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

England facing a bitter end

The Sydney Test could be viewed as a fresh start for England at the beginning of a new year, but the build up has not inspired confidence and it will take a colossal turnaround to end with a victory
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ZaltZone: I'm waiting by the phone, call me

Paul Downton could be forgiven for wondering what he had walked into as he started his new job on Thursday.

Downton has just assumed the role of managing director of England cricket and made his first appearance at an England net session at the Sydney Cricket Ground the day before the fifth Test. Observing from the back, talking to head selector James Whitaker, Downton kept his thoughts to himself, but cannot have been overly impressed by what he saw.

He might interpret recent events in a positive manner. He might conclude that, unlike David Moyes a few months ago, he is not inheriting a team in which there are unrealistic hopes or expectations. He might conclude that the only way is up. But he will also have seen how much work he has in front of him.

He would have seen Jonny Bairstow, who will retain his place as England wicketkeeper for this game, kicking the stumps after dropping yet another chance in practice. He would have seen a listless warm-up, a long team talk and a joyless net session from which smiles and laughs were absent. England look as if they cannot wait to go home.

Downton would also have seen Monty Panesar, who is said to be an injury doubt with a strained calf muscle, bowling without obvious discomfort. If Panesar does not play - and it seems highly likely he will not - it will have little to do with his fitness.

England still have a tough decision to make on selection. The Sydney pitch traditionally offers a little assistance to the spinners, though less in recent years, but this one is unusually green. If they go into this game without Panesar or James Tredwell, they will be reliant for spin upon Joe Root and Scott Borthwick. Both are talented young cricketers with many positive qualities, but neither is yet a specialist Test spinner.

Among the other decisions England have to make is whether to include Gary Ballance and Boyd Rankin. The evidence of the training session suggests both will play with Ballance likely to displace Michael Carberry and Rankin likely to displace Tim Bresnan. Three debutants doesn't just speak of a new era; it speaks of desperation. It has happened only once since the chaotic 1990s, at Nagpur in 2006.

It would be tough to drop Carberry. He is currently England's second highest run-scorer in the series - only Kevin Pietersen has scored more - and, though his strike-rate (38.20) has attracted much attention, it is higher than Root's (33.27).

But in desperate times, players are afforded less patience. Carberry could well be a victim of the management's need to find some positives from such a disappointing tour. In the longer-term, his omission should be cause of reflection for the selectors. No-one should be surprised if an unproven opener, thrust into an away Ashes series, struggles.

Root and Pietersen hit the ball beautifully in the nets on Thursday, but Root, in particular, needs to start justifying the faith expressed in him by the England management. In retrospect, it was a mistake to move him from No. 6 ahead of the last Ashes series - a decision that also saw Nick Compton dropped - and, in an ideal world, he would still be able to continue his development against the softer ball in the middle-order.

As it is, though, Root looks set to move to the top of the order with Ian Bell moving to No. 3. Some might say that is how it should have been since Jonathan Trott went home; others that England are in chaos and might as well pick the batting order out of a hat. Root has passed 30 just three times in 16 innings when batting in the top three.

And that's the problem for England. For if you claim an attention to detail that includes the publication of a cookbook, that requires more than £20 million of investment each year, that requires an army of support staff so vast that it may as well include a lumberjack and horse whisperer, then you have to show more for it than a team that changes each game, a random batting order and a collection of out of form players who look as if they've rather be stacking shelves. Somewhere, somehow, this England environment has started turning fine players into mediocre ones.

Cricket would not be the beautiful, beguiling sport we love if it was predictable. But England require a miracle of Biblical proportions to earn a 'consolation' victory in this game. And it's hard to see how even a plague of locusts can help them now.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jaffa79 on January 3, 2014, 16:53 GMT

    Big big questions over some of these tourists. Bairstow should never be allowed to keep for anyone ever again, Root needs to go back to county cricket, Borthwick is clearly no more a Test match spinner than Steve Smith is, Rankin hasn't got the minerals, Bresnan has done very well for a glorified county trundler but will always look pedestrian on anything other than green tops and it is now or never for Finn. He either needs to get his action and form together or be consigned to County cricket. I'd say Cook should stand down too, if there was any obvious candidates to take over.

  • GD66 on January 3, 2014, 8:14 GMT

    Well, you got your wish, Vinay. England still let Australia off the hook again...

  • on January 3, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    Is Vinay an English selector? Right on the money!

  • on January 3, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    Replace Cook as captain with Broad and bring in Finn for bresman

  • archibalbinbusassolin on January 3, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    Consider this tour a white wash although the 5 test is being played now. England display nothing but high school cricket, changing the management staff will not do the job, here is my suggestion. Give the capt. To anderson, open with bell/carberry, cook, root, kp, keep the rest as it. Before all this is done, reduce all the salaries by 25%, including the management. You have to treat this as a business and study how the corp world works and functions. If you do not make a profit, you cut cost, if the losses continues, you will be forced to close the doors. Not winning is exactly the same as not making a profit, the customer, the fans, will stay away. The heads/confidence of all the english players are non functioning now, they all need to be tuned up by what I will refer to as a shock treatment. While aus was on the drawing board planning their attack, england was basking in the old glory of their previous wins.

  • jmcilhinney on January 3, 2014, 0:47 GMT

    @Sri_chicago on (January 2, 2014, 18:42 GMT), perhaps you should read other people's comments instead of spending so much time sitting around being baffled. Loads of people have commented on Compton's omission on various stories on this site ever since it happened. The consensus is that he was considered to be too intense a character and not a positive influence overall on the team. If that's the case, the fact that the team have done poorly without him is not proof that that was the wrong decision. Also, those who advocate for Compton assume that he would have done better than Carberry but he's been England second-highest run scorer. Are we really confident that Compton, who obviously had his own mental battle going on, would have done any better? Maybe the management thought that, with Trott already struggling with psychological issues, having another player who might self-destruct was too much.

  • vannoj on January 2, 2014, 22:44 GMT

    The thought of dropping Carberry is surely an act of lack of heart by any selection panel. He is one of the few batters who has stood up to the might of Johnson on the opening sessions thereby making it easier for the middle order to bat. Surely Cards does not deserve that. We all know that he is a late inclusion to test cricket, but what of Rogers? And to think of his second highest aggregate on tour, surely it will be unfortunate.

  • on January 2, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    England's line up in 2005 was Harmison,Hoggard,Flintoff and Jones plus Giles...in this series it should have been Finn,Anderson,Broad,Stokes and Swann...Finn and Broad should have been told to bowl as quick as possible and Anderson and Stokes the stock bowlers if the ball didnt swing..later reverse swing could have worked as well and Swann would have been under less pressure.

