Eng v Aus, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, 4th day July 21, 2013

A chasm yawns wide

England landed a hugely significant blow at Lord's; it will take a miracle for Australia to win the series from here
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As England ground Australia into the dust of Lord's, an odd atmosphere settled over the home of English cricket. In a place where Australia went unbeaten for 75 years, where they lost only four wickets in beating England by an innings in 1993, where Bradman and Border and Massie and McGrath had provoked such misery, there was a realisation of how far England have come and how far their oldest foe has fallen. There was a realisation that a chasm has developed between these two sides.

If that sounds like hyperbole then consider the statistics. England have now won four Tests in a row against Australia. Two of those victories have come by innings margins, another by nearly 350 runs. Where once England went into Ashes series with the pathetically modest ambition of 'competing' with Australia, they now seek to dominate. By the end of this series, they may well be resting players for sterner tests to come.

This is a highly significant moment in English cricket. Rightly or wrongly, Ashes series continue to provide the barometer of English cricket and, on this evidence, it is in fine fettle. While Australia are, arguably, at as low an ebb as they have ever been, England's achievements should not be diminished.

This is the manifestation of years of change in the structure of the domestic game and is rooted in brave decisions taken long ago by half-forgotten committee men. It is due to the introduction of central contracts, four-day cricket, promotion and relegation, investment in A tours, facilities and coaching and the realisation that, after years of defeats, things had to change. Luck has nothing to do with it.

It will not always be like this. Australia are a proud sporting nation with a plethora of natural athletes. It may take some time, but they will recover. It may well be that we come to reflect on these days as the golden age of English cricket.

The bad news for Australia, in the shorter term at least, is that England can play better than this. While they have played some fine cricket in this match, a few of their batsmen are still searching for their best form and Graeme Swann, for all his wickets, is feeling his way back after a series of injury lay-offs.

On a helpful pitch, Swann sometimes looked a little frustrated at Lord's. While he produced some terrific deliveries - he beat Michael Clarke, a renown player of spin, in the flight and should have had him stumped but for a fumble from Matt Prior and foxed Usman Khawaja so often that is almost constituted torture - he was not, by his own very high standards, absolutely at his best.

Since his most recent operation - the second he has undergone on his right elbow - Swann has worked hard on his fitness and looks trimmer than for some years. Due to an unsympathetic schedule, however, he has played only five first-class games this summer - four of them Tests - and has had little chance to settle into the rhythm that has made him so dangerous in the past. Still, to bowl just a little below his best and claim nine wickets in the match is not a bad effort. There is no reason why he will not bowl even better in Manchester.

Statistics rarely tell the full story. Just ask Stuart Broad who bowled particularly well in this Test yet claimed only one wicket. Generating sharp pace, he twice hit Clarke - once full on the badge of his helmet - and maintained a wonderfully nagging line and length while gaining as much movement as any seamer in the game. His fragility remains a concern, but Broad's bowling has returned to the standard it reached in the UAE nearly 18 months ago.

There is room for improvement in England's batting, too. England's opening partnerships in this series - 27, 11, 18 and 22 - have been modest and in this Test they recovered from 28 for 3 in the first innings and 30 for 3 in the second. But it says much for England's dominance in this series that Kevin Pietersen's possible absence from Manchester is not provoking the concern that it did in 2009 or 2012.

It remains to be seen how Australia react to this defeat. The efforts of their tenth-wicket pair suggest there is still defiance in their dressing room but, until that moment, it appeared a light had gone out in Australian cricket. There is precedent in a side coming from 2-0 down to win a five-match series - it happened in the Ashes series of 1936-37 when Australia prevailed 3-2 - but this Australia side contains no Bradman. It is not a realistic scenario.

England look too strong. Joe Root has now cemented his position at the top of the order and is a fast-improving second spinner, Ian Bell is in the form of his life and the return of Tim Bresnan allowed England to play a remorseless brand of cricket that suffocates opposition. Half of the overs Bresnan delivered on the final day were maidens and his reliability provided no release of pressure for Australia. England may not be the prettiest or most eye-catching opponent, but they have developed a relentless style of cricket that renders them painfully difficult to defeat. It will take a miracle to deny them the Ashes from here.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on July 21, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    A chasm it is indeed Mr Dobell, well written. England are just a thousand country miles better than Australia, and almost all their players have performed significantly at some point already this series. Broad bowled awesomely in this match, but the stats prove that they do lie: His ruffing up of the batsmen and constantly beating the bat, catches dropped off his bowling, LBW's that should have gone in his favor. He was just one of the many reasons why England won. The amazing ability of Joe Root, who can dilscoop fast bowlers whilst opening the batting and be lethal with the ball, is another. Bell, Swann, Anderson, Bairstow, Bresnan and Cook's champion captaincy are all stories in themselves. What a memorable Ashes this has become.

  • ScottStevo on July 25, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer, I think you'll find that it was. At no point during that series were England ever looking a likely winner of any of the test matches and in each match generally looked the side that were going to be beaten - as they were. England shouldn't have come close to that series and didn't. They may have had chances, but they were such a great distance away from winning, that it was a hiding. SA cantered it through and barely had to get into high gear and it was a more than comfortable series win for them. Not too sure why you're upset with their performances, they did well considering the gulf in class between the two sides. They're not even close to the team that SA have, as SA have proved. It's no myth, England were hammered - and easily too. The real myth is that England had a chance, SA steamrolled them in every department.

  • Sir_Ivor on July 23, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    England have a good team at the moment. But they should be realistic about the value of their beating Australia in the first 2 Tests of the latest Ashes series.Australin cricket is obviously in disarray as we saw first in the thrashing they got in India just before this. They were quite good in their home series against South Africa, where they looked the better side for 2 of the 3 Tests before they lost the last one at Perth.it must be said that this South African series had beaten England in England 2-0.I can well understand the euphoria that an Ashes victory generates in England because of the traditional rivalry part. But beating Australia now when they are quite obviously plagued by injuries, and coach problems is simply too unsubstantial to talk about how English cricket has benefited by keeping their players insulated from the other formats of the game which it must be remembered,came up in England.They have to do well across the globe to see if the Roots have indeed set in.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 23, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    @Emile Cairncross No "ifs and buts". England were beaten. End of story. I am just pointing out that there is a general belief against people whose knowledge is confined to a quite look at a scorecard or folk memory that it was a 4-0 merciless thrashing. It wasn't.

    England should have shared the series and would have done if they had taken their chances. That is why I was very disappointed with the performance. I hope that it has learnt something from it and is ready to take revenge next winter and at least share the series in South Africa.

  • on July 23, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer Ifs and buts are all good and well, but in the end England were beaten in their back yard by an excellent cricket team. South Africa came through when it counted, and if you go back through series where any of the great teams won matches there have been moments where those matches could have been lost. Great teams aren't great because they thrash everyone in sight, they're great because when it matters they find a way to win. The simple fact is that South Africa the best test team in the world by some distance and in a few years time this side may well be considered one of the great teams - It's certainly too early to say they're not.

  • ScottStevo on July 23, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    @SirViv, I disagree in some part. We should be cleaning up the English tail when Bell comes out to bat, and besides a few generous calls, especially in this test, could've walked off with 34 and 10(or so) barring a dodgy hawk-eye overrule and a clean catch miraculously disallowed. These sorts of things would've aided us to no end. Or bowlers only being checked for no balls on wickets. I'm not saying England don't deserve to be in front, mate, but I'll hardly give credit to a team who stood there and watched us implode for 100 odd in a test match. England didn't bowl well, Swann took, quite frankly, the easiest five for he'll ever take. Look at his wickets. Rogers, not out off a donkey dropper (almost as miraculously as bells' not outs in both innings), UK & RH , same awful strokes, Smith's was okay ball at best, but v poorly played and the last was haddin who tried to slog sweep him out of the ground. After scoring 100 and 250 down, I'd have backed a school team to have won from there.

