The Ashes 2013-14 January 7, 2014

Finest Ashes pace numbers since 1890

Australia's fast bowlers averaged 18.35 runs per wicket, which is the best by either team in an Ashes series since 1890. Read on for more stats highlights
30

At tea on the opening day of the Gabba Test, Australia, after choosing to bat, had been reduced to 153 for 6. For all those who had witnessed Australia's top-order struggles in England only a few months earlier, this seemed to be a familiar story repeating itself all over again. Then, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson, quite fittingly, put together Australia's first significant statement of the series, adding 114 for the seventh wicket, before Johnson started working over England's batsmen. Over the next six weeks, the pair scripted many more game-changing performances that so thoroughly demoralised England that it seems scarcely believable that the visitors would've envisaged being 1-0 up from their tea-time position on that opening day in Brisbane.

The difference between the two Ashes contests held over the last six months is stark. England won 3-0 at home, but the Australians were at pains to explain that the difference between the two teams wasn't as much as that. The series stats suggest as much as well: England averaged only about three runs more per wicket than Australia, and scored one more century. With the ball, they took four more wickets than Australia's bowlers. The brand of cricket they played was attritional; it had served them well over the last few years, and it worked here too: they scored their runs much slower than Australia, but they batted longer, gave their bowlers longer periods of rest, and won all the key moments. It didn't feel like 3-0, but it was.

In Australia, it felt like 5-0, and it was 5-0. The stats reveal the gulf between the two sides. Australia scored ten centuries, which equals their record for an Ashes campaign, while England had one, their lowest in an Ashes series in the last 40 years. England averaged 21.58 runs per wicket with the bat, their lowest Ashes average since 1950-51, while Australia's average was a healthy 41.41.

The Australian batting wasn't always top-class, but the bowling was terrifying - they took 100 wickets for the first time in a five-Test Ashes series, and the strike rate was their best in an Ashes series since 1896. The bowlers took 99 wickets (one was a run-out) at the rate of one every 45.2 balls (while the overall strike rate for the team was 44.8 balls per wicket); the last time they bettered that was in 1896. Australia's run rate of 3.75 illustrates the aggressive brand of cricket they played, compared to England's run rate of 2.99 when they won at home last year.

Ashes 2013-14 series stats
Team Runs scored Wkts lost Average 100s/ 50s Run rate Bowl SR
Australia 3189 77 41.41 10/ 15 3.75 44.8
England 2158 100 21.58 1/ 10 2.89 66.3
Ashes 2013 series stats
Team Runs scored Wkts lost Average 100s/ 50s Run rate Bowl SR
Australia 2735 89 30.73 4/ 13 3.37 67.4
England 2856 85 33.60 5/ 13 2.99 54.7

Aussie domination
In this series, the ratio of batting averages of the two teams was 1.92: Australia's average of 41.41 runs per wicket was 1.92 times England's average of 21.58. In the entire history of Ashes contests (excluding one-off Tests), this is the fourth-largest ratio between the averages of the winning and losing teams. The highest was in 1886, when England won a three-Test series 3-0; they averaged 31.02 with the bat and 13.20 with the ball. Australia take up the next four positions in the table below, with all those wins happening in the last 25 years. In 1989, when they won 4-0 in England, they averaged 57.86 with the bat and 27.71 with the ball; in the 2006-07 clean sweep, they averaged 52.77 with the bat and 26.35 with the ball, a ratio of 2.00. When England won 3-1 in Australia on their last tour, their batting average was 1.75 times the bowling average.

In their only other 5-0 Ashes triumph, in 1920-21, Australia's ratio was 1.63 (batting average 46.13, bowling average 28.35).

Highest ratio of averages in an Ashes series*
Series Win team Bat ave Los team Bat ave Ratio Series margin
1886, in England England 31.02 Australia 13.20 2.35 3-0
1989, in England Australia 57.86 England 27.71 2.09 4-0
2006-07, in Australia Australia 52.77 England 26.35 2.00 5-0
2013-14, in Australia Australia 41.41 England 21.58 1.92 5-0
2001, in England Australia 49.11 England 26.44 1.86 4-1
1888, in England England 15.10 Australia 8.45 1.79 2-1
2010-11, in Australia England 51.14 Australia 29.23 1.75 3-1
1946-47, in Australia Australia 52.71 England 30.81 1.71 3-0

The Haddin factor
Australia were by far the superior team, but one aspect of their game that wasn't convincing was their top-order batting. Repeatedly they were five down for not too many, and needed Brad Haddin and the lower order to bail them out. Australia's scores at five down in their first innings in the five Tests were as follows: 100, 257, 143, 112 and 97; except in Adelaide, their top order struggled every time. Yet, England failed to drive home the advantage, as Haddin found at least one batting partner each time to rescue the team.

