Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney January 2, 2014

Australia eye unforeseen clean sweep

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Match facts


January 3-7, Sydney Cricket Ground
Start time 1030 (2330 GMT)

Big Picture

Before this series began, the odds of a 5-0 win to Australia were about the same as of Bangladesh winning next year's World Cup. But Michael Clarke's men enter the Sydney Test on the verge of completing a clean sweep. England came to Australia with the Ashes in their possession and a sense of stability around their squad. Whatever happens over the next five days, they will leave these shores without the urn and without any real idea of how to fix their problems.

Graeme Swann has retired mid-tour, the vice-captain Matt Prior has been dropped, Jonathan Trott has spent most of the series at home, their only centurion has been the new boy Ben Stokes, they don't have a batsman in the top five series run scorers, they have only one bowler averaging under 30. They're a rabble, and even if they avoid a 5-0 defeat this result should hurt more than the 2006-07 clean sweep, for that was against champions like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist.

This Australian outfit has been cobbled together after a period of retirements, experiments and abandonments. In recent years, Australia's Test team has been changed as often as a baby's nappy and sometimes produced similar results. That was certainly the case in India in February-March, when they were humiliated 4-0 on the field and embarrassed off it. Their success in this Ashes campaign is all the sweeter for it. It remains possible that Australia may take the same XI into all five Tests in the series, which would be a first.

Not every question has been answered for the Australians, who have a three-Test tour of South Africa in a month's time. Most notably, the No.6 position occupied in this series by George Bailey could be up for grabs after this series. If Bailey plays at the SCG and fails, he can hardly be retained. Whatever happens, though, this squad has achieved everything that was asked of it. Australia have the Ashes and will get their hands on the (replica) urn after this Sydney Test. It's now just a question of 5-0, 4-0 or 4-1.

Form guide

Australia: WWWWD
England: LLLLD

Players to watch

Before the Ashes began, Michael Clarke predicted that Mitchell Johnson could be the Player of the Series, so well was he bowling. Brad Haddin has a strong claim to the award but it will take something remarkable for Johnson not to win it. Already he has been Man of the Match in three of the four Tests. Johnson has 31 wickets for the series and he needs only four more to break the Australian record for most wickets by a fast bowler in a five-Test Ashes, and seven to break Bill Whitty's record of 37 for most by an Australian fast bowler in any five-Test series, set against South Africa in 1910-11. Clarrie Grimmett's all-time Australian record of 44 wickets in a series is probably safe, but the way Johnson is going, nothing is certain.

Last week, Scott Borthwick was getting ready to head off to Sri Lanka with England Lions after his stint with the Sydney grade side Northern District. Now, he's almost certain of making his Test debut at the SCG. Swann's retirement, combined with a calf injury sustained by Monty Panesar at training, should mean Borthwick is given a chance at Test level. Borthwick has four first-class centuries to his name but unlike Australians such as Steven Smith and Cameron White, he considers himself a legspinner who can bat a bit. If he plays, Borthwick will be the fourth spinner used by England in the space of six Tests, after Swann, Panesar and Simon Kerrigan.

Team news

It is not out of the realms of possibility that Australia will play the same XI for the fifth consecutive Test and there is a strong push from the players to complete the series with the team intact. Shane Watson's groin niggle and Ryan Harris' general soreness could be the catalysts for conservatism, with a South African Test tour in a month. Nathan Coulter-Nile will be a direct replacement for Harris if he is ruled out, while Watson's ability to bowl may determine whether James Faulkner and No.3 Alex Doolan play, and thus whether Bailey can retain his spot. But there would be something very special about completing a 5-0 win with only 11 players, and it may yet happen.

Australia (possible) 1 Chris Rogers, 2 David Warner, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Steven Smith, 6 George Bailey, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Peter Siddle, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 Nathan Lyon.

"Yes, we could do. Certainly there will be some changes," Alastair Cook said when asked if England might play three debutants at the SCG. Such a scenario might have seemed laughable before the series but it's now anyone's guess what England's best XI is. Gary Ballance is likely to be included, given England's poor batting throughout the series, and it might be that Michael Carberry makes way with Joe Root to move up to open and Ian Bell to No.3. The legspinning allrounder Borthwick would also strengthen England's batting if he replaces Panesar, while Boyd Rankin could be given a chance at the expense of Tim Bresnan. But, really, who would know?

England (possible) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Joe Root, 3 Ian Bell, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Gary Ballance, 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 8 Scott Borthwick, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 James Anderson, 11 Boyd Rankin.

Pitch and conditions

Two days out from the match, the pitch appeared to have more grass on it than a normal Sydney surface and it is expected to offer some assistance for the fast bowlers. The forecast throughout the match ranges from 22C to 27C with the possibility of occasional light showers, but rain shouldn't play too much of a part.

Stats and trivia

  • Should Australia win in Sydney it will complete their third 5-0 Ashes clean sweep, after 1920-21 and 2006-07

  • If Australia name an unchanged side it will be the first time they have ever used the same XI throughout a five-Test series

  • In the event of a draw or an Australian win, Australia will jump from fifth to third on the ICC Test rankings and England would drop from third to fourth. An England win would leave England third and Australia would move up from fifth to fourth

Quotes

"Experiencing the highs and lows has made us stronger as a team and that's why you see everyone so excited when we've won, because we have been through such a long, lean patch. It is certainly a nice change."
Michael Clarke, Australia's captain

"When we left England, we had high hopes of doing something very special. I did say at the time, we'd have to play some very good cricket if we wanted to achieve that and we haven't done that."
Alastair Cook, England's captain

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | January 4, 2014, 15:38 GMT

    @landl47: I've never said Joe Root should be dropped from the team - only dropped down the order where I continue to believe he is more comfortable. I think he continues to be a breath of fresh air in this otherwise badly-out-of-form, listless England side. Just because a player is a good/great batsman, I don't believe that automatically means he/she can bat anywhere in the team. Clarke for Australia has been great in the middle order, so I've always supported him staying there; KP is KP and the thoughts of him opening or even coming in at 3 with little/naught on the scoreboard = throwing away his wicket yet again. In the absence of a reliable Hayden-style (i.e. attacking) opener, I would much rather have had Compton open with Cook than trial the likes Carberry, even though he has not disgraced. What's done is done, and we can't go back now. Thankfully young Stokes has glittered this festive period...

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 23:25 GMT

    Just saw R Harris walk out for the anthems an he is limping.Lets hope he can last out the test

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 23:13 GMT

    @ KnightRider12155 : two reasons why the Australian selectors won't pick Sayers: 1): He is not top of the wicket taking list (S. O'Keefe & J. Botha[non-Australian] are ahead of him) & 2): He plays for South Australia: for some reason the Aus selectors don't seem to like South Australian players. (Harris used to play for South Australia but wasn't picked for Aus until he moved to QLD, Lyon now plays 1st class for NSW, the last player to score 200 runs in an innings and then get dropped was a South Australian, even Lehmann when he was first selected had to score more Sheffield shield runs than ANYONE else ever before they would consider someone from South Australia, I'm a little surprised Cosgrove, who is now playing for TAS hasn't been selected).

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 23:05 GMT

    compton shud have been given a chance, no one would hve thought of a 5-0 reverse at the hands of aussies.. alastair cook shouldnt be that naive to suggest no changes necessary, england selection has been devoid of any improvisation and confidence or chances..very conservative, esp at perth where they should have played both rankin and finn....root should keep on his spot but move down, ove bell up the order, why is he made the scapegoat when jo one can play and having to play one down....bairstow is not going to do anything...spinner is a waste, panesar should have retained his spot..england can feign next summer beating india and SL that everythingis rigt and being hammered away where picthes dont suit anderson

  • POSTED BY SirDon99 on | January 2, 2014, 22:43 GMT

    " i would like to include Katich as he and hughes batted superbly at Johanesburg and durban few yearz back. " Katich has not had a Cricket Australia contract now for over two years, if some of the people who post on this site were Australian selectors then the team would be lucky to draw a match let alone win one.

