The Investec Ashes 2013

Tail better than top three - Border

Daniel Brettig

July 22, 2013

Comments: 193 | Text size: A | A

Allan Border, the former Australia captain, has spoken of his bewilderment at how the vastly talented allrounder Shane Watson is skating desperately close to a failed career, in a Test match team where the bowlers looked more capable of batting time than the batsmen.

Having experienced the enormous pain of Australian cricket's troubled times during the 1980s, Border paralleled the current team's lack of performance and good fortune with the teams he led so valiantly three decades ago. A horrid defeat by 347 runs at Lord's handed Australia their sixth Test match loss in a row, a streak not seen since 1984, when Border inherited the captaincy from a tearful Kim Hughes.

Seldom known for expressing opinions that are any less than guarded, Border was particularly frank in his assessment of the batting he saw at Lord's over the past four days. "Our major concern right now is the performance of the top six. I could honestly say the nine, 10 and jack looked more competent than our one, two and three," Border wrote for Cricket Australia. "If that was me in the top three I'd be embarrassed. We need to settle on our best 11 and stay with it. I'm a believer in the pick and stick method, so we need to find our best 11 suited to the conditions and stick with it."

Whether or not that best XI includes Watson is a matter of increasing debate, given the frequency with which he is getting out for infuriatingly handy scores, and now also falling in a remarkably similar manner in each innings. After watching Watson fall lbw for the third time in four turns at the crease this series, Border said he could not fathom how a player this talented could keep making the same mistakes.

"We all know what a wonderful player Shane Watson is. He looks like a million bucks when he's firing. What is worrying though is that he keeps getting out in the same fashion. Now who is to blame here? Is it Watson for not adapting? What about the coaches?" Border wrote. "In an era where we've got a thousand coaches and psychoanalysts and dieticians and sport scientists it defies belief that a player can be making the same mistakes. Whether it is a technical thing or a mental thing I don't know.

James Anderson trapped Shane Watson lbw, England v Australia, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, 4th day, July 21, 2013
James Anderson trapped Shane Watson lbw in the second innings at Lord's © Getty Images

"Is Shane not listening, or are people saying bad luck, you got a good one? We need to find out what the best is for Shane. Is it opening the batting? Or maybe batting at six and making him a genuine allrounder? Whatever it is we need to find out soon or Shane's time will have come and gone and we won't have seen the best of him. The buck stops with Shane and he needs to figure it quickly because it will be a real shame if he doesn't fulfil his potential."

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann has said that Watson is well aware of the technical problems revolving around the prominence of his front pad, and credited England's bowlers, most recently James Anderson, for repeatedly finding it.

"We've talked about it many times. I actually think it was a pretty good ball to be fair from Anderson. It nipped off a length and cut back," Lehmann said. "The first innings he played across his pad but this innings I thought he played pretty well. We would love him to make big runs as everyone would but he is just one of the top seven who has to do it."

Watson gave some indication that he was trying to combat the problem by taking a leg-stump guard in the second innings at Lord's, and Lehmann said there would be more tinkering to try to ensure he scored the runs that his talent has continually hinted at without ever quite delivering.

"Particularly here at Lord's with the slope and it coming back in, he made that adjustment, but that may be different at Old Trafford, it depends on where you are playing , they are going to target that," Lehmann said. "We know that. We know we are going to bowl to their batters, they know how they are going bowl on our bowlers. We just have to make technical and tactical decisions - at the moment we are not coming up with the right ones and the right results."

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

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Posted by Parthas on (July 27, 2013, 16:08 GMT)

Being a hardcore Aussie fan, the positives I see are Australian batsmen are bowling better than English batsmen. Australian bowlers are batting better than English bowlers.

Posted by maheshjayanth on (July 25, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

CA - Bring back Warner for the third test.

