Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 3rd day January 5, 2014

Australia's attack proves fitter, faster and deeper

Australia's triumph was achieved on the back of an attack who proved themselves the fittest, fastest and perhaps even the best of any Ashes bowling ensemble
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Australia must now focus on overseas success

At the instant Australia's Ashes sweep was completed and a sapping 10-Test marathon concluded, this unchanged, united and all-conquering team split briefly into a couple of cliques. As Michael Clarke, his deputy Brad Haddin and the rest of the batsmen converged in the middle of the SCG, the final wicket-taker Ryan Harris entered into a tight embrace with his fellow bomb hurlers Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon.

Their moment was fleeting but significant, for a triumph plotted in England and consummated in Australia had been achieved on the back of a bowling attack that repeatedly laid waste to the tourists, in doing so proving themselves the fittest, fastest and perhaps even the best of any Ashes bowling ensemble. Clarke had no hesitation dubbing his men the best pace attack in the world. A little private party was certainly merited.

Australia's achievement is stunning in its enormity, and should be lasting in its impact. England have been left a smouldering wreck, not so much a team as a group of once proud but now bedraggled cricketers. Australia have a platform from which to push for the sustained success so craved by Clarke and all those above him on Cricket Australia's chain of command. To be No. 1 in the world seemed a ridiculous ambition when the Ashes still sat in English possession. It is a rather more realistic goal now, largely because of the bowlers Australia can call upon.

Six months ago, at the outset of these dual series, England seemingly held most of the advantages. Theirs was a hardened, experienced and talented team, led calmly by Alastair Cook and managed with rare precision by Andy Flower. They had stability, confidence and possession of the Ashes urn on their side, with memories of victory over Australia at home and away to help sustain them through the ensuing trials.

In the other dressing room at Trent Bridge, Australia were a team struggling to find themselves. They had a new coach in Darren Lehmann, a captain in Michael Clarke who had to wrestle with his own back ailment and the deficiencies of his off-field leadership, and a motley group of players sorely lacking in confidence after a mauling in India or, in the cases of Brad Haddin and Chris Rogers, re-establishing themselves in the team at a time many had considered past their best-before date. There seemed very little reason to expect the Ashes would be changing hands in the near future.

Yet there was one reason for Clarke and Lehmann to harbour some hope, and also to take a longer view of the contest to come. While England's success had been based on strong foundations, their bowling attack could not claim to possess the same level of depth or surfeit of speed Australia had to call on. The visiting pace sextet who posed at Nottingham castle in the days before the first Test looked a strong one, and as yet did not include Mitchell Johnson, deemed surplus to the squad selected.

The narrow English victory in that opening match was achieved through a superhuman effort from James Anderson on the final morning, but it had been notable how Haddin battered Steve Finn and Graeme Swann to get the Australians close. Their fates that day became more relevant the longer the contest went on, as Flower did not feel Finn capable of playing even one more Test, while Swann faded gradually to the point of an early retirement.

Thus, England's bowling was neither as deep nor as fearsome as their counterparts, who despite losing James Pattinson to serious injury in the midst of a dire showing at Lord's did not slacken noticeably in pace or direction all through that series. Harris, finally able to play more than a couple of Tests in a row, was a particular revelation. Siddle provided the sort of uncomplicated but highly committed back-up once offered to Allan Border by Merv Hughes, while Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird and James Faulkner all played their part.

Australia's selectors took some time to establish their own opinion as to the best attack. Ashton Agar was flirted with ahead of the somewhat under-appreciated Nathan Lyon, while Starc and Pattinson were at the forefront of team planning until injury forced them to wait for future battles. Johnson had to push his case through limited-overs duty, showing in fleeting glimpses that his pace and direction were building to a crescendo as welcome as it was unexpected. Haddin's approval, from his gloveman's vantage point, was significant.

"In all honesty I was actually shocked when I arrived in India with the one-day series," Haddin said. "I've played with Mitch for a long time but we hadn't played together probably for a good 12 to 18 months and when I saw how fast he was bowling on the Indian wickets and how comfortable he was with the ball coming out of his hand, it was actually quite scary the pace that was coming out.

"From that moment on I remember sending a message back home 'Mitch is right to go'. He was flying then. And the pace he was bowling was a lot different to when I'd played with him previously."

Lehmann had also brought significant change to the outlook of the bowlers, despite inheriting a group of high quality. He cut back the previous extremes of team rotation, simply stating that fully fit bowlers would continue to be chosen unless they were unable to do the job set out for them. Preventative resting from Test matches was scrapped, though strategic non-selections were not - see Johnson's early withdrawal from the India ODI tour.

Australia's support staff, too, was refined. Out went the Victorian strength and conditioning coach David Bailey to be replaced by Damian Mednis, who had worked alongside Lehmann at Queensland. Ali de Winter, the bowling coach, was also moved aside, as Craig McDermott returned as mentor to the Test bowling attack. Happily, McDermott found little need for last-minute remedial work, being particularly impressed by Johnson's attitude and self-reliance when meeting him in Perth after his return to the job.

So with a bowling attack deep enough and fresh enough to renew their efforts in Australia, Clarke and Lehmann had the weapons at their disposal. Moreover, the loss of the series in England provided valuable knowledge and the basis for plans that would prove so spectacular down under. Visiting batsmen were attacked with precise blueprints for their downfall, visiting bowlers harangued with a brutal barrage of short stuff. Simple but effective.

"We spoke before the start of the series," Clarke said. "We had set plans to individual batters, we had set plans once No.8, 9, 10, 11 walked in to bat. From ball one of this series we knew we were going to hit them as hard as we could. We planned that before a ball was bowled in this series and I think most importantly, we executed it. It's easy to have plans; it takes skill and courage to be able to execute them. As I said to the boys before a ball was bowled in this series, in my opinion, they are the greatest attack in the world at the moment and I think they've just shown that over five Test matches."

The final afternoon of the series provided a fitting and murderously swift reminder of exactly how successful Australia's planning had been, and how pre-eminent their bowlers had become. Hardened physiques and alert minds combined to raze England one final time, though with a hint of counterbalance to the rest of the series. The catalyst for the final English death dive was Nathan Lyon, much as he had been for the first one in Brisbane. And the the destroyer of the tail was not Johnson but Harris, finally collecting some cheap wickets to fatten his tally. Clarke, their tactical ringleader, was a fitting taker of the final catch.

When Australia's celebrations had moved from the field to the SCG dressing room, a few of the players took time to speak publicly about the series. The toll on Australia's bowlers was revealed. Harris has had knee fluid build-up in his calf, a hip screaming out in pain, and numerous foot blisters. Johnson conveyed his exhaustion, eyes hollowed out above the Mephistophelian moustache. No one, on either side, truly wants to contemplate a repeat of this 10-match odyssey. But were it to happen, Australia's bowlers would doubtless bring about a similar final result. It is by their fitness that Australia have not only survived, but thrived.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 6, 2014, 2:27 GMT

    I've watched every test live at the SCG for the last fifteen years and that was the best display of team fast bowling I've ever seen. England weren't great but Australia gave them absolutely nothing for hours on end - literally no bad balls, not one. Johnson bowled one of scariest spells I've ever seen at the end of day 2 - fast, at the throat, at the body, then at the stumps. On day three Harris bowled at the top of off stump for hours until he knocked the whole team over. And Siddle just bowled full and straight, and gave Pietersen nightmares. It was just an awesome display. If they keep bowling like that, they'll give South Africa a very big headache.

  • popcorn on January 8, 2014, 18:54 GMT

    Australia's bowling attack is now hunting in a pack. And there can be no deadlier way to close in on the prey and finish him off.Simply awesome.

  • Biggus on January 8, 2014, 15:18 GMT

    @Bimal Chhushyubaga:- Strange that your substantial comment and @samdanh are the same, so you're either the same person or you're not very creative but capable of cut and pasting. So what is it?

  • Maroubra_Flyer on January 8, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    All these comments remind me of the saying lies, lies, damn lies & statistics. Statistics mean nothing on Day 1, Session 1, Over 1, Ball 1.

  • VivGilchrist on January 8, 2014, 7:58 GMT

    @Bimal, ...and I ask you sir, by manner of who will SA deal up this high quality spin bowling with?

  • on January 8, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    old guns To make sure that this is not a one off achievement, some or all of the following needs to be done by Aus think tank: Australia batting needs to be more strong in performance in overseas tours. SA can be expected to lay out dry pitches to negate the Aus pace attack and crush the Aus batting which cannot play quality spin (except perhaps Clarke and Smith to some extent) Australia needs to rest not just Siddle and Harris but also Johnson from ODIs. There are plenty of fast bowlers who could be roped in to play the ODIs with England. Also, for overseas tours it is important they take one more spinner to be used when pitches are doctored. Further a back up quality spinner should always be with the team to be able to play if Lyon gets injured or a second spinner is required. It is very key for Aus to use some foresight in squad composition for and in the future.

  • Jagger on January 8, 2014, 4:59 GMT

    @Greatest_Game - You should never use a flawed system to back up your criticism of other's comments.

    The ICC ratings are based upon quantitative results of completed games. Naturally, if a player has a history of injury it reflects badly on his career. I am not sure what the ICC rankings proves, but anyone can see it certainly does not prove who is the best bowler in the world or Shane Warne rightly would have been at the top for a dozen years. Australia were ranked ICC number 1 in the world for months after half the team retired and we hadn't played a match! Quantitatively we were still number one, but we all knew better

    When Harris is fit, I would pick him before Philander and Steyn any day of the week and twice on Sundays. In fact, good judges have compared Harris with Malcolm Marshall, arguably the greatest bowler of all time. While that comparison may be a stretch we will never know, but to use the ICC rankings as a basis of your argument in this case is just plain wrong.

  • Jagger on January 7, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    @IndCrab - funny how you could manage 'erratic', 'Philander' and 'Tsotsobe', but could not manage to spell arguably the two most famous cricketers in the world in 'Clarke' and 'Steyn'.

    I hope this article remains open so we can revisit your 'predilection' at a later date. I will be putting my money on Australia to defeat South Africa, and I am confident we will win because Mick Arthur is no longer coach.

  • Greatest_Game on January 7, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    @ Kemar Kirby states with authority that "harris is a better bowler than philander cause he gets the ball to hurry off the wicket and he gets it to swing late with accuracy."

    Odd that the ICC rankings do not reflect your "Harris is the better bowler" supposition. In fact they show the opposite. The only man able to dislodge Steyn from the #1 spot since 2009, is Philander. If Harris is so good, why is he behind Philander? Why could he not dislodge Steyn. Harris shot up the rankings on the back of a pathetic English team. Philander made his bones on his debut, rolling Aus for 47 all out. Why did Philander break a hundred year old record, & not Harris? Why has Philander crossed the defining 900 point mark, but not Harris? Why are Philander's career figures so much better than Harris?

    Lots of supposition & opinion. No supporting facts. One good series does not make Harris, or Philander, better. The stats speak for themselves.

    For the record, I think Harris is a GREAT bowler!

  • Greatest_Game on January 7, 2014, 13:32 GMT

    @ popcorn wrote "This is the world's best bowling attack.Period."

    Your statement does not define the subject. What is "this." It would be clearer if you wrote "This SA attack is the world's best. Period." The subject then becomes clear, and of course then readers can check the the stats and see that they clearly support your statement.

