yes its easy to criticize from air-con comfort, but they are pro-cricketers, they should be fit enuff. They had a specialist spinner & they had a couple of decent part timers - 90 overs should be done with the extra 30min. That said - dunno if Oz will be bowling 90 overs in the allotted time!

Posted by Haiphong on (December 13, 2013, 10:10 GMT)

@AussiePhoenix -- I'm delighted for Smith and more so for the team that he stood up on this occasion. I never "bagged" Smith - that i leave for Hughes! :-) My point simply was that of the group of players I mentioned none stand out (statistically) as being superior to Watson but yet Watson gets "bagged" with each failure. Let's just celebrate the comeback today and agree that class (aka Haddin) is eternal!

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (December 13, 2013, 10:08 GMT)

try again, I have a mate who is a chef, at 37 degrees tomorrow he thinks they will be cooked after 15 overs, but suggests going 30 overs, the crispier the better he reckons.

Posted by Rooboy on (December 13, 2013, 10:06 GMT)

Well neil99 sure nailed that with his prediction. Can only assume Aus would be 3/600 if they hadn't imploded. He's right that it does feel like we're back to the old days though.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (December 13, 2013, 10:05 GMT)

I was talking to a mate who is a chief, he thinks at 37 dehrees tomorrow they should be cooked in about 15 overs but he recommends goings 30 overs, the crisper the better he reckons.

Posted by cloudmess on (December 13, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

Once again I'm wondering why Stokes is playing - a kind of semi-muddled defensive selection by a management no longer sure what they're trying to achieve - Stokes is never going to take a 5-for, or score a century, so why pick him? England should have tried Finn, or Onions (had the latter been picked for the tour), or even Panesar (who took 8 wickets here on the 2006-7 tour).

Posted by jb633 on (December 13, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

Aus will probs get up to 450. Bowl us out for 230. Then set us a chase of 550 and we will fold second time around for under 200. This series is an abomination and we have been pathetic from start to finish. Jimmy Anderson should have been dropped here as he really is providing us with nothing at all. We let Steve Smith make a ton. This guy has an atrocious technique yet we continue to serve him up slow half trackers. Another dismal dismal day for us. Aus to win inside 4 days. Prove me wrong boys but I can't see it.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (December 13, 2013, 9:58 GMT)

We will declare just before tea tomorrow and England will be 6 down at stumps tomorrow

Posted by Forza_Scuderia on (December 13, 2013, 9:55 GMT)

Everybody in this Aussie side is contributing now... Teams looks to be coming together rather nicely. Smith the ninth Aussie player to pass 50 or something to that effect in this series.

Johnson also looking good with the bat once again. What a turn-around for him.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (December 13, 2013, 9:52 GMT)

Superb strength of character shown by Australia. After gifting a few wickets to a hapless and overrated bowling attack, they have dug deep and found that inner power to come out on top.

England need to develop a similar strength of character to be competitive when it counts.

Posted by AussiePhoenix on (December 13, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

And Australia have just passed England's top score this series. How will they respond? Will they be able to?

Posted by AussiePhoenix on (December 13, 2013, 9:45 GMT)

@ Haiphong and others bagging Smith, your puzzlement has lessened? Great temperament and skill, just what Australia needed. And Haddin once again does enough - what a comeback King, I had thought his career was gone last time he got dropped.

Posted by Mitty2 on (December 13, 2013, 9:39 GMT)

Brilliant from Smith. Great to see us reach this score without the contribution from Clarke and off the contribution from someone aged under 30. He's been in really good FC form since the indian tour, and his ton under pressure just goes to show that the right mindset and temperament is of superior importance to any sort of "textbook technique" (why Hughes should be in and why Khawaja has failed so far and why Watson should go).

Here's some more lovely stats for England:

Centuries

5 - Australia (incl Smith) 0 - England

Ducks

2 - Australia 8 - England

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (December 13, 2013, 9:27 GMT)

Johnson 3.... Watson 8.....

Posted by wanatawu on (December 13, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

And there England let Australia get away again, can't believe many of us rated England so high before the series started.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (December 13, 2013, 9:10 GMT)

@ Ian Jones on (December 13, 2013, 8:39 GMT) And I was thinking it was the 90's as well, not because the Aussies are GREAT, it is that England are that clueless... I never thought I would see that.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (December 13, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

17 overs to bowl in an hour. Will Cook's hundreth see him banned for his 101st ?

