The Ashes 2013-14 January 7, 2014

Australia's Ashes turning point

How a team meeting in Taunton, and an unsuccessful tour of England, set Australia on the path to their 5-0 sweep at home
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Sydney crowd celebrate Ashes triumph

In the history of Australian cricket, almost as many pivotal moments have taken place in hotels and meeting rooms as on cricket grounds. Thrilling play on the field has often evolved from moments of clarity and direction off it, from the Chennai hotel celebrations of Allan Border's team following a one-run win over India in the opening match of the 1987 World Cup to the poolside summit called in Barbados by Mark Taylor ahead of the 1995 triumph in the Caribbean.

For the current group, basking in the glory of a 5-0 Ashes sweep over an England team favoured to defeat them scarcely two months ago, one such moment arrived at the Castle Hotel in Taunton on June 24 last year. That morning in Bristol, the shocked tourists had been informed of Mickey Arthur's sacking as coach, and that Darren Lehmann had been drafted in to replace him.

By the time the team bus arrived in Somerset, Lehmann was ready to address the 17-man squad plus support staff, and in doing so offered a simple message about playing aggressive, Australian cricket, and keeping the game in balance with life. Most of all, he reminded the players that this was all meant to be fun. "This should be the time of your lives," he told them. Minutes afterwards, Brad Haddin spoke. His words are worth recounting.

"I'm pretty confident we'll go in the right direction over the next two weeks," he said at the time. "The bottom line is we've got to perform and I'm comfortable with where this group's at. We've got the best cricketers in Australia here and I'm comfortable we can move forward with that. We as a group have to be accountable for where we want to take this team, and we'll see how successful that is."

Success was not immediate, of course. A narrow defeat at Trent Bridge was followed by a vast one at Lord's, the first of two series surrendered in the space of two matches. But critically, the team's attitude had changed, a previously insular, cliquey and put-upon group of players working increasingly towards team-oriented goals while the coaches and backroom team planned and cajoled in equal measure. Enthusiasm for the task grew quickly, even if aptitude for it took longer.

To witness England's disintegration in Australia was to appreciate how critical it was that Australia had not done the same in the northern summer, returning home with a feeling of unity and gathering strength they would back-up with decisive action from Brisbane onwards. Looking back on the two campaigns, the captain Michael Clarke was adamant that victory at home would not have been possible without the regrouping that took place on the road.

"I think it turned around in England," he said. "Our attitude certainly changed, our work ethic I couldn't fault the players in the UK, our preparation was outstanding, it was just unfortunate we couldn't get over the line for a number of reasons. There was a bit of bad luck at times, a little bit of rain around, but we knew as a team we were heading in the right direction, so our preparation and hard work are the reasons we sit here with success today."

For Lehmann, the change in the team's arc was driven by his efforts to give direction to players who had been training intently but without a sense of wider purpose. The direction he imparted included the fostering of an aggressive attitude on the pitch but a balanced one off it. Time to let off steam away from the game was encouraged, while team activities brought levity. The introduction of a joke of the day has been well-documented, but quiz nights orchestrated by the team doctor Peter Brukner also helped.

"I just think direction was missing," Lehmann said. "Direction is all they needed, as a playing group and support staff needed some direction for where we wanted to go and how we wanted to go about it. I was very pleased with the work ethic, they certainly would have worked hard under Mickey and all those things ... it was how we wanted to go about the quality of training and who we were playing against.

"I still say that's one of the best tours I've ever been on, so from our point of view it was a learning tour if you like. You don't want to lose 3-0, every game we play we're trying to win, so that was disappointing. But in essence where we wanted to get to as a playing group on and off the ground it was an exceptional tour for us."

Though Brisbane was the signal instant on the field, as the team rumbled to a first Test victory since the first week of 2013, Lehmann and the players sensed the fruits of their new direction in Manchester, Durham and at The Oval. England may have been victorious at Chester-le-Street, but they were cornered in the other two matches, rain intervening at convenient times. Australia did not come home with a winning feeling, but they had been close enough to touch it.

"I felt that dressing room feeling was there at Old Trafford and The Oval for the way we played there," Lehmann said. "Even Durham, I know we harked back on it was a great learning curve to be 2 for 140 and not get the runs. The pleasing thing last week in Melbourne was chasing those runs and getting them two down. From our point of view learning to win was the big thing, and now it becomes a lot easier to do that, but obviously you've got to go forward as a Test team and we have to win away from home."

The last word on how Australia turned around their Ashes fortunes should probably go to Ryan Harris. While it was Mitchell Johnson who crashed through the visitors in Australia, it was Harris who more than anyone epitomised the determination of this team not to end the two series empty-handed. His skill and heart were never to be questioned, but no-one was more delighted to see something unified and lasting grow around him.

"The group we've got, not just the players but the staff and everyone around us, is just amazing," Harris said. "I've said that many times that I want to be a part of this team as long as I can. It's an unbelievable team. We knew we were close in England. We just had things that didn't go our way, other times we didn't play well enough. I said when we got back from England that we've got to learn from what we do wrong, and we did that.

"We had a couple of sessions even in this series where it didn't go to plan. But we had players, like Hadds and the way he played in partnerships with Mitch and various other batsmen got us out of it. We play for each other. That's the main thing. There's no individuals in this team. That's what we do. There's no surprise we got the results we did."

It is cold and dank in Taunton right now, cricket packed up for some months yet in the dark recesses of a northern winter. But at the Castle Hotel, a few staff members can afford themselves a moment of reflection, for it was within their walls that the vital first seeds of Australia's Ashes success were sown.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 9, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    I think Australia need a new number 6, or perhaps more realistically a new batting line up. Number 6 needs to be able to be capable of aggression when chasing fast runs, as well as batting sensibly with the tail and stopping a collapse. I don't feel like bailey can do the latter. I'd suggest dropping watson to 6, but i don't think he can do the sensible batting either.

    Maybe slide smith to 6, clarke back to 5, and get someone in at 4. My choice would be Hughes on form, but Doolan seems the choice at the moment.

  • Thegimp on January 9, 2014, 0:27 GMT

    @muzika_tchaikovskogo.........outlandish but true, Bell, a world beater at home and on dry dusty wickets and nowhere over here. Cook, racked up runs at will in India,but nowhere here after two seasons of producing pitches to blunt SA and Aust pace bowling attacks in England.