  • POSTED BY glance_to_leg on | January 2, 2014, 22:08 GMT

    Please don't drop Carbs. He is a brave batsman, and a good fielder, who deserves a chance. We cannot just stack the side with white, South African, privately educated public school boys. Carberry is a tough customer who has done nothing wrong: he has batted better than most of the England team. Root should go before carbs does! Carberry deserves to be rewarded for his toughness in a failing team. If we really need a South African public school boy, please bring back Compton, who would have provided some backbone to this limp team. Incidentally, I know that Root doesn't fall into the SA/pub school category (just the latter)... but he is neither a test opener, nor a particular success story.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | January 2, 2014, 21:58 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy on (January 2, 2014, 8:37 GMT) - oh I understand, it must be very hard keeping that stiff upper lip. :)

    @landl47 on (January 2, 2014, 16:25 GMT) - pretty much agree with your assessment on Root. That said - assuming it is managed right, there should be no problems dropping Root if his form warrants being dropped. How many times have you read or heard Clarke say that it wasn't until he was dropped from the Oz team that he truely valued the honor? Root is a talent, his main weakness is that he seems to be neither forward nor back enuff to pace bowling - it shouldn't be too hard to correct as he basically has good technique otherwise & he did seem to enjoy sledging in a mike atherton type of way!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 2, 2014, 21:51 GMT

    @64blip on (January 2, 2014, 19:55 GMT) There is no right or wrong way re Root it's just how you see it. To me they are contradicting themselves saying that they have every faith in him and then move him all about the order. IMO he should have been given the series as opener. Other players have come back stronger from being dropped - if they were to choose that option. It could actually do him more good going back to the CC esp if it's a confidence thing. Personally I'd rather see our players (who are out of form) go back to their counties to bat/bowl themselves back into form than continue to struggle for England - helping cost the team and possibly doing themselves harm by playing for Eng while so shot.

  • POSTED BY jb633 on | January 2, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    5-0 Aus. No question about this whatsoever

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 2, 2014, 21:02 GMT

    Am I the only one who thinks Stokes is not a number 6 batsman. One century will not change anything. Do Flower believe he can win the test series with bits and pieces players. Now Borthwick. He can bat but can he take a wicket?

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | January 4, 2014, 15:38 GMT

    @landl47: I've never said Joe Root should be dropped from the team - only dropped down the order where I continue to believe he is more comfortable. I think he continues to be a breath of fresh air in this otherwise badly-out-of-form, listless England side. Just because a player is a good/great batsman, I don't believe that automatically means he/she can bat anywhere in the team. Clarke for Australia has been great in the middle order, so I've always supported him staying there; KP is KP and the thoughts of him opening or even coming in at 3 with little/naught on the scoreboard = throwing away his wicket yet again. In the absence of a reliable Hayden-style (i.e. attacking) opener, I would much rather have had Compton open with Cook than trial the likes Carberry, even though he has not disgraced. What's done is done, and we can't go back now. Thankfully young Stokes has glittered this festive period...

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 23:25 GMT

    Just saw R Harris walk out for the anthems an he is limping.Lets hope he can last out the test

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 23:13 GMT

    @ KnightRider12155 : two reasons why the Australian selectors won't pick Sayers: 1): He is not top of the wicket taking list (S. O'Keefe & J. Botha[non-Australian] are ahead of him) & 2): He plays for South Australia: for some reason the Aus selectors don't seem to like South Australian players. (Harris used to play for South Australia but wasn't picked for Aus until he moved to QLD, Lyon now plays 1st class for NSW, the last player to score 200 runs in an innings and then get dropped was a South Australian, even Lehmann when he was first selected had to score more Sheffield shield runs than ANYONE else ever before they would consider someone from South Australia, I'm a little surprised Cosgrove, who is now playing for TAS hasn't been selected).

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 23:05 GMT

    compton shud have been given a chance, no one would hve thought of a 5-0 reverse at the hands of aussies.. alastair cook shouldnt be that naive to suggest no changes necessary, england selection has been devoid of any improvisation and confidence or chances..very conservative, esp at perth where they should have played both rankin and finn....root should keep on his spot but move down, ove bell up the order, why is he made the scapegoat when jo one can play and having to play one down....bairstow is not going to do anything...spinner is a waste, panesar should have retained his spot..england can feign next summer beating india and SL that everythingis rigt and being hammered away where picthes dont suit anderson

  • POSTED BY SirDon99 on | January 2, 2014, 22:43 GMT

    " i would like to include Katich as he and hughes batted superbly at Johanesburg and durban few yearz back. " Katich has not had a Cricket Australia contract now for over two years, if some of the people who post on this site were Australian selectors then the team would be lucky to draw a match let alone win one.

  • POSTED BY glance_to_leg on | January 2, 2014, 22:08 GMT

    Please don't drop Carbs. He is a brave batsman, and a good fielder, who deserves a chance. We cannot just stack the side with white, South African, privately educated public school boys. Carberry is a tough customer who has done nothing wrong: he has batted better than most of the England team. Root should go before carbs does! Carberry deserves to be rewarded for his toughness in a failing team. If we really need a South African public school boy, please bring back Compton, who would have provided some backbone to this limp team. Incidentally, I know that Root doesn't fall into the SA/pub school category (just the latter)... but he is neither a test opener, nor a particular success story.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | January 2, 2014, 21:58 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy on (January 2, 2014, 8:37 GMT) - oh I understand, it must be very hard keeping that stiff upper lip. :)

    @landl47 on (January 2, 2014, 16:25 GMT) - pretty much agree with your assessment on Root. That said - assuming it is managed right, there should be no problems dropping Root if his form warrants being dropped. How many times have you read or heard Clarke say that it wasn't until he was dropped from the Oz team that he truely valued the honor? Root is a talent, his main weakness is that he seems to be neither forward nor back enuff to pace bowling - it shouldn't be too hard to correct as he basically has good technique otherwise & he did seem to enjoy sledging in a mike atherton type of way!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 2, 2014, 21:51 GMT

    @64blip on (January 2, 2014, 19:55 GMT) There is no right or wrong way re Root it's just how you see it. To me they are contradicting themselves saying that they have every faith in him and then move him all about the order. IMO he should have been given the series as opener. Other players have come back stronger from being dropped - if they were to choose that option. It could actually do him more good going back to the CC esp if it's a confidence thing. Personally I'd rather see our players (who are out of form) go back to their counties to bat/bowl themselves back into form than continue to struggle for England - helping cost the team and possibly doing themselves harm by playing for Eng while so shot.

  • POSTED BY jb633 on | January 2, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    5-0 Aus. No question about this whatsoever

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 2, 2014, 21:02 GMT

    Am I the only one who thinks Stokes is not a number 6 batsman. One century will not change anything. Do Flower believe he can win the test series with bits and pieces players. Now Borthwick. He can bat but can he take a wicket?

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | January 2, 2014, 20:54 GMT

    I cannot believe people still going on about Compton.He got the sack for his lack attempts to score. To call him boring is an insult to bores of all types. Further his immature attitude to being dropped stood out in frightening contrast to others' reactions upon being dropped whom mostly just express a wish they come good again in CC. The problem has been that Root has failed to excite anyone opening beyond Lords. The answer is not Compo or Root,nor Carberry though he is at least workable. We need desperately an aggressive opener to partner Cook, and no second anchor should be considered. Prior needs recalling here,and Finn for pace. Hurry the batsmen up a bit. We have not so much resembled a python or boa here as a sloth,tardy and unmoving. The ball is obviously there to be hit,not patted. Root out, Balance in,Borthwick in for Panesar and lets attempt to go at 3.5 rpo.

  • POSTED BY StarveTheLizard on | January 2, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    Miraj, you seem to have a cynical view on things.