  • thebrotherswaugh on July 23, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    @Front Foot Lunge - Broad did more with the bat than the ball. He bowled decently but lacked penetration, hence not many wickets. The comment about poor LBW decisions is a corker - didn't use DRS or was the problem it didn't support your assertions. Broad has done about as much as Pattinson for OZ - both are frontline bowlers who have not done much with the ball but both have contributed with the bat. Root a great prospect, but his bowling has a long way to go before it can be described as lethal - remember, Smith took 3 quick wickets at the end of day one against a far superior batting line-up, so let's at least try for a touch of perspective. As so many posts and the media in general have highlighted, OZ are pretty damn atrocious. I agree wholeheartedly, although I still rate our medium/fast bowlers and Clarke. That being said, I expect OZ to show more fight in the 3rd test. Same result, but they need to unite as a team and make ENG work - that's all we can hope for.

  • coldcoffee123 on July 23, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    Chasm is growing deeper and wider: Regarding the Chasm between domestic cricket in Aus and NZ, as against Eng, Ind, SA, see this: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/637453.html and http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/647197.html and http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/637457.html

  • on July 23, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    Thing is, England are only ranked #3 in the world George, and got hidings from both Pakistan and South Africa last summer. That to me says where they're really at, rather than comparing them to a very poor Australian side.

  • on July 23, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    I have to agree with Milhouse79, NZ were a far sterner test from a bowling perspective, far more challenging than the Aussie line up.

    Really sad to see Pattinson have to drop out due to back issues, he is one of Australia's better batters :-)

    I think in fairness this series is showing how poor a side Australia currently are, if England can beat them playing so badly. The English batters have not performed at all and if it weren't for the outstanding performances from Anderson, Swann and Root this series score might just be 1:1

    I genuinely can't see how Australia can back from this, England have to be favourites for a 4 -5 to nil win

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on July 21, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    A chasm it is indeed Mr Dobell, well written. England are just a thousand country miles better than Australia, and almost all their players have performed significantly at some point already this series. Broad bowled awesomely in this match, but the stats prove that they do lie: His ruffing up of the batsmen and constantly beating the bat, catches dropped off his bowling, LBW's that should have gone in his favor. He was just one of the many reasons why England won. The amazing ability of Joe Root, who can dilscoop fast bowlers whilst opening the batting and be lethal with the ball, is another. Bell, Swann, Anderson, Bairstow, Bresnan and Cook's champion captaincy are all stories in themselves. What a memorable Ashes this has become.

  • ScottStevo on July 25, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer, I think you'll find that it was. At no point during that series were England ever looking a likely winner of any of the test matches and in each match generally looked the side that were going to be beaten - as they were. England shouldn't have come close to that series and didn't. They may have had chances, but they were such a great distance away from winning, that it was a hiding. SA cantered it through and barely had to get into high gear and it was a more than comfortable series win for them. Not too sure why you're upset with their performances, they did well considering the gulf in class between the two sides. They're not even close to the team that SA have, as SA have proved. It's no myth, England were hammered - and easily too. The real myth is that England had a chance, SA steamrolled them in every department.

  • Sir_Ivor on July 23, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    England have a good team at the moment. But they should be realistic about the value of their beating Australia in the first 2 Tests of the latest Ashes series.Australin cricket is obviously in disarray as we saw first in the thrashing they got in India just before this. They were quite good in their home series against South Africa, where they looked the better side for 2 of the 3 Tests before they lost the last one at Perth.it must be said that this South African series had beaten England in England 2-0.I can well understand the euphoria that an Ashes victory generates in England because of the traditional rivalry part. But beating Australia now when they are quite obviously plagued by injuries, and coach problems is simply too unsubstantial to talk about how English cricket has benefited by keeping their players insulated from the other formats of the game which it must be remembered,came up in England.They have to do well across the globe to see if the Roots have indeed set in.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 23, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    @Emile Cairncross No "ifs and buts". England were beaten. End of story. I am just pointing out that there is a general belief against people whose knowledge is confined to a quite look at a scorecard or folk memory that it was a 4-0 merciless thrashing. It wasn't.

    England should have shared the series and would have done if they had taken their chances. That is why I was very disappointed with the performance. I hope that it has learnt something from it and is ready to take revenge next winter and at least share the series in South Africa.

  • on July 23, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer Ifs and buts are all good and well, but in the end England were beaten in their back yard by an excellent cricket team. South Africa came through when it counted, and if you go back through series where any of the great teams won matches there have been moments where those matches could have been lost. Great teams aren't great because they thrash everyone in sight, they're great because when it matters they find a way to win. The simple fact is that South Africa the best test team in the world by some distance and in a few years time this side may well be considered one of the great teams - It's certainly too early to say they're not.

  • ScottStevo on July 23, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    @SirViv, I disagree in some part. We should be cleaning up the English tail when Bell comes out to bat, and besides a few generous calls, especially in this test, could've walked off with 34 and 10(or so) barring a dodgy hawk-eye overrule and a clean catch miraculously disallowed. These sorts of things would've aided us to no end. Or bowlers only being checked for no balls on wickets. I'm not saying England don't deserve to be in front, mate, but I'll hardly give credit to a team who stood there and watched us implode for 100 odd in a test match. England didn't bowl well, Swann took, quite frankly, the easiest five for he'll ever take. Look at his wickets. Rogers, not out off a donkey dropper (almost as miraculously as bells' not outs in both innings), UK & RH , same awful strokes, Smith's was okay ball at best, but v poorly played and the last was haddin who tried to slog sweep him out of the ground. After scoring 100 and 250 down, I'd have backed a school team to have won from there.

  • thebrotherswaugh on July 23, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    @Front Foot Lunge - Broad did more with the bat than the ball. He bowled decently but lacked penetration, hence not many wickets. The comment about poor LBW decisions is a corker - didn't use DRS or was the problem it didn't support your assertions. Broad has done about as much as Pattinson for OZ - both are frontline bowlers who have not done much with the ball but both have contributed with the bat. Root a great prospect, but his bowling has a long way to go before it can be described as lethal - remember, Smith took 3 quick wickets at the end of day one against a far superior batting line-up, so let's at least try for a touch of perspective. As so many posts and the media in general have highlighted, OZ are pretty damn atrocious. I agree wholeheartedly, although I still rate our medium/fast bowlers and Clarke. That being said, I expect OZ to show more fight in the 3rd test. Same result, but they need to unite as a team and make ENG work - that's all we can hope for.

  • coldcoffee123 on July 23, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    Chasm is growing deeper and wider: Regarding the Chasm between domestic cricket in Aus and NZ, as against Eng, Ind, SA, see this: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/637453.html and http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/647197.html and http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/637457.html

  • on July 23, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    Thing is, England are only ranked #3 in the world George, and got hidings from both Pakistan and South Africa last summer. That to me says where they're really at, rather than comparing them to a very poor Australian side.

  • on July 23, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    I have to agree with Milhouse79, NZ were a far sterner test from a bowling perspective, far more challenging than the Aussie line up.

    Really sad to see Pattinson have to drop out due to back issues, he is one of Australia's better batters :-)

    I think in fairness this series is showing how poor a side Australia currently are, if England can beat them playing so badly. The English batters have not performed at all and if it weren't for the outstanding performances from Anderson, Swann and Root this series score might just be 1:1

    I genuinely can't see how Australia can back from this, England have to be favourites for a 4 -5 to nil win

  • CricketingStargazer on July 23, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    There is a lot of mythology developed around that South Africa series, mainly from people who didn't follow it very closely. England were beaten, yes, but the margin was by no means as wide as people like to think: three of the four Tests were very competitive.