    You can't deny that India have had some of the most talented batsmen in history over the last two decades. Sachin, VVS, Dravid, Ganguly, Sehwag, MS Dhoni and many others and yet they haven't won in Australia. Even now their replacements are ridiculously talented and yet can't crack it on fast bouncy wickets, similar to Aust batting in India. The only difference is we only tour India occasionally, your guys have got SA, Australia, West Indies, England (when they aren't doctoring and I would bet that they don't produce dust bowls when India tours) NZ and UAE.

    The only thing that has stopped India from dominating the sport over the last 20 years is not being able to win consistantly overseas.

  • Vishnu27 on January 8, 2014, 23:02 GMT

    Saeed Iqbal: Australia has NOT lost a test series in SA since their reintroduction to cricket. Another fact: Pakistan has long been an ordinary team & continues to be. Not doing so well currently against an all at sea SL. Perhaps not the best time to shoot your mouth off

  • pat_one_back on January 8, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    @Saeed Iqbal, India's pitches were prepared with a flat stump to stump lane and crumbling edges to nullify fast bowling lines & assist only spin lines. India picked just 1-2 non-spinners, spinners opened the bowling Day 1. Hardly conditions to test a balanced attack yet still it was poor batting to spin that lost the series. Don't be deceived that all Aust/NZ/SA/Eng pitches aid fast bowling, they don't outright discourage it but it's generally hard work by Day 2/3, that's what we call a good fair pitch. Quicks get some natural assistance days 1 & 2, batsmen own day 3 once movement dies and spinners take advantage of wear by days 4/5. Giving spinners the advantage from day 1 is purely to contrive a home result. Look forward to seeing more of Pakistan's young quicks, we've long had great respect for them in Aust, Wasim & Waqar were certainly capable of sub-20 average tours in their day.

  • on January 8, 2014, 14:51 GMT

    The contest between Australia and South Africa should be near even seeing as Australia and South Africa have played well on their own respective series and how they have played well against one another in previous series. SA are in need of a replacement for Kallis whilst Australia need a No.6 who is consistent. AbD has also sustained a hand injuries with SAs hoping he is going to be able to play, even putting A backup keeper on stand by Australia's reformed bowling attack at this point in time seems to match SAs attack in terms of experience and pace. Johnson vs Steyn, Harris vs Morkel and Siddle vs Philander. Australia's batsmen have also stepped up during the recent ashes series but their skill as batsmen will only be shown after the SAs series.

  • on January 8, 2014, 12:29 GMT

    Aussie bowlers got absolutely hammered in India because they cannot bowl on batting wickets.

  • on January 8, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Aussie bowling is good in their backyard. Pakistan bowlers performance is mainly on dead sub continent pitches. If they play regular in Australia, England or New Zealand where there is more help for bowlers then those averages would be below 20. You will know this soon when Aussie struggle against SA batsman in Feb.

  • spongebat_squarestumps on January 8, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    @dlpthomas: it should be obvious that the Aussie team are winning because they are happy. Haddin is still Haddin and Mitch is still Mitch, so what's changed? They are both highly capable and talented players who just couldn't "bring it" when it mattered. Now, both stepped up to the plate in a way they hadn't before - along a path pencilled out by Lehman. Player attitudes were completely morphed by an Aussie ex-international successful cricketer whom current players respected (and Clarke himself played along side of); the dressing room mood completely changed. Ask yourself this: would Australia have drubbed England 5-0 like this under Mickey Arthur? Based upon player comments, I don't think so.

  • Shaggy076 on January 8, 2014, 10:37 GMT

    Saeed Iqmal; Junaid 50 wicketes (average 27.5), Ajmal 161 wickets @ 27.1, Rahat 14 wickets @ 40.5 and Bhatti in his second test 5 wickets @ 42.5 - compared to Harris 93 wickets @ 21.5, johnson 242 @ 28.33, Siddle 183 @ 28.6 and Lyon 104 @ 32.5. Stats completely contradict you and the recent performances of the Aussie attack suggest that Johnson and Lyon are better than there career averages at the minute, Australias attack is by far and away better than Pakistan. Pakistan shows some promise with some good youngsters but there is no way that attack is better than Australias. We absolutely smashed an English side who going into the series had 4 batsman averaging above 50 and one of the most prolific keeper batsman in history.

  • on January 8, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    Harris and Siddle are proven world class bowlers, add in Johnson's new maturity and the relief and occasional wicket Watson brings and you have to agree it is as good as Pakistan's. I think everyone should holster their opinions until we've seen them play South Africa. Suspect S.Africa bowlers will wreck Australia's batting line up better than England did.

  • on January 9, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    I think Australia need a new number 6, or perhaps more realistically a new batting line up. Number 6 needs to be able to be capable of aggression when chasing fast runs, as well as batting sensibly with the tail and stopping a collapse. I don't feel like bailey can do the latter. I'd suggest dropping watson to 6, but i don't think he can do the sensible batting either.

    Maybe slide smith to 6, clarke back to 5, and get someone in at 4. My choice would be Hughes on form, but Doolan seems the choice at the moment.

  • Thegimp on January 9, 2014, 0:27 GMT

    @muzika_tchaikovskogo.........outlandish but true, Bell, a world beater at home and on dry dusty wickets and nowhere over here. Cook, racked up runs at will in India,but nowhere here after two seasons of producing pitches to blunt SA and Aust pace bowling attacks in England.

    You can't deny that India have had some of the most talented batsmen in history over the last two decades. Sachin, VVS, Dravid, Ganguly, Sehwag, MS Dhoni and many others and yet they haven't won in Australia. Even now their replacements are ridiculously talented and yet can't crack it on fast bouncy wickets, similar to Aust batting in India. The only difference is we only tour India occasionally, your guys have got SA, Australia, West Indies, England (when they aren't doctoring and I would bet that they don't produce dust bowls when India tours) NZ and UAE.

    The only thing that has stopped India from dominating the sport over the last 20 years is not being able to win consistantly overseas.