  • POSTED BY anuradea on | January 2, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    I amazed how no one is sticking up for Carberry who got starts in every test facing up to the pace barrage where most of the other English players did not know whether they were coming or going. Some left the tour because they simply did not want to even face up to the pace barrage. And they want to drop a great prospect who can be there for England in all forms of the game. All he needs is one big innings and most of us are sure it will come very soon. I bet Trot will be available for the next english assignment if it is Bangladesh!!!!!! I do not know what the big fuss is as this was almost 8-0 australia as england bearly hung on in the last few tests in england as well. England is simply not good enough to win against anyone if the tests are played outside England (barring the few fluke wins in the recent times as they did not win but the other teams lost) or in the late summer tests in England. It is a pity England can not find 11 players with a pool of 100's in the counties.

  • POSTED BY MrBail on | January 2, 2014, 20:18 GMT

    No sure of the guy name in the video, but wow he could have let the other guy speak, rather than cutting him off.

    Anyway Goo luck Australia :)

    More importantly good luck England with the changes, hope u make a game of it.

    Nothing better than close test matches.

  • POSTED BY 64blip on | January 2, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    Joe Root should stay. He tore up county cricket in his 3 innings back from a successful India tour at the start of the year. What's he going to learn from CC? We've had Hick and Ramprakash, we don't need another. Besides, CC form is at present almost completely ignored. Prior batted like a drain, Rankin and Tremlett were selected after doing nothing, Onions ignored. Compton was told to go away and improve - drafted in against Aus: 81, 34, 79, 26, av 50 in div 1 then rejected for Carberry av 47 in div 2. Ballance the only one selected on numbers - fingers crossed for him.

  • POSTED BY Cricfever_PM on | January 2, 2014, 19:50 GMT

    Mitchel Johnson is the Big impact of Australian side!! He along with other 10 players especially Warner have given edge to the side. Eng lacked batting especially cook, bell and KP failed to perform and Trott escaped with mental illness. I feel something wrong with this Eng side as they are not the same side which beat Aus in Eng!! Anyhow this decline needed to them as they performed well only in India after that 2010/11 Ahses. This will be learning for Root, Stokes and Eng must find opening combination and i feel Compton must be given another chance else use root as he will do better in opening!!!

    This XI looks good!!!1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Joe Root, 3 Ian Bell, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Gary Ballance, 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 8 Scott Borthwick, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 James Anderson, 11 Boyd Rankin.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    i for one still can not believe how Tim Bresnan keep beating out Steve Finn, Boyd Rankin and Tremlett. Bresnan can not bat to save hi life, can not bowl more than 130k while you have 3 tall fast men warming the bench. Brensnan must have some pics of Andy Flower and Cook thats the only solution i can come to. Its been ridiculous selection process through out this Ashes.

  • POSTED BY Yog on | January 2, 2014, 19:37 GMT

    Trott loss of form and eventual return to home inbetween has been the issue for england... Trott knew to mixx aggression/defence well... Time to give Rankin a go as pace could be key factor...

    All England need is right mix of aggression.. In batting,captaincy,bowling,fielding etc.... Time to groom a good opener a pace bowler and a spin....

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 18:17 GMT

    I believe all because of Johnson that they have achieved. He is the one person who made the difference. Grame Swann is one of the best spinner for England in many years. I doubt England can ever produce spinner like him. It is very disappointing that Grame Swann retired. It was unexpected. It was shocking in fact. I believe that England at least put up some fight. England were favorites before the tour to win the Ashes, but now they are fighting to avoid white wash how funny it is.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 2, 2014, 17:59 GMT

    @Landl ctd - If we look at premiership footballers - there have been plenty of examples of players who have been released from clubs or loaned out from parent clubs for the benefit of the player and the club. Man U have done it plenty with guys like Welbeck and Cleverly now and others in the past. Arsenal did it with Wilshere. Chelsea are doing it with (overseas player) Lukaku. Daniel Sturridge has been released by several big clubs and then got his break at Bolton and now at 24 is excelling at another big club in Liverpool. Fabregas was released as a youngster by Barcelona and grew as a player at Arsenal and though they had to pay bucks to get him back , he returned a great player. Would any of these clubs keep playing players week in,week out of they were not performing/not ready and if it was affecting the club's results?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 2, 2014, 17:58 GMT

    @Landl - I presume you're referring to me. And no I think it's the opposite of being short sighted. Pre series I said it was wrong to drop Root back down the order after such a short time as an opener and he should be backed but when a team is losing and losing heavily then I believe no one is worth his place at the expense of the team's form. Also there seems to be an attitude that if a player is dropped/rested it is like their careers are being ended. What's wrong with giving other players a chance and have a slightly more open shop , both for players who are on the fringes now or players who have been dropped to come back in. Of course it's like the England way where people will just be persevered with until they get a couple of good scores and then we get the "Told You So" attitude - but when the team are slipping so much surely it's at a greater cost than it's worth

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 2, 2014, 17:58 GMT

    @ R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (January 2, 2014, 14:46 GMT) Someone on here posted that he heard that Compton refused extra tuition with Gooch which led to him being dropped. But you're right , it'd be nice to know. Probably a shame we don't have any interviewers who have the balls to ask the questions we want answered - like boxing's Larry Merchant. Also wonder how Root sees it. It's like they said we'll back you/give you time as an opener and then after a series went against it and now are they going back to it?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 2, 2014, 17:57 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (January 2, 2014, 12:23 GMT) I kind of think it's easier to make a debut when 4-0 down than if the series was still in the balance. If you have a bad game the likelihood is that there will be others who will also have a bad game and the whole tour has been a shambles so the limelight isn't so much on those players coming in and there is less expectation. If the player comes in and doesn't perform with the series in the balance and the side is defeated (esp in a tight game) then the natural questions would be about why they didn't keep with the original guy. So basically if the new face makes a telling contribution he stands out like a beacon but if he has a mare - well it won't stand out so much as the whole team has had a mare throughout

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 2, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    aussies should fly to south africa as 1. d.warner 2. c. rogers 3. s.watson 4. m.clarke 5. p. hughes 6. s. smith 7. b. haddin 8. m. johnson 9. p. siddle 10. b. hilfenhaus 11. r. harris or patinson i say sorry to the supporters of g. bailey and n. lyon since bailey has not performed well in the current series and lyon is not required at south african pitches, suiting pacers. i would like to include Katich as he and hughes batted superbly at Johanesburg and durban few yearz back.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 2, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    @ntalgeri on (January 2, 2014, 11:01 GMT) I don't think MSD is so bad - if not as good as Gilly or Sehwag. I thought it may be an England thing but Bailey has also overcompensated on his game. Another thing - and I'm sure I'll be lambasted for saying this - I think KP is not the player he was , partly because he's overcompensating. He seems to show aggression after he's been bogged down for a while these days. The KP who doesn't march down the track to the quicks or play the reverse/improvised shots surely becomes compromised and is less of a mare to bowl/set fields to

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 2, 2014, 17:43 GMT

    aussies have regained the urn because they selected the team on pure merit. Players like Brad Haddin, steven smith, ryan harris and mitchell johnson were picked due to their elegant performances. Above all, aussies r lucky to have a great aggressive captain in michael clarke and very confident coach in darren lehmann..

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | January 2, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    Yet again I am amazed at how short-sighted some of the fans posting on here are. Joe Root is a great prospect, one of the best in the world. Has he got it right yet? No, of course he hasn't. He hasn't learned to pace an innings, he's not comfortable with facing top bowlers with aggressive fields, he's not moving his feet as well as he should. Very few players are complete batsmen at 22. He's already shown that he can bat for long periods, that he doesn't get rattled by sledging and that when he plays attacking strokes he has all the shots.

    In the last test he went out with a different mindset and started much more fluently. Unfortunately he tried a quick single and MJ threw him out, but he will have learned from that as he's learning from everything. He's going to be one of the mainstays of the test side for the next dozen years. He needs to play. To suggest he should be dropped is to jeopardize England's future- and for what?