The table below lists the averages of Australia's batsmen overall in the series, and in the first innings. The table shows Haddin's contributions in even better light, as 407 of his 493 runs came in the first innings, when England were still competitive in the match. Haddin scored at least a half-century each time he batted in the first innings: his scores were 94, 118, 55, 65, and 75 - 407 runs at 81.40. Steven Smith was the other batsman whose first-innings contributions stood out: he scored two centuries in the series, and both were in the first innings. His failures were in the second innings when Australia were generally under less pressure.

However, most of the other Australian batsmen struggled in the first innings. Five of them averaged less than 40, including Michael Clarke, whose 148 in Adelaide was his only meaningful first-innings contribution. David Warner, Chris Rogers and Shane Watson all averaged less than 35, while George Bailey had a shocker, aggregating 64 in five innings.

Of the ten centuries Australia scored, six were in the second innings, including two each by Warner and Rogers, and one by Watson. Given that Australia had a first-innings lead of 130-plus in four of the five Tests, the one instance where second-innings runs were scored under pressure was in Melbourne, when Australia chased a target of 231 and won comfortably, with Rogers getting 116 and Watson getting 83.

England's batsmen were poor throughout, but Michael Carberry did much better than the rest in the first innings, scoring 181 runs at 36.20; in the second innings, he scored only 100 in five tries. Kevin Pietersen managed only 115 in the first innings, while Ian Bell scored 121 - though he was unbeaten once, in Adelaide.

Australia's batsmen in the series
  1st innings Both innings
Batsman Runs Average 100s/ 50s Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Brad Haddin 407 81.40 1/ 4 493 61.62 1/ 5
Steven Smith 282 56.40 2/ 0 327 40.87 2/ 0
Michael Clarke 193 38.60 1/ 0 363 40.33 2/ 0
David Warner 163 32.60 0/ 1 523 58.11 2/ 2
Chris Rogers 156 31.20 0/ 2 463 46.30 2/ 3
Shane Watson 144 28.80 0/ 1 345 38.33 1/ 2
George Bailey 64 12.80 0/ 1 183 26.14 0/ 1
England's batsmen in the series
  1st innings Both innings
Batsman Runs Average 100s/ 50s Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Michael Carberry 181 36.20 0/ 1 281 28.10 0/ 1
Alastair Cook 122 24.40 0/ 1 246 24.60 0/ 3
Ian Bell 121 30.25 0/ 1 235 26.11 0/ 2
Kevin Pietersen 115 23.00 0/ 1 294 29.40 0/ 2
Ben Stokes 80 20.00 0/ 0 279 34.87 1/ 0
Joe Root 45 11.25 0/ 0 192 27.42 0/ 1

Australia's lower-order rescue acts
The partnership stat further illustrates how even things were between the two teams through the first half of their first innings. It also shows clearly the areas Australia will need to address before what's likely to be a tough tour to South Africa. In their first innings, their average stand for the first wicket was 20, for the third 21.80, for the fourth 23.20 and for the fifth 23.80; among the top five wickets partnerships in the first innings, only the second one made substantial runs. The opening stands in the first innings were 12, 34, 13, 19 and 22, numbers that don't inspire confidence when the next challenge will be against Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.

England's opening partnerships in the first innings were actually more substantial than Australia's: in Perth, Cook and Carberry added 85, before the rest of the batting crumbled. Add up the average stands for the first five wickets in the first innings, and Australia's score is 142 for 5; England's 124 for 5. Not a whole lot to choose between the teams there.

Look down the second half of the partnership tables, though, and huge differences emerge. Australia's average stand for the sixth wicket in their first innings was 98.80; the sum of the average stands for the last five wickets for England was 70. Australia's last five, on average, added 220. That 150-run difference completely altered the balance of the game.

Australia's sixth-wicket stands in the first innings were 32, 200, 124, 10 and 128, with Haddin being a common factor in all those stands. Out of nine century stands for Australia in the series, Haddin was involved in four. Out of the 1780 runs that Australia scored in their first innings over the entire series, 811 runs - or 45.56% - were scored when Haddin was at the crease. That's a whopping percentage of runs for a No. 7 batsman to be involved in, and it made all the difference between things being even after the first innings, and Australia getting a huge advantage at the halfway mark.