  • magpye on July 23, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    Unfortunately this is true. But while England have performed well and done the simple things, Australia has made them look better than they are. Hopefully Boof will take this group by the scruff of the neck and make the necessary cultural changes before it gets even more embarrassing. The reality is we did not pick the right players for this series. We picked batsmen who are technically poor and do not have the skills to play test cricket and threw them to the lions. Rogers is not good enough, Watson and Clarke need technical coaching, and Hughes, Smith and Haddin do not cover off stump. Bring in young players who can develop and have a technique more suited to test cricket such as Doolan and Burns.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 23, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    @NutCutlet I'd differ with you on a couple of things, whilst agreeing that England's form in this series has not been very good (but still enough to be winning 2-0, having dominated both Tests). England are a decent side, but nowhere near a great one. There are no great sides in world cricket right now.

    Last year we lost in the UAE. Right. And we should have won at least one and probably two of the UAE Tests. Same against South Africa: England dropped two catches on the 5th morning of the 2nd Test that would have changed a draw into victory; on the final afternon of the series, South Africa were beginning to panic because England were closing on an unlikely victory.

    Factors? It hurt the side a lot that Tim Bresnan was playing with a bad injury. He should have been fixed properly then, the same way Graeme Swann was. One player can make a difference and in this Test the Finn/Bresnan swap changed the entire menace of the attack. With Tremlett fit & Shazad hitting form there is depth

  • Jaffa79 on July 23, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    I have said it before during the NZ series but I'll say it again: NZ will provide more of a test for England this summer. That is not to be spiteful but NZ have Taylor, McCullum, Williamson and emerging talent like Rutherford in their ranks, which I'd take over Clarke + nobody. NZ have 2 decent spinners in Martin and Vettori and Boult, Wagner and Southee would go through the Aussie batting like a knife through butter. If played tomorrow, NZ would smash Australia.

  • shillingsworth on July 23, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    @KARNAWAT33 - You've got no specialist spinner in your team for a pitch which usually turns. Faulkner at 7 looks one place too high for me. You're selecting him as a bowler and hoping he'll fill a hole in the batting - exactly what England did in the 90s. Bits and pieces cricketers looks about right to me. Not sure what Ponting and Hussey have got to do with it - they've retired, they made that decision, no one else.

  • Haleos on July 23, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    England have not come far it is Aus who have moved backwards effectively making it look like England have moved far.

  • jmcilhinney on July 23, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    @TATTUs on (July 23, 2013, 4:13 GMT), it's not quite as simple as that because Australia were always expected to perform better in England than in India because English conditions are much more like Australia than India is. Australia's lack of spin bowling and batting ability against spin shouldn't be such factors and the Dukes ball should actually aid their fast bowlers. You've just got to look at the fact that England beat India 4-0 in England but could only manage 2-1 in India to see the difference.

  • Chucker1818 on July 23, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    Not much to say about the aussie batting. Just not valuing their wicket enough. It's probably time to look at guys who are regularly scoring runs and have done so for a number of seasons. Klinger and Doolan must surely be brought in to the no 3 or 4 position. both have excelled for Australia A. The should be part of the squad initially to put serious pressure on the top 4 . Form is always the best criteria.It's time for these talented 2 to be introduced into both the Test squad and the 1 Day Series.

  • austentayshus on July 23, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    Best Consolation that we can take from this series is at least manage to draw a test .forget winning a single test

    With our scratchy batting line up its seem unlikely ... and then get back to Australia and get the urn back. I am hoping at least one test to draw and England to win 4-0

    With Boof is coach try to get in specialist coach for batting as well someone like tugga that will help a lot .. Now its about time to drop haddin and get Chris Hartley .. Agar may be a hero but we should get back Lyon at least he is a wicket taker

  • TATTUs on July 23, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    India beat Aussies 4 to zip. So the least England can do is beat them 4 zip. Aussies are just an average team against whom a team cannot be judged..

  • on July 23, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    This is by far one of the most biased, over-optimistic and Swan-songish article I have ever read. The current Ashes series is more of a reflection on how much Australian team is under-performing rather than how much England is super-performing. Australia is a venomous snake whose fangs have been pulled out. England is a beast whose teeth are all intact, but not all teeth are operating as they should. It is very common for people to ignore the shortcomings when a victory happens, but seems like no one is noticing the scorecard. There are scintillations of individual performances in batting, but a complete lack of a team picture. Also when writing such articles, its very common for people to get carried away in waves of patriotism, but a few have benefited from not adjudicating the cricket match in an unbiased way. England are playing good cricket, not brilliant or out of this world. Australia have a new and young team and they are not playing good cricket. That's all there is to it!

  • Barnesy4444 on July 23, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    Katich should not have been dropped which would have allowed him to blood a young opener. Ponting 3, Hussey 4, Clarke 5, young batsman at 6. Was this so difficult at the time? We are suffering for this ineptitude in selections now with no batsman settled in their positions, not even the captain!

    As for BBL and related central contracts, don't get me started on that!

  • Barnesy4444 on July 23, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    These things are cyclical. I maintain that as long as Ponting was in the side he should have stayed at 3 with Hussey at 4. Even an out-of-form Ponting is better than Marsh, Quiney etc. Hussey at 6 was a total waste.

    This would have given an opportunity to settle in a young player at 6, a player who would now be experienced enough to move up the order and take on more responsibility. It would have taken pressure off young openers too.

  • thebrotherswaugh on July 23, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    I'm backing Clarke to get a hundred in the 3rd test. The question is, can the other batsmen rally around him and show some backbone. I hope Khawaja does well and cements that #3 spot as well. I just hope that they make the Poms work hard and make it go down to the wire I'm also praying for rain as well!

  • thebrotherswaugh on July 23, 2013, 2:22 GMT

    This series is done & dusted. Unfortunately, OZ will probably get more of the same in the series later this year as well. Don't celebrate the resurgence of English Cricket just yet - IND smacked us 4-0 at home as well; I expect this trend to continue as most opposition bowling attacks must be gleefully waiting in anticipation for a crack at our batsmen. You might currently be putting the sword to a side that should be ranked at #6 or lower (and shortly will be). SA are clearly the best Test side in the world by a fair margin. ENG will be #2 after this series.

  • on July 23, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    @maximum6: I am a passionate supporter of English cricket, but your earlier unintelligent dribble about being better as people than Australians makes me sad that we support the same team. If you want to maintain such one-sided ignorant views I suggest you follow a simpler sport like football.

  • jb633 on July 22, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    @Long-Leg, I agree it is very frustrating that a) we have to wait so long to see SA again and b) the series of last year was only three tests. I simply cannot understand what the administrators are doing because every day of any SA series will be full. I was really glad to see when SA played Pak in the test series this winter that the grounds were full for most days of it. I am sure that if we played them in their backyard the games would be really well supported from both sets of fans. I agree we were so far from good in that series it still hurts me. Personally I think we had on the whole a really poor 2012 with series against SA, SL and Pak all showing our vulnerabilities. I am not so convinced we are as good as we were in 2010/11 simply based on those series and the recent series away against NZ. We are a good side but we still have a lot to prove. We wont prove anything to anyone by beating Aus time and again.

  • Lmaotsetung on July 22, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    I'm also in the camp of wishing there was no B2B ashes and that Eng should be touring SA in Dec rather than go to Aus. Anyway we can't change the FTP but at least we get India next summer and that for a 5 match series!!!

  • 2.14istherunrate on July 22, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    I am hard put to think of a more convincing victory ever by England in my watching period-ie since '68, particularly given the venue. That was truly awesome.

  • KARNAWAT33 on July 22, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    @ SDH12 - Fred Perry won in 1936, England lost the ashes 3-2 after going 2-0 down, that's a fact. Another fact, is that Australia need to play out of their skins to match England, all aspects put together, let alone win the series.

    @clarke501 - Mayte, since a few dumb wits decided it's time for LEGENDS like RICKY PONTING and MICHAEL HUSSEY to retire, Australian Cricket was in dire straits. Yes, Australia aren't good enough, but why not field your BEST (not good enough) side and get beaten if that were to happen. And I didn't get you when you said BITS AND PIECES cricketer, guess you weren't talking to me there, James Faulkner has been the best bowler in the domestic cricket for a year now.