  • POSTED BY Stevros3 on | January 2, 2014, 15:53 GMT

    @yorkshire-86, actually I reckon 3's Bell's best position, think his run scoring has more to do with him maturing as a cricketer during the tour of South Africa (took him long enough). Since then he's batted at three when Trott was off injured during the India series (most recent first): 3, 235, 34, 159. (235 is his career best).

  • POSTED BY milepost on | January 2, 2014, 15:52 GMT

    Root should be dropped if they want Ballance in, because Root isn't very good. What planet is Flower on? Drop the second highest run scorer in Carberry? I suspect Flower will get the sack promptly after the whitewash is complete.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 15:38 GMT

    England's team seems to be ageing and they seem to be tired with their busy test schedule. It is time to bring in the youngsters and have 2 to 3 years of tough test cricket where there will be highs and lows. I completely respect the senior England players who stepped down and gave their test place to someone else. They understand that it is time for the youngsters to come in. My personal England test XI would be 1) Cook 2) Root 3) Bell 4) Pietersen 5) Stokes 6) Ballance 7) Bairstow 8) Broad 9) Anderson 10) Finn 11) Borthwick. Yes, England will still have a few senior players but they are important so they can guide the younger ones. The senior players will be ironed out of the side as the years go on anyway but at the moment they are vital for this team.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 15:37 GMT

    @Baundele happy that you pointed it out. West Indies and New Zealand are getting regular thrashing from Bangladesh. Some people are still so blind not to see it. Give Bangladesh good schedule for next 5 years, the kind of young players they have, Bangladesh will come on top of these countries in ranking: West Indies, New zealand, Srilanka, Pakistan.

  • POSTED BY Big_Maxy_Walker on | January 2, 2014, 15:19 GMT

    My Pommy team would be: Cook-the runs will come, but he is no captain, KP-opens in ODIs and could play a Warner like role at the top, Bell-best batsmen has in the side has to be at 3, Root-Needs to be more aggressive, Balance-excellent county record, deserves debut, Stokes-all rounder is a solid player, Bairstow-batting will get batter, Broad-should be new captain, best Pom player this series, Finn-pace and bounce, should have played since Perth, Rankin-talented bowler who like Balance deserves debut in dead rubber

  • POSTED BY AKS286 on | January 2, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    There is no sense of playing with Rankin on Sydney pitch. Rankin, Finn, Tremlett missed pace pitches specially in Perth.If England wants experiment then Cook, Carbs, Root, KP, Bell, Bairstow, Ballance, Borthwick, Tremlett, Rankin, Finn.

  • POSTED BY Hira1 on | January 2, 2014, 15:12 GMT

    Its very tough on Root to come as an opener, his confidence is already broken after his performance this series. Its better Carberry can be given another chance and Bell should play at number 3...... looking at the performance and motivation of the english players its less likely that they can win or drew this test match but atleast they can get the combination right which might help them later

  • POSTED BY ralph123 on | January 2, 2014, 15:09 GMT

    oh how i would love that! a 5-0 sweep!

  • POSTED BY jagannathanV on | January 2, 2014, 15:03 GMT

    England are morally down completely as a team and whatever team they line up for Sydney, they ll not be able to put up even a decent fight. All saw cook to be good captain until this series except for warney. Warney was bang on i shud say. It was clearly visible that after the first test at Gabba, Cook was under pressure and it became worst then on and worst part is that it got reflected in his batting as well. It was also clearly visible that not only Cook but whole England senior batsmen succumbed to pressure like anything. now gone more interesting thing i wud like to know here is India getting whitewashed in Aus and Eng in 2011-2013, similarly England getting white washed in Dubai against pakistan, aus getting whitewashed in india earlier this yr. has this much white washes in a relatively small perid has taken in cricket history????

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | January 2, 2014, 14:46 GMT

    Moving Root up to open was not successful during the last series when England WERE in good form; so why on Earth move him up to open again now when they're in shocking form? As the article says, who knows what will happen - but if the fringe players aren't given a chance now then when will they and why the heck were they brought over in the first place ahead of better tried-and-tested players in good form? Please ECB - issue a statement telling us what the likes of Compton had done wrong instead of speculations; has Carberry been a shining success?

  • POSTED BY Jeeves_ on | January 2, 2014, 14:30 GMT

    Carberry is no test batsman. What were they thinking dropping Compton? Root should have been number 6 all along. Gary Ballance? Why have they waited to select Ballance as he was the obvious replacement for Trott. I would rest Broad and Anderson and give Finn and Rankin a run. It's a bit rash to make wholesale changes, but there you go! It really is a pity that England have made so many crucial selection and planning mistakes, and you do wonder what is going on in the back rooms.

  • POSTED BY Mattrichards on | January 2, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    Dropping Carberry would be harsh. Compton should have gone instead, but the selectors chose Carberry and he is a better opener than Root who seems to be the golden boy despite failing to set the world on fire. Stick with Carberry for this Test and drop Root for Ballance at 6. Root has youth on his side and can be re-integrated in May. There's obviously something wrong with Monty - the selector's say he's injured by George Dobell's blog says he was bowling perfectly well in the nets this morning. A smoke-screen for his omission perhaps by this secretive management team which is doing as much harm to the public's perception of the arrogance and aloofness of players and coaching staff as any on-field loss. Compton and Onions need to return in the summer together with a new keeper and the selectors taking a closer look at Jordan of Essex and Overton at Somerset.

  • POSTED BY Basingrad on | January 2, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    It's not Carberry that should be dropped to make way for Ballance (if they must pick him), it's Root. He is simply not good enough (yet, at least) to bat in the top 3. But for his 180, where he was very lucky that Haddin chose inexplicably to let an edge go past him, his record would be desperately poor. And he often looks far more shotless than Compton, who was unfairly ousted first time round. Carberry has seen off the new ball very well, he just hasn't converted. But he is in a very full boat in that regard.

    There seems no point in playing Rankin either when he is coming up to 30 and has done nothing more than Finn on this tour, with the latter having a decent Test record and a bright future. Show some confidence in him, give him a licence to bowl fast and I am sure Finn will get wickets, especially as the SCG has been prone to uneven bounce in the BBL games I've seen. Meanwhile, Bairstow can't keep.

    Cook/Carberry/Bell/Pietersen/Root/Stokes/Prior/Borthwick/Broad/Anderson/Finn

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | January 2, 2014, 14:02 GMT

    @AnthonyMD on (January 2, 2014, 11:30 GMT), Carberry is 33 years old and was always a stop-gap measure at best. If England were winning or even holding their own then I'd say that there would be a good chance of his staying around for a year or two but the England batting ship is sinking and I think that the decision has been made to blood the new guard and bear the pain that doing so may bring over the next 2-3 years. Root hasn't done much but he is talented and likely to be around for a long time so dropping him and retaining Carberry would be a short-term solution that wouldn't actually solve anything. Better that Root takes his lumps and battles through the issues in his technique to become a better player in those 2-3 years than Carberry keeps his seat warm while England lose anyway. Some may say that Root should go back to Yorkshire to iron out the kinks in his technique but that's where those kinks developed in the first place.

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | January 2, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    The most important factor should be shielding Bell, not risking him up the order. Five is where he bats best and five is where he should play. Stokes or Ballance should bat at three, purposefully to ensure Bell is kept away from his worst position, ie number three.

  • POSTED BY Caino94 on | January 2, 2014, 13:39 GMT

    From an Australian perspective I think the biggest mistake the english selector's made was dropping Nick Compton. Sure he wasnt in the best form but he was still establishing himself and getting settled into the england dressing room. I think dropping Compton has really unsettled Joe Root who looks to be a very good player but is being too exposed for such a young player at the top of the order. England could have come here with a much more settled side and in a way I think the results maybe would have been a little different. As for George Bailey, I just dont think hes up to test match level, he is a fantastic odi and liited overs batsman but just doesnt have the skill and concentration of a quality test batsmen, I think let George play this final test to finish off the job hes helped do with the aussies but in all Alex Doolan needs to be batting at 6 in SAF and groom him into an established batsman, tired of seeing too many batsman being exposed at the top,Ponting begun at 6

  • POSTED BY Baundele on | January 2, 2014, 13:37 GMT

    Bangladesh winning next year's world cup is not an improbable thing like Australia beating in form England five to nil. Poor analogy. Bangladesh beating any team is no longer an upset. Ask West Indies, Sri Lanka, India and New Zealand for that. And also please ask ICC to let Bangladesh play more matches against the so called big powers.