  • on January 6, 2014, 2:27 GMT

    I've watched every test live at the SCG for the last fifteen years and that was the best display of team fast bowling I've ever seen. England weren't great but Australia gave them absolutely nothing for hours on end - literally no bad balls, not one. Johnson bowled one of scariest spells I've ever seen at the end of day 2 - fast, at the throat, at the body, then at the stumps. On day three Harris bowled at the top of off stump for hours until he knocked the whole team over. And Siddle just bowled full and straight, and gave Pietersen nightmares. It was just an awesome display. If they keep bowling like that, they'll give South Africa a very big headache.

  • popcorn on January 8, 2014, 18:54 GMT

    Australia's bowling attack is now hunting in a pack. And there can be no deadlier way to close in on the prey and finish him off.Simply awesome.

  • Biggus on January 8, 2014, 15:18 GMT

    @Bimal Chhushyubaga:- Strange that your substantial comment and @samdanh are the same, so you're either the same person or you're not very creative but capable of cut and pasting. So what is it?

  • Maroubra_Flyer on January 8, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    All these comments remind me of the saying lies, lies, damn lies & statistics. Statistics mean nothing on Day 1, Session 1, Over 1, Ball 1.

  • VivGilchrist on January 8, 2014, 7:58 GMT

    @Bimal, ...and I ask you sir, by manner of who will SA deal up this high quality spin bowling with?

  • on January 8, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    old guns To make sure that this is not a one off achievement, some or all of the following needs to be done by Aus think tank: Australia batting needs to be more strong in performance in overseas tours. SA can be expected to lay out dry pitches to negate the Aus pace attack and crush the Aus batting which cannot play quality spin (except perhaps Clarke and Smith to some extent) Australia needs to rest not just Siddle and Harris but also Johnson from ODIs. There are plenty of fast bowlers who could be roped in to play the ODIs with England. Also, for overseas tours it is important they take one more spinner to be used when pitches are doctored. Further a back up quality spinner should always be with the team to be able to play if Lyon gets injured or a second spinner is required. It is very key for Aus to use some foresight in squad composition for and in the future.

  • Jagger on January 8, 2014, 4:59 GMT

    @Greatest_Game - You should never use a flawed system to back up your criticism of other's comments.

    The ICC ratings are based upon quantitative results of completed games. Naturally, if a player has a history of injury it reflects badly on his career. I am not sure what the ICC rankings proves, but anyone can see it certainly does not prove who is the best bowler in the world or Shane Warne rightly would have been at the top for a dozen years. Australia were ranked ICC number 1 in the world for months after half the team retired and we hadn't played a match! Quantitatively we were still number one, but we all knew better

    When Harris is fit, I would pick him before Philander and Steyn any day of the week and twice on Sundays. In fact, good judges have compared Harris with Malcolm Marshall, arguably the greatest bowler of all time. While that comparison may be a stretch we will never know, but to use the ICC rankings as a basis of your argument in this case is just plain wrong.

  • Jagger on January 7, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    @IndCrab - funny how you could manage 'erratic', 'Philander' and 'Tsotsobe', but could not manage to spell arguably the two most famous cricketers in the world in 'Clarke' and 'Steyn'.

    I hope this article remains open so we can revisit your 'predilection' at a later date. I will be putting my money on Australia to defeat South Africa, and I am confident we will win because Mick Arthur is no longer coach.

  • Greatest_Game on January 7, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    @ Kemar Kirby states with authority that "harris is a better bowler than philander cause he gets the ball to hurry off the wicket and he gets it to swing late with accuracy."

    Odd that the ICC rankings do not reflect your "Harris is the better bowler" supposition. In fact they show the opposite. The only man able to dislodge Steyn from the #1 spot since 2009, is Philander. If Harris is so good, why is he behind Philander? Why could he not dislodge Steyn. Harris shot up the rankings on the back of a pathetic English team. Philander made his bones on his debut, rolling Aus for 47 all out. Why did Philander break a hundred year old record, & not Harris? Why has Philander crossed the defining 900 point mark, but not Harris? Why are Philander's career figures so much better than Harris?

    Lots of supposition & opinion. No supporting facts. One good series does not make Harris, or Philander, better. The stats speak for themselves.

    For the record, I think Harris is a GREAT bowler!

  • Greatest_Game on January 7, 2014, 13:32 GMT

    @ popcorn wrote "This is the world's best bowling attack.Period."

    Your statement does not define the subject. What is "this." It would be clearer if you wrote "This SA attack is the world's best. Period." The subject then becomes clear, and of course then readers can check the the stats and see that they clearly support your statement.

  • on January 7, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    The key questions for Australia is top four batting order. They will try out Doolan at 3 and shove Watson to six. If Pup and Warner fire blanks, they are in trouble. Austraylia will need to bowl tight accurate otherwise AB De Vills will provide stern punishment.

  • MichaelBurton on January 7, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    @ajmaldomintesswann: Ajmal 40 overs 115 runs 0 wickets ...lol Ajmal couldn't dominate Herat, how could he dominate Swann, Jadeja and Aswin...lol

  • MichaelBurton on January 7, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    @ajmaldomintesswann: Ajmal 40 overs 115 runs 0 wickets ...lol Ajmal couldn't dominate Herat, how could he dominate Swann, Jadeja and Aswin...lol

  • Biggus on January 7, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    @IndCrab:- Given your obvious talent for predicting the future with 100% accuracy would you kindly predict the result of India's next tour of Australia?

  • Samdanh on January 7, 2014, 7:07 GMT

    To make sure that this is not a one off achievement, some or all of the following needs to be done by Aus think tank: Australia batting needs to be more strong in performance in overseas tours. SA can be expected to lay out dry pitches to negate the Aus pace attack and crush the Aus batting which cannot play quality spin (except perhaps Clarke and Smith to some extent) Australia needs to rest not just Siddle and Harris but also Johnson from ODIs. There are plenty of fast bowlers who could be roped in to play the ODIs with England. Also, for overseas tours it is important they take one more spinner to be used when pitches are doctored. Further a back up quality spinner should always be with the team to be able to play if Lyon gets injured or a second spinner is required. It is very key for Aus to use some foresight in squad composition for and in the future.

  • IndCrab on January 7, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    Australia will be thumped and thrashed by Saffers.. Oldie Haddin , Watson , one test wonder Bailey will disppear after the series. Johnson will get atleast 8 wickets at 62.00 average and start booling erratic like before. Clark will score the lonely century for Aussies. But 3 - 0 verdict is on the cards. Facing Philander , Morkel , Styen , Tsostobe is not an easy task.

  • teo. on January 7, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    I'm an SA Fan. I admire the Aus bowling displays! Trully impressive, i'm sure the fans must be elated! The performance must be taken in context of the opposition though if we are to be realistic. Eng had a very week line-up comparing to recent history. SA have 2 of the best batsmen in the world, and 7 pure batsmen. Also, Aus batsmen now have to face the best bowling attack in the world, on paper, and on form. While the Aus batting lineup looks like its getting better... that is a tough ask, even for the best batsem out there, ask all other teams since 2006. Another important (albeit unusual) point, is that pitches in SA are not as bowler friendly as it previously has been, so Oz bowlers will need to step it up even further!! It's nice to see Aus fired up after so so many years... finally the old SA/Aus rivalry can resume where it left off (2005 if i'm not mistaken??). Wish Kallis could be there... but these things happen.

  • Thegimp on January 7, 2014, 6:05 GMT

    I must admit that I'm a little worried about Steyn...........they way he carries on when he gets the tail end out makes him look like he'll pop a blood vessel. The poor man might blow up his brain.

    Brett Lee used to do the same but that was when he got Tendulka out, not some poor #11

  • wellrounded87 on January 7, 2014, 5:22 GMT

    The two attacks have their match ups as follows. Steyn Vs Johnson. While their averages are sizably different Johnson is a player who's suffered a career of ups and downs. But at his best he is every bit as good a bowler as Steyn. It looks as though he's finally matured and performing consistently which puts him amongst the best in the world. But Steyn gets the advantage because at his best he's unstoppable and he's much more consistent then Johnson and can produce lengthy spells if needed. Philander vs Harris... hard to split these two. The only real edge being Philanders durability, however Harris has now played 9 straight and might be passed his injury problems. This is a draw for me. Siddle vs Morkel, edge to Siddle better average, better strike rate better bowler. Lyon vs Peterson/Tahir is an easy win for Lyon. Much better bowler. Watson vs TBA with Kallis out of the picture Australia's attack is better but not by much. Don't worry though saffa fans batting is still a lot better

  • Greatest_Game on January 7, 2014, 1:20 GMT

    @ Bonehead_maz wrote about SA's bowling attack "As for your best attack? I'm not convinced this current one is any better than Adcock, Heine, Barlow and Tayfield ?"

    Right on, Bonehead, & its Tayfield that makes the difference!

    Steyn, Philander & Morkel can hold their own as a pace attack. They are developing a better understanding of how to build pressure, support each other, etc. (They'd do better if they got more than 9 tests in a year, in 2 test series!) But, they are a bowler short. Without a quality spinner, or another complimentary quick, they will never be fully balanced. The selectors are too hidebound to admit that another quality seamer is better than a mediocre spinner. Excepting SC tracks, I'd rather see another quick - e.g.Abbot - who can take wickets & choke off runs than the endless on/off here/there Tahir/Peterson circus. Kallis gave them that to a degree. That said, if they had a truly class spinner like Tayfield, they could be every batting lineup's nightmare!

  • on January 7, 2014, 1:19 GMT

    I would like to see a well fought out series in SA. However I doubt the SAs will be able to counter the current form and aggression of the Aussies. Records on paper are irrelevant. What really matters is current form and based on that Aussies will come out on top. It probably won't be a whitewash because SA are playing at home but the Aussies will win.

  • pat_one_back on January 7, 2014, 1:09 GMT

    I can't recall Aust having had a better balanced attack in my lifetime, McGrath & Warne heavily negated the need for a strong fifth option, we had some great quicks in Gillespie, Lee, Fleming but never a 5-strong bowling team so diverse and complementary in style and approach. Aust constantly recovered from 5-100 due to Hadds partnerships but equally due to Eng lacking ability to sustain a tight attack.

  • Thegimp on January 7, 2014, 0:41 GMT

    @humdrum........you are right, it's no-one's right to only play on bouncy fast wickets however when wickets are deliberately prepared to favour the home side, and I mean, when pitches are turned into dust bowls on the first day and the opening bowlers are used to take the shine off the ball prior to spin being introduced, it is wrong and should be stopped.

    If India prepared normal pitches they would natuarally break up after a couple of days and take spin from day 3 anyway, three things would happen:

    1. India might produce some good fast bowlers. 2. India's batsmen would be able to bat overseas. 3. India would actually gain some credibility for home series wins.

    English Batsmen are a classic example. They have prepared low slow dusty pitches in England for some time, to blunt touring pace attackes and aid Swann. In this series they were obliterated by pace like never before. Sound familiar?

  • pat_one_back on January 6, 2014, 22:47 GMT

    @Infinitwhite, no matter how well your batsmen perform eg 1/900 declared you still need 20 wickets to win sparing a 'sporting' declaration. Not sure what your point is, that Aust did not have a massive win from behind following an Eng declaration? Broad & Andersen are still quality, they didn't bowl, Ando in particular at their unrelenting best but Aust top order woes are equally a reflection on the quality of Eng's opening spells, Aust recoveries from 5 down highlighting the lack of support from Eng's third and fourth bowlers.