    I dont see a future in KP being captain...in fact i think his attention will turn more towards shorter form cricket and retiring at the 2015 world cup...he has been a leading and controversial player but a match winner in the Ashes since 2005...the only test series i dont recall him winning was against S.A.

  • opto_pus on January 2, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    Scott Borthwick is a leg spinner ane English leg spinners are rarely successful, there have been some good leg spinners from Pakistan and India and of course Shane Warne of Australia the most successful test bowler ever, but he was an exception the general level of leg spinner from Australia and England are very poor and incapable of bowling in test cricket without giving an easy 4 ball an over. If Borthwick plays he will be an Ian Salisbury just not good enough and after a 4-0 drubbing in 4 tests in an away Ashes series, make it 5-0 if Borthwick plays the aussie batsmen will have a field day hitting him for at least 2 4s an over as they are so confident about winning the 5th test, and they should be after the rubbish Anderson and Bresnan have bowled this series.

  • on January 2, 2014, 20:59 GMT

    said it before use local talent, Robson to open with Cook, Ali , Rankin & Borthwick for Panesar, Bresnan, Root, and coach to loose up. cheers

  • Jaffa79 on January 3, 2014, 16:53 GMT

    Big big questions over some of these tourists. Bairstow should never be allowed to keep for anyone ever again, Root needs to go back to county cricket, Borthwick is clearly no more a Test match spinner than Steve Smith is, Rankin hasn't got the minerals, Bresnan has done very well for a glorified county trundler but will always look pedestrian on anything other than green tops and it is now or never for Finn. He either needs to get his action and form together or be consigned to County cricket. I'd say Cook should stand down too, if there was any obvious candidates to take over.

  • GD66 on January 3, 2014, 8:14 GMT

    Well, you got your wish, Vinay. England still let Australia off the hook again...

  • on January 3, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    Is Vinay an English selector? Right on the money!

  • on January 3, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    Replace Cook as captain with Broad and bring in Finn for bresman

  • archibalbinbusassolin on January 3, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    Consider this tour a white wash although the 5 test is being played now. England display nothing but high school cricket, changing the management staff will not do the job, here is my suggestion. Give the capt. To anderson, open with bell/carberry, cook, root, kp, keep the rest as it. Before all this is done, reduce all the salaries by 25%, including the management. You have to treat this as a business and study how the corp world works and functions. If you do not make a profit, you cut cost, if the losses continues, you will be forced to close the doors. Not winning is exactly the same as not making a profit, the customer, the fans, will stay away. The heads/confidence of all the english players are non functioning now, they all need to be tuned up by what I will refer to as a shock treatment. While aus was on the drawing board planning their attack, england was basking in the old glory of their previous wins.

  • jmcilhinney on January 3, 2014, 0:47 GMT

    @Sri_chicago on (January 2, 2014, 18:42 GMT), perhaps you should read other people's comments instead of spending so much time sitting around being baffled. Loads of people have commented on Compton's omission on various stories on this site ever since it happened. The consensus is that he was considered to be too intense a character and not a positive influence overall on the team. If that's the case, the fact that the team have done poorly without him is not proof that that was the wrong decision. Also, those who advocate for Compton assume that he would have done better than Carberry but he's been England second-highest run scorer. Are we really confident that Compton, who obviously had his own mental battle going on, would have done any better? Maybe the management thought that, with Trott already struggling with psychological issues, having another player who might self-destruct was too much.

  • vannoj on January 2, 2014, 22:44 GMT

    The thought of dropping Carberry is surely an act of lack of heart by any selection panel. He is one of the few batters who has stood up to the might of Johnson on the opening sessions thereby making it easier for the middle order to bat. Surely Cards does not deserve that. We all know that he is a late inclusion to test cricket, but what of Rogers? And to think of his second highest aggregate on tour, surely it will be unfortunate.

  • on January 2, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    England's line up in 2005 was Harmison,Hoggard,Flintoff and Jones plus Giles...in this series it should have been Finn,Anderson,Broad,Stokes and Swann...Finn and Broad should have been told to bowl as quick as possible and Anderson and Stokes the stock bowlers if the ball didnt swing..later reverse swing could have worked as well and Swann would have been under less pressure.

    I dont see a future in KP being captain...in fact i think his attention will turn more towards shorter form cricket and retiring at the 2015 world cup...he has been a leading and controversial player but a match winner in the Ashes since 2005...the only test series i dont recall him winning was against S.A.

  • opto_pus on January 2, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    Scott Borthwick is a leg spinner ane English leg spinners are rarely successful, there have been some good leg spinners from Pakistan and India and of course Shane Warne of Australia the most successful test bowler ever, but he was an exception the general level of leg spinner from Australia and England are very poor and incapable of bowling in test cricket without giving an easy 4 ball an over. If Borthwick plays he will be an Ian Salisbury just not good enough and after a 4-0 drubbing in 4 tests in an away Ashes series, make it 5-0 if Borthwick plays the aussie batsmen will have a field day hitting him for at least 2 4s an over as they are so confident about winning the 5th test, and they should be after the rubbish Anderson and Bresnan have bowled this series.

  • on January 2, 2014, 20:59 GMT

    said it before use local talent, Robson to open with Cook, Ali , Rankin & Borthwick for Panesar, Bresnan, Root, and coach to loose up. cheers

  • gudolerhum on January 2, 2014, 20:34 GMT

    It started when the selectors decided to leave Nick Compton home. Root is not yet a 1,2, or 3, should still be at 6. He will be lucky to survive this tour but he seems to have support in the right places. Boyd Rankin to come in, Matt Prior with the gloves and Bairstow at 2. Monty must go, he started the tour under a cloud and it has only got darker. Sorry to see Bresnan stand down, again but he has not looked as effective. All the team can hope for is better luck and a prayer, if not Botham would be right but on the wrong side, 5/0, as easy as that, Boom, Boom!

  • on January 2, 2014, 20:15 GMT

    England selectors are fools. Boyd Rankin is a great prospect. Bresnan was bowling at 125kph last match. Carberry is better than Root. With Bell at 3, Balance should play instead of Root and play at 5, Rankin for Bresnan, and Borthwick for Panesar. Then England might even win.

  • thiruven on January 2, 2014, 19:27 GMT

    Root is the worst batsmen on the tour and yet has been preferred over Carberry now to open. English selection has gone from bad to worse. At the minimum, Bairstow has shown more confidence at crease. Just drop Root, bring back Prior, and move Bell to 3. Anderson looks jade so both Finn and Rankin can come in to replace Anderson and Bresnan.