  • POSTED BY AussiePhoenix on | January 2, 2014, 13:37 GMT

    After giving up in Melbourne so obviously, I can't see England recovering. 5 - 0 it is, regardless how many new lambs they throw in and regardless what changes Oz make.

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | January 2, 2014, 12:41 GMT

    so root has shown that he is clearly not test standard especially as a top order batsman yet they may move him up to open? Mitchell Johnson > Ian Botham.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    my australian squad for final test- 1.A Doolan 2.J Burns 3.P hughes 4.S Smith(captain) 5.G Maxwell 6.J Faulkner 7.M Wade(wk) 8.B Cutting 9.J Pattinson 10.J Bird 11.A Mcdermott 12.C Lynn

  • POSTED BY 64blip on | January 2, 2014, 12:32 GMT

    @Phil Sutcliffe I like your "retreat from the dread responsibility of consistent winning" because it, to me, highlights the the reasons for the malaise in the dressing room. Substitute the words 'dread responsibility' with 'enjoyment' or 'satisfaction'; 'thrill' even, and there would be nothing to retreat from. So how has winning come to be no fun at all? To emphasise the point, do you think Boof is going to be telling the Aussies it is now their 'responsibility' to win further matches? Or is he more likely to ask them "How good does this feel? If you want to keep feeling like it, you know what you have to do!"

  • POSTED BY daworm on | January 2, 2014, 12:30 GMT

    Just wondering if Lehman pays any attention to Philanders bowling speeds. Around 130kmph and ranked no. 2 in the world.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | January 2, 2014, 12:23 GMT

    It's tough for a player to debut when their side is already 4-0 down but I'm sure any player would accept a Test debut whatever the circumstances. They can hardly do worse then the incumbents so there's no pressure from that point of view. It sounds like Monty might be unavailable but he's not a long-term solution anyway. England are going to endure some pain for at least a couple of years so let's bite the bullet and get on with rebuilding. If Borthwick can develop as an international calibre leggie and add something with the bat then he'd be like gold dust. Not sure he's good enough to be a first spinner though, although he's young and may prove me wrong. I thought Root up to opening before the last Ashes but I've changed my mind. He's failed at #3 so opening won't help him. It's also tough on Carberry but then he was a stop-gap at best anyway. If Ballance can come in and score some runs then all the better because it's hard to see KP playing on much longer.

  • POSTED BY Dazako on | January 2, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    @KnightRider12155 Chad Sayers may be a verry good bowler but how can you fit him into the side who would you drop for him. Harris and Siddle have been our best 2 quicks for the last 2 years and have done nothing wrong, Pattinson has been exeptional when fit and MJversion 2.0 has been sensational. Sayers may be next in line but maybe Bird, Starc, NCN and Cutting would also be in the running. Give it a few years and one of those guys or someone else may be knocking the door down after topping the table in Shield several years in a row. This is what happens when you have a strong side some players miss out, just talk to Law, Hodge, Mc Gill and the likes, they will tell you.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    The only chance England have of winning is:

    Alastair Cook Michael Carberry (tell the guy to play his natural attacking brand of cricket instead of trying to be a wall) Ian Bell KP Gary Balance Ben Stokes Joe Root (as the only spinner) Matt Prior Stuart Broad Boyd Rankin James Anderson

    A little "outside the box" selection, yes. But this is the only team hopeful of making 400 runs and putting aussies under pressure...

    The new leggie guy is going to get smacked all around the park.. might as well pick Joe Root.. he bowls OK offspin (and Cook tends to trust him more than Monty anyways - as we saw at the MCG).

    SCG looks like a green seamer-friendly wicket.. regardless.. the new leggie is not going to set the world on fire.. so might as well go in with 8 batsmen (and stuart broad)..

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    Dear all - good luck to the newbies, hope they do OK, then new management starts from blank sheet of paper. Team spirit broken, new men-talitiy required. Surrender like this - "no heart, no fight" said Glenn McGrath in the Graun today - demands a truly fresh start. Well, I think it's what the team wanted given their tacitly concerted retreat from the dread responsibility of consistent winning. The cry of "let me out of here!" came out loud from Trott and Swann but which of the rest stated by consistent performance they wanted in? En route I'd disagree with jmcilhinney arguing the line: "I do feel for the bowlers, who have done a creditable job with no support from the batsmen or fielders." While the batting collapsed every time, to me the bowlers' performance variant read "Look we can do it!" - hey, Oz 150 for 5 etc! - "But we don't want to! Bloody sod youse!" - oh, 500+ declared. Still, tomorrow is another day, as Scarlet O'Hara said by way of summing up the American Civil War.

  • POSTED BY AnthonyMD on | January 2, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    I am somewhat perplexed at the lack of love for Carberry, certainly he was out of sorts in Melbourne but he was hardly Robinson Crusoe in that regard. I think he looks pretty solid and puts a price on his wicket, a couple of his dismissals this series have been to fantastic catches when he played the pull shot. He is one of the better fielders as well. Outside of Pieterson and Broad, I would have thought he'd be the next bloke picked. Am I missing something???

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 2, 2014, 11:28 GMT

    agree the last two shield seasons sayers has been outstanding. equal top of the shield wicket takers this season with o'keefe but he can't get a game either. sayers plays for the wrong state. haed to get a aussie gig if you are a red back. just ask klinger who has been scoring runs in all forms of the game but can't get a look in.

  • POSTED BY ZCFOutkast on | January 2, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    Why on earth would you suggest that Carberry make way for anyone?!

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    I am an aussie supporter i know that Australia will make it 5-0.But still if i were the selector my England team would have been:1)Cook 2)Carberry 3)Pietersen 4)Ian Bell 5)Ballance 6)Stokes 7)Prior 8)Borthwick 9)Rankin 10)Broad 11)Anderson

  • POSTED BY ntalgeri on | January 2, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    @JG2704 your assessment is spot on. The issue with a lot of quick ODI scorers is that they change their game for Test cricket - and look totally out of sorts. This was the issue with Michael Bevan, Ajay Jadeja and now, MS Dhoni as well. On the other hand, some attacking players who weren't supposed to have the technique or temperament to play Test cricket, actually ended up being legends. Gilly, Hayden, Sehwag. And they did that because they did not alter their game at all in whites. In fact, the attacking fields in Test cricket allowed them to hit boundaries at will.

  • POSTED BY ilililililililililililililx on | January 2, 2014, 10:50 GMT

    Monty is the best English spinner after Swann, why pick Borthwick or tredwelll (worst spinner ever) over Monty. No need to make so many changes, remember the 5th test in England. We dont want to see a Simon C moment again. Same team but Finn in for Bresnan and Ballance in for Root.

  • POSTED BY KnightRider12155 on | January 2, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    Sad to see that a bowler not getting a chance at the highest level just because he lack a bit of sting as a fast bowler.. True he can not hit 150 kph but the lad is picking up wickets with tight bowling without giving away easy runs to the batters. Soon the selectors will have to give this bloke a chance and I hope he will make the most of it. If not he can go to England and set a new trend by being a Aussie playing for England. After all, England is in need of a bowler who can make the ball talk. Oh I almost forgot, They do have three tall lads in the camp who can do that but those blokes were brought to Australia just to carry drinks while the so called good bowlers go wicket-less!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 2, 2014, 10:23 GMT

    Carberry may be unlucky to lose his place as I feel he is the one player who has valued his wicket throughout. However he's probably gone too much into his shell.