  • pat_one_back on January 6, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    Since we've moved on so quickly to the upcoming SA series, a point worthy of consideration is the trajectory of improvement this Aust team has shown since throughout these series. Much stronger Aussie teams of the past commonly lost dead rubbers, this mob have grown harder and harder, showing progressive improvement and broader contributions with each and every test. With a settled team for the first time in many years and a 5strong bowling attack Steve Waugh would envy the big question is whether a 2test series with India has SA battle hardened enough to play the brand of cricket required to halt an Aussie assault on No 1. SA need a big step up from their GABA/Adelaide performances back when Sidds alone was propping up Aust attack.

  • on January 6, 2014, 21:49 GMT

    im going to give australia a chance to beat south africa. why i do, is because i expect harris to give them alot of headaches more than johnson. johnson may get the wickets just like the ashes. but i think harris is the best bowler to exploit the weaknesses of the saffers. south africa batsmen are guilty of playing from the crease alot and harris releases the ball with a nippy action with seam hitting the wicket to wicket line and length like philander which will trap them lbw or getting them to nick. harris is a better bowler than philander cause he gets the ball to hurry off the wicket and he gets it to swing late with accuracy. philander doesnt get the ball to hurry when he tries to swing it. shaun marsh needs to replace bailey and replace watson at 3 and place watson at 6

  • on January 6, 2014, 21:42 GMT

    i think this australian attack will be dangerous against south africans as well. yes, the south african batsmen deal with pace bowling better than england because they have bouncier pitches than england. there is a thing to point out is south africa have a prolific number as england had in trott named amla.i think he is another quality number 3 whose technique could be messed up by the johnson short ball. because amla stays stuck on the crease and plays back and across which is a pad technique facing johnson. but the difference is that amla is calm compared to trott. i think the mental capacity is the difference for south africa and experience to pace bowling as well. the problem for australia's batting is watson is not a number 3 who can face steyn and company, and smith's technique will be exposed especially against philanders line and length and george bailey will be crying anyhow he gets to play. australia need to play shaun marsh and drop bailey

  • Beertjie on January 6, 2014, 17:20 GMT

    @Bonehead_maz on (January 6, 2014, 10:03 GMT) I think you mean Adcock, Heine, Goddard and Tayfield. Barlow debuted after Tayfield retired. Anyway, that was certainly a more balanced attack than the current one. However, Steyn is already a legend and the wickets are usually less spin-friendly than in the late '50s. The problem with South Africa has always been high quality batsmen, not bowlers (except spinners this past half century). Amla's 311 was the first triple century compared to many such scores from among the batsmen of the remaining test-playing countries. Of course, currently they outclass Oz and may do so for a few years more, but that may change after Smith (33), Amla (31) and ABdV (30) retire.

  • DeckChairand6pack on January 6, 2014, 16:20 GMT

    Congratulations Australia on their clean sweep. We will know more of where they stand when they tour South Africa. On paper, and looking at individual stats, it would appear they are lacking slightly versus their Protea's counterparts. But the Aussie team always seem to play a bit harder against us. I would be surprised and overjoyed if the Proteas were able to win their first home series against Australia in 44 years. I'm very much looking forward to this series as I'm sure all of the Australian fans are.

  • Jagger on January 6, 2014, 15:11 GMT

    @ Lachlan Drummond - well said. And to think, 5 years from now we could be watching Bird, Pattinson, Starc, Sayers and Cummins at the height of their powers. If Smith and Warner could somehow learn how to land a legbreak another Aussie dynasty is just around the corner.

    -------------------------

    Proof T20 is having a detrimental effect on our batsmen? After winning The Ashes 5-0, three of our four best batsmen this Ashes Series did not play IPL 2013.

  • on January 6, 2014, 14:40 GMT

    The proteas batting is very vulnerable to the quality of pace venom which the aussies have unleashed notwithstanding the aging harris . Harris in fact is getting better as he is getting older. without kallis the batting will be wanting against aussie fast men. The proteas attack is good but the aussie attack is venomous .

  • on January 6, 2014, 13:59 GMT

    south Africa have the best bowling attack in the world. the Aussies will struggle against steyn and philander. Harris is old . he will flop in Sa.

  • analyseabhishek on January 6, 2014, 13:53 GMT

    While Australia indeed has the better attack, including a better spinner in Nathan Lyon, South Africa's batting, even without Kallis, is more solid- however, their no 3 Amla will need to show better form for them to succeed. The upcoming series should be a cracker!

  • polo69 on January 6, 2014, 12:34 GMT

    Going to be a great series Aus v SA. The difference is quite frankly that RSA have the number one and two rated bowlers in the world in Philander and Steyn. On the batting front they also have the number one and four ranked batters in Amla and AB. Throw in Graeme Smith and you have three batters in the top six averaging 50 odd. Throw in Morkel and their attack edges Aus as do the batters. Ofcourse Aus can surprise but you feel SA will have to play badly for that to happen. To say they are the better attack on the basis of a 5-0 drubbing is rich to say the least. The likes of Steyn, Morkel and Philander won't let it slip when sides are 85 for 5 like England did.

  • azzaman333 on January 6, 2014, 11:46 GMT

    @Dale Shelton; Move Watson to 6 where he can have the license to play like it's a ODI, and bring Marcus North (who is averaging 98 in the Shield this season) to bat at 3. Sure it's a short term solution, but the younger players need to show sustained ability in the Shield (and following it up in county cricket in the winter) to earn experience and deserve a spot in the test team.

  • Rowayton on January 6, 2014, 11:20 GMT

    InfiniteWhite, the only reason that Australia hadn't taken 100 wickets before was that England player Jack Hearne was injured in one test in 1920/21 and didn't bat -so Aus only took 98 wickets, although England were bowled out in every innings. And as for the person, and I can't remember who, who said only Haddin, Smith and Clarke did any good wit the bat. What? The openers scored just under 1000 runs between them. In fact, if Clarke hadn't declared in Adelaide, it is likely one or other opener would have scored a century in each test.

  • xtrafalgarx on January 6, 2014, 11:20 GMT

    SA vs AUS is in danger of being overhyped. I hope it lives up to the expectation that is building up, a showdown of fast bowlers to see who the best is. Can't wait.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on January 6, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    @ SDCLFC on (January 6, 2014, 9:46 GMT) If, if, if, it happens, then Pattinson will replace Johnson and Bird will replace Harris... not happy... not unhappy. will these blokes lift under Boof and Billy we will see if, if, if, that happens

  • Bonehead_maz on January 6, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    @ TommytuckerSaffa. The article waters down the interview..... Clarke is trash talking you. You are right though about this thread. Who in their right mind would compare Johnson and Steyn on any day ? Steyn and Harris, Philander and Siddle and Morkel and Johnson are the sensible comparisons. Meanwhile best Ashes attack Pfffft ,,,,,,, from only Australia we had the 1948 side with a better attack - especially seam. As for your best attack? I'm not convinced this current one is any better than Adcock, Heine, Barlow and Tayfield ?

  • SDCLFC on January 6, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    I'm not sure about some if this. Yes undoubtedly the Australian bowling unit are the stars and deserve their heraldry, but they were the fittest and strongest because, Siddle aside, they had not faced the 10 test marathon. Though we weren't to know it Anderson was finished the moment he took that last wicket in Nottingham. The Aussie bowlers have been titanic but as you say, they are walking wounded; good luck in South Africa. The English batting was too limp and pathetic and had one of them been strong enough to attack Johnson the way Strauss did in 2009 then things could've gone quite differently. I loved watching Harris bowl; he knitted this attack together, and am real happy for Lyon; he's been shafted by the selectors enough and was the perfect spinning foil. (This is not from and English apologist but a kiwi watching from the sidelines). I wonder how you'll feel about your 5-0 when Harris breaks down in SA and Johnson falls apart without him there to hold him up.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on January 6, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    Guys please relax. The article clearly makes reference to Clarke stating his bowling attack is the best Ashes attack. There is still plenty of time to go at each other before the first test starts in a month's time.

  • InfiniteWhite on January 6, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    Australia's attack is clearly the best in the world. Kallis chose to retire even before facing the first ball off this attack. Can we put the debate to rest, please?

  • Bonehead_maz on January 6, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    So Cook, Pietersen and Bell all averaged less than 30 in their last 6 test matches. Think I'll go to the bookmakers and wager on all 3 averaging over 55 in their next 7. When I collect, I'll reflect on what rubbish players they are.

  • milepost on January 6, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    Cook said this was the best attack he has faced in his career. I'm not sure how he'd know that, he didn't seem to see much of them. Those of you hoping for SA to thrash us, it's not going to happen. You judge cricket on the rankings or your own affiliation with the team you support, some of us do it on form and Australia are undoubtedly the form side at the moment. I know it's been painful for the England fans and for the Indian fans who keep coming back here to tell us how boring Ashes cricket is but don't be mean spirited, it's just a game.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on January 6, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    @ ajmaldomintesswann on (January 6, 2014, 7:43 GMT) they dream of having a Ajmal, geeze they would even love a spinner with the class of Lyon come November.

  • InfiniteWhite on January 6, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    It's handy to have bowlers who consistently take 20 wickets but it is not the only way to win at cricket. There's another way where the batsmen have to stand up and be counted. Any guess? If you can you will understand why this is the first time Australia took 100 wickets even though they'd won 5-0 twice before.

  • Chris_P on January 6, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    @ AltafPatel .What about 2 years ago in Sri Lanka, you know that place, it's where India haven't won a test series since 1995. What about being wiped, & I mean totally flogged in all 4 tests in England. We lost 3, only one was comprehensive, the 2 drawn we had the better of the game & lost 2 close ones. India's efforts for the past 10 away tests are 0-9 with the only draw having Sth Africa 7 runs short of the test record for 4th inning run chase. Seems you have forgotten a lot, my friend, selective memory seems a disease with many of your countrymen when commenting on other series.

  • AlSmug on January 6, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    Aus vs Sth Afi , in Sth Afri is the unknown ,many injuries could occur between now and february. I know Australian has more depth in the bowling department and with kallis retired a fourth seamer being a quality batsmen of his caliber is a distant memory. sth african conditions suit also Australia, Harris needs to be fit if they are to win , his action is ideal for sth africa. Both sides have issues batting Australia a consistency t the top the no6 spot and for sth africa, life after Kallis in the top, and the middle to late order players form is also suspect Amla to as been out of nick. Australia to win and create an upset in an armwrestle

  • Beertjie on January 6, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    @desi1 on (January 6, 2014, 3:27 GMT), I'm not sure about how good the Aus batting is compared to the Indian but I think you have put your finger on a point overlooked by commentators: "SAF was below par against India because India was not good enough for them to bring out their A game." Under pressure in the first test they showed what they are made of. Against Aus SAF always brings out its A game so, like most, I expect a very tough contest, with SAF quality batting giving them the edge (despite the loss of Kallis).

  • NixNixon on January 6, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    Sa team to feature against aus wil be 1.Smith 2. Petersen 3. Amla 4. Du Plessis 5. De Villiers 6. Duminy 7. McLaren 8. Peterson 9. Philander 10. Steyn 11. Morkel

  • ajmaldomintesswann on January 6, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    @vkohliGREAT...man if indian bowling is better than pakistan bowling then ajmal is a better batsman than kohli...lol

  • rickyvoncanterbury on January 6, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    nearly losing 4 nil does not count ,they actually lost 3 nil, and with the 4 in India means lost 7 out of 9, India's last 12 tests away reading 11 nil means they are much better than India away. by the way our home record in the last 2 years is 5 tests v India, 3 tests v South Australia, 2 tests v Sri Lanka 5 tests v England scoreboard Australia 12 world 1 makes India's playing NZ, WI, and a bog average Aus an easy run eh, oh hang on you played England too didn't you how'd you go and common NZ.