  • geoffboyc on January 2, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    Have they learned nothing from the Kerrigan experience last summer? The Aussies have nothing to lose and have a licence to let fly at a bowler with a mere 76 wickets IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER so far. He may strengthen the batting but who else will bowl if he goes to all corners when control is needed? It's a career threatening stupidity from which little or nothing stands to be gained.

  • PeerieTrow on January 2, 2014, 19:23 GMT

    Good point about Malcolm D Marshall, Rally_Windies. The only problem with your argument is that Denzil could actually bowl consistently fast.

  • on January 2, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    It doesn't matter if jonny bairstow is dropping them in the nets or pietersen and root are hitting it well nothing matters in the nets it only matters when your out in the test arena.

  • Sri_chicago on January 2, 2014, 18:42 GMT

    What baffles me is why noone (including this author) is talking about the omission of Nick Compton from this pathetic England side. As an avid fan i have been watching all England's tours and home series and I was really impressed with the way Compton batted, especially in foreign conditions in India. And he got dropped as a reward after which noone bats an eyelid and instead all the talk is about the next great thing, Joe Root. While I agree that Root may be a future star and has immense potential, I think Compton is a finished article and England deserves this Ashes thrashing for ignoring him and his hard work. To draw something of a parallel, although not too similar, is looking back at how millions of indian fans thought that Rohit Sharma would be the shining star of Indian batting, only to be usurped by the brilliant and tough Virat Kohli. To date, Rohit has failed to deliver on expectations. Let's hope Downton brings back Compton into the side.

  • shot274 on January 2, 2014, 18:26 GMT

    I couldnt quite place Borthwick-then i remembered his claim to fame. Carted for 5 successive sixes by James Foster in a Pro-40 match a few years ago!! Cant wait-i bet nor can the Aussies! Finn has been ignored as he may not give control.So lets consider a rookie leg spinner. I don mind madness but it needs, atleast to have some method to it!!

  • riverbaby11 on January 2, 2014, 18:10 GMT

    This is a perfect example of a scheduling loss and nothing more , ECB ended a great run due to greed now its up to Cook , Flower and to some extent Broad to start rebuilding.

    England plays too much test cricket and the players were simply too jaded to care about a back to back Ashes series.They say all the right things about being professionals and importance of Ashes but it just comes down to a lack of desire to push themselves harder. Aussies were fueled by their bad losses in 2013 and England had no such motivation.

    This is very similar to Indian team's downfall after the world cup win and I am sure English cricket will come back just like the young Indian team did.

  • stumpedlloyd on January 2, 2014, 17:58 GMT

    Give the captaincy back to KP. Retain Cook as opener. Give Carberry a chance; the guy sees the new ball through, just allow him to play his natural game instead of getting into his head, like someone (Andy Flower?) clearly has done by shackling him. Trott seems to be done for the time being; I hope he returns to county cricket, makes some runs there and is happy with himself so that he can return to the English side. The side needs someone who doesn't get fazed too much by what's happening. I hate to say this, but it might be time to give Eoin Morgan one more go around at 6. He seems awfully calm when he is at the crease. Just let him - and the others - play there natural game. We seem to live in this instant world now where we want players averaging 50-plus 6 or 7 tests into their careers. Three tests, a chap hasn't scored a century at a 75-120 strike rate, drop him? Cook is done as captain. No imagination, no chutzpah. Making KP captain will perhaps bring back Cook's batting prowess.

  • balajik2505 on January 2, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    This looks like panic stations. First they brought in Kerrigan at the end of the last series; he was dumped after being mauled on for god's sake his debut. Now with the series done and dusted, why throw in someone in the deep end. If he gets mauled, are England going to dump him? Something similar with what Australia did before the last 2 Ashes. They dumped the guy they considered their lead spinner. Thankfully somewhere they saw sense and backed Lyon, and look at how he has come through. England now is like India at the end of the last decade; too many undroppables. They need a fresh perspective. Cook should continue captaining; but England needs to look beyond Flower. Trott, Swann and Panesar. Bad man management. Finn. ditto. KP ditto. Credit for getting KP back should go to Cook. Look beyond Flower. He seems to be done.

  • on January 2, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    "If Panesar does not play - and it seems highly likely he will not - it will have little to do with his fitness."

    It will not come as surprise if Panesar is omitted, he has not bothered the Aussie batters much, if at all. In addition, he is the least nimble on the field which is a huge liability in the modern game.

    The current plight of English cricket has certainly left the door ajar for new blood to kick wide open which might be a good thing, in the long run, for a team currently low on morale and confidence.

  • Rally_Windies on January 2, 2014, 17:36 GMT

    2 words !

    "Graham Onions" ....

    cuz Malcolm Marshall was not big & tall ....

    If England Continue with the WI tried and failed method of selecting Bowlers based on "height, looks and potential" ... instead of performance, performance and demonstrated ability ! Then England are going to get the same results as the WI ....

    demonstrated ability is better for picking a team to tour Australia than " expected potential ability " ....

    If we had to pick bowlers based on "looks" ,, Ottis Gibson would have played 80 tests and Malcolm Marshall would not have played even 1

  • Gevelsis on January 2, 2014, 17:07 GMT

    It's in the fourth paragraph; the one word that sums up the tour, the attitudes, the reason for the meltdown - JOYLESS.

  • maddy20 on January 2, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    Even though his action looks a bit like Shane Warne, this guy averages 31 in First Class cricket. Not really sure why they picked him. More than the bowlers though, England's batsmen need to up their game . IMHO they look terrified whenever Johnson comes on to bowl!

  • SevereCritic on January 2, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    Carberry has been set up to fail all along. It doesn't matter that he is the second highest scorer for England. Cook, Bell and Root are golden boys of English cricket. You can't axe them - they need to be there no matter how poor their form is. Ian Bell is generally always clueless outside England. Only 6 of his 20 centuries have been outside England. It is time for Bell to step up or get lost.

  • ahweak on January 2, 2014, 15:38 GMT

    England keep shooting themselves on the foot. Dropping Compton was a mistake and dropping Carberry would be a bigger mistake. Monty bowled better than Swann in India and I don't understand why he's suddenly worse than someone who's 14th on Durham's bowling list. Even a misfiring Prior is better than Bairstow. The bigger revelation in this tour is the muddled thinking of England's selectors, which has been worse than the team's performance.