England, on the other hand, were hurt badly by the lack of significant contributions down the order. Also, the top order got starts, but failed to push on towards substantial scores: there were only two 50-plus stands in the first innings, but seven partnerships between 44 and 49. In the second innings, England had one century stand - their only one of the entire series - and six half-century partnerships, but it was still too little too late.

One century stand is also England's poorest effort in an Ashes campaign since 1950-51. In the 2013 series in England, both teams had six century stands.

Average partnerships for Australia
  1st innings Both innings
Wkt Average 100/ 50 stands Average 100/ 50 stands
1st 20.00 0/ 0 41.90 1/ 2
2nd 53.00 1/ 1 45.50 2/ 1
3rd 21.80 0/ 1 47.11 1/ 2
4th 23.20 0/ 0 36.12 0/ 2
5th 23.80 0/ 1 38.75 1/ 2
6th 98.80 3/ 0 69.12 3/ 0
7th 52.60 1/ 1 55.28 1/ 2
8th 21.40 0/ 1 20.66 0/ 1
9th 16.20 0/ 0 15.33 0/ 0
10th 31.50 0/ 0 27.20 0/ 0
Average partnerships for England
  1st innings Both innings
Wkt Average 100/ 50 stands Average 100/ 50 stands
1st 35.20 0/ 1 25.00 0/ 2
2nd 26.00 0/ 0 27.10 0/ 1
3rd 19.60 0/ 0 30.50 1/ 1
4th 26.00 0/ 1 27.60 0/ 2
5th 17.00 0/ 0 27.10 0/ 1
6th 12.20 0/ 0 22.30 0/ 1
7th 14.80 0/ 0 16.90 0/ 0
8th 8.80 0/ 0 13.70 0/ 0
9th 9.40 0/ 0 11.00 0/ 0
10th 24.80 0/ 0 14.60 0/ 0

Pace like fire
In the 2013 series in England, there had been little to choose between the pace attacks of England and Australia. Australia's fast bowlers took more wickets - 69 to 58 - but the averages were almost the same - 30.04 for Australia, 30.89 for England.

In the return series, led by a rampaging Mitchell Johnson, Australia's pace attack was all over England's batsmen. Of the 99 wickets taken by Australia's bowlers, 79 went to their fast bowlers, at an average of 18.35 runs, and a strike rate of 42.4 balls per wicket. England's fast bowlers didn't do too badly, averaging a respectable 34.86, but their batting was so poor that they didn't stand a chance. The average of 18.35 is the best by an Australian pace attack in an Ashes series since 1890, when they averaged 18.28 and took 14 wickets in two Tests. In fact, it's the best by the pace attack of either team in an Ashes series since 1890.

In the first innings, especially, Australia's quick men were unstoppable. Johnson took 21 wickets at 12.33, Ryan Harris 11 at 17.27, and Peter Siddle nine at 18.55. England didn't do too badly in the first innings either: Stuart Broad's 17 wickets cost 22.88 each, Anderson's 10 came at 34.60 and Ben Stokes took 10 at 27.80, but then Australia's first-innings bowling was so strong, and England's batting so feeble, that by the time the second innings came along, Australia already had such a big lead and England's bowlers had had so little time to put their feet up, that the second innings was a no-contest.

In the second innings, Anderson took just four wickets and each of them cost him 67.25 runs, while Broad's four wickets cost him 47.25 each. Johnson, meanwhile, took 16 second-wickets at 16.12.

England's spin department did them no favours either. That was a battle they had won convincingly in the home series, but in Australia, Nathan Lyon completely outbowled England's spinners: Australia's spin accounted for 20 wickets at 30.80, while England's took 14 at 72.42. In the second innings, when the pitches started helping spinners more, Lyon proved quite a handful, but England's spinners were completely ineffective, and the match situations and lack of pressure on the Australian batsmen didn't help either.

How the bowling attacks compared
  1st innings 2nd innings
  Wickets Average Strike rate Wickets Average Strike rate
Aus - pace 44 15.45 38.9 35 22.00 46.9
Eng - pace 41 29.34 54.7 19 46.78 67.7
Aus - spin 6 40.67 82.3 14 26.57 45.0
Eng - spin 6 89.16 143.0 8 59.87 89.1

The head-to-head battles

Johnson dominated almost all the England batsmen right through the series, but the one batsman who withstood his onslaught and didn't get out to him even once was Ian Bell: in 98 balls Bell scored 48 runs without being out. However, the Australian attack worked as a pack, and if Johnson didn't have Bell's number, then Harris and Siddle did: both dismissed Bell three times each, and gave very little away.