Posted by roywood on (July 24, 2013, 22:23 GMT)

I do not like to blame any of the players, the main reason is try to quit the T 20 game then I think the players will concentrate in test cricket, that is the problem faced by the Australian cricker at present, so therefore, it is utterly useless blaming the players and giving unwanted comments, best thing try to stop T 20 please.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

pl try to face England by following order.Watson,warnar, Clarke,vogas,d.hussey.Bailey,,haddin, Faulkner,siddle,lyon.hilfy.CA simply wasted young players(Bailey,Faulkner)and experienced players like hilfy,vivas, know d.hussey first class average crosses above guys still hanging Phil Hughes,Smith,agar.very sad

Posted by _Australian_ on (July 24, 2013, 11:07 GMT)

Border is probably right that our top three are that poor. But also I put a fair bit of blame on Clarke for not staying at 4. Hughes was perfect for us at 6. Clarke really needs to man up as our best bat and captain.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

For me Cowan, Rogers, Kawaja, Clarke, Bailey (fly him over NOW), Smith, Haddin, Agar, Siddle, Harris, Byrd

Posted by   on (July 24, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

I think Cricket Australia needs to take some blame here. In Australia, there is now so much emphasis on 20/20 cricket, particularly at grass roots level. No wonder the top 6 don't know how to build a long test innings

Posted by mackarthick on (July 24, 2013, 6:43 GMT)

Having watson in the bag always scares the opposition so if u r to lose him lose him late.Let clarke spend more time and provide some cmfrt for youngsters, order of batting should be:

Rogers khawaja Clarke Watson Smith Haddin Hughes Agar Pattinson Siddle Harris

Posted by mackarthick on (July 24, 2013, 6:31 GMT)

Clarkey should shuffle his batting order. khawaja, smith, hughes should be pulled down who are less experienced,khawaja who looks comfortable in new ball should open along with rogers.clarkey should go one down.once these 3 grind the ball and make it old, bring hitter watson out foolowed by smith, den haddin, let hughes play down,after him agar, pattinson, harris

Posted by immit13 on (July 23, 2013, 19:24 GMT)

Shane Watson... a perfect example of how IPL can damage your TEST CRICKET skills! The guy should have gone on to play some county cricket instead as all of them now a days... he chose to play for IPL and he has already reaped what he sowed!!! I would dare to say he has already placed his TEST CRICKET career in jeopardy. KP is on the same road as Shane Watson... watch out

Posted by thebrotherswaugh on (July 23, 2013, 12:32 GMT)

It's funny that nobody ever mentions the failure of Justin Langer as the OZ batting coach, and he had Ponting and Hussey as senior players to call upon as well. Maybe that fact alone should have had the ACB alarm bells ringing well before his departure - because Blind Freddy can tell that the OZ batting order is in total disarray. There are no quick fixes - it will take time to rebuild our national domestic stocks from the grass roots up, at least 3 years. Hussey was also quoted in the press today condemning the state of our wickets in the Pura Cup domestic competition. His main issue is that they are far too bowler friendly, young batsmen are not getting the opportunity to build big innings as teams are bowled out cheaply, and bowlers get an over-inflated opinion of just how effectively they are bowling - all points that the ACB must look into (although there are many other issues influencing the domestic competition). Some honest criticism from AB - what we wouldn't give for him atm.

Posted by komit on (July 23, 2013, 12:25 GMT)

Adam Voges and George Bailey were our best batsmen in the one day series,both players are seasoned shield players.Graeme Swan loves nothing more than seeing this side stacked with left handed batsmen who can't hit him off the square.Both players didn't have great shield season but are in form and are right handed.Australia have tried several spinners with Steve O'keefe the forgotten man.Career shield average 26 with ball and 30 with the bat and bags of wickets and runs when selected for Australia A,must be given opportunity.