  • Sanjiyan on January 2, 2014, 15:23 GMT

    Heres my advice: Let the players play their own game and ONLY change the technique if there is an obvious flaw. I cant understand how a guy like Finn cant get his head straight with all the 'support' staff England have. Heck even KP isnt really being KP anymore and thats hurting his results. Cook is crumbling under the pressure and besides broad( on occasion) none of the bowlers are impressing at all. If you want to manage each and every detail of the players lives you will kill off the spirit. Soon as England are on the backfoot they resort to silly tactics to bore the opposition out of the game. That might work against players with lesser patience but vs the aussies its asking for trouble. They are hungrier, meaner and more patient than England atm, and unless england get a new way of thinking and playing installed they will slip down the rankings into oblivion. It seems the resolve England used to have has been replaced by panic tactics and fear.

  • jlw74 on January 2, 2014, 14:57 GMT

    I'm sorry but like a lot of posters on here I just simply do not get the love affair for Joe Root. I believe that he is ordinary to say the very least and has been shown up in Australia as just that. Carberry may not be Hobbs but theres a stickability about him that England need. Not every player blasts a path in their careers early on and Carberry would deem himself very unlucky if he were dropped. Bell needs to be the future number 3 for England and it now appears that they have no choice but to now go there. Joe Root may be a remarkable young man to quote Andy Flower but wouldn't England be better served if he was a remarkable young cricketer?

  • 2.14istherunrate on January 2, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    You do not offer even the slightest hope,GD, if Bairstow is set to continue his keeping masquerade. England had a vast army of backroom staff in 2006/7. It was commented on then while Australia had a small team bus or minibus. It makes the England touring side look like Xerxes' invading force facing the 300 Spartans. 5-0? It ought 100-0 We fell for it again. Sometimes travelling light allows movement. Do not do micromanagement again, England, or reap the whirlwind. There is sanity in flexibility and adaptability. Small can be beautiful. As for dropping Carberry...more stupidity from the'great king'! At least attempt to have a run rate, England before you completely BORE me to death!

  • PeerieTrow on January 2, 2014, 14:27 GMT

    Totally agree csr11. I've watched Carbs bat for a number of years now against all forms and standards of bowling, and when he's set with the freedom to bat as he can he really makes big scores. His calm demeanour and overall body language at the crease suggest he still has faith in himself I would suggest, but he doesn't appear to be being given the freedom to bat as he can.

  • Jeeves_ on January 2, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    They can't really rest the whole team, can they? Bell was the pillar of the first 5-match series, and the only reason England managed to win 3-0. He has been absolutely out of form this time round, and there's been nobody to replace him. My team selection: 1. Cook. 2. Carberry. 3. Bell. 4. Peterson. 5. Ballance. 6. Root. 7. Ben Stokes 8. Prior 9. Rankin 10. Finn 11. Monty.

  • george204 on January 2, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    You've hit the nail on the head with your penultimate paragraph: the England setup has become overly bloated, just as it was in 2006/7, which is why the result will be the same.

  • Basingrad on January 2, 2014, 14:02 GMT

    BRUTALANALYST - I agree with you fully. Carberry has seen the new ball off 6 times out of 8, while Root looks like a horrible starter whenever he bats in the top 3. Without that 180, which was gifted to him by Haddin and Clarke letting a regulation catch go between them, his record in the top 3 would be atrocious. Yes, Carbs hasn't gone on to convert a start. But nobody has apart from Stokes, so you can hardly level that at him in this series.

    First Compton gets dropped not long after back-to-back tons, which along with Prior prevented us from losing to NZ, purely to shoehorn someone as flawed as Bairstow in and give Root the chance to fulfil what they seem to think is his destiny. It looks like they will then drop Carberry with 520 runs at 43 on the tour for Ballance with, er, 4 runs at 2.

    I can't really see the logic of Rankin coming in - when he's nearly 30 - ahead of Finn, given the latter has more wickets at a better average on this tour.

  • bobmartin on January 2, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    All this talk of changes... I'm a believer that the bulk of the "first eleven" highly paid and pampered squad who got us into this position.. should be the ones to get us out of it... That would be my message to them anyway...get out there, earn your money and do what you're contracted to do...It seems mightily unfair to now pitch some of those who were not even in the squad to start with in, in the hope of saving these "super-stars " faces. Once this tour is over... then is the time to start talking about changes not now.

  • kevaldedhia813 on January 2, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    I completely disagree with Eightfa. you can not pick players who are consistently not performing. 4 test match in a row with the attack only lead by M. Johnson. I still believe aussies dont have the best bowling attack. I am not sure why english players are not performing, all of them are culprit though kevin looked ok on tour but could not manage big scores.

    I think carberry should be retained and root should be left out. Ballance deserves a chance. He certainly is capable of big scores. rankin should be included and given a chance. bairstow failed with the chance however prior the only replacement does not give much resistant to the team, so should be retained for the final test.

    positive approach will lead england to victory.

  • Sigismund on January 2, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    The source of all this woe was Cook's painful grind in Ahmedabad; despite losing the match, this approach was celebrated by all as the way all England players should play, in all circumstances, from then on. And here we are now. They were also too chicken to debut Root as opener in India (didn't do Cook much harm, did it?); had they done so then I am quite sure that by now he and Cook would have a successful and confident opening partnership going. Having made that mistake once, they were pushed into making it again by ill-advisedly 'looking at the options' in the warm-up game - Carberry 150*, change plans again. With Cook and Root settled at the top of the order, when Trott left Bell would have slotted in at 3 where the gods want him and any of the options would have been decent at 5/6. 3-1 to England, Clarke's career over, Johnson back in the wilderness for good, happy times!

  • on January 2, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    Prior is still England's best option as keeper-batsman. He just needs a session with a sports psychologist and a good slap across the face. Carberry has been unlucky. He's not brilliant, but he's been a solid performer and far more dependable than Cook or Root.

  • csr11 on January 2, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    Drop Carberry?? did i read that right.. that doesnt make any sense - dropping the second highest scorer of the side. I actually think that the moment carberry crosses 30 he starts to think of some attritional cricket mantra, and somehow tends to get into a shell. Once he does that, its only a matter of time. Maybe what he needs is a bit more faith and freedom.

  • dunger.bob on January 2, 2014, 12:57 GMT

    @ James Knott : Mitch has always been a hell of a cricketer but his low points have always coincided with England tours up until now. Apparently his action was realigned by the man who I consider the master fast bowler and Australia's only living god, DK Lillee himself. Surprisingly it turned out to be nothing to do with his upper body but everything to do with his legs and hips. The undercarriage as Lillee calls it. .. A few months work on that, a few minor adjustments with seam position and bingo, one red hot bowler finally able to express his enormous natural talent.