  • Vishnu27 on January 8, 2014, 23:02 GMT

    Saeed Iqbal: Australia has NOT lost a test series in SA since their reintroduction to cricket. Another fact: Pakistan has long been an ordinary team & continues to be. Not doing so well currently against an all at sea SL. Perhaps not the best time to shoot your mouth off

  • pat_one_back on January 8, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    @Saeed Iqbal, India's pitches were prepared with a flat stump to stump lane and crumbling edges to nullify fast bowling lines & assist only spin lines. India picked just 1-2 non-spinners, spinners opened the bowling Day 1. Hardly conditions to test a balanced attack yet still it was poor batting to spin that lost the series. Don't be deceived that all Aust/NZ/SA/Eng pitches aid fast bowling, they don't outright discourage it but it's generally hard work by Day 2/3, that's what we call a good fair pitch. Quicks get some natural assistance days 1 & 2, batsmen own day 3 once movement dies and spinners take advantage of wear by days 4/5. Giving spinners the advantage from day 1 is purely to contrive a home result. Look forward to seeing more of Pakistan's young quicks, we've long had great respect for them in Aust, Wasim & Waqar were certainly capable of sub-20 average tours in their day.

  • on January 8, 2014, 14:51 GMT

    The contest between Australia and South Africa should be near even seeing as Australia and South Africa have played well on their own respective series and how they have played well against one another in previous series. SA are in need of a replacement for Kallis whilst Australia need a No.6 who is consistent. AbD has also sustained a hand injuries with SAs hoping he is going to be able to play, even putting A backup keeper on stand by Australia's reformed bowling attack at this point in time seems to match SAs attack in terms of experience and pace. Johnson vs Steyn, Harris vs Morkel and Siddle vs Philander. Australia's batsmen have also stepped up during the recent ashes series but their skill as batsmen will only be shown after the SAs series.

  • on January 8, 2014, 12:29 GMT

    Aussie bowlers got absolutely hammered in India because they cannot bowl on batting wickets.

  • on January 8, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Aussie bowling is good in their backyard. Pakistan bowlers performance is mainly on dead sub continent pitches. If they play regular in Australia, England or New Zealand where there is more help for bowlers then those averages would be below 20. You will know this soon when Aussie struggle against SA batsman in Feb.

  • spongebat_squarestumps on January 8, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    @dlpthomas: it should be obvious that the Aussie team are winning because they are happy. Haddin is still Haddin and Mitch is still Mitch, so what's changed? They are both highly capable and talented players who just couldn't "bring it" when it mattered. Now, both stepped up to the plate in a way they hadn't before - along a path pencilled out by Lehman. Player attitudes were completely morphed by an Aussie ex-international successful cricketer whom current players respected (and Clarke himself played along side of); the dressing room mood completely changed. Ask yourself this: would Australia have drubbed England 5-0 like this under Mickey Arthur? Based upon player comments, I don't think so.

  • Shaggy076 on January 8, 2014, 10:37 GMT

    Saeed Iqmal; Junaid 50 wicketes (average 27.5), Ajmal 161 wickets @ 27.1, Rahat 14 wickets @ 40.5 and Bhatti in his second test 5 wickets @ 42.5 - compared to Harris 93 wickets @ 21.5, johnson 242 @ 28.33, Siddle 183 @ 28.6 and Lyon 104 @ 32.5. Stats completely contradict you and the recent performances of the Aussie attack suggest that Johnson and Lyon are better than there career averages at the minute, Australias attack is by far and away better than Pakistan. Pakistan shows some promise with some good youngsters but there is no way that attack is better than Australias. We absolutely smashed an English side who going into the series had 4 batsman averaging above 50 and one of the most prolific keeper batsman in history.

  • on January 8, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    Harris and Siddle are proven world class bowlers, add in Johnson's new maturity and the relief and occasional wicket Watson brings and you have to agree it is as good as Pakistan's. I think everyone should holster their opinions until we've seen them play South Africa. Suspect S.Africa bowlers will wreck Australia's batting line up better than England did.

  • on January 8, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    Agree South Africa has a much better lineup and a complete team and they are unmatchable in every respect

  • on January 8, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    Just by beating A poor English side at home does not mean Aussie team and bowling attack is best in the world. I think South Africa by far has a much better batting and bowling lineup. Pakistan bowling attack is far better than Aussie although highly under rated.

  • Biggus on January 8, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    @David Simon Lewisohn:- If wishes were horses beggars would ride. Luckily the series will be decided not by your desire to see Australia punished (apparently for the crime of believing in themselves and not being cowed into worshipful submission by SA's rating) but by what occurs out on the ground. If you're so incensed about this you probably need to get out more, and perhaps find a new hobby like macrame or basket weaving. I hear it can be very soothing.

  • AlSmug on January 8, 2014, 8:44 GMT

    This team must not get complacent , it is the beginning of the end if players tell the media how good the team is. I hope the current players work on reigning this in , humbleness is seriously underrated in cricket being an underdog is the old Aussie way this involves not talking it up and focusing on results on the field , I can understand the frustrations of yrs of being beaten by inferior sides and trying to be as good as the decade of dominance Australia had but seriously... sidle and co nee to perform and shut up

  • dlpthomas on January 8, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    Is the team winning because they are happy or happy because they are winning?

    There are several reasons why Australia won this series but "joke of the day" and "quiz nights" are right at the bottom of the list. Lehmann may well be a good coach (time will tell) but the main reason Australia won was the form of Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin and the credit for that belongs to the players themselves not Lehmann.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on January 8, 2014, 7:42 GMT

    @Thegimp: "...that Indian batsmen will never be able to play away from home, evidence of which came in this Ashes series where the ECB has ordered dry dusty pitches at home and now the English batsmen cant play bounce"

    Evidence of Indian batsmen's inability emerging from England's failures? That has to be one of the most outlandish theories I've ever seen!