    Look, I'm not saying that England didn't play well or anything like that, that'll be stupid, England outplayed Australia in the second test and had the nerve and luck to win the first one. What I am saying is that, England can be beaten even now, because it's AUSTRALIA who they are up against.

  • jb633 on July 22, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    @liz558, I agree England are certainly not a bad side, to the contrary, they are a very efficient side and generally work well together as a team. My point is that, post the last Ashes series the media went completely overboard stating we are the best side in the land etc. only to then see us hammered in the UAE and against SA. I made the point that beating India in their backyard was comfortably the best thing I have ever seen an England side achieve. It was not long ago that we were on the back foot against New Zeland all series and were looking clueless against SA. It sounds pessimistic but I am trying to be realistic. We are a good side but we still have a lot to prove. IMO we can't prove any more by beating this poor Aussie side. We can prove something by playing in Asia and against SA. It is for this reason I am not thrilled about playing b2b ashes. We can beat Pak and SA if we play to our potential and I want our team to prove it to the world. That is my point.

  • on July 22, 2013, 19:15 GMT

    Got to admit, at the start of the series, when my fellow England supporters were predicting 5-0 whitewash, I thought they were being both incredibly opptimistic and rather patronizing towards Australia............ Now i'm not so sure!

  • Nutcutlet on July 22, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    Almost everyone wrote off Oz before this series & two Tests in, their judgement would appear well justified, perhaps even more than they thought likely - so much so that England is a world-beating team once again in their eyes. How short memories are! Only one year ago Eng's bowlers were made to look threadbare by Amla, Kallis, Graeme Smith & co & the Saffer quicks had the short measure of Eng's bats, with one or two exceptions. Fortunately, that was only a three-match series, so the pain inflicted was controllable, forgettable too, it seems. I am concerned that all the patriotic pundits don't get carried away. Yes, this is a weak Oz side & Eng is well organized, able to dismantle an under-confident batting line up at will. With noses in front, Eng looks exceptional, but opening a door on the catch doesn't make a lock-picker! Personally, I want to see Oz dig deep, find some pride, play to potential. Otherwise, this summer's Ashes cd turn out to be a disappointment, to cricket's loss.

  • liz1558 on July 22, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    @jb633 - agreed on the need to beat SA. but I don't see why that should take away from the joy of trouncing the Aussies.Fair enough, England are miles ahead of Australia but still a long way short of being the best in the world. But it doesn't mean England are a bad side simply because they are not the best side. Vaughan's 2005 side still stands ahead of this team precisely because they beat the best in the world. 2015 in SA will be the big test.

  • bford1921 on July 22, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    Australia need runs badly to be competitive. Their bowlers are getting little rest and they are facing more solid batters who are selling their wickets at a high price. The solution is simple, implementing is difficult. Australia are going to be struggling for a while at this rate, no matter who the coach is. England are a solid test side, batters with healthy averages and bowlers who as a unit are regularly bowling sides out, particularly in England. Perhaps the tests in Australia will be more competitive! The first test only had a level of parity due to an unusual innings from Agar.

  • SirViv1973 on July 22, 2013, 18:07 GMT

    @Scottstevo, You are quick to point out that you think our top order isn't much & you have had us 3 down for not much. However if Aus are not that far behind Eng why can't your bowlers finish the job & bowl Eng out for the sort of totals Aus have been dismissed for? I thought Aus bowling was the strong suit right now. That same top order all ave 46 or better, no one in Aus top 4 ave anything like that! that tells you a story in it's self. All Aus fans must be hurting right now but the vast majority of comments from them on here are giving due credit to Eng & due criticism to a weak Aus team, why can't you just do the same, face facts the glory days have gone and it's a long road back.

  • Long-Leg on July 22, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    @jb633: I never tire of seeing England beat Australia, but apart from that I heartily agree with your comments. It's good to read a really intelligent post. The most disappointing thing is that England and South Africa, the two best test teams in world Cricket, are not playing each other again until December 2015. Why? It is the match up I most want to see. I think SA are a fantastic side and would beat any team at test cricket at the moment including England, however I also feel that England never did themselves justice when SA last toured and I would like to see them have another go.

  • pom_don on July 22, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    I copied & pasted these two comments by Jonesy2 & RandyOz from before the games....it's amazing how opening your mouth before engaging the brain tends to blow up in your face, they make interesting reading now I think. No Compton? Great news for Australia, especially considering Bairstow cannot handle the rising ball. Pattinson and Starc will have a field day. Lets hope Bresnan plays though haha!

    RandyOz quote on 06/07/13 if there is a bowler Australia have consistently dominated it has been swann. englands bowling is going to cop plenty of punishment they do not have two decent bowlers to rub together. I think England are aiming for 5 draws to be honest and I think that's the only way they are going to have a chance of keeping the ashes Jonesy2 on 8/7/13

  • 2.14istherunrate on July 22, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    The boot being snugly on the other foot after all those years of the Aussies being like the team of occupation to the point that Aussies one met around the place seemed ultra aggressive and looked down their nose it seems that winn9ing here is more than just about sport. Having had our value as people questioned we may now question in return, particularly moral fibre and fitness to even exist. Indeed Go9wers comments about lack of culture and civilistation are not merely polite observations but remarks screamed from the rooftops. If I am tongue in cheek slightly it is maybe because we are a bit amused by the whole cultural gap. Whether we win by miles or by a single game is irrelevant-we are better than them as people.

  • voma on July 22, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    I think its to early to completely write off this Australian team , there bowlers certainly havnt failed . But i feel with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow , the future is bright for England . Both are exciting prospects , i dont see anything about the Aussie batsmen that evoke the same feeling .But things can change quickly , so its over to you . Australia

  • on July 22, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    @ Scott Stevo. The decisions have been just as bad against England. Broad should have had 2 yesterday, Trott and Root were not out in the 1st test, Agar WAS out on 6 before he made the only batting contribution of the game by any Aussie in that match. Yes - if you can change history anyone can win. If you wear blinkers and suggest that one side gets all the luck and the other side doesn't (even when that's patently untrue)| and correct just the failings of one side and punish the other. If that's the whigeing mind-set of the Aussies these days. Searching for excuses and having a selective perception of events, then no wonder you're being hammered. Whingers don't usually win - that's why they whinge in the first place!

  • on July 22, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    It seems like all the reporting of Australia's demise may be highly exaggerated. They did fine in the first test and nearly came back to beat England. They had a poor first innings in the second test and that made the second innings chase quite hopeless. There is a lot of elements in the outcome of games--luck and a streak where quite a few players did not click. The chances that world class batsmen like Clarke and company will continue to misfire is small, and there is every chance that they will come back huge. All this hand wringing by Australian pundits and talk of chasm will have proved premature.

  • AKS286 on July 22, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    Congrats ENGLAND ! Well done ! Oz team just looks like they want to participate in this series. Again the dart spinner miles away from international standards. Australia can't play spin can't play pace, senior player don't have any balance with Clarke. Surely Haddin will retire after Ashes. Clarke should give up his captaincy. Australia flops in ODI, Test. Only 2 yrs to go for WC. Now well done ROOT I'm soo happy to see him open. Really mature & nurture. Bell, Cook, KP, Trott, Prior, Jimmy just guide Root & Johny for next level. 2-0..... still counting for 5-0 full stop.