  • MarkTaffin on January 2, 2014, 12:50 GMT

    Seems to be illogical to go in with new guys - unless the selectors think this will be a real test and saving them for SL next summer will give a false impression?

    Who knows? Fact is, whoever plays against SL IS going to have better figures than anyone debuting at Sydney. But if the three new guys play at Sydney, are the selectors guaranteeing them the SL Tests? With the bizarre thinking of the selectors, no knows which way they're going.

    Would seem unfair to dump Carberry, and I just wonder if, for the reasons I mentioned, the selectors don't keep him for Sydney, saving Rooty for the easy runs as an opener back home in the summer. After all, a couple of failures for Joe at Sydney as an opener is a problem the management could do without....

  • on January 2, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    Why not Pietersen at number three? He is still their best batsman.

  • AussiePhoenix on January 2, 2014, 12:42 GMT

    @ DoGoOn, agreed. I wonder, did England not see Australia's efforts to replace Warne? Placing so much expectation on a young Borthwick to fulfil Swann's legacy is unfair, and irresposnible. Panesar has more experience and was the number 2 spinner at the start of the tour - calf injury? I doubt it. And agree with all the comments defending Carberry. Sure he hasn't set the world on fire but he's done very well considering the senior players around him have folded. KP has only come good in the last two matches, otherwise Carberry would be the top English run scorer in the series. And Ballance? Surely not. What is one match against an aggressive Aussie team on top going to accomplish? Is it only to save a senior player's further humiliation? Irresponsible.

  • First_Drop on January 2, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    The main problem england are facing is an outstanding Aussie attack. This same England team could go back to the UK and do quite well against other nations pace attacks (excluding SA).

    But now the panic has set in and England risk doing more damage to themselves in the process of trying to find success. Dropping Prior and Carberry are / would be great examples of what not to do. Prior only failed once immediately before the scheduled 10 Ashes test and Carberry has the 2nd best average on ths tour of any Eng bat. Cook is a fine leader, but a poor tactician - but that can be remedied through mentoring with Gooch, Flower, Hussain, Vaughan ro any number of other Poms in Australia.

    Keep Calm and Carry On

    (NB. written by an Aussie living in London)

  • PanGlupek on January 2, 2014, 12:18 GMT

    @Posted by on (January 2, 2014, 9:59 GMT), I believe Paul Downton's career was ended by a bail in the eye, bit like Mark Boucher's: If it wasn't for that, I reckon he would definitely be in line for a recall :-)

  • BRUTALANALYST on January 2, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    One other thing about this "He's not the future" the future is the always the next Test / Series. It's a bit disturbing how many are going on like no other Tests matter now until the next Ashes ? England have Sri Lanka and India around the corner and if Carberry can weather this hostile storm v Johnson and co's attack in Aus he will cash in v Sri Lanka and Inida at home. Early 30's is batsman's prime, players are playing longer these days and anyway he's fitter than anyone in the squad ! So sad he's waited all this time and now not even after handfull of games "he's not the future". I hate when people go on about age as if it's set in stone just look at Haddin in this Ashes or Brad Hodge in the T20 format he's nearly 40 ! I don't rate Root opening or at no 3, opening Carberyy ahead of him every-time and 3 without Trott Compton (his natural position) or Bell no question.

  • on January 2, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    ENG should make KP skipper again, because he has that X factor. Cook just lacks that bite he does not look like a skipper at all. eng should also try out new fast bowlers rather then sticking with the old lot. try out finny chris n rankin and rest broad jimmy and bresnan. Hopefully eng wins in Sydney....

  • Stevros3 on January 2, 2014, 11:55 GMT

    @Lord Mac, not sure Foster being Mill's county captain will have much impact given he barely captained Mills, you want the guy who captained him, you need to look to Essex's 2nd XI captain as he counldn't make the 2nd Division county's 1st XI for most of the season. Yes he's the future but no way is Mills ready for international cricket yet. Getting wickets on a EPP tour (not even a lions tour) against grade cricket (not first class) opposition does not mean you're ready for test cricket. Let's use you're example of 'England response to Johnson' a person exposed to test cricket too early who needed four years away from the top level after being mauled when he was too inconsistent.

  • on January 2, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson has been a relegation this series and not only has he taken wickets but has left some mental scars as well. Without him this series would have been closely fought - the Aussies wouldn't have been able to have 'bullied' England so much, the batters would have fared better and the tail would have chipped in. The bowlers would have had more runs to play with and a longer break between innings. I don't think anyone would have predicted quite how quickly and accurately Johnson has bowled prior to the series. I think it would be harsh on Carberry who has looked one of our better batters. Bell should probably go three and if they want to have a look at Balance then it would probably be Root to go at this stage. KP can bowl a few off spinners if required. I would have thought they'd still want a spinner at Sydney but I don't know enough about Borthwick to comment on his inclusion. It would be good to have a look at Rankin not many below 8 gave scored many in thus series.

  • on January 2, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    Root has looked more vulnerable against the new ball than Carberry who has at least looked competent though increasingly shot-less. Both have technical deficiencies to overcome but now is not the time for that, now is the time to show some guts. Pick players who look like they have the appetite.

  • Little_Aussie_Battler on January 2, 2014, 11:21 GMT

    The writing was on the wall leading up to their series. England was arrogant and smug even though they were not that far ahead of the Aussies in England. Then England tried to bluff their way through an insufficient series of warm up fixtures against poor opponents.

    Why did England pick all those tall bowlers then not pick them? Why did they have a captain incapable of setting attacking fields? Bowlers were underperforming and not hitting the relevant lengths, fielders dropping chances.

    Heads need to roll. Time for the next generation and a new skipper.

  • woodgreen on January 2, 2014, 11:17 GMT

    Agree with the others.Carberry deserves to stay in,Root has to be the one to miss out if anyone has to make way.Dooesnt really seem worth dropping Monty,would Borthwick really be that much more likelyto take wickets.Wasnt he more of a batsman last season anyway?Seems like we are dropping people for the sake of it.