  • cricketsubh on January 8, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    Every one is out of the world at moment in Australia commenting how Australia win the ashes 5 -0 great achievement they play great cricket but same question raises about aus bating line up in last 2 years are they Seattle bating line up no .every gud team wins in their home pitches Australia have done that but this team can easily beaten in India and England not long a go .this team is a ageing side if they don't pick young players they again going down

  • Meety on January 8, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    @MianMoosa on (January 7, 2014, 18:46 GMT) - i am certainly not saying that Oz have the best attack in the world, but you saying "....here the hell was that attack in india & england earlier this year..." is flawed. MJ & Lyon were not regular members of the attack there. The comments are specific to MJ, Harris, Siddle, Lyon & Watto as a unit. Statistically the MJ/Harris/Siddle trio is Oz's best ever pace attack, so on that basis alone need to be considered. However, the fundamental fact is Steyn has reigned supreme as the #1 pace bowler for about 5yrs now & Phillander & Morkel have more in their resumes. It was worth considering that the last Craig Mac was the bowling coach V Sehwag stated that it was the best sustained bowling he had ever faced.

  • on January 8, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    it is my great desire to see SA soundly beat Australia and thus put them firmly in their place, shutting the mouths of upstarts like Warner, Siddle etc. Protea Power !

  • dunger.bob on January 8, 2014, 6:31 GMT

    @ Deepak Mariyappa: You're going to have to explain to me how Australia didn't deal well with failure. As far as I can see we have handled it brilliantly. And, puhhease don't give me some example involving India because they are no example at all yet. They've only played 2 away Tests since the great shake up and lost one and drew the other. .. Don't get me wrong though mate, I'm keen to hear what you mean and more than willing to listen to anything sensible.

  • Biggus on January 8, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    @Jay Jenkinson:- It must be galling for an Englishman to have to rely on the Saffers the revenge such a thrashing. Even if they beat us 3-0 that won't wash away the shame of England's dismal showing down here. If anything a Saffer 3-0 victory would just highlight how titanically awful you guys were. It's in the record books forever Jay.

  • on January 8, 2014, 5:05 GMT

    When things go right, everything that everybody does seems to be right or at least is claimed to. The moment things go down slide, you will see the same people being blamed as the reason. Arrogance killed England rather than anything else. They did not realize that reaching top is one thing and staying there is a totally different thing since it requires consistency. They are good only in England where they get pitches and ball tailor made to their strengths. Australia do the same and so does all other countries. But what matters is how you develop your attitude since there is a very thin line between confidence and over confidence and arrogance can easily push you into over confidence zone. When you fall from there, its going to hurt you more. A champion team is the one that knows how to deal with failures as well as success. Neither of these two teams have shown good character in dealing with failures. They have just waited for things to get better on its own.

  • andrew-schulz on January 8, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    20 superstars, a useless rant. You would struggle to find two decisions which went against England, while clearly Carberry' s and Stokes' were lbw in Adelaide and Australia couldn't review. What you wrote should have been written about the Ashes in England.Australia were clearly robbed there. Decisions against Khawaja and in favourof Broad and Bell were an abuse of the UDRS and made a massive difference to the series.

  • on January 8, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    Not certainly the best. may be in their best form and conditions. saw the same attack including Pattinson with India in India.

    need to watch them in South Africa.

    not to take credit out of their 5-0, as nothing comes easy.

  • anuradea on January 8, 2014, 2:56 GMT

    This is great. It is sometimes sad to see how professional sports persons miss the point that you play a sport mainly to have fun and then the rest. It is proven time and time again that if one is having fun at whatever you are doing YOU WILL SUCCEED and reach unthinkable heights. Most coaches, players and managements of sports teams tend to forget the fun part and get carried away by the structural or regimental approaches and get short term success but it always fails long term. GOOD JOB and thank you DARREN for bringing the fun back to cricket and I hope the rest of the teams follow suit. I especially HOPE Farbrace take note and instill the same culture in SRI LANKAN cricketers as well. It was a absolute joy to watch the aussies play this kind of attacking cricket at it meant be when you bat you are there to score runs and when you bowl you are there to take wickets and when you field you are there to take the catches.

  • Insult_2_Injury on January 8, 2014, 2:23 GMT

    I remember in my playing days we had a coach whose philosophy was no more than 2fa at the first break and no white anting in the Club. Nothing more complicated than that. We won premierships in all grades for the duration of his 5 year coaching tenure. As these 11 Ashes players will find out - similar to premiership players - you will never recreate the exact experience with those same players, but the lesson of the simple plans and comradeship CAN be passed on to new players coming into the system. Winning is an excellent lesson, because it shows the plans work and that anyone can enact the plan. The trouble with 'the process' is that it doesn't suit everyone's basic talent and therefore leaves some never reaching equanimity and others under achieving. Realising you don't have to be great friends with your team mates, just respect and encourage means everyone can pull in the same direction. Goodbye process, goodbye rotation, hello consistency and sense of worth.

  • leighsydneychina on January 8, 2014, 2:13 GMT

    C'mon.... The acheivements in the Ashes is quite remarkable. But the Australian top order batting is beyond fragile. They played a team that was cracked and slightly broken. To be lauded as this, requires consistancy and longevity. I am an ardent Australian cricket supporter, but I do not see the Steve Waugh or Mark Taylor kind of team in this side yet. They may (and I hope they do) prove me wrong, but there are some enormous, unwarranted egos in this side.

    Many of the victories were not achieved through great team work in the batting. Haddin helped them "escape" more times than would be credited. Without the occassional brilliance of Smith and Rogers, Australia would be done. Warner played like a millionaire, Watson the same. Baily? Clarke was all over the place. This is not a batting team of resilliance. I doubt their abilities in other venues of world cricket.

  • Insult_2_Injury on January 8, 2014, 2:10 GMT

    All sounds so simple doesn't it? Makes you wonder how the powers at CA could go so far away from top athletes performing in an atmosphere of enjoyment. Everything cricket in this country starts at the International team. If the players are happy and successful the fans are happy and the revenue flows down the pathways. Why the CA powers believed adding tiers of funding sapping bureaucracy and 'playing processes' would be a long term benefit will only be explained if wide ranging and frank internal investigation is held. Either way if this lesson of hiring common sense player assistants like Lehmann & McDermott is ignored, we'll be right back at the door of 'participation' sport which is about perpetuating and increasing administration and has no desire to incorporate enjoyment and most importantly, winning.

  • Adoh on January 8, 2014, 2:09 GMT

    The series in SA will be excellent to watch. I'm pretty confident that the Aussies and the Saffas have evenly matched and very strong bowling attacks. The retirement of Kallis goes against SA - he was such a high class cricketer you just can't replace him. The recent consistently poor first innings top order batting of Australia goes against them. I predict a SA series win by 1 test match, but as an Aussie supporter I hope this isn't the case, though it won't be too disappointing knowing that at least Britain were sent home with their tails between their legs.