  • dunger.bob on January 6, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    @ Eight8 on (January 6, 2014, 2:31 GMT) : "for all those judging the current Aussie attack on results in India, please note that it was a completely different attack (completely different side really as there are only about 3-4 players still surviving)"

    Absolutely right. Barely a resemblance, particularly with the bowling. It's also worth noting that when they finally gave Lyon a run, he took wickets. 9 in the match I believe. .. Still, none of that's going to do anything to stop drone after drone coming in and hitting us with the same thing time and time again. .. I think they get it off facebook or something. The thing is, pretty much none of them know anything at all about cricket, it's just an opportunity to say how good they are and that's all they really want.

  • AltafPatel on January 6, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    It's too too early to judge. Should not forget they lost 4-0 in India and almost 4-0 in Eng. They have to prove their capability in away series.

  • one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on January 6, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    Anyone who decides to bring up the fact that Australia were bowled out for 47 the last time they played in SA need to suck on a reality pill and mention that SA also lost 9/47 during that funny two hour period. Says more about the wicket than the team. Australia probably should have won that test given Clarke's tremendous innings on a difficult wicket which became much easier to bat on by the fourth innings, however, they did win the next one to tie the series. SA condition s are not foreign to the Aussies. They have yet to lose a series in SA since their reintroduction. I will repeat though SA fans should never accuse anyone else if arrogance lest the mirror be faced at themselves.

  • AltafPatel on January 6, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    Aus might have realized that exclusion of trio in India 0-4 defeated test series was a big mistake.

  • Chris_P on January 6, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    @Kholi_theGreat. Thanks for the amusing write-up, I enjoyed the laugh. India the 2nd best bowling line-up? I bet the Boks were happy they didn't face their own bowling line-up when they came within 7 runs of the highest 4th innings run chases in test history. And on a dodgy pitch! That's gold!

  • on January 6, 2014, 6:04 GMT

    Whilst he wont be playing in SA, Cummings started bowling again on the weekend playing for Perth in the WACA district comp. Made 75 with the bat, but didn't take any wickets.

    To add to our list of young bowlers, Coulter-Nile bowls at 145+ and hits the wicket hard.

    There are 2 weak spots in our batting, #3 and #6. Problem is, who is standing out in Shield cricket that can slip into those positions?

  • Biggus on January 6, 2014, 6:01 GMT

    @humdrum:- The 'Light year' is not a measure of time, it's a measure of distance - i.e. the distance light travels in a year. If your looking for a term to denote a long time I would suggest 'eon'.

  • Chris_P on January 6, 2014, 6:00 GMT

    @ Saffacricket . Actually, pretty fair & good summation. Like most knowledgeable Aussie fans, I are worried about our batting. Personally, I hope you guys don't drop Duminy & bring in DeKock as the keeper! Purely from a cricket viewpoint, I am looking forward to the clash. Post Kallis era will have started, kudos to him & his outstanding efforts in tests. Cheers.

  • Buckers97 on January 6, 2014, 5:46 GMT

    Looks like the Aussie squad for Africa should be; Warner, Rogers, Watson, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Johnson, Siddle, Harris, Lyon, Doolan, Burns, Bird, Pattinson, Coulter-Nile, Henriques. (Instead of Faulkner. Henriques can do either job really well, where as Faulkner is more a bowler who can hack)

  • humdrum on January 6, 2014, 5:39 GMT

    In the trailing 12 months,ALL teams have been bullies at home and lambs abroad.Maybe a sign of falling standards,lets hope for a revival( don't see one for England for a few light years though).And for the record,it is nobody's god given right to play only on bouncy wickets,or seaming wickets or spinning wickets.You have to take them as they come,home and away,to be called a man.

  • whofriggincares on January 6, 2014, 5:35 GMT

    @vstrider, the idea that this COULD be the finest ashes attack ever was actually floated by both Warne and McGrath at separate times during the Sydney test. I guess those two chaps would be slightly more qualified to judge this than a keyboard hero with a giggling problem. @tommytuckersaffa, before this series some very vocal English posters on this site were making comments very similar to yours about Smith and Watto only said comments were directed at Mitch, Warner and Haddin mmmm those comments seem like absolute genius now don't they. Careful what you wish for mate, Smith in particular could really make you look foolish his hundred in Sydney on a pitch where batsmen struggled was gutsy and impressed even his most vocal knockers. I know his technique looks dodgy at times but history shows that dodgy techniques can prosper if the player knows his game just look at Walters, Wessels and Gilchrist as fine examples. @kohli the greatest , one of the stupidest comments in a long long time.

  • Biggus on January 6, 2014, 5:34 GMT

    @Chris Thornton:- Anyone with back problems knows how it is. Sometimes it's fine and sometimes it's unbearably painful. He's had to spend a lot less time in the field crouching at slip than usual, surely that's got to help.

  • shanks1967 on January 6, 2014, 5:26 GMT

    Great Win By Australia. I watched all the 5 tests whenever I had time. I am an Indian and I enjoyed this series much more than India vs SA series.

    It is certainly good to see Australia back to their winning ways with all the boIwlers contributing. But I think this team has a lot of work to do on the batting front. The bowlers can only do so much against a given total to defend or attack Australia did not look a good batting side at all, except for Brad Haddin who rescued them time and again in all the tests in the first innings when Australia were looking down and out. Steven Smith can certainly be the second batsman who can claim to have really done something when the chips were down. Micheal Clarke was his usual self but for the last few innings. Apart from these three all other batsmen did not perform. I dont think Dale Steyn and Company are going to give Haddin or anybody to get away like England bowlers did. So celebrate, but there is lot more work to do. Congratulations Aussies

  • andrew-schulz on January 6, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    Vstrider, did you notice the word 'perhaps'. And neither Johnson nor Harris were in India, which makes the attack totally different. You may have a rude shock coming, friend. Totally agree Lachlan Drummond. Johnson's first spell in this match could not possibly be bettered- and that by someone who hadn't bowled so well with the first new ball throughout the series. That was, however, on the first day, not second.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on January 6, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    @ one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on (January 6, 2014, 4:43 GMT) Lets hope now Swann has retired that the English pitches can become again English pitches. and the only thing comparable to the happiness of winning the ashes is ANYONE flogging India.

  • rickyvoncanterbury on January 6, 2014, 5:08 GMT

    India are the best , nobody was better than any Indian batsman, SA were so lucky, They whitewashed Aus haha, India have the IPL and you don't haha, nobody turns the ball sideways like an Indian pace bowler, no one stands over cricket like the BCCI, DRS is for losers...... now that should be enough, can we aus and eng fans along with cricket loving neutrals talk about our teams now.... oh bugger forgot Tendulkar.

  • one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on January 6, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    A little more food for thought, the last time Australia played South Africa (yes it was in Aus; and yes SA eventually won 1-0) Siddle was by far our best bowler and the only one bowling consistant lines and lengths. He almost won the two tests that SA saved on very flat wickets. He was bowled into the ground. In the Ashes he (and Shane Watson who loves SA conditions) was still bowling as well, however, he was clearly our third best seamer. South Africa would do well not to dismiss Australia's pace credentials. Especially if Johnson retains his accuracy and Watson abd Harris maintain their fitness.

  • Iceman29 on January 6, 2014, 5:01 GMT

    hmm.. cant wait to see how the Aussie batsmen handle Steyn and Co after being successful in home condition... and Johnson having a go at SA....We had a toothless attack and with that too Ind gave a scare to SA in test match...Lets see How SA will handle Johnson and Co...But I doubt If Aussie top order has the temperament to play longer...only time will tell....anyways congrats and best of luck to Aussies...

  • on January 6, 2014, 5:01 GMT

    I hate to be the party pooper but the article recalls Trent Bridge where Capt.Clarke was wrestling with his bad back. In the last 2 months how many words or tv images have there been about his back? We heard ALL about it in India & England. But a bit of Boof seems to add some spine. I definitely am not saying he struggles with it. Just interesting it has recently come & gone with the team's fortunes.

  • SLslider on January 6, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    I wish we could travel England to boost our rankings. LOL

  • one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on January 6, 2014, 4:43 GMT

    @sidh78, England were not beaten in their own conditions. They beat Australia at home in subcontinental conditions (the same that they prepared for the world cup). The same conditions that they beat India in India. With a four pronged pace attack, and no Swan, English conditions may return to what you call their own.

  • one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on January 6, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    @kholi_thegreat, good to see someone put some self deprecating humour on this post. The Indian popgun pace attack you named would be placed well behind (in alphabetical order) - Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, and South Africa. But you knew that, you tease.

  • kennor on January 6, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    Top-class effort by the Australian attack, but we shouldn't underestimate the contribution of Craig McDermott. In 2011/12 he guided Harris, Siddle, Hilfenhaus and Lyon in demolishing the Indian batting, bowling consistently to their weakest strokes, and we've seen more of the same this summer.

    To call this "perhaps even the best of any Ashes bowling ensemble" may be a bit of hyperbole, however. Facing Johnson, Harris, Siddle and Lyon may have been a traumatic experience for this crop of English batsmen, but how would they have fared against Lillee, Thompson, Walker and Mallet?

  • BobCo on January 6, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    @saview, I'd say exuberance of the moment, not arrogance, but I'm sure Smith and co will have taken note (not that they really need any further encouragement - surely the lack of a recent home series win vs Australia sticks in the throat sufficiently?). And to be fair to Clarke (sometimes necessary!), you have to remember that Cook scored very big against them last time he was in Oz, as did a few others, and England utterly thumped them in the end. To demolish the English lineup so clinically (and repeatedly) certainly suggests their bowlers are doing something right. England weren't mediocre before this series, either; they've been made to _look_ mediocre by this bowling lineup. The SA setup will not be underestimating them like you seem to be; at least, I hope they won't be! @Kholi_theGreat -- mate! Saying India have a good bowling lineup and then listing an over-the-hill Zaheer makes me worry you'd had one too many when you wrote it! :-) He needs to go.

  • one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on January 6, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    @saview, South Africans sportspeople should not discuss the arrogance of others. They should have a good look in their own backyard.

  • sidh78 on January 6, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    every one always pointed out ins's 4-0 loss in aus & eng.that time india was very tired(after wc&ipl) & had very aging team.so they lost in alien conditions.ind also whitewashed aus 4-0.but now look at eng, whitewashed 5-0 in almost similar conditions of there own& not alien for engl.butu heared any time that ind whitewashed in subcontinante which has similar condn. like india but india always dominated in sc and played very well beside thay two eng - aus tour

  • on January 6, 2014, 4:06 GMT

    The Aus vs SA is going to be a cracker now. The Aussie attack has the capability to give Saffers a run for their money. Not sure if the aussie top order can match their counterparts though. I have a feeling that's going to be the difference between the two sides.

  • AidanFX on January 6, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    6 of the top 7 scored centuries, it is a myth Haddin did it on his own. Although it is true he scored runs when the side was in trouble. I am aware most of the Aussie centuries came in the second innings. The tail was a significant difference. In fact the Eng tail was very disappointing - they are often quite difficult and annoying for the opposition - they were decimated this time.