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (December 13, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

Keep em coming Front-Foot-Sponge - you've got me laughing here in old Istanbul town

On a more serous note - England's backup bowlers have been shown up for what they are - very much below par - when Anderson and Swann are out of form there is no-one to take wickets.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (December 13, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

Ahhh - Haddin gone just as I arrive work. Tends to happen a lot - wicket falls just as I log in. England MUST stop this annoying habit of letting the tail rack up significant runs now. I know England's batting has been awful, but anything under 350 after winning the toss is pretty good going by England. Game on!

Posted by pommy80 on (December 13, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

England handing Aus the win (hope I eat my words later) by not picking Finn. Not bringing Onions with us is also proving to be another shocking decision by the team.

Posted by PrasPunter on (December 13, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

not sure why we put our heads down , take it to 400 and grind them !! wondering why haddin played that shot !!

Posted by shot274 on (December 13, 2013, 8:51 GMT)

What has Finn done to annoy the selectors? A few tour matches in whichhe hasnt bowled well.?Well what about the current test bowling who with the exception of Broad have had a few test matches in which they have bowled very ordinary stuff!Finn has more wickets, a better average and a better strike rate than any of the paceman and is arguably the quickest.He has always delivered in tests. The fastest strip in Australia, 2-0 down and Finn doesnt play. Bresnan and Stokes would not scare batsmen unless they wore Halloween masks! These bits and pieces players propel England back to the Derek Pringle era!!!

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (December 13, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

"Australia's run rate has dipped below four an over ... Though England's morale may have dipped even further" more comedy gold from the ball by ball guys! This is keeping me awake in my Finnish lesson.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 8:39 GMT)

Some of these posts have me thinking we're in the 1990s. A world class Aussie side and an awful England team!! We all know the reverse is true. Keep Oz under 350, England can get 500 on here easily.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

Why are England playing Stokes and Swann? Tremlett and Panesar should be obvious choices.

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (December 13, 2013, 8:18 GMT)

"England's attempts to bowl dry - if that's what they are - have been about as effective as setting sail in a colander so far" - from the ball by ball commentary - hilarious!

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (December 13, 2013, 8:13 GMT)

my goodness gracious me... aren't they half giving it to them?

Posted by Mitty2 on (December 13, 2013, 8:09 GMT)

@disco.bob, spot on. This is taken from @chris_P, but it's something like a FC batting average under 30 and a FC bowling over 40 for the last two years for Twatto. He has more loyalty for his IPL team than he does for Australia. Hughes has way more FC tons than Twatto despite being over six/seven years under. Although, Hughes should be opener, he's much better starting against spin.

I heard that apparently out of the last nine tests, the team batting first has won seven times (correct me if I'm wrong - which I probably am) and that over the last seven tests, we've had a first innings lead over England six times. Can't help but thinking that Eng are a long shot to win this match.

@jmcilhinney, my comment didn't post, but again. Literally everyone has spoken about England's terrible shot selection and how over 50% of their dismissals have been on the leg side. The criticisms are in every article as well. All these five so far wickets definitely were from the mistake of the batsmen...

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (December 13, 2013, 8:08 GMT)

@ Pindia on (December 13, 2013, 7:29 GMT) T20 will guarantee that all test playing nations will learn the trades of different pitches, you say Australia and other nations have the advantage at home.... but why, the wickets spin in India Uae, Sri Lanka, England and in the past Pakistan the fast pitches are Oz NZ SA WI.

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (December 13, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

@disco.bob, agree mate, I think Hughes is doing enough to come in. We will probably declare before stumps to have half an hour to nip out a quick 4-5 wickets.

Posted by Biggus on (December 13, 2013, 8:05 GMT)

@Marcio:- I'm not usually one to jump early but I'm with @Bonehead_maz on this one. When we were in trouble earlier I reckoned privately we could afford to concede a 100 first innings lead before I'd really start to worry. A 100 lead for England is starting to look more and more unlikely and Smith's been the one to make that happen, and he's doing it quickly. Swann's still way too flat. I thought early on he was going to throw it up but he's been spooked by Smith.

Posted by Loveforckt on (December 13, 2013, 7:57 GMT)

Great batting by these two Aussies leds

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 13, 2013, 7:52 GMT)

I don't think its the time to be changing our batting as the only shield player getting the runs required to succeed at test level is Hughes and hevwill be replacing Rogers when he is ready. Sticking with Smith has enabled to show quality hevhas today. Let's stick with Bailey as although stats not so great so far as been contributing towards the team. Let's make the rest of the shield players belt the door down with runs and so far we have Fergusson, Voges and White making good runs. Burns, Lynn, Pomersbach, Khawaja, Maddinson, Head,Silk, Cowan, Cosgrove and Voges can keep making shield runs and force there way in to the team.