Posted by camcove on (July 23, 2013, 10:01 GMT)

Magpye - Very perceptive comments, IMO. I think Ashley Mallett a few years ago commented on the coaching problems in Oz. The reasons for our batting decline in first class cricket have been talked about by many, and I am sure that between coaching, too much limited overs cricket, juicy pitches, too many playing AFL, declining grade cricket, lack of mentoring by older players and simply bad attitudes (many of which causes overlap), we've got the causes covered. I think you may be a little harsh on Rogers, as his main first class success has been in the same competitions as D Hussey with similar results. In Doolan and Burns I think you have named the two with most promise. (I'd like to see Silk and Maddinson given special treatment for he future also). I'm not convinced that Wade shouldn't concentrate on being a specialist batsman. Nevill looks a great wickie prospect. I don't know the team dynamics, but Watson's look of misery when he inevitably gets out can't be good for confidence.

Posted by Karnor on (July 23, 2013, 9:52 GMT)

I'm not sure I understand why Watson is being made the main scapegoat here.

Yes he's not scoring very well. Yes he's getting out in the same manner. Yes he's their highest scoring batsman...

If I were Australia, I'd worry more about that third point. At least Watson is scoring a few runs before he gets out.

Posted by magpye on (July 23, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

Watson is just another product of the flawed changes we have adopted in the coaching of our batsmen over the past 10 years. The priority of coaches now is to teach a technique that favours fast hands and free arms to maximise power and is ideally suited to 20/20 cricket. Test cricket is a test of technique and far more is required of players. The reality is that the countries that have maintained a more traditional approach have continued to excel in test cricket while our batsmen are being found wanting as soon as conditions are unfamiliar or challenging. A number of players in the Aussie team either do not cover off stump (Haddin, Smith, Hughes) or have problems with their bat lift and balance (Watson, Clarke). Chris Rogers is simply not good enough and never has been. We need to ditch Haddin and bring back Mat Wade. Then we need to get rid of part players and get some young specialist batsmen into our team. Bring in Doolan and Burns and stick with them.

Posted by Theredbaron on (July 23, 2013, 8:28 GMT)

AB you are spot on, as well as most of the comments in this discussion. Australia need to go back to basics and teach it players the art of building a test innings. That is not playing big bash cricket, but rather 4 day formats that incourage long periods of concentration. As a South African i will never forget the innings of Mike Atherton against a fired up bowling attack including Alan Donald. He saved England from sure defeat, by sitting around for 643 minutes

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 7:54 GMT)

@ Mudasar Zahid .... I remember the last Ashes. Hussey made lots, Clarke made none!!!

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 7:50 GMT)

Joseph Langford

Now all of a sudden personalities and journalists are writing what I have been saying for years.

In 2013 Australia has played 7-Tests -

- the highest average for a wicket partnership for this year comes from the 10th Wicket @ 45.18 that has saved Australia from utter humiliation on more than one occasion The averages for the top five wickets are (1) 37.79, (2) 26.14, (3) 22.50, (4) 30.14, (5) 27.64.

- the first five wickets have only produced 3 x 100 run partnerships while the last 5 - Wickets have produced 2 x 100 run partnerships.

The list of stats go on, But it's not a recent phenomenon, with bowlers and wicketkeepers winning Tests with the bat .... something that have repetitively commented about for years.

One of the best stats is -

Since the Australia vs Pakistan Tests in 2010, the 2nd Wicket Partnership has averaged only 1-run more than the 9th wicket partnership and less than the 10th wicket partnership. The 3rd WP averages only 4 more run

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 7:47 GMT)

@ David Priol ..... Bradman "reversed" the order because it was a sticky wicket .... not because of form. One of the most remarkable pieces of Captaining ever!!!

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 7:11 GMT)

There are some great comments at the top of the list here and I agree with most of them. On a lighter side, I believe Bradman once reversed the batting order in a test match. Perhaps Clarke should try this method to protect his batsmen at the top of the order. Our tail would probably fair the same and our batsmen may then actually score some runs. Lehmann should be blooding our young players for the summer now. And bringing back some truly talented cricketers to show them what to do. Katich and Copeland would be great for the last three tests. Rest Harris until the last test. Bring in Sandhu and Faulkner as well as young Jordan Silk. And bring in a young new wicketkeeper now...