  • jb633 on July 22, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    In many ways I am so annoyed we have back to back ashes series as winning over there will not prove anything. I said it at the time and I will say it again, by far the biggest achievement of this side is the fact they were able to win a series in India. On the sort of pitches that we normally struggle on we somehow came out on top, for this we must be credited with praise. The series I would really like to see us play next is against SA in their back yard. This should now be considered the pinnacle of cricket for England. Also it would be great to see us have to play against Ajmal et al in the UAE as we have a better batting line up, against spin, than we did then and lets be fair it couldn't be any worse. As a cricket fan first and an England fan second the last two ashes series have given me little pleasure and the quality of cricket has been pretty low. Don't forget that our bowling attack is the same one that SA ended up getting 639/2 against.

  • Puffin on July 22, 2013, 13:31 GMT

    England seem to be able to keep the conveyor belt of decent players going fairly steadily, reducing the possibility of a talent drought whilst rebuilding after key retirements. It doesn't mean they don't ever get beaten - they produce good sides that get caught out every so often, not necessarily great ones that come and go and then we wait a generation or more for the next one, if it ever reoccurs.

    I do share the concerns over the top order batting - so far they've got away with it due to big Australian problems. And I'm no fan of the 4 bowler strategy, if someone gets injured, you're down to three, that's cutting it very fine.

  • AJ_Tiger86 on July 22, 2013, 13:26 GMT

    @ScottStevo: In 2005, only weather saved Australia from a 4-1 humiliation. England would EASILY have won at Old Trafford (where they were 1 wicket away) and at the Oval. Rain saved Australia. In 2006-7 England were missing their inspirational captain Michael Vaughan and prolific opening batsman Marcus Trescothick. Duncan Fletcher also made some bizarre selections which helped Aussies get lucky at Adelaide and Brisbane. In 2009, England destroyed Australia but for ONE bad session at Headingley. In 2010-11 we witnessed the most one-sided contest of all time when England destroyed Australia with THREE innings defeats AWAY from home. And in 2013 humiliation is going to be taken to the next level. England's top 3 of Cook, Trott and KP are yet to fire, and already we win by 350 runs. When they DO fire it will utter devastation.

  • on July 22, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    There's a lot of Aussies on here in complete denial of how poor they've become. Even on a good day they barely deserve their number 4 spot in the rankings. The problem runs deep. No one cares about the Sheffield Shield anymore, whilst the big bash league gets all the attention. CA needs to swallow it's pride and do what the English did to their domestic cricket 10 years ago, because right now the Poms are streaks ahead.

  • SidArthur on July 22, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    This article is definitely a yawn. Its easy to slam the Aussies, but don't forget there is a thin line b/w success and failure. Also, the Poms won the toss in both Tests to date, and that makes a big difference, needless to say, but need to say as easy to forget. Aussies just need a few things to go their way, like the toss. In any event, Rogers and Hughes aren't good enough, but alas who else is there? Should bring back Warner at least.

  • on July 22, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    I'm actually laughing at those posts going on about the 1st Test being so close!!.

    it was 2 10th wicket partnerships by the Aussies that saved them form a hiding.

  • on July 22, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    Absolutely agree.This is quite arguably the best English team since 1990, though they still have a long way to go before they can call themselves World Beaters/Champions like the West Indies in the 70s and 80s or Aussies in the 90s; and on the other hand the present Australian side is the worst since last 2 decades. There is no competition whatsoever between the two. England are going to stomp over Australia in the next 3 tests as well, and then go on to Australia to repeat their feat. I wouldn't be surprised if England win more than 8 tests in these back to back Ashes.

  • ScottStevo on July 22, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    @Sir_Freddie_Flintoff, you've completely lost all sanity! Since '03, when you dodged a bullet in 05 with the worst umpiring decisions ever, then got 5-0 whitewashed, then only managed to scrape through in '09 despite statistically being worse in almost every department (thanks to some good old British weather). Even now I don't rate England much better than Aus. As we've seen, their top order aren't much and they've been 3 for not many in almost all of their innings with one bloke standing up and a few btis and pieces scores getting them over the line. A little bit more hustle from Aus at these times and Eng themslseves could be looking down the barrell of a few 10-100 scores. Doesn't help when Aus are batting ridiculously and putting up scores of 100 that 2 or 3 decisions go agaisnt us either, despite the poor use of available techonology, you must admist, some of them have been God awful - like Rogers' off Swann.

  • MartinC on July 22, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    @Mervo - you are quite right, England did go through this for 20 odd years although our batting was never THIS bad. It finally took long term thinking and funding in identifying young talent early and then developing that which finally saw English cricket improve.

    It all comes down to talent - you had it in those great teams of the 90's and now you don't. I don't know what the pipeline at U19 level looks like but thats where you need to start looking for a way forward because the current crop of batsmen at least just are not up to the level required.

    You have the bowling to give you a chance to win the odd match against England but not the batting to challenge for series wins IMO.

  • smok1279 on July 22, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    @matchfixa: To call England a second rate team after going 2-0 up in the series smacks a little of sour grapes, as for only one decent bowler, England's attack is strong both in the pace and spin departments, our part time spinner (after scoring 180 with the bat) accounted for, arguably, Australia's best two batsmen of the match. This strength throughout the team is what is causing Australia problems. I don't dispute the fact that Australia's attack is causing our top order problems, but when one of our openers is not getting a 'daddy' hundred our middle order and even nightwatchmen are chipping in with useful 50's and 100's. Australia's top order are struggling equally against the England attack but others aren't stepping up to fill the void in the scoresheet (barring a couple of last wicket stands, that are proving too little, too late). England are some way from perfect at present but Australia's problems are far greater and go much deeper into the squad setup at the moment.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 22, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    The scariest things to me are: (1) Neither Cook nor Prior have really fired yet with the bat, and haven't hat to... (2) Still significant mistakes in the field by England - Root's drop at third slip, and Prior's missed stumping of Clarke yesterday; (3) Australian fans are still crying out for the likes of Warner to play, when he is not a test player at all; (4) A good wrist-spinner is an absolute necessity is tests, and Aus. are ignoring the best wrist-spinners like Hauritz/O'Keefe; (5) None of Aus. seamers have realised you need to bowl slower in UK to exploit swing/seam - two biggest weapons of seam bowling. Even SA knew this on their last series in England - Steyn and Morkel bowled around 80 mph.

  • Matchfixa on July 22, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    Those wins were excluded because they don't fit the narrative of an English team that deserves such high praise as they get in this article. Credibility comes with consistency against all comers, not just a few home victories. You can't lose 3-0 to Pakistan at a neutral venue as recently as 2012 and pretend to be high achievers. The thrust of this article is that beating the hapless Aussies in a home test series is a barometer of English cricket. It simply isn't. England have the occasional win - granted, but then have to scramble to draw a series against the Kiwis. But feeling a sense of satisfaction in beating these Aussies is akin to Larry Holmes feeling proud of beating Ali in 1980. As Ron Lyle said: "He didn't beat the champ." "He beat someone who WAS the champ."

  • balajik1968 on July 22, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    England have been doing well in the last few years, but somehow I don't see this team dominating like the Windies of the 70's and 80's and the Aussies of the 90's and the '00's. It will be interesting to see how South Africa cope post Kallis and Smith. As for Australia, it will take some time for them to be a good side. As of now, they are a poor side.

  • YorkshirePudding on July 22, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    @Matchfiza in terms of win loss ratios since the start of 2009, the stats say it all really, England P58, W29, L12 D 17, Aus P52, W25, L18, D 9, India P45, W21, L13, D 11, SA P37, W18, L8 D11.

    The win Loss ratios for the top 4 teams in order are England 2.41, SA 2.25, Indi 1.61, Aus 1.38.

    How is england a "poor" team?

  • Mervo on July 22, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    Yes Cloudmess - you are right. Just like England tried to do for almost 20 years.