    I guess part of the reason Nick was dropped was because they wanted to give the inns impetus at the start and yet Root and Carberry have both gone further into their shells when up the order. It seems strange as both have played shorter formats for England and MC is seen to excel at the shorter game. Actually Bailey seems to have done similar for Australia. I wonder if there's something about shorter format players overcompensating when they come into the test arena? Ironically - if the SR is/was not seen as an issue you'd probably have to say that Compton would be more suitable for the role of anchoring the inns. But surely the role of Carberry would have been seen as giving the inns impetus.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 2, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    It could be the perfect time for Borthwick,Rankin and Ballance to make their debuts. Our side have been so lame throughout the series that there is probably very little expectancy so if they fail it will be part of the team's failure but if they do the business it could make them look even better. Hopefully they'll play with more freedom/less fear as our batsmen have at times looked like startled rabbits I see there are comms re Carberry's omission being harsh and I half agree. And it seems strange that they're going back to Root opening when they showed they lacked confidence in him in that role as the series started. Just wondering - would Bell (who has a good relationship with Cook at the crease in ODIs) being moved up to open be too leftfield a move?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 2, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    I quite like the balance of the England side. If it's not expected to take too much spin then I'm all for it. I still think Jimmy could have done with a rest but maybe he could prove me wrong. I still see Borthwick as more of a batsman than bowler though. And if this is a side they're at last trying Ballance and Rankin - if a few tests too late. Both may fail but the side needs freshening up.

  • POSTED BY 64blip on | January 2, 2014, 10:16 GMT

    Haddin has had an amazing series, so hats off to him and Mitchell Johnson too, they've both got an interesting story to tell about how it turned round for them. I don't think anyone knew why Carberry was selected in the first place, it certainly wasn't on the back of his recent 2nd div form. They realised they'd made a mistake promoting Root to open but couldn't admit the real mistake was not sticking with Compton? I don't know... Not sure strike rates tell you much when 3/4 second innings have been to save the match. Can't see anything but a mauling for Borthwick if he bowls but Ballance has talent so fingers crossed for him. It's all very well saying Root needs time back in the CC, but remember what he was doing at the start of last season

  • POSTED BY left_arm_unorthodox on | January 2, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    @sifter132 - Root is weak outside off stump. Not test quality -- yet. He will be in a couple of seasons, maybe. Maybe Carberry isn't good enough -- but others have done worse and the signal you send if you drop him is that people are not being assessed on performance but on some vague thing to do with selector favouritism. He is older, but not that close to retirement that it should be such a prime consideration. I think Compton should have his spot, frankly, but they've picked him and compared to the rest he cannot be dropped now. Maybe they drop Root and tell him to work away at county level for a few more years? The more I see of him, the more that big hundred in the Ashes back in England looks like a lucky fluke. Root may be the future, but he needs a few more seasons under his belt.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | January 2, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    @ KnightRider12155: "Why don't the Aussie's give a chance to C.J Sayers?" .. Simple answer, not fast enough. I know, it's speed discrimination but there you go. Just a few days ago the coach was heard to say something along the lines of 'you need a bit of velocity on the ball these days'. .. Chad is an excellent bowler but rarely breaks 135kph. It's a pity, but not in the frame I'm afraid. Not yet anyway.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | January 2, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    I'm off to the SCG tomorrow, full of hope for a turnaround in England's performance and fortunes but devoid of confidence that it will happen. I imagine the England batsmen are in pretty much the same boat. I do feel for the bowlers, who have done a creditable job with no support from the batsmen or fielders. Australia have definitely outplayed England in every facet of the game this series but I think some Australian fans are getting a bit ahead of themselves. The Australian bowling has been quite good but has been flattered by some diabolical England batting. Let's remember that England weren't exactly blazing away with the bat in the warmups. The Australian batting has been shaky too, with several below par first innings performances. They've done well in the second innings but the game has been all but won by then each time so there was no pressure. Australia have been good but not great but it's hard to take solace from that as an England fan because it means England are terrible.

  • POSTED BY anton1234 on | January 2, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    Lot of Carberry's runs have come via clip off the leg. That should tell you he hasn't been great. His approach has been to either leave or wait for the very poor ball that he can whip off his legs. He hasn't been confident enough to play his natural game. I hope he plays in Sydney and plays his natural game there. That way we won't be left wondering what if he had played his A game? Perhaps the Aussies, particularly Harris, have been too good early on - not allowing him to play his natural game. It's a shame because his pulls, cuts and cover drives are normally so well hit.

  • POSTED BY KnightRider12155 on | January 2, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    Why don't the Aussie's give a chance to C.J Sayers? He must be the highest wicket taker in Sheffield Shield, 2013/14.

  • POSTED BY CodandChips on | January 2, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    See Borthwick as an all rounder and 2nd spinner rather than front line but I'd still play him. Ballance should come in for Carberry, who was so poor last match he resembled Compton. Finn should come in with his pace for Bresnan, who has only bowled well once. Bairstow is like many predicted a poor keeper but ought to get another chance.

    1.Cook 2.Root 3.Bell 4.Pietersen 5.Ballance 6.Stokes 7.Bairstow 8.Borthwick 9.Broad 10.Anderson 11.Finn

    But I fear England will pick 1.Cook 2.Carberry 3.Bell 4.Pietersen 5.Ballance 6.Stokes 7.Bairstow 8.Bresnan 9.Broad 10.Tredwell 11.Anderson

  • POSTED BY Kaka13 on | January 2, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    I do not believe that England will go into match with 3 + 5. + .5 bowlers, again making mistake to have untested all rounder that too a batting all rounder for a bowler. Why not Finn and go full aggressive, anyway very little to loose now for England.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    I cannot wait to see the Aussies in South African shores later next month...

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    England will go down in a clean sweep and deservedly so...............

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | January 2, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    No room for sentiment. Still an advocate of looking ahead and Australia needs to look at strengthening the batting

  • POSTED BY LRichards on | January 2, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    Nick Compton, Nick Compton, What did he do to be dropped, 5/0

  • POSTED BY RednWhiteArmy on | January 2, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    @Meety Not sure why either considering ive left at least one post everyday since the series started. Probably 10 posts in the last week. Nevermind, your just being a parrot and repeating the same things said to you 4 months ago.

  • POSTED BY sifter132 on | January 2, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    @left_arm_orthodox - why is Carberry in the gun? Because despite his starts, he really hasn't shown much ability to master the bowling. Most of his runs have been behind the wicket, a lot of edges - that's never a good sign. If England really can't find anyone else, then sure, give him another series and see if something clicks, but to me he looks like a thoroughly average player who would average 40 max in Tests. England's top 7 for mid-year should be Cook, Root, Trott/Balance, KP, Bell, Stokes, Prior. Trott and Prior should walk back into the team if they show any motivation/form. Too talented to discard. Trott might retire though...so Balance may be needed. Root beats Carberry on potential.

  • POSTED BY C.Gull on | January 2, 2014, 8:11 GMT

    I don't think Carberry is quite Test-class - he can't adjust late enough and is an awful leaver of the ball - but the fact is he's been one of England's best bats in this series and he's tended to stick around longer than most. Root may be 'the future', but after a decent start to the series where he looked composed and confident, he's been flat-out poor. Surely it sends the wrong message to drop Carberry and promote Root at this time.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    England will now have gone through their 4th spinner in 6 Test matches.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | January 2, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    @landl47 on (January 2, 2014, 5:20 GMT) - personally I thought Carberry did his job fairly well - to see off the new ball. He was a bit unlucky on a couple of times. My biggest criticism is - that he goes into his shell to much then gets out trying to relieve pressure.All said & done - Compton should of been partnering Cook instead.