Posted by Naren21 on (July 23, 2013, 5:58 GMT)

For the next test, change in batting order may do some good. Rogers, Hughes to open followed by Khawaja, Smith, Clarke and Watson making up the top six followed by Haddin, Siddle, Harris, Bird and Lyon. Bird coming in place of the injured Pattinson and Lyon replacing the inexperienced Ashton Agar. Watson may be better of as an all rounder and Hughes has scored all his runs at the top. For the future it is time to start grooming Kurtis Patterson, Maddison, Ferguson, Sandhu and Doolan.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 5:46 GMT)

Watson isn't an opener... period, at the moment he is barely a bowling all rounder. He shouldn't even be in the team except as a bowler. Is Brad Hodge still playing?? By far and away the best bat never to get a fair go in the test team..

Posted by pulkit10 on (July 23, 2013, 5:10 GMT)

@JyoMoy: The reason behind India's losses in the last 3 major series they've played were the batsmen not scoring runs. At all. Except Dravid, no one scored properly in Eng/Aus or at home vs. Eng and batting is India's biggest strength. The entire line up has now been changed. They've been replaced by young lads who have been toiling themselves in India's FC tournaments for the past 5-6 years.

You are comparing genuinely talented players that have toiled hard at FC levels for the past 5-6 years and have shown immediate results after coming into the team to last resort picks by Australia and calling the Oz line up better with literally no merit. Good job.

Posted by pulkit10 on (July 23, 2013, 4:59 GMT)

CA needs to stick with one approach: either look forward and give the young ones an extended run or stick with the old guard and transition slowly. They're everywhere right now. Kicked out Katich and didn't include David Hussey when they both have impeccable FC records, while Rogers makes it to the team because he has a good FC record. What? Then Hauritz and Lyon are both chosen to add something new and then both taken away to give someone else a shot - how do you expect the players to grow?

Bringing back Katich/Hussey is a good short term bet and they need to see things from there.

@jyomoy - next comment...

Posted by runout49 on (July 23, 2013, 4:09 GMT)

Please, let's stop calling it Australia's top is anything but !

Posted by Naikan on (July 23, 2013, 4:07 GMT)

Finding a long lasting test 11 is going to be a tough task with the current lot. Shane did well as an opener 4 years ago, but since then over 3 years has an avg of 37 with just 1 century in 15 tests. His T20 skills cannot help him here. Rogers has a 1st class average of 50+, but at 36 years has missed the prime time bus. Haddin(35), Harris (32), Clarke (32) are not young either. Hughes though young, has a modest performance of Avg 32 in 26 tests. Amongst the new, Khawaja does not have a sufficiently convincing 1st class record (avg 42) to suggest longevity. SPD Smith with test batting avg 29 and bowling avg 46 in 9 tests, has a long way to go. While Agar has given one good batting performance his bowling (his primary skill) has not seemed effective enough. So yes, the Aussies need to go back to the drawing board and do what Border managed to accomplish in the 80s.

Posted by JyoMoy on (July 23, 2013, 4:07 GMT)

Australia's best XI according to my humble opinion: Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Usman Khwaja, Michael Clarke, Brad Hodge, Shaun Marsh/Steve Smith, Brad Haddin, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris/James Pattinson/Michael Johnson.

Steve Smith can be a utility player. I still believe Shaun Marsh can be a good international player, better than what his domestic records state. The lineup also provides you a left-arm chinaman option in Katich, and a genuine fifth bowler in Watson. Jackson Bird can play the containment role on unfriendly pitches while Siddle who is really one of the world's best currently is the aggressor. On fast bouncy pitches, Johnson is a must as he can physically and morally destroy the option single-handedly. Nathan Lyon must the the automatic first choice spinner and must be persisted on all types of pitches for a while - say 10 matches. He bowled with a lot of heart in India against the best players of spin.