Siddle took the least wickets among Australia's three fast bowlers, but did wonderfully against England's two main middle-order batsmen, Bell and Pietersen. Both scored at less than two runs per over against him, which kept up the pressure on England's batsmen and ensured that there were no easy runs on offer at any stage of the innings. Shane Watson took only four wickets in the series, but three of those were of Carberry's, who averaged five against him. There was thus at least one Australian bowler who had the wood on each of England's top-order batsmen.

England batsmen v Australian bowlers
Batsman Bowler Runs Balls Dismissals Average
Ian Bell Mitchell Johnson 48 98 0 -
Alastair Cook Mitchell Johnson 73 128 4 18.25
Stuart Broad Mitchell Johnson 25 56 4 6.25
Ian Bell Peter Siddle 31 102 3 10.33
Ian Bell Ryan Harris 64 132 3 21.33
Michael Carberry Shane Watson 15 41 3 5.00
Michael Carberry Mitchell Johnson 66 146 3 22.00
Kevin Pietersen Peter Siddle 72 218 3 24.00
Kevin Pietersen Ryan Harris 52 114 3 17.33

England's bowlers had a few head-to-head battles to cherish - like Broad's domination of George Bailey and Anderson's successes against Watson - but they weren't nearly enough in a five-match series.

Rogers scored only 27 runs from 107 balls off Graeme Swann, but handled the pace of Stokes and Anderson far more comfortably. Haddin won most of his battles against England's bowlers, averaging 108 against Anderson, 76 against Broad, and not falling once to Swann or Panesar.

Australian batsmen v England bowlers
Batsman Bowler Runs Balls Dismissals Average
George Bailey Stuart Broad 36 73 4 9.00
Shane Watson James Anderson 71 130 4 17.75
David Warner Stuart Broad 136 153 4 34.00
Michael Clarke Ben Stokes 46 98 3 15.33
Brad Haddin James Anderson 108 126 1 108.00
Brad Haddin Stuart Broad 76 126 1 76.00
Chris Rogers James Anderson 98 262 1 98.00
Chris Rogers Ben Stokes 124 169 1 124.00
Brad Haddin Swann+Panesar 118 175 0 -

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bonehead_maz on January 7, 2014, 5:14 GMT

    Wonderful article, thanks very much. Nice to know we are not all crazy when we think we've seen the best bowling we ever saw. We did ! *phew. Interesting to me is the Australian batting. There is a very popular opinion circulating that Shane Watson should not bat at No3. With a first innings of 28 it looks to be correct. The 53 first innings average for 2nd wicket jumped off the page at me. Warner and Rogers seem to like batting with Watson. If each of our first five partnerships averaged 53, I'd be far happier ! (I therefore think Watson's doing an ok job). Also amid the (deserved) hoopla of the bowlers and Haddin, I'd like to thank Steve Smith. I think he played exceptionally well this series. Thanks again these breakdowns/comparisons are outstandingly interesting.

  • ScottStevo on January 8, 2014, 21:42 GMT

    @Bonehead_Maz, I wasn't surprised we'd selected him. In fact, I thought it was quite a good selection for numerous reasons - none of which make any difference if he can't put any runs on the board! I'd also be very surprised if he's in the starting XI against SA and nobody could disagree with dropping him. We need to groom Hughes to take over the opening role post Rogers (which isn't far away) and I'd be surprised if Hughes isn't part of the touring party considering some of his earlier scores there. Anyone who bowls offies will do the job against him though :) White is a name that keeps coming up. He seemed to start the season well, so you wouldn't rule him out either.

  • Bonehead_maz on January 8, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    @ hes_a_victorian. I agree. @ ScottStevo. I think Bailey must be replaced. I can understand all the reasons they want him to be in the squad, but they don't outweigh batting failure. I was slightly surprised they picked him in the first place. For all of exactly the same reasons they picked Bailey, might they not have, or now pick White ? I'd be pretty sure Ferguson's name is also mentioned by the guys that count. I also thought Hughes batted rather well when given No6 at Trent Bridge and there are no good offies in SA.

  • ScottStevo on January 8, 2014, 13:32 GMT

    @Biggus, I can't disagree with that. If we gave him license to play ODI style innings (within reason, of course!) from there, he could terrorise attacks. At the moment, I just can't see who is more qualified to take the #3 role from him. Both he and Clarke as seriously guilty of getting out just before a break / end of the day. It's really effen annoying!