  • POSTED BY StaalBurgher on | January 2, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    Carberry too old and useless. Need a better prospect with the bat.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | January 2, 2014, 7:23 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy on (January 2, 2014, 6:52 GMT) - welcome back! Haven't noticed u around much lately - not sure why? @pj3000 on (January 2, 2014, 6:15 GMT) - agree. == == == Dunno if they should play Borthwick. He could be on a hiding to nothing (refer to Tahir @ Adelaide last year). Good on England for integrating him into the squad - but I hardly think this is the time to blood him.

  • POSTED BY RJHB on | January 2, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    I think the same eleven should play for Australia. Yes there are risks and Lord knows some players would benefit from a rest as well as giving an opportunity for a Falkner or Doolan. But wouldn't it be an even bigger boost to team morale to do it with the same guys? They'll need every bit of confidence they can muster in SA, as well as everyone fit of course!

  • POSTED BY RednWhiteArmy on | January 2, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    @milepost Do you really think he hasn't been figured out around the wicket? Cmon man, think!

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | January 2, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    On an unrelated and completely irrelevant note, I was watching Mike Hussey in the BBL last night. I had to smile. Grey hair or not, he's still got the twinkling toes, lightning wrists and shot selection from heaven. .. I couldn't help but think how much fun it would have been to watch that genius at work against the Poms in this series. .. like I said, completely irrelevant but I would love to have seen it.

  • POSTED BY left_arm_unorthodox on | January 2, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    Why is Carberry in the gun? He's stuck around, at least, and blunted the attack a little. If the middle order had been able to follow up we'd be calling him a good team man. He has more runs than Cook or Bell. Its perception, not fact. And 33 is not so old. He has 5 years in him easy.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 6:25 GMT

    England should keep Carberry, nobody wants to watch a 2 day test match.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | January 2, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    There's no lack of incentive to go for the 5-0 blot out. Over-taking England in the rankings is a massive one on it's own. For anyone who who thinks England has nothing to play for - how about staying above us the table if salvaging some pride and confidence isn't enough.

    I'd like to see the same 11 finish the job. They seem to have bonded together and really are a team. They play for each other as much as themselves and radiate a 'brothers in arms' vibe. .. they're a unit now and they want to see this through as a unit. .. I think it would be nearly criminal to stop them for no reason other than the possibility of injury. .. They're chomping at the bit to get at the Poms, for gods sake let them do it please selectors.

  • POSTED BY pj3000 on | January 2, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    There's no bigger heart in Australian cricket than Ryan Harris' - but he was down on pace and was labouring in the second dig in Melbourne. I'd rather see him rested and fit for South Africa. Coulter-Nile looks an exciting prospect: give him a run in Sydney. Mind you, I don't know how we think we'll win in South Africa with Smith at 5 and Bailey at 6. Chris Lynn would look great at 5. Watson would look better at 6, especially taking on the second new ball against tiring bowlers. Khawaja or Doolan could be given an extended run at 3.

  • POSTED BY hnlns on | January 2, 2014, 6:05 GMT

    Looking at the way Mitch is blowing off English batsmen, he might even fancy taking a shot at Rodney Hogg's 42 wickets in the late 70's Ashes series, though that was from 6 tests I believe.

  • POSTED BY chicko1983 on | January 2, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    Look at that possible England XI. This test will be over in three and a half days at most, and an Aussie win and whitewash.

  • POSTED BY guptahitesh4u on | January 2, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    I think England should send Root to open the inning with Cook and

  • POSTED BY milepost on | January 2, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    @RedAndWhiteArmy, really? So being 33 is a reason to leave them out of an England team? I really question why it is acceptable to discriminate based on age. Carberry has done nothing to warrant exclusion, he's a better player than Root (who fails constantly but no one seems to notice or care because he's young) and Carberry has actually scored some runs which not many people have noticed.

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 5:20 GMT

    BOOF'S MEN:

    Please don't say "MIchael Clarke's men"; call them "Boof's men". During the "Mickey Mouse Days" too, Michael Clarke was the Captain. Most of the team were also the same. Pl give credit where it is due! Thanks.

  • POSTED BY Rufus_Fuddleduck on | January 2, 2014, 5:20 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy - if that's been the case, and the Australian coach has access to television, how come Carberry has not got multiple pairs as yet? Do allow him the grace to get out for two first-ball ducks .... possibly then Cook can overtake him in the table.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | January 2, 2014, 5:20 GMT

    Although Carberry has certainly not played any worse than the other batsmen, the fact is that in ten test innings he has one 50, he's 33 years old and England have to start giving young talent a chance to play. They aren't going to drop Cook, KP or Bell and Root is 22 and just learning the game, so Carberry may have to make way. It's tough on him, but he hasn't scored enough runs to mark him as a test player rather than just a county journeyman.

    Borthwick has the advantage of being a decent bat, but as yet he hasn't looked like a test-class spinner. It's a pity that Monty is injured for the match on the wicket which has traditionally given spinners some help, but that's the way this tour has gone for England.

    This has already been a great series for Australia and a win at Sydney would cap it off. I hope they are able to pick the same 11 for all 5 tests- they all deserve it.

  • POSTED BY 20ty2yards on | January 2, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    From a neutral perspective, this Ashes has been rather disappointing (like pre-2005 Ashes) I am of the opinion that one of Steven Finn & Boyd Rankin should have played at least from the Perth test - perhaps there is a reason for not playing, which only an Englishman could explain. Australia could also consider playing Alex Doolan instead of George Bailey.

  • POSTED BY RednWhiteArmy on | January 2, 2014, 5:01 GMT

    This is the side i said id have played for Melbourne. The reason for Carberry's exclusion? He's been figured out, around the wicket & out! Plus he's 33.

  • POSTED BY Rufus_Fuddleduck on | January 2, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    If one sees the fall of wickets for Australia, the lower order has scored 50% of the runs, and Haddin has been the consistent factor. Regarding Carberry, if he were to be dropped, Australia would probably win an hour earlier. If that is what England are aiming for ......

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 4:49 GMT

    The tour to South Africa will be a show stopper and you would have to slightly favour the Proteas on home soil, but Kallis retiring makes it a little easier for us. Both teams will be fairly drained by then too... I would like to see this line up for that series... Warner, Rogers, Watson, Maddinson, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Faulkner, Johnson, O'Keefe/Lyons, Pattinson/Siddle Harris will need a break otherwise I would choose him too... I would take Cutting on the tour with Silk... Hopefully we are good enough to go up 5-0 this weekend and create a little history...

  • POSTED BY on | January 2, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    As a tottering England team face the fifth test knowing that the best they can hope for is to scrape a little egg off their face, one can be sure that a panic stricken administration as is their wont, will wield a large axe. The first head that will fall one fears, is that of the opener Michael Carberry, the stand out player in more ways than one, and certainly not the most deserving to be dropped by far. But that is often the way the cookie crumbles, or should one say, the axe falls.

  • POSTED BY inthebag on | January 2, 2014, 4:19 GMT

    The poms thought all they had to do was turn up, and they barely even bothered to do that.

    The English are so down on their side when they lose and give them knighthoods when they win. The players believe all the platitudes that are written about how fantastic they are, forget that they are cricket players, not demi-gods (what's on the menu tonight lads?), and then panic when the vultures are circling.

    How many times have they changed their tactics in this series? They're making it up as they go along, based on who says what in the papers. Which KP is going to turn up in Sydney?

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 2, 2014, 4:13 GMT

    common England. ....

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | January 2, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    High hopes when they left the UK. While Australia where showing hope in India. One team delivered and the other crashed and burned. Clarke proved why he is considered the best captain in the world. Warner did what people thought he could do. When we go to South Africa it could be one of the great test series in recent years. Both sides are in similar situations and the selector are left with a head ache with our bowling line up. I also feel that Faulkner should bat at 7 and take baileys spot. Bailey was an experiment that failed. Watson if he continues this good form could bece a specialist batsman he could bowl the odd over with Faulkner as our 5th option. Team for South Africa 1. Warner 2. Rogers 3. Watto 4. Clarke 5. Smith 6. Haddin 7. Faulkner 8. Johnson 9. Sidds 10. Harris/pattinson 11. Lyon I've done Harris/patinson as I believe Harris May retire in the coming day and I also think his best Maybe beyond him.