Posted by Marcio on (December 13, 2013, 7:37 GMT)

Geez, some of you Ausssie supporters are getting a bit carried away here, @Bonehead, I wouldn't think the game and series is quite over yet. England still well in this game. However I do expect Australia to post about 370 here, to pull a figure out of my crystal ball. They might even do it by the end of the day! (It's tea right now as I write this).

Posted by Pindia on (December 13, 2013, 7:29 GMT)

Australia will make 350 plus and bowl England out under 250 and win the match. Mitch will get ten for... This appears to be the era of teams being comfortable in their own conditions, I doubt we will see a truly dominant team for some time.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (December 13, 2013, 7:28 GMT)

Lots of criticism toward our allrounder. Watson is an allrounder. He is not a no3. He is batting out of position. Clarke doesn't open, MJ doesn't bat top 6, so why is Watto at 3? He is batting at 3 because there is no no3 in the team. He should bat at 6 as he is an attacking batsman and a very handy bowler. Hughes is in great form and maybe no3 should be his at the MCG, with Watto at 6 as his allrounder ability makes him more versatile to the team than Bailey.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (December 13, 2013, 7:25 GMT)

For crying out loud... "Big changes" promised by England, and the only change they've made is to replace Monty with Bresnan... Well that's just brilliant that is - going to win lots of games with that big change...

Posted by Haiphong on (December 13, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

@brisCricFan- statistics like the one quoted are totally insignificant. It's based on what? 3 matches or would it be 5? So Smith has been tried everywhere between 4 and 7 - how about Watson? If we were being honest, none between Watson, Smith, Faulkner, Bailey, etc., etc. is more deserving than another. And now we have someone calling for Huges to return for the Boxing Day test!!! Talk about repeatedly having been given chances and constantly having failed. Watson is far from being perfect but the whole lot above (including Khwaja) have also failed to consistently deliver when given chances.

Posted by disco_bob on (December 13, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

Don't worry lads, Watto will come good in Sydney just like he did at the Oval, and hang in for yet another useless run in the Test side. With Warner playing as he was, there could not have been less pressure on Watson but yet again, he plays a shot that was not there. He may be good on his day and he is useful as a containing bowler but when he is really needed as a bowler he'll surely get injured. We need Hughes in the team now, getting the winning feeling he is the only player with the potential to make no. 3 his own.

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (December 13, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

I think everyone has been saying Watson isn't a 3. If they need him for his bowling have him down the order. Anyway, good to see Bresnan back wicketless and getting flayed everywhere. Australia already in a great position, they should be completely batted out of the Ashes by stumps as we pile on the runs at 4+ an over.

Posted by Marcio on (December 13, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

Nah, @neil99. Smith to get a century here and Australia to post 370. Say your prayers!

Agree the aggressive batting has been a bit strange. Seems too many getting themselves out. Of course if Watto got out any other way than a briain explosion it would be headline news. Sorry Watto, time to get on your bike.

Bailey isn't a test batsmen. No surprises there. I think he's batted nine times this season, and top score is 51. Must be averaging about 20, consistent with last season. Maybe he can get a job selling toothpaste with that smile. Nice guy too. Hope he proves me wrong, but I doubt it.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (December 13, 2013, 7:17 GMT)

In 1958/59 Peter May's fantastic MCC side was skittled 4-0 when attempting to win 4 ashes in a row. Despite Roger's suicide, Watson's brain fade and Clarke's mistake. Make what you want of Bailey. Steve Smith is winning us this test match ( and therefore the Ashes) right now ! there'll be no comeback, It's over !

Posted by AussieSam on (December 13, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

I've said it before but geez, if some of the people on here had their way the whole Aus XI would change every match. At least wait for the innings to finish before you pull the axe out. I actually think every player deserves the whole series to prove their worth (especially while we're winning).

I was worried that this would happen, with the batsmen all having the "play an aggressive brand of cricket" mantra in their head and the series being 2-0 they've come out and gotten ahead of themselves, batting like its still the 2nd innings at Adelaide where they were 400 ahead. Almost every wicket has been from judgement errors rather than good bowling. Although England has bowled probably as good as they have since Day 1 of the Gabba Test, it's been far too short for the WACA.

At tea time Smith and Haddin have done a great job of consolidating, as they did at the Gabba. It looks like it might be another even day just like the first two matches and we know how they turned out for England!

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 7:15 GMT)

The Watson debate annoys me. He is the perfect number6, he averages 30+ and is a handy bowler. Australia desperately need a strong number 3.