    @he's_a_victorian, I think we've got a great #6 in Callum Ferguson. He has all the skills. Did reasonably well last season avg 41, is averaging 72 this season. Can certainly assess the situation well and up his game - he averages 41 in ODIs after 25 matches for us. He's late 20s so is mature enough to know his own game and with his proven int'l record, he looks the real deal - and is a genuine middle order batsman. Yet rarely do I hear his name thrown around by pundits. Makes me wonder who this bloke has slept with!!! I feel for GB, and I hate changing a winning side, but he must be on uber thin ice, if any at all with his spot.

  • on January 8, 2014, 8:24 GMT

    This is what Ashes when Australia demolishes England

  • on January 8, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    yep great article. alls you gots to do is pick a best 11 from the series. stockes & board for bailey & (yes) siddle tells everything about the series. & Australia did not play that weel. sure, they bowled brilliantly as a team, but the batsmen would have allowed a fighting opposition a foot in the door most all fist innings. & hows about some fielding stats; catches taken, those missed & then the same for keeping. including the ones that went untouched.

  • Biggus on January 8, 2014, 4:49 GMT

    @ScottStevo:- I love it if Watto could nail down number three. Unfortunately the word is now out that if you can tie him down he'll get itchy feet and do something silly. Every bowler in the world now knows it, and they'll attack him on that point. And there's that tendency to lose concentration just before a break. I have to admit though I don't really know who we should bat at 3 so my point is moot, I just have a gut feeling that if he would accept being moved down to 6 we could really see him run amok.

  • hes_a_victorian on January 8, 2014, 2:25 GMT

    A few comments to add: 1/ No. 6 is an awkward position to bat, and requires a player with a broad skills set. They don't have to be the most classical player but need to be able to adapt their game to the situation. We got spoiled with Hussey because he was the complete package (technically sound and great reader of the match situation). I don't see Watto being in that mould. Bailey looks deficient in his technique at test level (pace bowling). 2/ Watto fit is definitely in the best XI. It's the sum of the parts that makes him so valuable and there isn't a natural replacement yet for No. 3, He's getting continuity now too and scores are improving. 3/ The pace bowling in this series was the difference. I don't care how good South Africa is (notably weakend without Kallis), if the bowling stays at that extraordinary level, South Africa will feel the pressure as well, and Johnson has terrorised them a number of times before, so there's history in that respect.

  • pat_one_back on January 8, 2014, 1:53 GMT

    Interesting to see that Aust fractionally out bowled Eng statistically at least in Eng whilst those criticising Sidds & Clarke's statements are claiming the Aust attack has only performed for just 5 tests at home. Haters got to hate I guess!

  • on January 8, 2014, 0:02 GMT

    the series told us more about the state of the English team than that of the Aussies. The Aussie top 6 still has so many questions about it that need to be answered. Brad Haddin cant be expected to rescue the first innings every match and the bowlers eventually are going to need a decent score to defend.

  • Bonehead_maz on January 7, 2014, 5:14 GMT

    Wonderful article, thanks very much. Nice to know we are not all crazy when we think we've seen the best bowling we ever saw. We did ! *phew. Interesting to me is the Australian batting. There is a very popular opinion circulating that Shane Watson should not bat at No3. With a first innings of 28 it looks to be correct. The 53 first innings average for 2nd wicket jumped off the page at me. Warner and Rogers seem to like batting with Watson. If each of our first five partnerships averaged 53, I'd be far happier ! (I therefore think Watson's doing an ok job). Also amid the (deserved) hoopla of the bowlers and Haddin, I'd like to thank Steve Smith. I think he played exceptionally well this series. Thanks again these breakdowns/comparisons are outstandingly interesting.

  • ScottStevo on January 8, 2014, 21:42 GMT

    @Bonehead_Maz, I wasn't surprised we'd selected him. In fact, I thought it was quite a good selection for numerous reasons - none of which make any difference if he can't put any runs on the board! I'd also be very surprised if he's in the starting XI against SA and nobody could disagree with dropping him. We need to groom Hughes to take over the opening role post Rogers (which isn't far away) and I'd be surprised if Hughes isn't part of the touring party considering some of his earlier scores there. Anyone who bowls offies will do the job against him though :) White is a name that keeps coming up. He seemed to start the season well, so you wouldn't rule him out either.

  • Bonehead_maz on January 8, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    @ hes_a_victorian. I agree. @ ScottStevo. I think Bailey must be replaced. I can understand all the reasons they want him to be in the squad, but they don't outweigh batting failure. I was slightly surprised they picked him in the first place. For all of exactly the same reasons they picked Bailey, might they not have, or now pick White ? I'd be pretty sure Ferguson's name is also mentioned by the guys that count. I also thought Hughes batted rather well when given No6 at Trent Bridge and there are no good offies in SA.