  • on July 22, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    Australia , once the predatory birds of world cricket now travel the cricketing world not like birds of prey but go from ground to ground, test to test tasting the foul flesh of defeat. Gone are the days of arrogance when they could drop Players of caliber. Now they persevere with the Rogers'of this world who despite a great first class career certainly may never a play ANOTHER test. Such is proof of their lack of talent that they have now gone for the batting rejects who so far have proven why they were rejects just 4-5 seasons ago. Hughes, Rogers and Smith dont look like test batsmen and almost certainly are not. Yes they can harp about the poor decisions going their way but they certainly must know that the poorer team gets the worst decisions against better opposition. What makes matters worst for Australia is that England's batting has not been very good at all...it just that Australia's have been far worse.

  • on July 22, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    Is this the same side that got beaten by South Africa not too long ago? Thats the problem with this viewpoint. Dont get me wrong, they're a good side playing top class cricket. But contrary to the article, I dont see that you can have a golden age by smashing weaker sides. If they beat India at home and us (SA) then sure they can rightly be very proud. England deserved their no 1 spot and then lost it.

    The Ashes are amazing, but right now its not being contested by No 1 and 2. Australias top order have been absolutely woeful. In my opinion its more about Aus being in disarray, than England having a significant moment in their cricketing history. What I dislike about the england media, is their propensity to heap fire and brimstone on themselves when things go wrong, and raise their sides to godlike proportions when successful. What happened to a balanced viewpoint?

    My only wish is that SA were playing england instead - cause England do look good.

  • AJ_Tiger86 on July 22, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    I can't believe some people expected the useless Aussies to fight in this series. England beat India 2-1 IN INDIA. Right after that series, the same Indian team HUMILIATED Australia by whitewashing them 4-0. That's all you needed to know heading into this Ashes series. England have been a better test team than Australia since 2003. England won't lose an Ashes in the next 50 years AT LEAST.

  • sundar411 on July 22, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    Your sub-title "It will take a miracle for Australia to win the series from here" is outrageous.. I think it will take a miracle for Australia to avert a whitewash. Forget winning any test. The turning point of the entire series has been the Broad umpiring decision in the first test. Aussies, better known for their mental toughness, have not been able to come out of that rude shock. Which again highlights the advisability of DRS. No wonder, Indian stand is slowly and slowly getting vindicated as limitations of technology, particularly hawk-eye and hot-spot, are getting exposed.

  • shillingsworth on July 22, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    @Matchfixa - No mention of the recent series win in India. How about the drawn series in South Africa, or the home victories against India (4-0), Pakistan (3-1) and Australia (2-1)? Excluded because they didn't fit your narrative...

  • shillingsworth on July 22, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    @KARNAWAT33 - Australia aren't good enough. Reshuffling the pack will make no difference. Players who happen to have been out of a losing side don't suddenly become world beaters. Weakening the batting and bowling by including bits and pieces cricketers never works. England chased the same shadows throughout the 1990s.

  • bringbackhaydos on July 22, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    Great wicket-keeping Haddin for allowing Joe Root to score an extra 172 runs. Bring in Wade as keeper and a batsmen who has scored a recent test century. I would keep Haddin in as a batsmen though. But his wicket-keeping is and has always been sub-standard.

  • baskar_guha on July 22, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    Australian batting is lacking in self confidence, not talent. Watson has to click at the top of the order and Clarke has to dominate like he can. With the supporting cast, they can give England a good fight. Lets hope for it as early as the next test.

  • Hammond on July 22, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha- I agree that "There's no reason why Aus can't bundle Engout cheaply a few times in this series," however just can't see them making anywhere enough runs in reply, regardless how many England got bundled out for. Australia really are that bad.

  • cloudmess on July 22, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    Mervo - DRS, home advantage, incompetent umpires, English batsmen not walking, foreign players, South African coaches not underestanding the Aussie way etc And now the beastly English media is writing "nasty" things. Quite frankly, whatever. The reality is - you lost 3-1 at home, you're now 2-0 down in this series. Instead of never-ending excuses, it's time you Aussies concentrated on improving your cricket.

  • Matchfixa on July 22, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    The Ashes are hardly a "barometer of English cricket"; The Australians are easy-beats at the moment, yet England could only manage a 14-run win in the first test. Even a 5-0 series win does not provide a gauge on the level of English cricket. Rather than being a team in "fine fettle", England are a decidedly second-rate outfit with only one decent bowler and a top order that has been routinely torn apart by Australia's bowlers. I must agree that England have come a long way since being at the bottom of the ICC test rankings in 1999. Contracts, facilities and coaching have all been central as the article points out. But since their moment in the sun, the narrow 2-1 home-win in the 2005 Ashes, the England cricket team has been disappointing. The investment has not paid off. Subsequent to that win they lost 2-0 to Pakistan, 5-0 to Australia, 1-0 to India in England, and most recently this team lost 3-0 to Pakistan in 2011/12 and 2-0 to South Africa in 2012.

  • Vikramaditya100 on July 22, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    England have been very relentless and the Aussies have just wilted... It is just unbelievable how bad the Aussies have batted... worse than Pakistan and Bangladesh... wont be surprised if we see another 47 all out type scenario... Having said that I wont be totally surprised if they somehow mount a comeback and even win a game or two... however unlikely it seems now....

  • YorkshirePudding on July 22, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha, the chasm in the big test was largely papered over when Agar got a fortunate 98, and added 168 runs for the last wicket. with out that Aus would have probably been 140 runs adrift of england. PS Agars not done much since has he.

  • shillingsworth on July 22, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    England win by nearly 350 runs. Anderson takes 3 wickets in the match. What happened to the supposedly 'unhealthy' reliance on Anderson?

    @Mervo - You forget the ODI tournament featuring two Australian teams. I saw little evidence of 'grace' there, just a desire to humiliate a weak English team, even if it meant turning the tournament into a farce.

  • SDHM on July 22, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    @KARNAWATT33 - and the last time there was a Scottish Wimbledon champion, England won 2-1... if you're into that sort of thing. The last time there was a British Tour de France champion, England lost 2-0 to South Africa. I'll take my chances with fact and statistics, not omens.

  • MartinC on July 22, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    @Martensad - I totally agree with you re the 5 Test format when England play SA and India as well for that matter. I think you will find though that both Boards have to agree to the tour schedule and that its not the ECB who are pushing for only 3 Tests ....

    The scheduling of back to back Ashes campaigns was actually to move the Ashes down under so it did not occur in the same summer as the 50 over World Cup which is taking place in Australia and New Zealand in 2015 (which is when the Ashes down under was originally scheduled to take place).

  • TheBigBoodha on July 22, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    I wonder where the chasm was in the first test? Maybe that wasn't real, just the second test. There's no reason why Aus can't bundle Engout cheaply a few times in this series, and regardless of how bad you think the Aussie batsmen are, even a tailener will fluke runs eventually. Therefore it's only a mter of time before a few Aussie batsmen score. Things can shift pretty quickly in the space a few tests. Eng were outplayed by NZ in NZ before they beat them in ENG. I doubt ENG wil be on top too long. Their batting lineup is rather pedestrian, scoring atTwo runs an over much of the time, while their bowling is totally dependent on Swann and Anderson. Need I also mention the almost comical differential in umpiring decisions whereby English batsmen are given the benefit of the doubt - then when Aus bat their batters are sent on their way if there is even a suggestion they might be out. This has been happening ever sin Eng made a formal complaint very early in 1st

  • MartinC on July 22, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha - we don't need to speculate on what Cook, Pietersen and Trott could do in Australia, we just need to look back to the last Ashes campaign down under in 2010/11. Cook 766 runs at 127, Trott 445 runs at 89, Pietersen 360 runs at 60. All three have career Test averages close to 50.

    They are proven world class batsmen who have made runs in all conditions against all attacks over a period of several years.

    Compare that to Australias top 6 - apart from Clarke who is a word class olayer they are journeymen. Not one of the Australian batsmen apart from Clarke has a Test average over or even close to 40, they combine for 8 Test 100's. What they are doing now is not a temporary dip in form it is what they are.