  • Eightfa on January 2, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    George I love your work but you seem to be suffering the same symptoms of the English team. There is no dishonor in being out played or out thought. Put your best team foward and that is all you can do. Scott bothwick, Barstow, and balance weren't in England's best 11 at the start of this tour and arnt now. Joe root is not an opening bat but one day may become one. Monty on his worst day want get the treatment bothwick will get at the SCG bowing to the worlds best player of spin micheal Clarke. It seems as though England have forgotten the history of the game. Pick your best 11 fight the good fight if you loose you loose. Don't go looking for the rabbit it's just not there. England's best 11 now is Cook, carrberry, BELL,Peterson, root, stokes, prior, bresnan, broad, Anderson, pannesar

  • Lord_mac on January 2, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    I don't think it matters what the selectors do now, but it is a pity they didn't stand up and respond after losing the first one (or two) Tests so convincingly. Even after Perth, with the score at 3-0, they only made one unenforced change, Bairstow for Prior. A limp selection.

    I look at it this way: (a) Cook is over-burdened by captaincy - England need him to focus on scoring runs (b) The best keeper in England is James Foster - and has been for over 10 years. His first-class batting average is not far behind Prior's and he is Cook's county captain. He even has some of the inspirational dressing room qualities of Swann. He is also Tymal Mills' county captain, the England response to Johnson. (c) Root not suited to opening or batting three (d) Carberry has done commendably well, but is not the future.

    So

    Cook Robson Bell Pietersen Root Stokes Foster (wk, capt) Borthwick Broad Anderson Mills

    Res: Ballance, Rankin

    I'd like to see this for the first test of the England summer

  • BRUTALANALYST on January 2, 2014, 10:43 GMT

    Can't believe Carberry is being made the scapegoat he's the only guy to make over 30 first innings scores every Test. Why is golden boy Root undroppable ? what exactly has he done ? The way Root has looked I wouldn't even say he's one for the future, Bairstow as well should not be near an England 11.

  • FingorsDad on January 2, 2014, 10:40 GMT

    Ridiculous if they do drop Carberry. The batsman that needs to go, so he can go score some runs for his county and come back refreshed is Joe Root, who looks less convincing every time he plays.

  • dunger.bob on January 2, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    I actually think Carberry has got a decent run rate in him but he's been spooked. Every time he hits a ball in the air it seems to get caught. Warner caught a full blooded, hard hit pull shot for god's sake. .. The man has had zero luck and had to watch his team self immolate around him. .. To be frank, it's a surprise he hasn't gone home already. .. I think he's up to it and 33 is actually the prime of a batsmans life these days. Dropping him would be nearly as crazy as Cook and himself batting the entire first day of a 2 day warm up game when rain is predicted the next day! .. That's a lot of investment to drop so readily imo.

    @ Rags57: We know we don't have a great side here in Aus. Just a much better one than England. .. Also, don't be surprised if we maintain our unbeaten record in South Africa since their coming back to the big time.

  • regofpicton on January 2, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    Come on over George - we're just across the Tasman! Better weather too, no snakes or spiders, and some great cricket ahead. You'll love it!!

  • Nutcutlet on January 2, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    One of the favourite pastimes of cricket followers is picking sides for upcoming Tests, esp. when there are numerous unresolved issues. From that pov, Eng's team selection has provided an increasing amount of pre-match debate. Pre-Gabba, the only really hot topic was who'd be the third seamer. It manifested itself as Tremlett. That starter is history now. CT has played his last match for England. Now we've reached Sydney. Joy of joys! We have a full à la carte menu to feast our minds on! Who would we like as 3rd seamer? (CT's off the menu). Would we prefer Monty to Borthwick? Should Carberry be retained? Should Root go on a brief sabbatical? Is the batting order right? Can we have a side dish for some Ballance? Some may prefer Prior to return for Jonny B (minority taste)... And people say England is lacking in entertainment! (NB: I've resisted any comment about the Cook here). So, waiter- here's my order: Cook, Carberry, Bell, KP, Ballance, Borthwick, Stokes, JB, Broad, Jimmy, Rankin.

  • BradmanBestEver on January 2, 2014, 10:21 GMT

    Of course removing the riff-raff and installing more team players will take courage from the English selectors - courage that I suspect they do not possess at the present time.

    It will likely take another complete and total belting for such action to be taken.

  • amitgarg78 on January 2, 2014, 10:20 GMT

    The last 2 paragraph reconfirm to me that Andy flower needs to go. If the players are being micro managed to such an extent as to lose the inherent joy from the sport - and it certainly looks that way from outside - then the style needs to change. Given that he's spent such a long time establishing the system and process, and he feels so strongly about it, he can't be expected to break it down. Fresh ideas need a different mind...

  • humdrum on January 2, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    I would have thought that after the series in the UK,England's confidence would have been high to the point of hubris( the pissing incidence was the crowning glory) and they had convinced themselves that the Aussies were there for the taking.More credit to Clarke and Lehman for dragging themselves off the ropes and firing up Johnson,and man,did he deliver the goods.Knocked the stuffing out of the conceited English lads and gave them the hiding of their lives. Now,that the going has got tough,do the English team have it in them to slug it out,or as is more apparent,do they just want to go home in double quick time ?

  • DoGoOn on January 2, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    Wow - not in my wildest dreams did I see Australia taking us apart like this. I didn't think that England were a great team, but I thought we had enough talent, professionalism and fortitude left in the tank for one more Ashes win before the rebuilding began. Well done Australia - and especially Mitch. This series will be deservedly be known as Johnson's Ashes.

    I'm not sure I see the benefit of playing so many debutants for the final test - it will be hard to learn a lot about them from one game, and it's not a great time for young guys to come in - at the end of the series when the opposition are in rhythm and firing on all cylinders. I would say maybe one change if you really feel someone is not right, and then take a fresh look at the whole Test setup in the summer after the Lions tour. I can't see it does Scott Borthwick any favours to be the leg-spinner/no.8 on a pitch that doesn't turn against an aggressive Aussie batting line-up, and then have to bat against Mitchell Johnson.

  • StrangeWays on January 2, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    Lol @Vindaliew.. Why would Gary Kirsten EVEN CONSIDER taking a sip from that poisoned chalice!!? He left the South African team which is his home country to spent more time with his family, after spending the best years of his life on the road for his country. And you suggest that he move his whole family over to a rainy, cold, miserable, rude and negative country like England. With a Media like a flock of vultures criticizing your every move and decision. Ridiculous! 3 months ago Flower was a rose, smelling sweet.

  • on January 2, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    Starting by saying Bairstow is playing... Oh no. He was very poor in the 4th test. His keeping on day 4 was an embarrassment . How many times he flapped his gloves as the ball went past him, even the Aussie commentators were exasperated. His batting went from stodgy to desperate slogging with no middle gears...neither was successful. I really would rather have Prior playing. Bairstow looks very much below test class at the moment. Why doesn't Paul Downton put the gloves back on himself...couldn't be much worse.