Posted by JyoMoy on (July 23, 2013, 3:57 GMT)

It is sad to see Australia completely lose the plot. The current set of batsmen can't play pace, spin, or anything in between. India is often blamed for putting an emphasis on T-20; however Kohli, Dhawan etc. are star players in the T-20 format. India hasn't done well overseas and might not in the near future...however, we have a much better batting lineup.

For starters, Australia need to get back Katich and Hodge. When the team is struggling, you need to get the best possible players - whether they have a contract or not. Katich and Watson actually made a decent opening pair after Hayden and Langer retired. Watson needs someone who can play for time till he gets settled in. In many ways he is like Sehwag, he needs confidence and once in - he can thrash any opposition. Australia's best XI, according to my

Posted by Crimsonbat on (July 23, 2013, 3:36 GMT)

Colin Cowdrey was recalled after he retired. So Katich is still in plot. The only reason for Katich to not play is that the Aussies need to have 15 players with potential and stick with them. Katich is not for the long term. I thought that Anderson was an average player when he first appeared in tests but he was persisted with. With Watson and Shewag it is always feast or famine, with famine predominating of late.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 23, 2013, 3:31 GMT)

@coldcoffee123 on (July 22, 2013, 19:05 GMT) short memory? No, Watson didn't start his career opening the batting but his record for Australia is better opening that at any other position. On what basis do you conclude that he would do better down the order? Certainly not his past record (avg 41.75 opening and 24.28 at #6). Yes, he looks like someone who should do well down the order but he never has. That's the problem with Watson all over: he looks like he should do well but he never really lived up to that potential.

Posted by Faisal_Nazir on (July 23, 2013, 3:31 GMT)

Khwaja looks miles ahead of philip hughes and ed cowan,technically as well as mentally.I have no idea why on earth were they persisiting with cowan and hughes both.Khwaja has been treated unfairly throughout.Kept on the bench and never given substantial oppurtunity to prove himself.Maybe he wasnt in clarke's good books.

Posted by captaincool79 on (July 23, 2013, 3:06 GMT)

Good honest thoughts from AB. Having watched him lead Australia in the games, one can understand the passion and love that AB has for the game of cricket and for Australia. Just think it is a matter of making some good decisions and have the rub of the green as they say in cricket!!! They still have a team that can give the English a real good fight and that is all that we cricket lovers want to see...... Two teams giving it their best shot and then we can have a great game like the 1st test at Nottingham.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 2:50 GMT)

The debacle started when the performance manager decided to rest player once they cross these many hours. Cricket is a form based game. The more matches they play, the more chance of getting into form and better the players perform. Cricket unlike football or Rugby where a player should not be rested after these many games. How could the performance manager could be in that position when he doesn't have a clue about the game??!!!. Get rid of this person and things will fall in places. finally, warn Watson that Clarke must be respected as he is the captain and obviously better talented than Watson.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 2:40 GMT)

LOL. Just reverse the batting order. At this level it is all mind game. The survival of the fittest mentally.

Posted by satishchandar on (July 23, 2013, 2:35 GMT)

Good one from the man who actually elevated captaincy in Australia cricket to new level.. Australia should well consider how to approach the game. The same thing happened in India too.. If you have a strong middle order, the openers would have the luxury of going for shots and counter attack the new ball.. Like the likes of Sehwag or Hayden.. But with a inexperienced middle order of Hughes, Khawaja, Smith, the openers can't have that luxury.. While i accept that Watson is the best attacking batsman in Australia right now, his problem is not to realise how to approach the innings.. Why not sacrifice Hughes/Warner as opener to bring in Watson in at 6 to counter attack.. Really that is the best way he bats.. Even bring in Haddin at 5 with Smith at 7 as a all rounder.. Haddin showed more will to fight than the top 6 in the couple of games.. For the matter of fact on current form i would try this.. Hughes, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Haddin, Watson, Smith and the 4 bowlers..