Posted by Mitty2 on (December 13, 2013, 7:10 GMT)

Interesting about this pitch, it has much more pace and bounce than any other pitch so far. This trying to be objective as possible, this and combined with the fact that MJ's record here is phenomenal and he's confidence is sky high, there's every reason that MJ will do better here than in Brisbane and Adelaide. That in mind, and Harris' record in Perth in mind (he bowled really well against India but it didn't show in the wickets) it will be nothing short of a miracle if England win this match. And of course there's the additional factors of them not scoring over 400 for over 10 ten tests and not winning in perth since the 70s.

Hopefully I don't put the mocker on Smith, but really good, counter-attacking innings. Important to remember that his average here is UNDER 20 in the Shield.

Looking forward, hard to make a judgement on how Lyon will go. He got spanked by SA here last year in his only Perth test, but his biggest strength is his bounce and has dominated with the Gabba's bounce

Posted by brisCricFan on (December 13, 2013, 7:04 GMT)

@Haiphong; If you consider that Smith is early on in his career and was coming in from 4-7 until they worked out what to do with him, he has settled ok... I was surprised to learn that Smith batting in the No.5 position is the 4th most successful number 5 Australia has had since 1996... S.Waugh, M Hussey, M Clarke being the only guys with a better avg.

Posted by Mitty2 on (December 13, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

Watson's getting more and more predictable. It's actually ridiculous. He's gotten so self-conscious of his over-sized front pad that he now is playing away from his body lol. I've been critical of Watson since the dawn of time but I've always noted he has a relatively good technique against the pacers, now he's just all at sea. He gets out between the 17-30 mark more times than anyone. He's not test-batting quality, and he bowls less than 10 overs an innings so he's not an all-rounder. GET HIM OUT.

I really like Bailey, but that was a really poor shot (ODI shot it has to be said). Only saving grace is that Broad was bowling with heat.

Warner proving most Eng fans how good he is. I had to mention before the series a lot of times his overseas average of 25 and home average of 50. He's proved himself at home, hopefully he can contribute more to the coming SA series with his growing maturity.

Whatever happens from here, Phillip hughes HAS to come in for the boxing day test.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 7:00 GMT)

@runout49 Well seeing as Watson is a two-time Allan Border medallist, I think he's entitled to 12 months of patience. Don't forget he scored more runs than any Australian in England

Posted by daisy1 on (December 13, 2013, 6:58 GMT)

Watson and Bailey are both not up to it. Neither should be in the test side. But all the batsmen need to have a look at themselves and the way they get out.

Posted by Meety on (December 13, 2013, 6:56 GMT)

@ Lunch - I have England a shade in front. When the 5th wicket fell - definitely England. Lets see if Haddin can conjure a 3rd consecutive match changing partnership?

Posted by runout49 on (December 13, 2013, 6:35 GMT)

Let's hope the selectors show as much perseverance with Bailey as they have with Watson.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (December 13, 2013, 6:33 GMT)

@jmcilhinney - it makes perfect sense if you are biased - as I am. Go Aussies!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Looks-Silly-Now on (December 13, 2013, 6:25 GMT)

Australia's batting is still a worry..It seems like it's the same guys getting the team out of trouble. Too many guys who are ODI specialists in this line-up. Watson looks like he can throw it away at anytime and Bailey doesn't seem to have the technique or temperament for a long test innings. Luckily our pacemen are red hot at the moment and will keep Australia in this game no matter what we score in the 1st innings.

Posted by lillee4PM on (December 13, 2013, 6:07 GMT)

Someone tell the Aussie batters that this is not an ODI.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (December 13, 2013, 5:59 GMT)

So if I wasn't sure that Bailey can't bat in test matches for Australia I definitely am now. Absolutely horrid shot that one, when we need to rebuild the innings. I'd say "what was he thinking", but clearly he wasn't. No more chances if you're going to be that irresponsible.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (December 13, 2013, 5:57 GMT)

@neil99, the game is already beyond England's reach, they needed to skittle the Aussies for under a 100 to have a chance.

Posted by lillee4PM on (December 13, 2013, 5:42 GMT)

Dear Haiphong, I hear what you're saying buddy and before the last Ashes series I might have agreed with you, in fact, when Watson first entered the test scene I was one of his biggest fans. However, the selectors have shown Watto far too much of what he himself does not have, i.e. patience. Aus currently 4/129 at the WACA and a lack of patience has brought the four wickets, what's the freaking hurry? There's a "million" runs to be had if players take their time.