  • on January 2, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    Another vote to keep Carberry, far more deserving of a place than Root. And for Cook to be stripped of the captaincy - I too think that he is far to important as a batsman risk his form through the captaincy pressure. I'd be tempted to bring back Prior as captain - his form's shot anyway - so it can't do any harm, and, even out of form he's as good as Bairstow.

    My XI: Cook, Carberry, Bell, Pietersen, Ballance, Stokes, Prior, Borthwick, Broad, Anderson, Rankin

  • Diaz54 on January 2, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    It is amazing why there is so much said negativity about Carberry, here is a guy who has been neglected by the selectors for a long time whilst having a good domestic record in 4 day game. He gets selected for a tough tour and from what I can see as a cricketer he has looked reasonably comfortable at the crease compared to others. He perhaps should have got more runs, but can be excised when others who have the support of the selectors have failed. He actually has looked comfort ale at the crease compared to Root and Cook. Why is there a call to drop him....same can be said for Panesar...having bowled well in previous series in India and anundhabi, he is continually under pressure to be dropped! Whilst other under performers are given a free run come what may.

  • kris_mg on January 2, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    @BradmanBestEver on (January 2, 2014, 8:46 GMT) .. Its not just riff-raff that's the problem. Just look at how the Aussies are performing now, both on & off field, compared to the shambles they were in India. Its the culture and atmosphere too, best example Watson and Clarke, they may never be best mates even but they have started pulling in t he same direction as the team and it counts. Yes, we have to do something about dead weight in team but mindless cleaning of "riff/raf" is not the solution. "team players" is the most over used and ill defined cliche that that has been used in time of a purge..

  • VillageBlacksmith on January 2, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    the current style of eng play is unrecognisable from the decent eng team of 3 yrs ago… that buck has to stop with the coaches…time for them to go… and as for the selections… why bring players on tour as replacements if they ''are not ready''…. shambolic… but nothing over-shameful about losing away, just the weak way it was done… cook shd def stay (didnt pointing and clark lose 5 ashes between them?) so he has a stay of execution until the next ashes for me where im sure eng will fare much better under new management…

  • kris_mg on January 2, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    @CrikiLeaks oh man, yours should be the featured comment for the accuracy and sense of humour with which you delivered that last line.. had me spill my coffee.. On a different note, the dropping of Compton is looking just like the result of over-thinking / over-analysing / over-planning the situation this management is prone to. Atleast it would have allowed Root time to develop. Kind of like what CA did when they dropped Katich over (of course it was waay waay more outlandish) future planning. It messed up their future and present for quite some time and i would say Hughes was nearly as unlucky as Katich.

  • ShutTheGate on January 2, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    Wow, If someone told me three months ago that I'd be reading an article like this on the 2nd of January 2014, I wouldn't have believed them!

    I'm glad I'm now supporting a winning (again) Aussie team. Bring on 5-0.

    What happened to that bloke who used to post here called Front Foot Lunge?

  • kepler22b on January 2, 2014, 9:28 GMT

    Vindaliew on (January 2, 2014, 9:02 GMT)

    CrikiLeaks on (January 2, 2014, 8:34 GMT)

    Great tags!

    As an aussie I want to see Root in for Sydney. Frankly, he looks quite ordinary in Australian conditions and our blokes seem to have worked him out. I can't see him as a number six because your tail can't handle the kitchen of Mitch. Root will score too slowly given how fragile the tail has been. He'll be 20 n.o. as the rest collapse.

    Carberry, on the other hand, has batted well and, apart from his second innings in Melbourne, looked good.

    I am surprised that the English haven't learnt one thing from the Aussie's recent poor form; stop selecting youth and start sticking with the best you have, regardless of their age - Harris, Haddin and Rogers are proof. Each of these guys is replaceable with a much younger guy who is NEARLY as good. Win the current match not some ill-defined future series.

  • Rajeshj on January 2, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    Dropping Carberry would only show how stupid the England think tank are at the moment.. One really wonders how a player like Bresnan gets repeated chances in spite of very ordinary performances.. If England would have picked a better bowler in his place, they would have done reasonably better.. Panesar was good in India and he should be shown a bit of confidence and a long rope before deciding on alternatives... England needs some power hitters like Alex Hales, Keiswetter etc. to fill in the wicket keepers role.. When the bowlers are tired and the ball is old, these guys could be devastating... All England needs is some fresh approach, because they do have talented players to deliver strong performances...

  • on January 2, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    The problem with England is they lack self confidence and their team is always defensive. Carberry should be dropped after giving him the last chance in Sydney if he does not perform and Nick Compton is the ideal replacement. Ballance is not a specialist opener in tests. Bell needs to come to number 3 slot whether he likes it or not - it is upto selectors to take a call. Bresnan - is good if there is nobody to bowl. Panesar should be taken out permanently from the test side - sorry - he looks a clown to me in a circus more than a test spinner. Retain Borthwick and he will do really good after about 10 tests. Root - needs to mature in test cricket though he hammered a great century in home soil looks like a kid on the block. God bless Downton - hope he makes the correct decisions.

  • Dangertroy on January 2, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    If Carberry is dropped, then it really shows that something is amiss with the selectors. He's done an openers job, taking the shine off the ball. He has been patient when the game required and scored at a decent clip when able. The middle order hasn't followed up on his hard work. Reminds me of what happened to eddy Cowan - was doing a decent job but failed to go on with it too often. I'd be resting Bell, or dropping Root, neither of whom has outperformed Carberry. If Ballance and Rankin play, then Finn will be the only player from the initial squad to not get a test match. I hear he is bowling poorly, but still feel for him missing out when everyone else is playing poorly. Then again, He probably quite happy to be able to say none of this mess has been his fault.

  • Rags57 on January 2, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    I am truly shocked by what I see of England. I don't believe their issue is talent or even lack of form. Cook has had a few starts but failed to convert them. Peterson showed what he can do at Melbourne. Even Bell and Root have had starts. Even in the bowling department Anderson and Broad have bowled well at different points in time during the series - I believe the trouble is lack of self belief in the entire team. It starts with Cook and that is where the real problem is. I don't believe Cook believes England can win any game - he needs to change and motivate the team that they can actually turn things around. Honestly Australia does not have a great team - take Mitchell Johnson out and they are as ordinary a team as any. Would like to see England challenge Australia with putting pressure in the first innings and being patient when they play so they can tire Johnson out. This is the only way they can hope to get at least a consolation win.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on January 2, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    Now England is acting like the Aussies did a few months ago , there is nothing seriously wrong with their team , give them a break and a more easy going coach , may be someone like john wright , Compton should not have been dropped in first place and carberry doesn't deserve it now , root should play at 6 , also cook should give up captaincy to Stuart broad , he is too important as a batsman and the captaincy is clearly affecting his output with the bat , and yes bring on Ian bell at no.3 ...almost all their players are in the initial 30s which are the best years as far as a player is concerned , so whats the big fuss about rebuilding ??