  • ScottStevo on January 8, 2014, 13:32 GMT

    @Biggus, I can't disagree with that. If we gave him license to play ODI style innings (within reason, of course!) from there, he could terrorise attacks. At the moment, I just can't see who is more qualified to take the #3 role from him. Both he and Clarke as seriously guilty of getting out just before a break / end of the day. It's really effen annoying!

    @he's_a_victorian, I think we've got a great #6 in Callum Ferguson. He has all the skills. Did reasonably well last season avg 41, is averaging 72 this season. Can certainly assess the situation well and up his game - he averages 41 in ODIs after 25 matches for us. He's late 20s so is mature enough to know his own game and with his proven int'l record, he looks the real deal - and is a genuine middle order batsman. Yet rarely do I hear his name thrown around by pundits. Makes me wonder who this bloke has slept with!!! I feel for GB, and I hate changing a winning side, but he must be on uber thin ice, if any at all with his spot.

  • on January 8, 2014, 8:24 GMT

    This is what Ashes when Australia demolishes England

  • on January 8, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    yep great article. alls you gots to do is pick a best 11 from the series. stockes & board for bailey & (yes) siddle tells everything about the series. & Australia did not play that weel. sure, they bowled brilliantly as a team, but the batsmen would have allowed a fighting opposition a foot in the door most all fist innings. & hows about some fielding stats; catches taken, those missed & then the same for keeping. including the ones that went untouched.

  • Biggus on January 8, 2014, 4:49 GMT

    @ScottStevo:- I love it if Watto could nail down number three. Unfortunately the word is now out that if you can tie him down he'll get itchy feet and do something silly. Every bowler in the world now knows it, and they'll attack him on that point. And there's that tendency to lose concentration just before a break. I have to admit though I don't really know who we should bat at 3 so my point is moot, I just have a gut feeling that if he would accept being moved down to 6 we could really see him run amok.

  • hes_a_victorian on January 8, 2014, 2:25 GMT

    A few comments to add: 1/ No. 6 is an awkward position to bat, and requires a player with a broad skills set. They don't have to be the most classical player but need to be able to adapt their game to the situation. We got spoiled with Hussey because he was the complete package (technically sound and great reader of the match situation). I don't see Watto being in that mould. Bailey looks deficient in his technique at test level (pace bowling). 2/ Watto fit is definitely in the best XI. It's the sum of the parts that makes him so valuable and there isn't a natural replacement yet for No. 3, He's getting continuity now too and scores are improving. 3/ The pace bowling in this series was the difference. I don't care how good South Africa is (notably weakend without Kallis), if the bowling stays at that extraordinary level, South Africa will feel the pressure as well, and Johnson has terrorised them a number of times before, so there's history in that respect.

  • pat_one_back on January 8, 2014, 1:53 GMT

    Interesting to see that Aust fractionally out bowled Eng statistically at least in Eng whilst those criticising Sidds & Clarke's statements are claiming the Aust attack has only performed for just 5 tests at home. Haters got to hate I guess!

  • on January 8, 2014, 0:02 GMT

    the series told us more about the state of the English team than that of the Aussies. The Aussie top 6 still has so many questions about it that need to be answered. Brad Haddin cant be expected to rescue the first innings every match and the bowlers eventually are going to need a decent score to defend.

  • binojpeter on January 8, 2014, 0:02 GMT

    One of the achievements from England side that went unnoticed in the final day was Stuart Broad achieving 2000 runs and 200 wickets in Test cricket when he crossed 2000 runs on final day. A remarkable milestone for an alrounder!

  • ScottStevo on January 7, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    @Biggus, possibly. However, I think you'll find that Watson's phase II (so to speak) begun in the 09 Ashes where we promoted him to open the batting. A role in which he did rather well, other than going on to make big scores when passing 50. After an injury lay off the role was given to Cowan and upon Watson's return, was then thrown up and down the order. Cowan and Warner's opening partnership wasn't bad, but certainly not anything to write home about, so I can see why Watson was peeved when Arthur was throwing him all over the place and retaining Cowan in what I'd imagine he'd have thought was his opening spot. The point I'm trying to make here is that WE selected Watson as opener, a role he averages 41 at. Arthur changed all that by retaining Cowan even when Watson returned at Watson's expense -even though he'd never done enough to warrant overtaking him. My 2 bobs on it anyway. Personally, I'm happy with Watto at 3, he averages around 44 there. The only change I'd make is CF for GB

  • xylo on January 7, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    Australia better strengthen their batting to make the SA series interesting!