  • on July 22, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    @Mervo; Do you have some kind of amnesia, as I distinctly recall series after series being told that this was 'the worst England team in living memory' in the late 90s and early 00s. As an Englishman living in Australia I can attest to no end of gloating about how pathetic and inept English cricket was, and how it was only a case of Australia taking the field to inflict the next whitewash. Utterly graceless in victory. Now you're offended by an entirely fair article which takes no pleasure in the fact that Australia are no match for England. Yes, the first test was close. But this game witnessed one of the heaviest trouncings in Aus test history. Again your amnesia means you've forgotten the hammering Aus took at the MCG and SCG. The 1st test here was the anomaly not the 2nd! As for the SA comments; the same pathetic straw grasping. They weren't forced to play for England they chose to. So, remind me.. in which Aus state was Khawaja born? Same one as Fawad Ahmed I guess...

  • whoster on July 22, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    It's not surprising that the Aussies are at such a low ebb. Their selectors and administrators have been a joke - and you could write a book about some of the terrible decisions they've made. For the second Ashes series in a row, they've ruthlessly discarded their best spinner, purely for the reason that a left-armer 'poses more of a threat to England's right-handed batsmen.' Whether or not the spinners are actually good enough doesn't come into the equation. I hope Agar has a big career in front of him, but this series could put him back years if they continue picking him. Luckily for the selectors, his 98 at Trent Bridge saved the team from humiliation. The honeymoon is well and truly over now, and if the Aussie selectors have any sense, they'll go back to Lyon, who fully earnt his place coming into the Ashes. England have a strong side where everyone puts in big performances somewhere along the line, and the Aussies are now in very real danger of being whitewashed.

  • KARNAWAT33 on July 22, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    THE LAST TIME THERE WAS A BRITISH WIMBLEDON CHAMPION, AUSTRALIA WON THE ASHES 3-2 AFTER GOING 2-0 DOWN. England outplayed Australia and they deserved to win, congratulations to the Poms. Moving on from the useless mourning session, it's time to see what to do to get back into the series. The bowling has been good AS COMPARED to the batting, but always having England around 30/3 and let them get away doesn't help. The batting, well, now that the selectors have had their way with Cowan, Hughes and Khwaja, CAN WE PLEASE HAVE DAVID WARNER BACK? And for god's sake play James Faulkner, what was the use of playing him in BOTH the warm up games and NOT in either tests. Ashton Agar needs to be dropped for Starc or Bird, he's more of a batsman, and Steven Smith can do the job, if not better for Australia. Watson's batting position needs to be changed. My Eleven for the third test (In batting order): Warner, Rogers, Watson, Smith, Clarke, Haddin, Faulkner, Pattinson, Siddle, Bird, Harris. #OzzeOy

  • Guernica on July 22, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    Really @Mervo? As well as the press you are also forgetting the derision England received from Australia's players when things were going well for them. 'We're not exactly quaking in our boots' said Steve Waugh after England had beaten the Windies. I can't imagine Cook saying something like that. There were countless other examples - McGrath's 5-0 predictions, Warne's mocking of Bell as his 'bunny'...

  • Martensad on July 22, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    It was clear before this series that England were much better than Australia. So let's put the question to those heroic "committee men": what's the point of 10 tests? The answer is obvious - money. What will be the consequences? Firstly a decline of interest as the tests grind on, particularly in Australia, I would predict. Secondly, quite possibly a decline in England's standards through constant exposure to mediocre opposition. If England are serious about sustained success, they need to pit themselves against the best, and right now that means South Africa. Why only 3 tests against SA last summer and then endless matches against NZ and Australia? Ashes in England should have been followed by 5 test series in SA summer.

  • BradmanBestEver on July 22, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    Mervo - you make a good point. I say let us all enjoy this temporary lull in Australian cricket quality - Aussie and English fans alike - because it makes life more interesting.

    It is refreshing that the Aussies are losing after many years of pounding the opposition into submission. It was good for the first few series but the constant and relentless flogging of the English became boring.

    The Aussies will be back and the English will decline - that is part of the normal cycle of sporting teams.

  • TheBigBoodha on July 22, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    @martinC, the reason Cook, Trott and co have not scored runs is because the AUS pace bowlers have just been too good for them. These are dead wickets, purposefully manufactured to nullify Pattinson, Harris and co, but the curator cannot take the shine off the new ball. Since you are in thE mood for a little speculation, imagine the carnage when these guys have to play on harder, faster, bouncier Australian wickets in a few months!

    BTW, you might believe that the Australian batsmen are playing to their peak at present. I would say that the reverse is true, and that it is just a mof time before a few get big scores.

  • on July 22, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    Australia's effort in adding 73 for the last two wickets confirms the impression that they really do bat down to no. 11. Starting at no. 9.

  • dabhand on July 22, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    Mervo - they did have one very very recently - but they sacked him.

  • cozens on July 22, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    @unifex. ''as bad as they are batting, Australia can still get the Poms out'' Apart from of course in the 2nd innings when Eng declared. I accept your point though. Aus seam bowling is pretty much on a par with Eng. but England have a quality spinner. Australia have 2 very poor spinners. Agar has time to develop, but currently he is not going to frighten anyone. I'd say Root is as good as him. Smith had an amazing spell , but reverted to type and he'll not cause the Eng batsmen any sleepless nights.

  • Hammond on July 22, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    @Mervo- you obviously forget about the decades for derision directed by Australian papers at the English cricket team. Payback hurts.

  • skilebow on July 22, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    Unifex - I think you have got your head in the sand mate. i don't think Eng are that good but Australia are woeful and have been for some time. The last ashes was a thrashing as well although many aussies seem to have forgotten this

  • Longhairrocks on July 22, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    When the boot was on the other foot, the ordure that was heaped upon England was of the worst kind with even some Australian administrators advocating reducing Ashes Tests to 4 days and the series to a mere 3 tests..the insults flew thick and fast...

    The Australian mindset seems unable to accept that their circumstances have changed, that seems to be part of the problem. When England were at their lowest ebb they accepted it and went away and worked at it and have gradually improved..

  • on July 22, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    Englands "depth" has long been proven to be false. Any countries supporters can ramble off random names and call it depth

  • Harlequin. on July 22, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    I am a little surprised that Mr Dobell's article about this test was on the difference in class between the two teams. I'd have thought it would have been about the fact that England are too reliant on Swann because he took 9 wickets in this match, or is it because Anderson took 10 in the last match that England were too reliant on him?

  • Mervo on July 22, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    For the almost 20 years that Australia hammered England I cant recall this kind of nasty sentiment. You take your lumps when they come and the plaudits when they do, with grace. South Africa are the best test team and Australia are at their lowest ebb since the Packers series and the two national teams. They lost the first Test by the narrow margin of 14 runs. It could have gone either way. Maybe now is the time for Australia to start wooing the dozens of South Africans in their country and test sides?

  • MartinC on July 22, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    What's really scary if you look at this from an Ausisie perspective is that England's 'gun' batsmen Cook, Trott and Pietersen have not really fired yet either. Prior has been quiet as well. If England start to play to their full potential it will be total carnage.

  • on July 22, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    I think rather than think in terms of regaining the ashes which was never realistic Boof Lehmann needs to set simple goals like batting out a day and have 50/100 partnerships. Perhaps Warner should be recalled and George Bailey should be brought in . At least he would not give away his wicket cheaply .at this stage although it is hard to admit 5-0 or 4-1 England .

  • GeoffreysMother on July 22, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    gsingh7 - have some grace in defeat even if you had none in victory. Whinging about DRS , and talking about other teams, who are not playing, does you no credit.

    As the article says , England worked hard over a long period to improve their performance - and Australia can do the same, if they have the will.