  • Thegimp on January 8, 2014, 1:43 GMT

    @wapuser......I was watching the highlights of the 2004 series in India where Australia won, the pitches they played on were still holding together into the forth day. Since that series the BCCI has vowed for that to never happen again. Now they produce dust bowls from day one. Now a bowling attack that doesn't harbour two or three front line spinners will ever succeed in India. The down side is that Indian batsmen will never be able to play away from home, evidence of which came in this Ashes series where the ECB has ordered dry dusty pitches at home and now the English batsmen cant play bounce.

  • ArminW on January 8, 2014, 1:41 GMT

    Only cricket that matters to us ozzies is the ashes the rest of the teams are there to make up the numbers. Look at the difference when we lost in England, it was all over the news, when we lost 4-0 against India no one really gave a rats. Bring on the next ashes please now.

  • kepler22b on January 8, 2014, 1:27 GMT

    t20superstars

    Bowled out England for under 200 twice in Brisbane with every English batsmen either caught or bowled. In between the two English innings, Australia made 400 (my point here is that Australia must have batted on a pitch similar to the English).

    500+ leads three times in a row. The smallest winning margin was either 8 wickets or 150 runs.

    The English only bowled Australia out in one test (the last).

    It was a slaughter and only got worse the longer it went.

    I can guarantee you that neither Flower nor Cook think that they were unlucky.

  • ShutTheGate on January 8, 2014, 1:14 GMT

    @Wapuser - why do we have to prove it in the sub continent?

    India is the only team we play there regularly, with Pakistan playing home games in the UAE.

    Our attack has proved their worth in the Caribbean, England, Australia and hopefully soon in South Africa and the UAE. The subcontinent is not the be all and end all of cricket - never has been.

    India is the team that has to prove they can win abroad, I'm looking forward to your "star" batsmen batting in Australia against our attack in 12 months time.

  • izzidole on January 8, 2014, 0:53 GMT

    Australia's fast bowling attack could be deadly and can only get better with the return of Pattinson, Bird and Cummins from injury which would be the biggest challenge for the selectors whom to leave out. Already Pattinson and Bird are back playing in the T20 "Big Bash" and have been very impressive while Cummins is expected to play for the Perth Scorchers this Friday. Hazlewood too is back from injury and is vieing for a place in the Australian cricket team and Bollinger is also in good form. Cummins destroyed the South African batting in his debut test match and had Kallis ducking for cover bowling at 150kph for a 19year old to win in South Africa in 2011 and has not played a test match since due to injury. There is also 21 year old Mitchell Starc recuperating from injury who is also a left armer like Johnson who could prove quite dangerous with his inswinging yorkers. They are lucky to be under the capable hands of bowling coach Craig McDermott who will get the best out of them

  • on January 8, 2014, 0:36 GMT

    Really hope Aussie come crashing back down to ground. And deviliers and ahmla give diddle a real lesson. Think the South African seamers will prove you wrong Pete

  • CSpiers on January 8, 2014, 0:33 GMT

    Anyone who thinks the Aus attack won't be successful in SA has zero clue about how similar the style of pitches often are. There is a reason Australia hasn't lost a series in South Africa for a few decades...

  • C.Gull on January 8, 2014, 0:22 GMT

    Wow, some people here are really not enjoying Australia's success, especially those who want to big up South Africa's bowling attack to make their own team look better. Enjoy that feeling of insecurity, kids. Australia will be in South Africa soon, where they haven't lost a series in most of our lifetimes, and then we'll know for sure. Australia at #3 and rising: be afraid.

  • bren19 on January 8, 2014, 0:12 GMT

    go easy on @t20superstar - there were lots of bad decisions - not having stokes play all matches, Trott going home, Swann retiring, dropping root, not playing their 6'8 fast bowler on Australian pitches (Finn), letting prior play 3 matches in horrid form, setting defensive fields, playing at a pace that was slower than a snail - all bad decisions. You are right mate - there were a lot of bad decisions, they were just all made by England.

  • InsideHedge on January 8, 2014, 0:01 GMT

    Nathan Lyon is the big plus from this series win, the former curator is now firmly embedded in the team where he doesn't feel each spell could be the last of his Test career. Lyon can be rightfully called a wily off spinner, he may not look dangerous but a quick look at his performances, including the whitewash in India, shows he picks up important top order scalps.

    The claim by Siddle isn't one coming from a media intoxicated on a heady Ashes victory. The Aussie attack is well balanced, Siddle and Harris complement Johnson's ferocious pace, Lyon is never asked to bowl "dry", that's an English strategy that's been overused. Then you have Watson who is more than handy with the ball. A top all round fielding side complements all the bowlers.

    What excites the Aussie fans is the quality of the bowlers on the fringes. Pattinson, Hazelwood, Bollinger, O'Keefe are just a few of the names. South Africa have neither the depth nor a single spin bowler worthy of the description.

  • Maroubra_Flyer on January 7, 2014, 23:56 GMT

    Good statement izzidole and I think you're correct. Selection has been a dog's breakfast as we say in aus. The rotation policy didn't work for the bowlers & the chopping & changing didn't help the batters. What we are seeing is a change in confidence due to players not looking over their shoulders to see who is going to replace them. This is a lesson for England, I think they were stunned by the absence of Trott who really held the batting order together. They should keep Bell at 3 and bring back Compton to open. Losing Swann didn't help although he was finished - he was a large part of their success. Prior needs a rest but what a find Stokes was. England just need to regroup, having lost such key players out of season it was always going to be difficult for replacements. The one change England need is to sack Flower, Cook is the captain & it seemed he was being "controlled" by him. The cook book rubbish just showed what a "micro manager" he was. let the guys play, they're good enough

  • pat_one_back on January 7, 2014, 23:49 GMT

    @wapuser agree it's important to see how fast bowlers perform on wickets prepared to protect overrated one dimensional batsmen from good fast bowling, I'm sure Sidds is working on his offspin in the hope he get's promoted to new ball duties...

  • SL-USA-Lions on January 7, 2014, 23:43 GMT

    @ Everyone...