  • Clyde on January 7, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    Being an opening batsman has nothing to do with your supposed style of play. It is an attitude. Some of them won't even accept anything other than facing the first ball. They have got to have the shiniest ball and the quickest bowling. It is dramatic. To ask Watto to go in later is wrong, while he is having a reasonable effect against fast bowlers. Add to this Watto's bowling at around two runs an over and you understand why those who decide with their sense of the man and not more quantitative logic say he is so valuable. And it is about team: if you have precisely the other players you have you find Watto is, contrary to what used to be said, highly complementary, part of the variety you need.

  • Biggus on January 7, 2014, 14:51 GMT

    @ScottStevo:- Justin Langer wasn't an opener early in his career. Mike Hussey was. I think the problem is in Watson's mind- He thinks he's a top order batsman and when he plays down the order there's some sort of resentment which stops him giving his best there, unlike Langer and Hussey who were prepared to bat wherever the team needed them to and still give their best.

  • ScottStevo on January 7, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    @Bonehad_maz, it shouldn't be a popular opinion, yet it is. I think the problem is we can all see that Watson has the talent, yet never seems to fully realise his potential. Even when he has a reasonable series, it's still regarded as a failure as we expect more from him. The numbers here would suggest he did rather well considering how early he was always at the crease too in our 1st innings. Any way, I'm sick to death of pointing it out to people, but Watson IS NOT an all rounder and he IS NOT a lower order batsman. Just check statsguru for his averages as opener, at 3 aagisnt those when he's in the lower order - then tell me a. we've got someone better to fill that position (Doolan isn't even averaging as many at state level as Watson is at test level!) and b. he's a lower order bat.

  • on January 7, 2014, 8:41 GMT

    Agree here! Watson should bat at 6. It is the allrounder spot and he is an allrounder not a number 3. The trouble is we don´t have a number 3 batsman at the moment and that is why I Believe we won´t beat SA until we do...

  • kempvet on January 7, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    This is where the truth lies, the 3-0 loss in 2013 in England was far closer than what most people think, and now the statistics prove the point.

  • on January 7, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    i still think that english team looked exhausted in ashes in australia . australia did not win because they are better team but english team was just played too bad.

  • Biggus on January 7, 2014, 7:17 GMT

    @Bonehead_maz:- Huge fan of Lyon's mate. As a purveyor of Offies myself I really like what I see, excellent action, lots of bounce and plenty of rip. For a guy who came into the side with minimal first class experience his progress has been little short of astonishing. He and Harris are my two faves atm, but they have plenty of competition (Siddle, Rogers, Haddin).

  • xtrafalgarx on January 7, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    What a great analysis. Statistically backing up what we all believed was a dominant display by the Australian team.

  • Bonehead_maz on January 7, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    @ Biggus. I am one who for about 3 years has wished Mitchell Marsh would prove my eyes right and displace he who never did prove my eyes right (Watson). But .......Although I've never been sure Watson would bat better at 6 than 1,2,3, it seemed an obvious move, and I was all for it. Until Melbourne made me think about Perth. Then Sydney had me starting to tell my surroundings (bored wife)...... "OMG it's finally happened, Watson has finally stopped thinking about batting and is batting. This could be even better than Mitch's comeback." Then of course the front pad, then of course brain fade (an over before lunch he started thinking again) ...... oh front pad again ....." These numbers (53 for 2nd wicket 1st innings) surprised me. I certainly agree with Jonesy2 also, those numbers surprised me too. (I somehow more remembered Lyon's first innings wickets). Imagine what Lyon's 2nd innings numbers would have been if we didn't play with (rather than finish) them late in the last match ?

  • Biggus on January 7, 2014, 6:02 GMT

    @Bonehead_maz:- I'd still prefer Watson batted at 6. He just seems like he would be a good fit there, far better than at 3 IMHO.

  • Biggus on January 7, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    As someone who saw the 74/75 series Vs England and the 75/76 series Vs the Windies when Jeff Thomson was at his terrifying best with Lillee, ably backed up by Walker and Mallett in the former and Walker, Mallett and Gilmour in the latter I'd have to say the current crop in their current form are as good as anything I've seen play for Australia. Oh but England were terrible in this series they say! Well the Windies in 75/76 looked terrible too, and we know they were not really all that bad. Here lies an important truth:- That when a bowling attack is in that sort of form they make it very hard for the opposition to look good. Just as when one is playing chess against a more skilled opponent every move one makes just seems to make things worse. As one struggles one is sucked further into the quicksand. That's what it felt like when England beat us down here last time where, besides Perth, they didn't make the mistakes that would allow us back into the game.