    The Aussies still need to work on the top 6 - but I think time and continuity will be what improves the lineup rather than the horrible constant changes. In fact improvement came with the series in part due to the unchanged lineup - everyone performed at some point - including Bailey. Players will get used to batting with each other and running between wickets. Already Smith is looking more and more comfortable - still time to develop his game further.

    Watson still looks vulnerable and I think six might be wiser. Siddle should bat at 11 - has been overated by Aussies too long.

  • saview on January 6, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    When all is said and done, the arrogance of the Australians may prove their undoing in SA. To claim they have the world's best bowling unit after dismantling a mediocre England team on their own pitches before hugely-supportive crowds is the sort of red rag to a bull that will inspire the SA attack, which, by the way, has the two top ranked quicks in the world at its helm. What was Clarke thinking

  • TSJ07 on January 6, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    Even though AUS played very well but they should be concerned that their top 6 did not do much and it was Haddin who came to their rescue everytime with some contributions from tailenders. The bottom 5 are not going to do that against SA in their home and against good spinners against IND,PAK and SL, even it will be difficult to do that against ENG in ENG. So AUS must not get overconfident about their abilities though they should enjoy this victory. Their tour to SA will determine if they really have improved or it was ENG who just surrendered tamely without a fight.

  • MichaelBurton on January 6, 2014, 3:37 GMT

    Australian attack is far from being the best attacks of SA and Ind have. Styen, Morkel and Company is the world best followed by Shami, Zaheer, Bhuvi and Umesh. Even Pak attack comprised of overhyped Ajmal, Junaid and Hafeez was exposed at UAE recently.

  • desi1 on January 6, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    I would rate Aus attack better than SAF attack. Indian batting line was inexperienced and non exstent after no 6 still SAF really was stretched to limit to get indian wickets. Australia certainly have better batting line up than india. Clarke and Steve Smith can do what Pujara and Kohli did. Warner and Rogers are certainly better than Vijay and Dhawan. Haddin is way ahead of Dhoni in SAF conditions and the tail consisting of MJ, Harris, Siddle and Lyon will certainly add a lot more than indian tail, not to mention of the bowling which is much superior to india's. Not to mention loss of Jacques Kallis. For these reasons i think Australia might just edge out SAF or may be SAF was below par against India because India was not good enough for them to bring out their A game.

  • one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on January 6, 2014, 3:03 GMT

    @Dino Ducci, your lack of cricketing knowledge does not astound me. If you do not consider Harris world class then not much more needs to be added to debunk your bunk. However, I will add that Australia has not lost a series in South Africa since their reintroduction over 20 years ago, including the last series (with a slightly weaker batting line up and significantly poorer bowling), all on difficult wickets. Yes, but for that crazy period in the match ehen both sides lost 19 wickets for 96 runs, Australia had the opportunity to wun that series. Australia have improved since then and SA have become weaker. ..No Kallis, Amla a walking wicket and Smith about to get something (a hand?) Broken again by a much more venomous Johnson. Makes for an interestind series glad there is three tests this time.

  • Thegimp on January 6, 2014, 2:58 GMT

    A lot of posturing coming from South African posts on this story. Very similar in wording and venom as some posturing from their English counterparts some 3 months ago. Has anyone heard of the saying "Don't Count Your Chickens"?

    It may be that Aust batting will get blown away however I don't see them scoring much less than they did during both these Ashes series. It may be that the #1 team in the world dominates them but.........but South Africa haven't faced a quality pace bowling line up for some time, could Amla become Trot, could Smith become Cook? I see that Kalis called it quits before this series, you would have thought he would have been up for one more hammering of the Aussies but maybe, just maybe he was also looking at retirement before having to face Johnson and co.

    Let's just wait and see shall we?

  • VillageGreen on January 6, 2014, 2:57 GMT

    South Africa will be a stern test.

    England had only one century partnership for the series so the Auusie bowlers were nearly always on top. Easier to stick to the A-game in those circumstances. Not having to bowl too many overs made it easier for the bowlers to remained unchanged through the series. SA could have a plan to wear down the Aussie bowlers in the 1st Test and reap the rewards in the 2nd & 3rd.

    Even though Australia scored 9 century partnerships through the series, Haddin was involved in 4 out of the 5 first innings partnerships. Clearly England were one wicket from running through Australia on many occasions which the SA bowlers will be well aware of.

    Australia has improvements to make but their confidence is high and not entirely built on false grounds. SA will need to dominate and that will not be without risk.

  • dalboy12 on January 6, 2014, 2:49 GMT

    Who cares whose the best in the world - you only have to be the best in a particular series and Aussie was. SA will be different - I'm going SA just cos of the home advantage. Greatness comes from great performances over a long period - SA at the moment have that over this Aussie attack, one of the reasons they were so good in this series it that its the first time Johnson and Harris have been able to play uninjured. It was not just Johnson's pace that caused problems for the English - it was where he constantly put the bowl at pace. Speed means nothing if the direction is all wrong.

  • MichaelBurton on January 6, 2014, 2:43 GMT

    Australian attack is far from being the best attacks of SA and Ind have. Styen, Morkel and Company is the world best followed by Shami, Zaheer, Bhuvi and Umesh. Even Pak attack comprised of overhyped Ajmal, Junaid and Hafeez was exposed at UAE recently.

  • Eight8 on January 6, 2014, 2:31 GMT

    I'm not even going to enter the debate on who is the best pace bowling attack in the world. Who really cares? The Saffers have an awesome one proved over an extended period of time now. The Aussies at the moment have a good one, and Pakistan has a good one.

    But for all those judging the current Aussie attack on results in India, please note that it was a completely different attack (completely different side really as there are only about 3-4 players still surviving) who played over there. No MJ or Harris in that squad. All the current articles and comments on whether this is the best attack in the world currently are based upon these 3 pace bowlers, so comparing other combinations is irrelevant.

  • Eight8 on January 6, 2014, 2:21 GMT

    @dino ducci: Australia might well get hammered in SA, but they do have a good record over there not having been beaten in a series for 40+ years.

    Can't agree with your comments on the bowlers though. MJ is indeed in unbelievable form (but has always been inconsistent), but Harris is world class and his record over his test match career is in the elite level. Siddle is currently ranked in the top 10 test match bowlers in the world, so not sure what basis you are making your "Mitchell Johnson is the only real quality bowler" comment on??

  • on January 6, 2014, 1:56 GMT

    The past two tours of SA, the same thing has been said SA will smash them. What happened 09 2-1 Australia and 1-1 in 2012. Another thing, since SA reentered international cricket in 93, I Believe, they are yet to beat Australia in SA. @Dino Douchbag, if you think that Harris is not a quality bowler you know nothing about cricket. Johnson Averages 30, Harris Averages 22 about the same as Styen he will love the SA wickets, thought they are a lot flatter these days which was on show against India.

  • RightArmEverything on January 6, 2014, 1:46 GMT

    @Dino Ducci, not giving credit where it is due is just a poor reflection on you. Harris is clearly a top quality bowler, and Siddle and Lyon no mugs either, as they've shown over a period of time. I expect a tough and close series in Sth Africa.

  • TheBigBoodha on January 6, 2014, 1:43 GMT

    BassHerman, are you talking about the same SA attack that we scored 480 runs against in a single shortened day not that long ago? The Indians didn't fair too badly against them either. Australia's bowlers outperformed SA's in the last series in Australia till the brains trust of Arthur and co decided to rotate ALL of them out of the final test. This current attack is better than anything we've fielded lately, so one thing is for sure, SA's batsmen are in for a torrid time, especially if they maintain their green-top pitch policy. I note they kindly changed that for the Indians, but that was obviously under directive of powerful "foreign interests".

  • on January 6, 2014, 1:43 GMT

    They are fitter n deeper at Australian wickets , they to prove that they are good at subcontinent wickets , like Waqar wasim Shoaib , and many other Pakistani quick ballers .

  • TheBigBoodha on January 6, 2014, 1:35 GMT

    With McDermott behind them this is an exceptional bowling attack. If the Saffas cough up their typical green top for Steyn and co, it could really backfire badly. Australia will just bring in Pattinson and leave out Lyon. Carnage beckons. A real dilemma for Saffa pitch doctors beckons.

  • dsig3 on January 6, 2014, 1:22 GMT

    All this talk of how we will be "Smashed" by SA is premature. This article is about the series just finished. We may well lose to SA, but the bowling effort in this series has been unbelievable. I have watched a fair bit of cricket, I have never seen as intimidating bowling as I have seen with Mitch. Its not just the pace, its the angle and the the way his bouncer skids on to batsmen. Even Brett Lee in his prime did not make batsmen jump around like this. If Mitch bowls like this to SA they will have their hands full, just like we will if Steyn shows up. Lets wait and see what happens...

  • on January 6, 2014, 0:51 GMT

    Mitch Johnson & Dale Steyn:

    Both are the current top pace bowlers in the world; no doubt. But Mitch is surging head. Steyn is most effective in SA, but a bit less so in other countries, particularly in the Indian sub-continent. Whereas, Mitch is becoming a terror anywhere. His surge to the top form emerged (believe it or not) in the "pace-unfriendly" pitches of India, during his last tour. Even in the shortest format, 20-20, his bowling was just terrific & terrifying, as he showed in IPL.IPL. He has become a darling of the Indian fans of the franchise he plays for. The only other overseas bowler who managed that before was Malinga, whose performance declined in the last couple of IPLs, when that of Mitch soared! He started coming pretty close to Denise Lille at his best. That is saying a lot.

  • whofriggincares on January 6, 2014, 0:33 GMT

    @dino ducci, the English thought MJ would go back to his old ways after the first test as well, they were disappointed . As for Johnson being the only real quality bowler in our side well you had better have a look at the records of Harris, Siddle and Lyon. Great comment to show how little you know about our game. @saffacricket, great comment absolutely spot on. The saffers do have a slight edge no doubt. Smith , Amla and De Villiers are pure class and A Peterson and Faf are high quality support. We don't have to say anything about their bowling attack Steyn is the best since McGrath and Philander is MCGrath reborn. Who replaces Kallis and what that does to team balance will be very interesting. The fact is Australia will be primed for this tour and probably couldn't have asked for a better time to meet the number 1 team in the world on their own patch. Conditions over there are similar to ours and we have a great record against SA in SA. can't wait , bring it on.

  • quogequox on January 6, 2014, 0:26 GMT

    I'm not convinced the current Aussie attack is even the best in the country let alone the world. Everywhere you look in this country we have good bowlers coming out of the wazoo. If only they were all fit.

  • Biggus on January 6, 2014, 0:14 GMT

    @Dino Ducci:- OK, so a bowler who averages less than 22 per wicket and gets 4.5 wickets per game is average (that would be Harris). Yeah, whatever you reckon Dino, fine analysis there.

  • on January 6, 2014, 0:06 GMT

    You can't really say too much for these three pacemen of the apocalypse, they have been magnificent. They have been disciplined, skilled and brutal in equal measures but having said that they are still probably no better than their SA counterparts and it looms as a terrific battle. Yes SA have some very good batsmen, but so do England, Cook, KP, Trott, Bell and Prior all started this series just gone as fine and trusted batsmen, bankers no less! Australia itself is slowly finding its own batting line-up and they are good enough to put up defendable totals consistently now and that's the key here. If a Warner, Clarke or Haddin gets away on you for a couple of sessions they do big damage, moreso if a Rogers or Smith is up the other end grinding away, its turning into a fine team of its own. Make no mistake, SA are going to have their hands full come February!