Posted by neil99 on (December 13, 2013, 5:38 GMT)

We are about to witness a bigger miracle than the feeding of the 5,000.

England 3-2

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 13, 2013, 5:37 GMT)

Swann's dismissal of Warner showing exactly why it was a good idea to include a spinner. The extra bounce at the WACA can be very beneficial to a spinner. One of the reasons that Australia have done so well so far is that they have chosen to go after Swann and have done so effectively, but doing so when the ball is bouncing that bit more is that much more dangerous. It will be interesting to see how Lyon goes, as he has taken a few wickets already when deliveries have bounced a bit.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 13, 2013, 5:34 GMT)

So, when England make mistakes and gift their wickets to Australia it is bad batting but when Australia do it it's just mistakes that we don't need to worry about? Makes perfect sense.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (December 13, 2013, 5:24 GMT)

Nevermind a few mistakes by the Australian players to gift wickets to England - the gulf between these teams is so wide England have no chance.

Posted by DJAbacus on (December 13, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

Australia giving away their wickets. England taking their chances. Clarke out. So far so good England....keep it going...

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (December 13, 2013, 5:16 GMT)

Out: Watson, In: Maddinson

Smith will get a ton today and out the game beyond England's reach

Posted by Haiphong on (December 13, 2013, 5:00 GMT)

@HansonKoch, @lillee4PM, @England-Have-No-Johnson - yes, yes and yes. It is frustrating like hell when it appears Watson seemingly throws his wicket away time and again and yes a case could be made (statistically - battingwise) whether he should retain his place in the side. But the fact is that he can be a 'one-man army' on his day and while those days might be far and inbetween, his batting average is higher than the likes of Smith (who many appear to support for some unknown reason) and there is that unknown factor which surrounds him and perhaps makes the opposition think harder. Then there is his bowling which cannot be underestimated - whether it be his golden-arm wickets or simply the fact that he has the ability to tie up one end and keep the pressure up on the batsman. His presence within the team is valuable if you consider his overall contribution. Problem is some out there seem to only regard (and question) him as a pure batsman.

Posted by neil99 on (December 13, 2013, 5:00 GMT)

I too was thinking poor selection, but the ineffective (so far) Swann strikes and Stokes has kept it tight. Nobody was calling for Broad to be sidelined and he's been cut and carved around the park at will.

I feel the momentum has changed. We are back to the old days with Swann trapping one in his first over and England claiming the prize wicket just before lunch.

The cocksure Australians are about to implode.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

one more time sawan took wicket in his first over. .gud for England

Posted by Biggus on (December 13, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

What a superb Test pitch. As @dunger.bob said yesterday, the WACA punishes mediocrity, bowling or batting, without fear or favour. When the English have got it right they've beaten the bat, when they've erred it has almost without exception gone to the boundary. Swann's dismissal of Clarke illustrates why the WACA is also a good pitch for spinners. If the batsman doesn't get to the pitch and doesn't decide to pull out and defend it's awfully hard to keep the ball down because of the bounce. At 3-107 it's game even atm. Warner's looking ominous.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Looks-Silly-Now on (December 13, 2013, 4:03 GMT)

It's a shame Rogers was run out, he looked like he was going to get a good score today. Watson on the other hand always looks like he's about to get out. Maybe that big century he scored at the oval was a bad thing because it's probably saved his spot for this entire series. All this talk about who should be England's number 3 when our own is struggling. Ian Chappell keeps saying that your best bat should come in at 3, does that mean Clarke needs to move up another spot?

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 3:42 GMT)

Come on england, bring it back

Posted by HansonKoch on (December 13, 2013, 3:26 GMT)

Does anyone know when Watson is supposed to come good? Been waiting a while.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 2:29 GMT)

Hope Cook and Co. do some miracle and return in the Ashes. We don't want a dead rubber by losing the third consecutive test. at least gun for draw. by the way am an Indian and my sympathy is with neither

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 2:21 GMT)

dropping Monty doesn't make sense, given Swan's poor form.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 2:21 GMT)

I think England should have retained Monty and dropped Swann. His left arm spinners could be more effective with the bounce on offer. He did take a 5-for at Perth in 2006 and he's bowling pretty well now in spite of his figures; having catches dropped off his bowling.

Posted by Fullcover on (December 13, 2013, 2:19 GMT)

This is poor team selection by England. I was hoping Steve Finn to replace Monty and Gary Ballance replacing Stokes.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2013, 2:14 GMT)

double-sided coin ?

Comments have now been closed for this article

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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