  • POSTED BY Thegimp on | January 2, 2014, 3:34 GMT

    Leave out Carberry, are you serious? he has been the one batsman who has shown some heart in this series. He has scored more runs than Root and looked a heap better doing it.

    This is laughable, not only has England imploded with the bat they are contemplating leaving out their second highest run scorer. What will Root do against Johnson opening the batting against the new pill that he hasn't been able to do at number 3? Just to bring in Ballance and balance? (haha can you see what I did there?)

    I think Joey boy needs to go back to first class cricket and get rid of that little flirt outside off stump before too many more tests, too many more dismissals and too much more confidence damage. If Johnson does this to him what will Steyn do to him on quickish wickets?

  • POSTED BY rajuramki on | January 2, 2014, 3:34 GMT

    This Australian team appears to be on a mission and nothing can change their quest for a 5-0 win . Almost all the Australian players have contributed during this compaign and it is only fair that the same 11 plays in the Sydney test , provided no one is injured . After the series England can go back and start licking their wounds and finding a way to return to normalcy .

  • POSTED BY Chris_Howard on | January 2, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    Haddin for Man of the Series. If it wasn't for Haddin, Johnson would have been bowling to defend low scores. Instead, because of Haddin, he was able to go full on attack. It was Haddin who made Johnson's wickets possible.

    Did you know, in adding up all Australia's runs in the first innings of the first four Tests, Haddin was at the wicket while Australia score 47% of their runs. That's is quite telling - and remarkable considering he was batting at number 7.

    Without Johnson, we'd still likely have won as we do have a plethora of very good bowlers and a great bowling coach. The results would have been a little closer though.

    Without Haddin, it's very doubtful.

  • POSTED BY HenryPorter on | January 2, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    Sweeter than a baby's nappy, did you say?

  • POSTED BY cricketsubh on | January 2, 2014, 3:09 GMT

    I don't think aus winning the ashes is same as Bangladesh winning next t20 World Cup every gud team always favourite at home Australia is a gud young sides yes they lose in England and India but at their home their pitches they are the favourites .i think aus media and English media made them under dogs .this team got best bowling attack in the world yes the bating line up is unstable but I think they have the bating talent to Seattle the bating line I think it will be a whitewash 5-0.i pick Alex Dolan for berly at number-6 position .

  • POSTED BY sheenu on | January 2, 2014, 2:54 GMT

    This is ridiculous on England's part if they really leave out Carberry. He is the 2nd highest run-getter for England this series, after KP. Then how is it that he will be dropped and other lower run-getters are retained? Is there something more to it than meets the eye, such as an injury to Carberry? Granted he has not been as spectacular as David Warner, but he has been better than all English players except KP. Since the urn is gone from England, I guess it does not matter who they play now. They cannot even say they play for pride now, because even that is gone after a 4-0 drubbing!!

  • POSTED BY class9ryan on | January 2, 2014, 2:48 GMT

    Would have loved Doolan playing from the Boxing day game, at whatever position. Bailey hasn't looked the as good and I don't see him in the playing 11 for South Africa against a quick and a superb bowling attack. In case of England, though Monty is injured they have to decide whether they rate Monty or not, if yes fine but if no then Tredwell has better control than Borthwick at the moment. The only positive I see for England is Ben Stokes which makes the attack a 5 man attack and really can bat.

  • POSTED BY Little_Aussie_Battler on | January 2, 2014, 2:39 GMT

    Bring on the Springboks! Three/BLOB on their patch and we are back in town.

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  • POSTED BY Little_Aussie_Battler on | January 2, 2014, 2:39 GMT

    Bring on the Springboks! Three/BLOB on their patch and we are back in town.

  • POSTED BY class9ryan on | January 2, 2014, 2:48 GMT

    Would have loved Doolan playing from the Boxing day game, at whatever position. Bailey hasn't looked the as good and I don't see him in the playing 11 for South Africa against a quick and a superb bowling attack. In case of England, though Monty is injured they have to decide whether they rate Monty or not, if yes fine but if no then Tredwell has better control than Borthwick at the moment. The only positive I see for England is Ben Stokes which makes the attack a 5 man attack and really can bat.

  • POSTED BY sheenu on | January 2, 2014, 2:54 GMT

    This is ridiculous on England's part if they really leave out Carberry. He is the 2nd highest run-getter for England this series, after KP. Then how is it that he will be dropped and other lower run-getters are retained? Is there something more to it than meets the eye, such as an injury to Carberry? Granted he has not been as spectacular as David Warner, but he has been better than all English players except KP. Since the urn is gone from England, I guess it does not matter who they play now. They cannot even say they play for pride now, because even that is gone after a 4-0 drubbing!!

  • POSTED BY cricketsubh on | January 2, 2014, 3:09 GMT

    I don't think aus winning the ashes is same as Bangladesh winning next t20 World Cup every gud team always favourite at home Australia is a gud young sides yes they lose in England and India but at their home their pitches they are the favourites .i think aus media and English media made them under dogs .this team got best bowling attack in the world yes the bating line up is unstable but I think they have the bating talent to Seattle the bating line I think it will be a whitewash 5-0.i pick Alex Dolan for berly at number-6 position .

  • POSTED BY HenryPorter on | January 2, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    Sweeter than a baby's nappy, did you say?

  • POSTED BY Chris_Howard on | January 2, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    Haddin for Man of the Series. If it wasn't for Haddin, Johnson would have been bowling to defend low scores. Instead, because of Haddin, he was able to go full on attack. It was Haddin who made Johnson's wickets possible.

    Did you know, in adding up all Australia's runs in the first innings of the first four Tests, Haddin was at the wicket while Australia score 47% of their runs. That's is quite telling - and remarkable considering he was batting at number 7.

    Without Johnson, we'd still likely have won as we do have a plethora of very good bowlers and a great bowling coach. The results would have been a little closer though.

    Without Haddin, it's very doubtful.

  • POSTED BY rajuramki on | January 2, 2014, 3:34 GMT

    This Australian team appears to be on a mission and nothing can change their quest for a 5-0 win . Almost all the Australian players have contributed during this compaign and it is only fair that the same 11 plays in the Sydney test , provided no one is injured . After the series England can go back and start licking their wounds and finding a way to return to normalcy .

  • POSTED BY Thegimp on | January 2, 2014, 3:34 GMT

    Leave out Carberry, are you serious? he has been the one batsman who has shown some heart in this series. He has scored more runs than Root and looked a heap better doing it.

    This is laughable, not only has England imploded with the bat they are contemplating leaving out their second highest run scorer. What will Root do against Johnson opening the batting against the new pill that he hasn't been able to do at number 3? Just to bring in Ballance and balance? (haha can you see what I did there?)

    I think Joey boy needs to go back to first class cricket and get rid of that little flirt outside off stump before too many more tests, too many more dismissals and too much more confidence damage. If Johnson does this to him what will Steyn do to him on quickish wickets?

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | January 2, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    High hopes when they left the UK. While Australia where showing hope in India. One team delivered and the other crashed and burned. Clarke proved why he is considered the best captain in the world. Warner did what people thought he could do. When we go to South Africa it could be one of the great test series in recent years. Both sides are in similar situations and the selector are left with a head ache with our bowling line up. I also feel that Faulkner should bat at 7 and take baileys spot. Bailey was an experiment that failed. Watson if he continues this good form could bece a specialist batsman he could bowl the odd over with Faulkner as our 5th option. Team for South Africa 1. Warner 2. Rogers 3. Watto 4. Clarke 5. Smith 6. Haddin 7. Faulkner 8. Johnson 9. Sidds 10. Harris/pattinson 11. Lyon I've done Harris/patinson as I believe Harris May retire in the coming day and I also think his best Maybe beyond him.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 2, 2014, 4:13 GMT

    common England. ....