  • on January 6, 2014, 0:00 GMT

    Johnson averages 28 in test cricket at a strike rate of 52. To say he is one of the greats is disrespectful to the likes if McGrath and warne. Harris is more threatening with his line and length but the SA batting line-up won't fold like the English did and Harris and co will need to bowl more overs and I can't see them being as effective in that scenario. Steyn v Johnson - not even a question. Steyn averages under 23 at a strike rate of 42 and has proven himself on any surface in the world. On the batting front, the only batsmen in the Top 4 that would make the SA side is mike Clarke

  • ShutTheGate on January 5, 2014, 23:52 GMT

    Why bother wasting time trying to debate whether the Aussie attack is better than the South African attack or vice versa? We only have a month to wait and the tests will start and then we'll be able to make a fair comparison without speculation.

    The Aussie attack restricted an English batting lineup full of world class batters to less than 400 in 20 innings. Bring on South Africa.

  • vstrider on January 5, 2014, 23:51 GMT

    "Australia's triumph was achieved on the back of an attack who proved themselves the fittest, fastest and perhaps even the best of any Ashes bowling ensemble"

    This is hilarious.... they have just outclassed possibly one of the worst form sides around at the moment and suddenly they are the best around, a wake up call is definitely in the not too distant future as England have just found out.

    This Attack did great in India didn't they? They also did great in England, so well that they managed to lose to 3-0 to a side that was on the way down....

    "best of any Ashes bowling ensemble" Haha this is classic

  • Shaggy076 on January 5, 2014, 23:49 GMT

    Dino Ducci; Check out the following link on Ryan Harris career record, pay special attention to his test record. http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/5779.html Then come back and let me know if he is not quality? His career average is currently below Steyn's. Before you get too carried away, Steyn has performed over a much longer period and is deserved to be number 1 bowler in the world but Harris is quality.

  • Shaggy076 on January 5, 2014, 23:46 GMT

    Its time for everyone to calm down and read the articles before venting there displeasure at imaginary articles. Every article just suggests Australias aim is to be number 1, they know they are not there and South Africa hold that position. THe bowling claims are all based on the recent series and again haven't claimed to be number 1. As an Australian fan, I'm sure I am like every other Australian fan and player, we know South Africa is number 1 however, given our recent performance in Australian conditions which are a lot like South African conditions we hold hope that we can beat South Africa if we perform at our best. There have been no claims about being able to terrorise batsman on dead sub-continent decks, the next bridge is South Africa and that is what the Australians are focused on and all the articles are about, there has been no comments stating we are going to wipe South Africa away as they are a very well deserved #1 and there record has been outstanding for many years.

  • Shaggy076 on January 5, 2014, 23:38 GMT

    Saffacricket ; I think you will find it was 43, however please note that this was directly after South Africa had lost 9/43 in the morning.

  • dunger.bob on January 5, 2014, 23:18 GMT

    South Africans really shouldn't do the trash talk. It always sounds so unconvincing to me. They've got a good cricket team but I think those old insecurities are never far below the surface.

    @ Biggus : Re. the gong banging thing. Yeah, that sounds right. One positive for them is at least they've got enough brains to be worried about us.

  • WeirPicki on January 5, 2014, 23:10 GMT

    England have been brittle and woeful in this series. Sure Australia bowled well but the opposition was dreadful. We'll have a better idea after South Africa play them.

  • on January 5, 2014, 22:49 GMT

    Let's take a look at this Aussie bowling attack, Mojo is one bad spell away from once again losing the plot, Ryan Harris is a breakdown waiting to happen, Peter Siddle currently resembles a skeleton and Nathan Lyon has proven that he can't take wickets on spinning decks. They performed well this summer but their future is clouded along with many of their aging and injury prone batsman. So I hope they savour their Ashes triumph because I don't see them winning any of their Test series in the foreseeable future.

  • ProdigyA on January 5, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    Two things that stood out for me, one is the impressive fitness of most of the fast bowlers. Anderson, Broad, Harris, Mitch and Siddle have played all the five tests, lead their respective teams as spearheads, have performed really well without breaking down. Compare this to Zak who couldn't last one Test. India needs to have bowlers who can last so many matches yet perform to their peak every time.

    Second was the impressive turn out of crowds, specially as Mcg and SCG, it was an amazing view to see full stadium.

  • TAJS1980 on January 5, 2014, 22:19 GMT

    Prior is the 2nd finest 'keeper in the modern game behind Foster (the best ever) and I still think he is the man for Eng. I'm a massive fan of Bairstow and I think his figures belie his talent but if they're going to replace Prior, surely there is only 1 option - Steven Davies. He's an unbeleivably talented 'keeper and batsman. I do believe in 'keeper-spinner partnerships and it might be now that Prior fades but I hope not. There is too much talent in the Eng side for it to be dismissed in the way people are doing so. Jimmy, KP, Bell, Broad and Cook have still got a lot of years in them. Stokes and Root are still the future.

  • Bonehead_maz on January 5, 2014, 21:13 GMT

    Australian attack has worked together brilliantly and been wonderfully directed by Clarke. South Africa have 3 outstanding bowlers, rotating at pre-determined intervals. Watson is an important part of the Australian attack. Kallis is no longer a part of South Africa's attack. While I agree with others mentioning away wins, I don't consider South Africa, conditions wise, as an away destination. This attack could win us a series in South Africa. The UAE tour will indicate whether we've improved in the styles of bowling we most need to.

  • popcorn on January 5, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    This is the world's best bowling attack.Period.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on January 5, 2014, 20:59 GMT

    I'm enjoying all this over confidence from the Ozzie fans, it bodes nicely for SA Series as we lie in wait...Just cant wait for our boys to get stuck into that Top 6. Hopefully Watson, Smith and Bailey get picked. Should be a 5 match series.

  • cricketlover111 on January 5, 2014, 20:59 GMT

    Australian supports ecstatic, English supporters distraught, the rest of the world lost interest in this series some time ago. This happened when it became so obvious it was one of the most mismatched Ashes series ever.

  • Henry_Crun on January 5, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    @Dino Ducci - the only way that SA are going to be able to "tuck" Johnson away is if they have a bat surgically implanted in their throats.

  • on January 5, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    south Africa bowling is best in the world

  • VivGilchrist on January 5, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    So much hate and negativity! Yes, this English lineup looked bad, but maybe ask yourself, why? These batsmen were considered world class before this series. Maybe, just maybe, this attack has destroyed them? Even Cook says it's the best he's faced.....

  • on January 5, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    Good bowling display by ozzies , but the defensive approach from cook and co was to be blamed. Gone are the days when you just set on the back foot and try to defend every thing. johnson bowls two bad delivery every over . if you dont take that opportunity to score runs he will come after you and hunt you down :) thats what happened in this series. let see how he goes in Africa :)

  • MinusZero on January 5, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    England lost it with the bowling as much as the batting. England had Australia 5 down for about 150 in 4 tests and allowed them to score 300+ after that. What did they do? Go home mentally. Also the batting had no intent, you cant play out a draw with any team, you need to go after some runs. Mitchell Johnson cracks when being smacked around, why didnt they take it up to him? Also, I am not sure what to think about Australia, they were playing an England in decline, are they really that good? They did get whitewashed themselves against India in their previous series. South Africa will tell all. I figure though, if a collapse starts, it wont stop against SA's bowlers.

  • Haz95 on January 5, 2014, 20:40 GMT

    Fan of what Australia have Australia have achieved, but to call themselves the best in the world in bowling even is still very far fetched. Ryan is too old but is defo world class, mitch is nothing once he's out of form and Siddle needs Bouncy/fast wickets. The real test for Australia isn't South Africa, but UAE. Remember a worldbeating team has to perform in the subcontinent too. Since this, nearly same team, were whitewashed by India. Imagine what will happen when they face Ajmal and co. since they've not the bowling to survive on slow wickets(barring Ryan and mitch if he stays in form) and certainly don't have the batting. I see only Clarke as the world class batsmen but people like warner, rogers, haddin will all fail against quality spin since Rogers was even struggling against KP at one point...Having said that, I would love to see Pakistan vs Australia in the UAE followed by a series in Aus

  • on January 5, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    I think all you aussie baters are underestimating the one unsung hero and that is Darren Lehman. He has changed Australia's attitude and thought processes and has been a revelation. With him the hunger and desire to win as well as the never say die attitude has returned. Its ruthless and smothering and even when they were in trouble, which they were at various times during each of the test matches they never gave up. Sure there is no Ponting, Mcgrath and Warne, these are once in a lifetime cricketers but the same aggressive attitude has returned. Still having said that, I still think South Africa should win because of one man and that is Dale Steyn, but it won't be a washover

  • on January 5, 2014, 20:28 GMT

    The recent India-SA series proved that SA aren't quite the world-beaters that would justify thinking the Australian team, playing as they are at the moment, will get crushed. SA beat India 1-0 and India were competitive without effective bowlers really. Test cricket is about bowling, all dominant teams in the past did so through bowling, not batting. I think you'll find that Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson will be more than competitive.

    The main area of growth for the Australians is in their batting. I think you'll find that they coaching team is/will address the fact that in this past series the Australians lost their first 5 wickets too quickly.

    Also, have we forgotten just how ineffective Steyn, Philander and Morkel were against the Australians in Australia last time? None averaged below 28. I think the onus is on players like Philander to prove himself in this South African series, not the Australian bowling attack.

  • on January 5, 2014, 20:21 GMT

    Steady on there aussies. You do know that in the last year or so you have lost at home to SA, been hammered in India and have lost 3-0 in England, don't you? You paste the most spineless team I have ever seen in all my years of watching the game and all of a sudden recent history is vapourised and you are the best in the world. Utterly phenomenal arrogance!

  • Chris_P on January 5, 2014, 20:13 GMT

    @Dino Ducci ." Johnson is the only quality bowler"? I guess Harris's efforts didn't count? Last tour to SA an 18yo quick bower stood up & owned the SA batsmen, but he's not quality, is he? In Cummins, Pattinson, Starc, Bird & Hazelwood, we have a pool. every bit as good as the group who sliced through England, only Cummins is much quicker than MJ. Now if you said the batting was the hurdle, no questions from me, but quick bowling? That my friend is well & truly stocked to the max.

  • srizwy@gmail.com on January 5, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    While Australia have dominated and decimated England in this Series, one must not discount the overkill factor involved in keeping England motivated, particularly their bowlers to keep a sustained level of hostility and guile. I think apart from Michael Clarke none of this Australian team can be dubbed 'great' yet....they are yet to be truly tested overseas and I think will have difficulty in beating teams in the sub continental conditions as well as seaming and swing conditions in an English summer! Watch this space.....

  • on January 5, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    Mark my words, Australia is going to be crushed on the current difficult wickets in South Africa. Mitchel Johnson is the only real quality bowler. But if SA tuck hom away and he is not getting wickets he will become useless again.

  • BaasHerman on January 5, 2014, 19:23 GMT

    @64blip I don't think the proteas will lack in confidence just because they lost Jacques Kallis. I hope Ryan Mclaren replaces him in the proteas team. He's not as good as Watson but he is not a bad player at all. And also Steyn and co will do a lot better job than the useless poms. Like Ian Chappell said in this interview the English doesn't have anyone with the pace of Johnson so hey struggled. The proteas have 2 that is probably not as fast but very close to him in Steyn and Morkel. It is going to be a cracker of a series!