    "The best bowling attack in the world?!!"

    Yeah right... Just like how Eng batting lineup faced Johnson thinking he was Lillee with his BIG MUSTACHE?!!

    This comment is A JOKE.

  • MarinManiac on January 7, 2014, 23:31 GMT

    People sometimes forget that the England summer series was quite close to 4-0 rather than 3-0, or 3-1, 2-2, whatever. Never mind the fact that Clarke declared with 40-ish overs to bowl England out for 240-ish -- another five minutes of good light and England would have been home free. Clarke would then have been vilified for making a sporting declaration. A couple of tail end/ last wicket partnerships made the results look closer than they were. Perhaps the difference, really, was the fight that Australia's tail (which includes their fine bowlers batting well, shepherded by the excellent Haddin) mounted.

    The other thing that seems to have been forgotten is the different standard of umpiring in the two series. In England -- dreadful. In Australia -- much better. This eliminated much of the nonsense and media coverage over use of the DRS system, and permitted more focus on the cricket itself.

  • poms_have_short_memories on January 7, 2014, 23:29 GMT

    Even though I am an Aussie i still view the series result as one of the biggest upsets ever, whilst i thought Australia could and would win, 2-1 or 3-2 was my initial prediction. I think Australia and South Africas bowling attacks are about even, although SA have a better batting lineup, big series ahead, GO Aussie!!

  • on January 7, 2014, 23:26 GMT

    Good article, no doubt that Darren Lehmann's influence has changed the attitude and methods of Australia's cricket. I am an English fan living in Oz but can only congratulate the Aussies on the last 5 (probably 8) tests. Going to face the South African's is going to be tougher, certainly for the Aussie bowlers; the fitness of the Aussie attack will be tested against a batting line-up that will last more that 60-80 overs. Siddle and Harris could well be found out and Johnson will have to contribute more than 3 over spells. That said, Australia have some fantastic bowlers in the bag, Bird, Starc, Pattinson and Cummings can all contribute when and if they stay fit.

  • on January 7, 2014, 23:21 GMT

    Rubbish Manj Dhariwal...Harris would be successful anywhere! A very good bowler straight from the top drawer - don't doubt it. Siddle is definitely more workmanlike but an underrated performer.

    I do think though that SA have a better attack and I think the Aussie batsman had better improve as a group to have a hope of beating SA at home. They can't afford only one of them making runs each innings.

  • on January 7, 2014, 22:28 GMT

    And also steyn and co is much better than this aus attack. Sa vs aus soon. We'll see who's the best soon.........

  • on January 7, 2014, 22:27 GMT

    Cook said it's the best attack he's ever faced, well I think he's forgot 2010 Pak tour of eng. amir,Asif ,gul and ajmal, much better than this aus attack

  • michael.senthil on January 7, 2014, 22:25 GMT

    @Manj Dharival why won't harris and siddle be successful in south africa- harris and siddle are both in the icc top 10 test bowlers- anyways, if they don't succeed- there is always pattinson, starc, bird- do u want me to list anymore?

  • timmyw on January 7, 2014, 21:45 GMT

    @Manj Dhariwal -Hmm, You know I agree with a lot of the statements here. South Africa are number one right now in the bowling department. Also the batting department and I think Siddle should have kept his mouth shut. I'm sure that was a calculated statement from him before SA tour. Silly. But Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle not performing in SA conditions? I personally think if Ryan Harris doesn't need sticky tape he will be a beast in those conditions. Siddle has transformed himself from a terrible bowler who sprays it around and enjoys putting it on the legs and hips of batsmen for them to leak runs off him easily to a pressure building one who bowls tight accurate lines and lengths. He can move it both ways on decks favouring bowlers (Ahem... SA anyone?) he WILL be dangerous over there. Don't fall into the same trap England just got stuck in and underestimate these guys. I don't think they are the worlds best just yet, but they are pretty damn dangerous. SA to win though for me.

  • __PK on January 7, 2014, 21:29 GMT

    The pace attack is the best in the world at the moment. SA struggled to knock over a very inexperienced India recently. And wapuser, yes, they'd still be the best pace attack on subcontinent wickets. Whose is better? India? LOL!

  • jb633 on January 7, 2014, 20:45 GMT

    @izzidole, it is easy attribute wins to coaches but one must be careful to do this. I am not taking anything away from Lehman and Oz but they are yet to prove they can perform away from home. Even under Arthur Aus were a formidable side at home and had they had the bowling attack they have now fit during the home series against SA they would probably have won that series at a canter. SA only turned up when the Aus attack was injured during the third test and Aus dominated the series without being able to clinch the win. In India and England the pitches turned and were not the liking of the Aus side. There is nothing to say the batsmen would have fared better because they have a different coach. I think we need to wait to see how they are away from home when they next tour the SC. This is a real test as they still struggle on those wickets and don't have a brilliant spinner. They certainly have the tools to win in SA though and i expect a close series.

  • Beertjie on January 7, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    It won't be a case of cutting experienced but old players adrift, @ Iwerneanffontmell. Rather it will depend on the best young Shield batsmen proving their worth if they are given chances. Hughes may be a hopeless case but if he's taken to SA in place of Bailey he might prosper: no spinners to worry about. If Lynn continues to prosper he may get selected. And there are others who may make the next Ashes squad: there is no need to continue trying those who are unable to take their chances. However, Warner and Smith, as young guns paired with Clarke and Rogers only need someone like Agar and Faulkner developing into an all-rounder and the team for next Ashes will look a lot more solid.

  • Chris_P on January 7, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    @wapuser. On any wicket, the Oz attack is way ahead of the popgun attack India has, anywhere! They have, BTW, beaten SL 2 years ago over there, that's sub continent isn't it? You know the place, where India hasn't won a test series since 1995. Selective memory recall, seems to be quite an affliction with a few of your fellow countrymen, doesn't it?