Posted by   on (July 23, 2013, 2:27 GMT)

if this a rebuilding phase because obviously we are no chance of winning a match on current form, wouldn't it be a good opportunity to blood some up and comers such as Joe Burns, Alex Doolan, the Big Show maxwell and maybe Moises?? Surely they can't be any worse than the present crop of rubbish.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (July 23, 2013, 2:16 GMT)

The reason it is relatively easy for the tail is that England have only got two bowlers, and as soon as they tire it is easy runs for the lower order. This makes it all the more sad that the top order can't just bat out a few overs. As soon as Swann and Anderson tire there are runs aplenty for the taking. Watson only bats for 20-30 balls at a run a ball. The English bat for 100 balls to make the same number of runs, so even though their top order has failed miserably for the most part, they give the middle order room to move.

Posted by CricketFanIndUS on (July 23, 2013, 2:10 GMT)

Khawaja played well. Australia's tail end played well . . .they bat all the way down to number 11. Not only in this match, they have done rather well many times recently considering their positions. Unfortunately the top order is having a bad time this year. Same case with the middle order, including Clarke. Why are the Aussies not grinding out, one has to wonder. The tail end batsmen have displayed a better temperament than the rest, it appears from the highlights, scorecard and the articles! I wish they dig themselves out and bat well to even the series if not win it. A well contested and exciting Ashes series can only be good for cricket.

Posted by RJHB on (July 23, 2013, 0:53 GMT)

Ummm forgive me if I'm wrong, it's been a long time since I played, but isn't taking a leg stump line when you're planting your front leg across and down the pitch just lining up the stumps beautifully for the bowler? And frankly anyone talking about his 20s and 30s being "handy" scores is spouting jibberish! When did a 20or 30 for an opener last win a test? This isn't T20 cricket people!

Posted by D.V.C. on (July 23, 2013, 0:46 GMT)

Yes, Watson is failing to convert, but he is best described as the least of Australia's batting problems right now. He has more runs than anyone else on tour!

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (July 23, 2013, 0:37 GMT)

Our top order needs to lift their game, with the exception of Khawaja who made a fighting 50 the others were simply not good enough.

Posted by Bigskyrocket on (July 23, 2013, 0:05 GMT)

Shane Watson has become an object of derision for the Poms, just watch the reaction of the poms in the background after each dismissal. They might as well be laughing at Australian cricket. The blame lies at James Sutherland's CA and the perverse control of Channel 9 doors. The emphasis on money making cricket as prime time TV entertainment has produced cricketers like Watto. Lehmann has asked his batsmen to follow the example of Bell and Root and bat time, but the Aussies don't know how to because they have never have before. They have breed on a diet of hitting out in t20. it has ruinedthem astest cricketers. Another thing on selection, in the recent past australia had a batting lineup augmented by the likes of Katich, Lehmann himself, Langer, Hayden and michael hussey all reaching their peak at around age 30, some after being tried and discarded earlier. Smith, Khawaja and Hughes are 5 years away from that. Bailey, Voges and Ferguson should be there now. Sadly David Hussey miised.

Posted by cricbranthan on (July 22, 2013, 23:01 GMT)

Why everyone putting pressure on watson???Let him work on his lbw problem,apart from that he is alright and in good nick.I dont think chris rogers is a good addition to this squad. katich,peter forest,voges,henriques,ahmed etc .they seems to be better option.untill last week everyone was saying lehman is a complete package and messiah and I think his days are also counted.I think warner and watto should open

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 22:55 GMT)

Bring back David Warner(He is X-factor for the team who can take game away from opp with in a span of 20-30 overs if he survives), Simon Katich (He is a very good player Aus team surely miss him) and move Watson down the order at 6.