  • on January 5, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    With an attack that just got the drumming of their lives in India in the not too distant past, some think too highly of themselves. Yes, they are good. Outside Australia this attack is not too great. The best?! Puhleez! South African attack is still the best.

  • BaasHerman on January 5, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    The Aussie bowling attack was impressive, but against a pathetic England batting line up. Now all of a sudden they are the worlds best??? WHATEVER! Steyn and co have shown all over the world that they can perform anywhere! They destroyed the English in England last year when the aussie lost 3 zip. Let us see if the aussies can do this well in SA against a MUCH BETTER batting line up than a bunch of spineless, useless poms. If they win the series in SA, then yes, they are probably the best then. But to win a test you have to take 20 wickets. Very few teams have done that in recent times against the proteas.

    That said, I hope the series will be more exciting than the recent one against India...

  • SICHO on January 5, 2014, 19:11 GMT

    Well if pace is the case (according to some of you), then Tino Best is the best fast bowler in the world. Its not like you always need to pace succeed, McGrath didn't have it have but still ended with 563 wickets. And Philander is in that route too, all this talk of MJ having the "edge" because of pace is pathetic really. But its good that he reinvented himself, lets hope he lasts longer this time

  • 64blip on January 5, 2014, 18:33 GMT

    The Aussie bowlers were certainly the better outfit this time and Clarke should absolutely be saying they're the best in the world and believing it. Plenty of Aussie posters have pointed out their top 5 frailties and as Lehman has shown himself to be a canny operator it'll be interesting to see how he deals with it. Looking forward to Aus v SA, particularly as a neutral this time there will be no pain involved whatever the outcome! Kallis has to be a big loss, surely? Australia will be fancying this and if this Ashes has shown us anything, it's that confidence matters.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on January 5, 2014, 17:49 GMT

    Aussie pace attack is the best in the world right now , even better than the Steyn dependent SA attack , but they still don't have a solid top 6 who can negotiate tough situations which test cricket throws up , they have dashers who can go at 4 to 5 rpo given the license , but if an English attack operating at military medium could repeatedly shoot down their top 5 under 100 imagine what dale steyn will do , hadddin will not be able to perform his rescue acts every single time , against SA opening stand is the key

  • Sultan2007 on January 5, 2014, 17:47 GMT

    Yes, the Australian bowling was finally the difference and well as the Aussies bowled against arguably a superior batting line up - at least on paper - it was the failure of the english bowlers to make a sustained impact on a suspect Australian batting line up. Rogers and Smith emerged as unlikely heroes while Smith and Haddin merely showcased their class. Just goes to show that once the opposition builds up pressure of runs due to ineffective bowling, the batting, no matter how good will struggle. No one can convince me that Cook and KP and even Bell are not world class batsmen. They will come good again but they will have been scarred. Kind of reminds me of India in England last year. Of course, then the english press ridiculed the indian batsmen on their inability to play pace. Should one now say the same now for the English batting line up? Moral of the story is for the press and the experts to not get carried away with hyperbole

  • on January 5, 2014, 17:42 GMT

    Aus pace attack is definitely one of the best in the world.With kallis gone SA wont have the luxury of 5 bowlers while Aus still have watson as 5th bowler. MJ, harris & siddle are very much comparable to styen, philander & morkel. But yes SA batting is better than Aus. Except clarke Aus doesnt have any world class player. Smith & haddin have done well against Eng but things will be different against SA.

  • on January 5, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    The aussies have proved their real worth in this world class series by playing like a true world class team and have given the english blokes a hiding.Except stokes and broad are there any positives from this tour in the english sides?There were some areas of concern in the batting order of the aussie team,but all is well that ends well.We will have to wait and watch whether the aussies will keep up the brand of cricket in the south african soil where the south africans are waiting and licking their hands for an oppurtinity to dismantle the australian setup in their home soil and confirm their no.1 spot.Bailey has been a negative in this tour and i don't think he will still be there in the aussie setup.However,the frustration time for the aussie supporters has ended as their team has come back to winning ways.Cheers aussies!! :)

  • henrystephen on January 5, 2014, 17:14 GMT

    Most realistic Australian fans would acknowledge that this is not a great team, and that talk of being number 1 is premature. But frankly, who cares - it's the Ashes that counts more than anything. And the fact that the team managed to dominate these Ashes despite everyone having such low expectations makes the 5-0 even sweeter!

  • Saffacricket on January 5, 2014, 17:07 GMT

    @RJHB short memory, son, Australia all out for 49 in SA a couple of years ago? Arrogance is unpleasant in any fan, regardless of nationality. That having been said, any Saffers predicting that Oz will be rolled over are dreaming. This is a very fine bowling attack, and will give us a load of trouble. I probably agree that it is the best one right now, not thanks to MJ's pace, but the tremendous discipline of the whole unit, through every single game, with barely a poor ball. However, Oz top order is fragile, and without Haddin, the result could have been different. You were in very sticky situations in the 1st innings in almost every game. If you tighten up your top order batting, you will have a good chance of beating SA in SA and taking no 1. It will be tough on both teams. I still give SA the edge, even without Kallis, but it will be a hell of a fight.

  • xtrafalgarx on January 5, 2014, 16:12 GMT

    It's worth noting too, that Alastair Cook himself stated today that in his honest opinion, it it the best attack he has faced in his career.

  • Biggus on January 5, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    @RJHB:- I find all these people rushing to downplay our series win somewhat akin to the Chinese practice of banging gongs and cymbals and letting off fireworks to drive evil spirits away, as if they hope that they can, by doing so, prevent an Australian resurgence. Anxiety and fear mate, that's what it is.

  • xtrafalgarx on January 5, 2014, 15:32 GMT

    The teams in the world right now all aren't of very high quality. SA is probably the only team that could survive 10 years ago, but even they have their own frailties.

    Point being, you don't necessarily have to be a great team to be a good team in the world at the moment, all teams aren't that good.

  • siddhartha87 on January 5, 2014, 15:30 GMT

    MJ has proved some of his critics wrong.Now chapter 2: Demolish the Proteas like you did in 2009 MJ.

  • RJHB on January 5, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    Jeez how much negative comment?! Saffer fans talking it up, Pakistani fans equally belligerent! I agree, bigger challenges lie ahead. I fully expect the Aussie batsmen to struggle in UAE. But then what makes anyone think Pakistans batsmen are suddenly world beaters?? Sorry but they are rubbish, even in UAE! Could be close series. And SA. Short memories these SA fans. They don't like playing Mitch Johnson, their captain has nightmares! No Kallis. Still have A.B. pulling double duty. What are you hoping for, more Faf miracles? Oh and to those dissing Clarkes best in world comments re our fast bowlers, never have I seen SAs overhyped attack utterly destroy an opposition so completely in mind, body and spirit as Australia have just done to England! Now to SA, first target, Graeme Smiths hands! Second target, SA fans hearts! Both are gonna break!

  • on January 5, 2014, 14:53 GMT

    After you beat SA home or away then you Aussies can talk. Simple is it not?

  • on January 5, 2014, 14:34 GMT

    I am a Pakistan supporter but I really liked the way aussies won this series. They had the intent capability skill and above all the killer instinct. Any other team could have been complacent after winning the series 3-0. But Aussies kept the hard work on and the bowlers did a commendable job.They have'nt beaten a team that had defeated them on previous visit and with better icc ranking but they have really torn them apart.One cant say that they have the best world attack but indeed it outperformed englands attack.Great achievement at home but still they have to stamp their authority outside the world under.The same attack will look like a stingless bee in UAE and India.So lets wait for the future.

  • nareshgb1 on January 5, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    The title od the article is right - the Oz attack was indeed beeter than England. It i NOT the best pace attack in the world - comparable at best to the SA pace attack.

    The big issue was Anderson's lack of performance - turned out a complete dud. Given that he was the "spearhead" for the visitors, that bluntness in the attack jut spread everywhere and made Australia's job tha much easier.

    Not sure that is going to be the case in SA - we will know the real worth of this Oz attack after that series. It will be lot more fun watching this OZ batting line up against Steyn and Co. Heck they were in trouble umpteen time in the Ashes itself before being rescued by Haddin and the lack of energy in the Poms attack.

  • Asad_Khan1 on January 5, 2014, 14:18 GMT

    @Buggsy Although Pak doesn't have a good test record against Australia but you have to admit that both teams have played only one 2 test match series in last 4 years and when both teams played each other in England, test series was drawn 1-1. Let Australia come to UAE and we'll see that can they repeat this performance in Tests on turning tracks. No doubt that Australia played brilliantly and deserved 5-0 but don't forget that it was a home series and not so long ago almost same team was beaten in India 4-0 even when India did't have spinners like Ajmal and Rehman.

  • AB_DeVilliers on January 5, 2014, 13:23 GMT

    Typical Australian mentality - win one series against a really awful performing team and they claim to have the best this and the best that. Wasn't that very long ago when SA beat them in Oz against a very similar bowling line-up, if not the same. Still a country mile off beating the best bowling line-up or team, try not to lose a series away from home for 8 yrs and then we'll talk.

  • ajmaldomintesswann on January 5, 2014, 13:04 GMT

    Let flying aussies come to UAE,then we will see what johnson will do .Pak will whitewash aussies.Only clarke and smith can play spin.Guys like rogers and warners cant even stand one over against ajmal or even hafeez.

  • dinosaurus on January 5, 2014, 12:33 GMT

    The anti-Australian commentariat has had a good start to the year, but things they are a-changing. Don't forget just how successful Australia has been over the history of Test cricket 1.75 times as many wins as defeats, and the only nation with more "away" wins than "away" defeats. And this series shows a team capable of devising plans to take the fangs out of a batting line-up that hammered them in their own backyard last time they were here (and were confident of repeating that achievement), and, crucially, also capable of implementing those plans (even against the so-called experts). Yes. the England bats had a collective simultaneous total loss of form (or maybe the Australian bowlers were too good for them over the full 10 innings).

  • Shaggy076 on January 5, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    Mainul070980; Sell outs in England, record crowds and all games except the huge MCG sell out in Aus. High tens of thousand Aussie and English tourists travelling aboard and spending lots of. money, brilliant for both economies. Millions watching on TV - Like the ICC is going to stop that and both governments won't let it.

  • on January 5, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    @gimme-a-greentop - relax man nothing compared to the hype England were getting when beating NZ and WI in their own back yard. Saker comparing this attack to Australia in 2000's and calling anderson a better bowler than steyn. Johnson deserved MOM as he got 3 man of match awards in a series - incredible rare for a bowler. He also batted well as well. So hard luck Haddin, but well played u too. I have been ur biggest critic and u have proven me wrong.

  • inefekt on January 5, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    I put the SAF bowling lineup on top simply due to the Steyn/Philander combo, it's a scary duo they have there. Johnson and Harris are close but not quite as deadly. The third options for both teams, Siddle and Morkel are closely matched as well but again I'd give the South Africans the slight edge. Australia probably win the spin bowling with Lyon a little better than anything they have to offer, though still not a world class spin bowler, he's more than serviceable. What Australia now have, with the Kallis retirement, is the better fifth option. Watson, assuming he stays fit enough to bowl, is a very reliable and economical bowler capable of picking up key wickets and who is also capable of moving the ball both ways. Unfortunately for Australia that's as close as we come to giving SAF any real competition because their batting lineup is a class or two above ours. Smith, Amla, DeVilliers, Du Plesis are a frightening proposition for any bowling lineup.