  • jb633 on January 7, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    People crowing about England didnt deserve 5-0 or Aus didn't deserve 3-0 are talking rubbish. In test cricket the side that deserves to win generally does so. it is not like T20 where one over can kill the game but the skills are tested over a longer period of time and the best side comes out on top. England outplayed Aus in their own backyard, this was not luck but a simple fact. Aus outplayed England completely in Aus and deserved to win 5-0. Test cricket is a brilliant judge of a side and IMO both ashes series have shown the trend of the modern game. The home sides are winning with ease time and again. I have said this for 5 years but there are less and less upsets in test cricket and it is becoming more mundane. In comparison to the 90's I think doctoring of pitches is coming more and more into play. In the SC for Indian pitches turn more than they every did in the 90's and in Eng/Aus more grass will be left on the wickets against Asian sides than previous decades.

  • ZenaBub on January 7, 2014, 20:27 GMT

    Firstly I do not support Australia. I was hoping that England would win this Ashes series but they didn't. They got thrashed. It hurts to say this but Australia just played really well, they deserved to win. This wasn't anything to do with a back to back series, coin tosses or player selection. The better team won.

    I will look forward to seeing how this Aus team go against a fast SA bowing attack, we will see how good they are when they face a bit more adversity!

  • Chris_P on January 7, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    @t20superstars. Australia won by luck? I do enjoy a laugh to start the day. Obviously you have never played a serious game of cricket in your life such is the understanding you have shown. Return to your village, they are missing you.

  • shillingsworth on January 7, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    For a Somerset man, it's very gratifying that sleepy Taunton was central to a major event in cricketing history but, seriously, don't you think you're exaggerating this just a bit?

    Wind back a few years and Flower was the media darling and coaching genius. His speech at Sabina Park in 2009 was apparently way more influential than anything Churchill ever came up with. Now of course the media have Flower down as a complete duffer.

    If Australia lose the Ashes in 2015, expect a torrent of articles lambasting Lehman's poor attention to detail, casual and unprofessional attitude, insular dressing room etc. This article will probably also be dusted off, Australia found and replaced with England, a few names changed and a new 'unlikely' location dredged up where something 'pivotal' happened.

  • ROXSPORT on January 7, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    @ dunger.bob : That 3-0 should actually have been 2-1 in Aus favour, had the umpires (third umpires included) not been blind as bats. England were lucky to win that series & I fail to understand their confidence for the return Ashes in Australia, when it was obvious to all that England will have their hands full matching Aus in Aus.

  • on January 7, 2014, 19:07 GMT

    Too early to conclude on that. Yes Aussie thumped the English all systems out but the best attack is South Africa...stats don't lie Philander, Steyn and Morkel..! It's only after this ashes series that Harris and Johnson made top 10. So it's early days...

  • anuradea on January 7, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    This is great. It is sometimes sad to see how professional sports persons miss the point that you play a sport mainly to have fun and then the rest. It is proven time and time again that if one is having fun at whatever you are doing YOU WILL SUCCEED and reach unthinkable heights. Most coaches, players and managements of sports teams tend to forget the fun part and get carried away by the structural or regimental approaches and get short term success but it always fails long term. GOOD JOB and thank you DARREN for bringing the fun back to cricket and I hope the rest of the teams follow suit. I especially HOPE Farbrace take note and instill the same culture in SRI LANKAN cricketers as well. It was a absolute joy to watch the aussies play this kind of attacking cricket at it meant be when you bat you are there to score runs and when you bowl you are there to take wickets and when you field you are there to take the catches.

  • on January 7, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    hmm i think they'll reconsider once steyn, morkel & philander tear into them like club cricketers!

  • MianMoosa on January 7, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    Some saying that Australian bowling attack is best in the world, what ????? then where the hell was that attack in india & england earlier this year ?? Proteas pacers are still best in the world, while Pakistan have best spin bowling line up, so how Aussies have best line up ?? The south africans are gonna show them who had the best line up,,, watch out

  • on January 7, 2014, 17:28 GMT

    What? Australia attack is the best? Yea, maybe on Australian wickets. Oz bowlers need to prove this on subcontinent wickets and maybe Siddle would realize he spoke too soon?

  • Iwerneanffontmell on January 7, 2014, 16:51 GMT

    This Australian side really remind me of the England side in 2005. They have a disciplined but well balanced bowling attack with the odd star performer capable of blowing sides away. However they also have the odd 'fragile' character - both in mind and body. For Harmison and Flintoff read Johnson, for Jones read Harris, for Vaughan read Clarke. That 2005 side could have become worldbeaters had Vaughan and Jones remained fit and Trescothwick not become ill. Flintoff wouldn't have become captain and gone off the rails - it could have all been so good. However, I don't see this Australian side becoming workdbeaters as only Smith, Lyon and Warner are the right side of 30. They have some young bowlers but no other batting to speak of. The next Ashes should actually be quite interesting as both sides will be in transition and it is likely to be the last hurrah for players English and Australian alike. It may boil down to who is most ruthless in cutting experienced but old players adrift.

  • on January 7, 2014, 16:22 GMT

    Australia attack best in the world? I doubt that statement. What about the great South African attack? That's what we call the worlds best attack. We will know soon how Australia face South Africa. I hope it isn't a white wash.

  • on January 7, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    @t20superstars u must be kidding. England were lucky to win series at home. the umpires made some pathetic decisions which cost Australia like broad not given out despite clear edge, also the weather cost Australia third test match. England were hardly close to winning a test in Australia despite picking 5 wickets for just 100 runs in almost every first innings.

  • Webba84 on January 7, 2014, 16:10 GMT

    @t20superstars Name one. And coin tosses are not decisions.

  • MaruthuDelft on January 7, 2014, 15:26 GMT

    The difference was Bell and in home conditions England would not have left Aus off the hook every time after Aus were 100 for5. Bell is pretty bad away from England. England didn't have a third seamer in Tremlett or Bresnen like they had last time. But I think still England batsmen would have let it down.

  • sando31 on January 7, 2014, 15:02 GMT

    @t20superstars: I'm sorry but luck doesn't win you the Ashes series 5-0. Please give credit where it is due!

  • chapathishot on January 7, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    t20superstars: The series was under DRS so you accept that DRS is not correct

  • Paul_Somerset on January 7, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    @dunger.bob: You're looking at the problem from the wrong direction. The mystery is not how England lost in Australia, but how Australia managed to lose in England. I was at Taunton for all 4 days of that Tour match and saw the easy confidence and skilful aggression of Lehmann and his team. Somerset, for all their problems last year under the wretched Dave Nosworthy, are a decent Division 1 outfit, and tried hard, but the Australians were always going to seal that win. Lehmann, meanwhile, strolled around the boundary edge, a word with a fielder here, shaking hands with a spectator there.