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on January 2, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    Now England is acting like the Aussies did a few months ago , there is nothing seriously wrong with their team , give them a break and a more easy going coach , may be someone like john wright , Compton should not have been dropped in first place and carberry doesn't deserve it now , root should play at 6 , also cook should give up captaincy to Stuart broad , he is too important as a batsman and the captaincy is clearly affecting his output with the bat , and yes bring on Ian bell at no.3 ...almost all their players are in the initial 30s which are the best years as far as a player is concerned , so whats the big fuss about rebuilding ??

  • Vindaliew on January 2, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    Carberry is probably one of the few England batsmen out there who hasn't looked a complete lost cause for this series. I'd drop Root, regardless of who is older and who has a better future. Salvage this test first, then look to rebuild when the series is over.

  • Nuxxy on January 2, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    I wonder if Gary Kirsten would be interested...? Anyway, best thing now is to just focus on the 2015 World Cup; use the time to blood some young players in tests.

  • BradmanBestEver on January 2, 2014, 8:46 GMT

    England's main problem is that they do not have enough players who have the "never say die" attitude and are team players.

    The riff-raff needs to be removed from this team.

  • Attacking on January 2, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    England's main problem is their defensive captain.

  • CrikiLeaks on January 2, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    I've been a bit stunned by the comments being made on this site regarding Carberry throughout the series. He has a better average and strike rate than Root. Root's strike rate is the third lowest in the squad. Dropping Carberry and retaining Root for this match is madness. What message does it send to the squad? Keep a youthful appearance and we'll ignore performance? For those who will say England must invest more faith in the younger players as they are building a team for the future, I would suggest you don't do that at the end of a tour, in Sydney when you have half spinners, half keepers and three promising basketballers filling your bench.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • CrikiLeaks on January 2, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    I've been a bit stunned by the comments being made on this site regarding Carberry throughout the series. He has a better average and strike rate than Root. Root's strike rate is the third lowest in the squad. Dropping Carberry and retaining Root for this match is madness. What message does it send to the squad? Keep a youthful appearance and we'll ignore performance? For those who will say England must invest more faith in the younger players as they are building a team for the future, I would suggest you don't do that at the end of a tour, in Sydney when you have half spinners, half keepers and three promising basketballers filling your bench.

  • Attacking on January 2, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    England's main problem is their defensive captain.

  • BradmanBestEver on January 2, 2014, 8:46 GMT

    England's main problem is that they do not have enough players who have the "never say die" attitude and are team players.

    The riff-raff needs to be removed from this team.

  • Nuxxy on January 2, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    I wonder if Gary Kirsten would be interested...? Anyway, best thing now is to just focus on the 2015 World Cup; use the time to blood some young players in tests.

  • Vindaliew on January 2, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    Carberry is probably one of the few England batsmen out there who hasn't looked a complete lost cause for this series. I'd drop Root, regardless of who is older and who has a better future. Salvage this test first, then look to rebuild when the series is over.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on January 2, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    Now England is acting like the Aussies did a few months ago , there is nothing seriously wrong with their team , give them a break and a more easy going coach , may be someone like john wright , Compton should not have been dropped in first place and carberry doesn't deserve it now , root should play at 6 , also cook should give up captaincy to Stuart broad , he is too important as a batsman and the captaincy is clearly affecting his output with the bat , and yes bring on Ian bell at no.3 ...almost all their players are in the initial 30s which are the best years as far as a player is concerned , so whats the big fuss about rebuilding ??

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on January 2, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    Now England is acting like the Aussies did a few months ago , there is nothing seriously wrong with their team , give them a break and a more easy going coach , may be someone like john wright , Compton should not have been dropped in first place and carberry doesn't deserve it now , root should play at 6 , also cook should give up captaincy to Stuart broad , he is too important as a batsman and the captaincy is clearly affecting his output with the bat , and yes bring on Ian bell at no.3 ...almost all their players are in the initial 30s which are the best years as far as a player is concerned , so whats the big fuss about rebuilding ??

  • Rags57 on January 2, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    I am truly shocked by what I see of England. I don't believe their issue is talent or even lack of form. Cook has had a few starts but failed to convert them. Peterson showed what he can do at Melbourne. Even Bell and Root have had starts. Even in the bowling department Anderson and Broad have bowled well at different points in time during the series - I believe the trouble is lack of self belief in the entire team. It starts with Cook and that is where the real problem is. I don't believe Cook believes England can win any game - he needs to change and motivate the team that they can actually turn things around. Honestly Australia does not have a great team - take Mitchell Johnson out and they are as ordinary a team as any. Would like to see England challenge Australia with putting pressure in the first innings and being patient when they play so they can tire Johnson out. This is the only way they can hope to get at least a consolation win.

  • Dangertroy on January 2, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    If Carberry is dropped, then it really shows that something is amiss with the selectors. He's done an openers job, taking the shine off the ball. He has been patient when the game required and scored at a decent clip when able. The middle order hasn't followed up on his hard work. Reminds me of what happened to eddy Cowan - was doing a decent job but failed to go on with it too often. I'd be resting Bell, or dropping Root, neither of whom has outperformed Carberry. If Ballance and Rankin play, then Finn will be the only player from the initial squad to not get a test match. I hear he is bowling poorly, but still feel for him missing out when everyone else is playing poorly. Then again, He probably quite happy to be able to say none of this mess has been his fault.

  • on January 2, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    The problem with England is they lack self confidence and their team is always defensive. Carberry should be dropped after giving him the last chance in Sydney if he does not perform and Nick Compton is the ideal replacement. Ballance is not a specialist opener in tests. Bell needs to come to number 3 slot whether he likes it or not - it is upto selectors to take a call. Bresnan - is good if there is nobody to bowl. Panesar should be taken out permanently from the test side - sorry - he looks a clown to me in a circus more than a test spinner. Retain Borthwick and he will do really good after about 10 tests. Root - needs to mature in test cricket though he hammered a great century in home soil looks like a kid on the block. God bless Downton - hope he makes the correct decisions.