  • Shaggy076 on January 5, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    Gimme a greentop Please point out in this article where does it say in this article that it is the world's best?

  • on January 5, 2014, 11:44 GMT

    AS i see it now with the big man J K out of S A team the playing field is not in favor of SA. Steyn is an outstanding bowler but his support was not much of a problems for the rookie Indian batsman brought up on Indian pitches. Their spin bowler is non existent. On the other hand Australia is coming off an incredible 5 - 0 wash of England with Johnson, Harris and Lyon in good form. Siddle is a warrior and will get his usual quota of wickets. On the batting font there are only two quality batsmen in SA and one of them was not in such a good nick against the Indians. I would think the favorites would be Australia. Now with JK's retiement, DeKock can debut and DeVilliers go in as a specialist batsman? But still the bowling is loaded in favor of Australia. I hope they give a great series for all cricket fans.

  • screamingeagle on January 5, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    Well played to Aussies. Will be interesting to watch the SA series. I do not think the SA team is going to be as tough as people say. Minus Kallis is a big point. That said, I think the SA batting is far better than what the English put out this series. I saw a lot of posts about how India will be doing great, I do not think so, not in tests. Bowling is awful and the batting is finding its feet. The NZ and England series will give some indication. Aussies, well the overseas tours against SA and others will show if they have indeed turned the corner. Bowling on non responsive tracks will be tough. Looks like there is going to be some teams doing tag on the no.1 ranking for this year.

  • mainul079080 on January 5, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    I think ICC should take measures in future about this kind of boring one sided back to back ''Ashes series''. 10 in number in 6 months! Wao! India-Pak clashes were never boring and one sided. Yet, English and Aussies call Ashes the most exciting and luxury series in the world!3-0 followed by 5-0 scoreline. No competition whatsoever. I have become sick of Ashes. I dont wanna see any of this Ashes series in next 3 years.

  • Buggsy on January 5, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    Sorry Cpt.Meanster, South Africa don't have a spinner and a reliable third seamer. Pakistan? Is that a joke? When was the last time they actually won a Test against Australia, never mind a whole series?

  • on January 5, 2014, 11:26 GMT

    Sa Vs Aus is going to be a great battle. I think Sa has a better attack based on the last couple of years performance. Australia will be dangerous no doubt about that.

  • xtrafalgarx on January 5, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    @Cpt.meanster: Yeah,Yeah. At least they wi always be better than Zaheer Khan and co who you have to put up with. We don't care about Tendulkar here, this is the ashes not Indian cricket.

  • Biggus on January 5, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    @dunger.bob:- Our friend freely admits he neither likes test cricket nor has time to watch it so I wouldn't be worrying too much about his comments. How relevant can they be given his oft stated prejudices in this respect?

  • Over_Cow_Corner on January 5, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    Right... I love that line "If this Ashes victory was achieved in England". You forgot the rest of the sentence, which should have been "on doctored english wickets" That was a disgrace - if England was confident of their ability, the pitches should not have required duplication of a square turning indian wicket. The wickets in that series would have been at home if dropped into Eden Gardens. England played poorly because Aus did not let them play well. The series against South Africa will be a good deal more informative about where we stand.

  • Shaggy076 on January 5, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    Cpt.Meanstar again another quality post from you, I look forward to your next offering. Caught a bit of Pakistan not being able to bowl out Sri Lanka and thought I would rather have those blokes than Johnson and Harris. By the way; Harris averages 22 runs per wicket yes an average bowler indeed. You are happy to take your hat of to India all the time although they have lost 9 of there last 10 away tests with the other being a draw - so is it only Australia that will get judged on there away record.

  • Brownly on January 5, 2014, 11:06 GMT

    Not surprisingly given Australia's poor year before this series there are many detractors and critics saying this attack was made to look good. For starters, I wonder if those people actually sat and watched every ball these Aussie bowlers bowled, or whether they just read about it. Because this was ferocious and sustained stuff that even talented commentators like the cricinfo staff have struggled to convey in words. People are predicting a smashing for the Aussies in South Africa - a possibility, of course. But I'd wager the Saffers have had an eye on this Ashes series and are preparing for a tougher fight than some fans are predicting.

  • gimme-a-greentop on January 5, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    Not to take away from the achievements of this bowling unit, Johnson and Harris in particular, but I think this is going a little over the top, and fairly typical of Aussie media on the back of an unexpected win. If they do the same to SA in South Africa then I think the 'best attack in the world' thing will have a little more credibility. England batting was weak. Having said that Johnson has always been one of my favourite bowlers to watch, even when everyone panned him.

  • dunger.bob on January 5, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    I'm not sure if they're the best in the world but they are comprehensively the best in this particular series.

    @ Cpt.Meanster : Yeah, yeah. Same old mean spirited drivel.

  • Beertjie on January 5, 2014, 10:51 GMT

    Such an ungracious response to a factually-laced balanced (not over the top) assessment, @Cpt.Meanster on (January 5, 2014, 10:09 GMT). DB mostly confined his remarks to the two Ashes contests. Even when referring to the ambition of becoming #1 he wrote "To be No. 1 in the world seemed a ridiculous ambition when the Ashes still sat in English possession. It is a rather more realistic goal now, largely because of the bowlers Australia can call upon." Your comments about the Pakistan bowling attack is unfounded opinion not supported by the rankings of individual bowlers. Your remarks along the lines of home-track bullies sounds disingenuous when considering how poorly India must have played a little more than 12 months ago to lose AT HOME to an England team (sans the under-performers, I suppose).

  • rickyvoncanterbury on January 5, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    @ Cpt.Meanster on (January 5, 2014, 10:09 GMT) it is only a matter of time and they will win in England AGAIN, and now India's spin is as effective as their pace that should not take too long either, but the Saffers now there is a team that can play at home.

  • Narkovian on January 5, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    No doubt Johnson and his cohorts of fast bowlers terrified and bamboozled the ENG batsmen. BUT you don't have to be terrifying and aggressive to make an impact in cricket. I look upon the performance of Rogers and Lyon with much respect. Two more professional and quietly spooken guys would be hard to find. No pontificating and gesturing required. Good on 'em. '

  • on January 5, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    Good series by Australian, 5-0 wow, the last time to me it felt like more skill to the Australian batsmen, this time the bowlers. Was good to see. I hope it can continue.

  • xtrafalgarx on January 5, 2014, 10:25 GMT

    Others may disagree, but it's all about confidence in your own skills and ability. I think we have the best attack in the world should it stay the same at the moment, no doubt about it. Our back ups are great too, we just need to start to get some consistency in our batting.

    If you look at the series averages our batting has been quite decent. What we need is for them to fire at the SAME TIME.

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 5, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    Yeah yeah. At the end of the day, England played poorly and made Australia look good. SA and PAK have the best bowling attacks on the planet and Australia are a distant third. Take Mitchell Johnson out of the equation, then this bowling attack is ordinary. Nathan Lyon is no match winner on his own though he is improving. Still, mountains to climb for Australia. They are far from being a champion side. If this Ashes victory was achieved in England, I would have taken my hats off to Australia. It's still a home victory, and most teams play well at home. The real mettle of a cricket team is when they win away from home.

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 5, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    Yeah yeah. At the end of the day, England played poorly and made Australia look good. SA and PAK have the best bowling attacks on the planet and Australia are a distant third. Take Mitchell Johnson out of the equation, then this bowling attack is ordinary. Nathan Lyon is no match winner on his own though he is improving. Still, mountains to climb for Australia. They are far from being a champion side. If this Ashes victory was achieved in England, I would have taken my hats off to Australia. It's still a home victory, and most teams play well at home. The real mettle of a cricket team is when they win away from home.

  • xtrafalgarx on January 5, 2014, 10:25 GMT

    Others may disagree, but it's all about confidence in your own skills and ability. I think we have the best attack in the world should it stay the same at the moment, no doubt about it. Our back ups are great too, we just need to start to get some consistency in our batting.

    If you look at the series averages our batting has been quite decent. What we need is for them to fire at the SAME TIME.

  • on January 5, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    Good series by Australian, 5-0 wow, the last time to me it felt like more skill to the Australian batsmen, this time the bowlers. Was good to see. I hope it can continue.

  • Narkovian on January 5, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    No doubt Johnson and his cohorts of fast bowlers terrified and bamboozled the ENG batsmen. BUT you don't have to be terrifying and aggressive to make an impact in cricket. I look upon the performance of Rogers and Lyon with much respect. Two more professional and quietly spooken guys would be hard to find. No pontificating and gesturing required. Good on 'em. '

  • rickyvoncanterbury on January 5, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    @ Cpt.Meanster on (January 5, 2014, 10:09 GMT) it is only a matter of time and they will win in England AGAIN, and now India's spin is as effective as their pace that should not take too long either, but the Saffers now there is a team that can play at home.

  • Beertjie on January 5, 2014, 10:51 GMT

    Such an ungracious response to a factually-laced balanced (not over the top) assessment, @Cpt.Meanster on (January 5, 2014, 10:09 GMT). DB mostly confined his remarks to the two Ashes contests. Even when referring to the ambition of becoming #1 he wrote "To be No. 1 in the world seemed a ridiculous ambition when the Ashes still sat in English possession. It is a rather more realistic goal now, largely because of the bowlers Australia can call upon." Your comments about the Pakistan bowling attack is unfounded opinion not supported by the rankings of individual bowlers. Your remarks along the lines of home-track bullies sounds disingenuous when considering how poorly India must have played a little more than 12 months ago to lose AT HOME to an England team (sans the under-performers, I suppose).

  • dunger.bob on January 5, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    I'm not sure if they're the best in the world but they are comprehensively the best in this particular series.

    @ Cpt.Meanster : Yeah, yeah. Same old mean spirited drivel.

  • gimme-a-greentop on January 5, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    Not to take away from the achievements of this bowling unit, Johnson and Harris in particular, but I think this is going a little over the top, and fairly typical of Aussie media on the back of an unexpected win. If they do the same to SA in South Africa then I think the 'best attack in the world' thing will have a little more credibility. England batting was weak. Having said that Johnson has always been one of my favourite bowlers to watch, even when everyone panned him.

  • Brownly on January 5, 2014, 11:06 GMT

    Not surprisingly given Australia's poor year before this series there are many detractors and critics saying this attack was made to look good. For starters, I wonder if those people actually sat and watched every ball these Aussie bowlers bowled, or whether they just read about it. Because this was ferocious and sustained stuff that even talented commentators like the cricinfo staff have struggled to convey in words. People are predicting a smashing for the Aussies in South Africa - a possibility, of course. But I'd wager the Saffers have had an eye on this Ashes series and are preparing for a tougher fight than some fans are predicting.

  • Shaggy076 on January 5, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    Cpt.Meanstar again another quality post from you, I look forward to your next offering. Caught a bit of Pakistan not being able to bowl out Sri Lanka and thought I would rather have those blokes than Johnson and Harris. By the way; Harris averages 22 runs per wicket yes an average bowler indeed. You are happy to take your hat of to India all the time although they have lost 9 of there last 10 away tests with the other being a draw - so is it only Australia that will get judged on there away record.