    I was confident that Australia would make a real fight of the subsequent series, and still can't really understand how I ended the summer with an empty wallet as a consequence.

  • on January 7, 2014, 13:45 GMT

    south Africa have the best attack compared to Australia. ryan Harris and siddle wont be successful in south Africa

  • notimeforcricket on January 7, 2014, 13:23 GMT

    they have a very good tea now. the obvious weakness is at no.3 - if an opener fails, you fancy getting Watson in the first innings. they seem to have a decent guy waiting, so can drop watson down to 5 or 6 where he and smith will be a handful. It occured to me that there is no obvious candidate to replace Cook. Now that England players are centrally contracted, county captains are not generally anywhere near the England team and people who are near the England team do not get to be county captains.... coincidence? no... if only one of our batsmen had captained his first class team regularly. mind you, in the old days where you often had 2 or 3 county captains in the side, England did a lot worse so that blows that theory!

  • izzidole on January 7, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    If Darrenn Lehmann had arrived on the scene earlier probably Australia would have won the series against South Africa. Prevented a 4 nil whitewash against India and won the ashes in England. The so called rotation policy which backfired against South Africa would never have eventuated and the homegate saga which brought about so much humiliation to aussie cricket would have never taken place. While Ponting and Michael Hussey would never have been forced to retire. The rebuilding process has just begun under coach Darren Lehman and the series against South Africa next month will be the biggest challenge.

  • t20superstars on January 7, 2014, 12:36 GMT

    Australia winning the ashes series is purely based on the luck factor. There were many wrong decisions throughout the series which went their way. England would have dethroned australia had all these decisions been right. Poor England chaps! Its high time people look into these matters and bring in perfect matches to the viewers.

  • vj_gooner on January 7, 2014, 11:20 GMT

    @dunger.bob - The 3-0 scoreline in England didn't tell the whole story. Australia had the chance to win 2 of the matches(Trent Bridge & Chester-le-Street) which England won.

    More over, England won the crucial won the crucial moments in that series. I would even go on and say that Australia were kinda rebuilding.

    Australia were right to carry something optimistic out of that series in England. Imagine what would have happened if Australia considered that series as a crisis and decided to overhaul everything, it would have been very bad.

  • dunger.bob on January 7, 2014, 9:51 GMT

    It's funny how Australia came away from a 3-0 defeat feeling way more buoyant and energised than the team that actually won the series. .. in fact, there's something not quite right about it. .. It just shouldn't be, yet it be for certain. I can't work it out

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  • dunger.bob on January 7, 2014, 9:51 GMT

    It's funny how Australia came away from a 3-0 defeat feeling way more buoyant and energised than the team that actually won the series. .. in fact, there's something not quite right about it. .. It just shouldn't be, yet it be for certain. I can't work it out

  • vj_gooner on January 7, 2014, 11:20 GMT

    @dunger.bob - The 3-0 scoreline in England didn't tell the whole story. Australia had the chance to win 2 of the matches(Trent Bridge & Chester-le-Street) which England won.

    More over, England won the crucial won the crucial moments in that series. I would even go on and say that Australia were kinda rebuilding.

    Australia were right to carry something optimistic out of that series in England. Imagine what would have happened if Australia considered that series as a crisis and decided to overhaul everything, it would have been very bad.

  • t20superstars on January 7, 2014, 12:36 GMT

    Australia winning the ashes series is purely based on the luck factor. There were many wrong decisions throughout the series which went their way. England would have dethroned australia had all these decisions been right. Poor England chaps! Its high time people look into these matters and bring in perfect matches to the viewers.

  • izzidole on January 7, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    If Darrenn Lehmann had arrived on the scene earlier probably Australia would have won the series against South Africa. Prevented a 4 nil whitewash against India and won the ashes in England. The so called rotation policy which backfired against South Africa would never have eventuated and the homegate saga which brought about so much humiliation to aussie cricket would have never taken place. While Ponting and Michael Hussey would never have been forced to retire. The rebuilding process has just begun under coach Darren Lehman and the series against South Africa next month will be the biggest challenge.

  • notimeforcricket on January 7, 2014, 13:23 GMT

    they have a very good tea now. the obvious weakness is at no.3 - if an opener fails, you fancy getting Watson in the first innings. they seem to have a decent guy waiting, so can drop watson down to 5 or 6 where he and smith will be a handful. It occured to me that there is no obvious candidate to replace Cook. Now that England players are centrally contracted, county captains are not generally anywhere near the England team and people who are near the England team do not get to be county captains.... coincidence? no... if only one of our batsmen had captained his first class team regularly. mind you, in the old days where you often had 2 or 3 county captains in the side, England did a lot worse so that blows that theory!

  • on January 7, 2014, 13:45 GMT

    south Africa have the best attack compared to Australia. ryan Harris and siddle wont be successful in south Africa

  • Paul_Somerset on January 7, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    @dunger.bob: You're looking at the problem from the wrong direction. The mystery is not how England lost in Australia, but how Australia managed to lose in England. I was at Taunton for all 4 days of that Tour match and saw the easy confidence and skilful aggression of Lehmann and his team. Somerset, for all their problems last year under the wretched Dave Nosworthy, are a decent Division 1 outfit, and tried hard, but the Australians were always going to seal that win. Lehmann, meanwhile, strolled around the boundary edge, a word with a fielder here, shaking hands with a spectator there.

    I was confident that Australia would make a real fight of the subsequent series, and still can't really understand how I ended the summer with an empty wallet as a consequence.

  • chapathishot on January 7, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    t20superstars: The series was under DRS so you accept that DRS is not correct

  • sando31 on January 7, 2014, 15:02 GMT

    @t20superstars: I'm sorry but luck doesn't win you the Ashes series 5-0. Please give credit where it is due!

  • MaruthuDelft on January 7, 2014, 15:26 GMT

    The difference was Bell and in home conditions England would not have left Aus off the hook every time after Aus were 100 for5. Bell is pretty bad away from England. England didn't have a third seamer in Tremlett or Bresnen like they had last time. But I think still England batsmen would have let it down.