  • Ragav999 on January 7, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    Thorough and comprehensive analysis revealing how dominant this victory is. The true impact may only be felt when we look back at this series after years and realize how mind boggling these numbers are.

  • ShutTheGate on January 7, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    No matter how you look at it, it's a comprehensive thumping and should go down as one of the great victories.

    If the Aussie can improve their performance in the top order in first innings, home as well as away then they can be world beaters.

  • jonesy2 on January 7, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    the one thing that sticks out to me that isn't getting the credit it deserves is nate lyons performance. average of 26 in the second innings. that will spell trouble for sth Africa

  • disco_bob on January 7, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    Agreed, England were well beaten.

  • C.Gull on January 7, 2014, 4:14 GMT

    Sensational analysis.

  • wellrounded87 on January 7, 2014, 3:06 GMT

    The stats for the 2013 series in England tell the true story. Really shows that there wasn't much at all between the sides and the 3-0 scoreline truly was flattering to England. England were on a decline while Australia are in rebuilding phase. England were always going to struggle and Australia were always going to improve still didn't see a 5-0 thumping coming though but i did expect Australia to win this series. Can't wait to see how they go in SA still a lot of holes in this side

  • wellrounded87 on January 7, 2014, 3:06 GMT

    The stats for the 2013 series in England tell the true story. Really shows that there wasn't much at all between the sides and the 3-0 scoreline truly was flattering to England. England were on a decline while Australia are in rebuilding phase. England were always going to struggle and Australia were always going to improve still didn't see a 5-0 thumping coming though but i did expect Australia to win this series. Can't wait to see how they go in SA still a lot of holes in this side

  • C.Gull on January 7, 2014, 4:14 GMT

    Sensational analysis.

  • disco_bob on January 7, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    Agreed, England were well beaten.

  • jonesy2 on January 7, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    the one thing that sticks out to me that isn't getting the credit it deserves is nate lyons performance. average of 26 in the second innings. that will spell trouble for sth Africa

  • ShutTheGate on January 7, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    No matter how you look at it, it's a comprehensive thumping and should go down as one of the great victories.

    If the Aussie can improve their performance in the top order in first innings, home as well as away then they can be world beaters.

  • Ragav999 on January 7, 2014, 5:41 GMT

    Thorough and comprehensive analysis revealing how dominant this victory is. The true impact may only be felt when we look back at this series after years and realize how mind boggling these numbers are.

  • Biggus on January 7, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    As someone who saw the 74/75 series Vs England and the 75/76 series Vs the Windies when Jeff Thomson was at his terrifying best with Lillee, ably backed up by Walker and Mallett in the former and Walker, Mallett and Gilmour in the latter I'd have to say the current crop in their current form are as good as anything I've seen play for Australia. Oh but England were terrible in this series they say! Well the Windies in 75/76 looked terrible too, and we know they were not really all that bad. Here lies an important truth:- That when a bowling attack is in that sort of form they make it very hard for the opposition to look good. Just as when one is playing chess against a more skilled opponent every move one makes just seems to make things worse. As one struggles one is sucked further into the quicksand. That's what it felt like when England beat us down here last time where, besides Perth, they didn't make the mistakes that would allow us back into the game.

  • Biggus on January 7, 2014, 6:02 GMT

    @Bonehead_maz:- I'd still prefer Watson batted at 6. He just seems like he would be a good fit there, far better than at 3 IMHO.

  • Bonehead_maz on January 7, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    @ Biggus. I am one who for about 3 years has wished Mitchell Marsh would prove my eyes right and displace he who never did prove my eyes right (Watson). But .......Although I've never been sure Watson would bat better at 6 than 1,2,3, it seemed an obvious move, and I was all for it. Until Melbourne made me think about Perth. Then Sydney had me starting to tell my surroundings (bored wife)...... "OMG it's finally happened, Watson has finally stopped thinking about batting and is batting. This could be even better than Mitch's comeback." Then of course the front pad, then of course brain fade (an over before lunch he started thinking again) ...... oh front pad again ....." These numbers (53 for 2nd wicket 1st innings) surprised me. I certainly agree with Jonesy2 also, those numbers surprised me too. (I somehow more remembered Lyon's first innings wickets). Imagine what Lyon's 2nd innings numbers would have been if we didn't play with (rather than finish) them late in the last match ?

  • xtrafalgarx on January 7, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    What a great analysis. Statistically backing up what we all believed was a dominant display by the Australian team.