  • Unifex on July 22, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    "This is a highly significant moment in English cricket" It's hubris like this that an Aussie likes to see. I don't buy that there's such a huge gulf, despite the result. As bad as they're batting, Australia can still get the Poms out, and if you can get the other side out, you can win. Many of Australia's problems are under their own control - three times, for example, simple catches in the slips were not attempted, and one of those gave Joe Root 172 more runs and would, if taken, have seen England at 4-30 by the end of day two. Take those catches and you maximise your strength, bowling, while minimising how much you're asking of your weakness, batting. I don't think they'll win the series, either, but there are five more Test in Australia, and those Aussies who survive will much better players in six months for the education they're getting.

  • venkatesh018 on July 22, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    Looking at the quality of the reserves England have in Finn, Onions, Tremlett, Panesar, Tredwell, Ballance, Taylor etc. Australia will struggle to compete with an England A team.

  • venkatesh018 on July 22, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    Even acknowledging the fact that Australia are a pathetic Test unit at present, one has to agree that this one of the "best" English sides ever to play an Ashes series in the last 30 years. It indeed looks like the "Golden age" of English cricket.

  • on July 22, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Bit Poor there Robbie Garden. In all reports i have read the celebrations have been noted as very low key. England are not getting carried away although Australia do not seem to realise that their domination of World Cricket is now over and will be for quite some time to come. As for SA, well this is an Ashes test is it not?

  • landl47 on July 22, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    England are a good side- not a dominant side in the manner of the great West Indian and Australian sides, but a side with depth and the ability to win in all conditions. Under Cook they might even reach a level higher; there are some very good young players coming through and at 28 Cook is young enough to create a new team in his own image. Joe Root and his appetite for big runs already seems to have bought into that concept.

    The England back room seems to be doing its homework, too. I suggested before the series started that Swann was one of the big differences between the two sides and if England got wickets which turned they would win those games. So far, 2 games, 2 turners, 2 wins- and the next test is at Old Trafford where the new wicket is turning square. Coincidence? I don't think so.

    Australia will be a much stiffer test at home. No turners there- seam and bounce will be on offer. How well England can cope with that will be a measure of how far they have come.

  • on July 22, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    Don't get too excited England. This is undoubtedly the worst Australian batting line-up assembled since the 80's after the retirement of Chappell and the rebel South African tours. South Africa are still a mile ahead of you guys

  • peter.suen on July 22, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    Not to mention England seems to have depth in its batting and bowling. If someone is injured, someone capable will come into the team.

    With Australia, as poor as they are, it's hard to find people more suitable to come into the team.

  • aracer on July 22, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    Good comment about Bresnan. There is a time and a place for Finn, but with Bresnan apparently back to close to his best his economy is far more valuable to the team in combination with the rest of our attack, who don't appear to suffer from a lack of wicket taking ability. Pleased to also see him rediscover the batting form he is clearly capable of. I've been critical of him in the past, but did agree coming into this match that he was probably a better option than Finn - good to see the selectors' faith has been repaid.

  • regofpicton on July 21, 2013, 22:34 GMT

    As stated plainly enough in the clip, the Australian team and media had no sympathy for a well beaten England team. Perhaps its just the different national characters. The English would apparently much prefer to beat a team that is playing well. The Australians are just as happy to thrash a team that is playing badly.

    Of course its always good to win. But it even more agreeable to test yourself against the best and prevail. Right now that isn't the Australians. But they would indeed have to be a great deal better than they are to challenge the present England outfit, which is indeed a very fine side.

    Why New Zealand let you off the hook is unfathomable. Oh yes, that's right - it was our brilliant leadership . . .

  • gsingh7 on July 21, 2013, 22:23 GMT

    all said and done, it is more likely australia regressed than england improved. england still have a way to go to be best test team while australia were best for a decade or two. now with little batting talent,, australia still managed to run england so close in first test ,are were unlucky with drs decisions to lose it. i test win hardly represents wide gap.with best team england have in decades,they still lost to sa 2-0 ,twice in last few years ,on homesoil.also drs have definitely soured the english wins.still a long way to go.

  • gsingh7 on July 21, 2013, 22:23 GMT

    all said and done, it is more likely australia regressed than england improved. england still have a way to go to be best test team while australia were best for a decade or two. now with little batting talent,, australia still managed to run england so close in first test ,are were unlucky with drs decisions to lose it. i test win hardly represents wide gap.with best team england have in decades,they still lost to sa 2-0 ,twice in last few years ,on homesoil.also drs have definitely soured the english wins.still a long way to go.

  • regofpicton on July 21, 2013, 22:34 GMT

    As stated plainly enough in the clip, the Australian team and media had no sympathy for a well beaten England team. Perhaps its just the different national characters. The English would apparently much prefer to beat a team that is playing well. The Australians are just as happy to thrash a team that is playing badly.

    Of course its always good to win. But it even more agreeable to test yourself against the best and prevail. Right now that isn't the Australians. But they would indeed have to be a great deal better than they are to challenge the present England outfit, which is indeed a very fine side.

    Why New Zealand let you off the hook is unfathomable. Oh yes, that's right - it was our brilliant leadership . . .

  • aracer on July 22, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    Good comment about Bresnan. There is a time and a place for Finn, but with Bresnan apparently back to close to his best his economy is far more valuable to the team in combination with the rest of our attack, who don't appear to suffer from a lack of wicket taking ability. Pleased to also see him rediscover the batting form he is clearly capable of. I've been critical of him in the past, but did agree coming into this match that he was probably a better option than Finn - good to see the selectors' faith has been repaid.

  • peter.suen on July 22, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    Not to mention England seems to have depth in its batting and bowling. If someone is injured, someone capable will come into the team.

    With Australia, as poor as they are, it's hard to find people more suitable to come into the team.

  • on July 22, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    Don't get too excited England. This is undoubtedly the worst Australian batting line-up assembled since the 80's after the retirement of Chappell and the rebel South African tours. South Africa are still a mile ahead of you guys

  • landl47 on July 22, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    England are a good side- not a dominant side in the manner of the great West Indian and Australian sides, but a side with depth and the ability to win in all conditions. Under Cook they might even reach a level higher; there are some very good young players coming through and at 28 Cook is young enough to create a new team in his own image. Joe Root and his appetite for big runs already seems to have bought into that concept.

    The England back room seems to be doing its homework, too. I suggested before the series started that Swann was one of the big differences between the two sides and if England got wickets which turned they would win those games. So far, 2 games, 2 turners, 2 wins- and the next test is at Old Trafford where the new wicket is turning square. Coincidence? I don't think so.

    Australia will be a much stiffer test at home. No turners there- seam and bounce will be on offer. How well England can cope with that will be a measure of how far they have come.

  • on July 22, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Bit Poor there Robbie Garden. In all reports i have read the celebrations have been noted as very low key. England are not getting carried away although Australia do not seem to realise that their domination of World Cricket is now over and will be for quite some time to come. As for SA, well this is an Ashes test is it not?

  • venkatesh018 on July 22, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    Even acknowledging the fact that Australia are a pathetic Test unit at present, one has to agree that this one of the "best" English sides ever to play an Ashes series in the last 30 years. It indeed looks like the "Golden age" of English cricket.

  • venkatesh018 on July 22, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    Looking at the quality of the reserves England have in Finn, Onions, Tremlett, Panesar, Tredwell, Ballance, Taylor etc. Australia will struggle to compete with an England A team.

  • Unifex on July 22, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    "This is a highly significant moment in English cricket" It's hubris like this that an Aussie likes to see. I don't buy that there's such a huge gulf, despite the result. As bad as they're batting, Australia can still get the Poms out, and if you can get the other side out, you can win. Many of Australia's problems are under their own control - three times, for example, simple catches in the slips were not attempted, and one of those gave Joe Root 172 more runs and would, if taken, have seen England at 4-30 by the end of day two. Take those catches and you maximise your strength, bowling, while minimising how much you're asking of your weakness, batting. I don't think they'll win the series, either, but there are five more Test in Australia, and those Aussies who survive will much better players in six months for the education they're getting.