Posted by Wefinishthis on (July 22, 2013, 22:32 GMT)

What people don't understand is that Katich and Ponting may have scored centuries in FC cricket in England recently, but so too did Watson prior to this series! Facing Anderson & Swann on their home turf is very different to facing some club bowlers, so give up with Katich. He was a good (but not great) batsman who had his chances and was not good enough. Katich/Ponting would have been involved in the collapse just as much as Watson would have been. The real concern remains our bowlers. Yes our batsman collapsed again, but we gave away well in excess of 600 runs in the match! It's statistically impossible to win regularly when you're asking your batsmen to chase down those sorts of runs every match, not to mention the pressure it places on your own batsmen. Pattinson and Agar were a disaster, whilst Siddle showed his usual inconsistency. Hopefully Bird and Harris will open the bowling next match, with Siddle or Faulkner to come on first change. And finally, get O'Keefe in there!

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 22:24 GMT)

hussey should have played this ashes he is Clarke's support remember in aus in 2012 against india clarke mafe a 329* nd mike hussey on175

Posted by typos on (July 22, 2013, 22:20 GMT)

I would find a pair of openers and drop Watson down the middle where he can be more of a Kallis type player since Watson is an all rounder who they said should open. Why is the blame going only to him? The entire batting line up has failed! Hughes must bat one drop if Clarke won't so Hughes, Clarke, Watson, Haddin, Smith. Khawaja as a makeshift opener because of his willingness to grind it out. Also, in the long term, revert to an opening pair of Warner and Marsh, give them an extended run as Border suggests and then revisit the attitude that got them out of the slump in the 80s.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 22:14 GMT)

Aussies aura is over, please don't expect Watson to play like Hayden or Langer and Lyon & Co to replicate Warne skills. Please identify right players and allow them to create their own place in history, team will take care of itself!!

Posted by blink182alex on (July 22, 2013, 22:08 GMT)

It was only 4 months ago people were saying Watson cannot play in the middle order and should open the batting. Just two tests into this series and people want him either dropped or back down the order, he has underachieved yes - but he is actually the leading run scorer in the top 7 for us this series (which shows how poor we've been). I still don't believe there is a better alternative for him, he is one of the best cricketers in the country but no doubt he needs to start making 100's.

On another note CA should be doing whatever they can to try and persuade Sam Robson to choose Aus over Eng, we can't let a young batting talent like him slip through our fingers.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 22:06 GMT)

PS strikeforce (and everyone else) playing across the line with an angled bat indicates the type of grip Watson has on the bat handle. He cannot magically play straighter down the line on middle/leg balls unless he changes the way he holds the bat - try it, rotate the top hand on the handle of the bat and play that stroke with the different grips. Suggestion B is a little embarrassing - do you want that one back?... In fact you seem to be telling him to play the way you like to? Have you any test centuries?

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 22:00 GMT)

Don't like those 4 things at all StrikeForce - you must really be a coach lol. It was actually Nasser Hussein that pointed out Joe Root had a similar problem, which still surfaces every now and then (most notably with the tickles down leg side as he's falling away). Because Watson falls over the crease he is particularly susceptible to the inswinger, and even more so to a slightly slower inswinger, like the one from the 1st innings at Lords. Hussein then focussed in on Root's footwork and the adjustment he made to change - no four confusing things, just a slight opening on the left foot as the last move before re-acting to the ball bowled... too simple for the modern coach I know.

Posted by ballsintherightareas on (July 22, 2013, 21:50 GMT)

Aussie top order batting averages over last 24 months:

Watson 24.53 Rogers 22.25 Khawaja 30.33 Hughes 28.38 Clarke 64.27 Smith 29.25 Haddin 23.29 TOTAL: 222.30

Or you could have...

Warner 39.47 Wade 34.56 Agar 32.50 Cowan 31.28 Pattinson 30.09 Starc 27.33 Harris 24.50 TOTAL: 219.73

Posted by Jagger on (July 22, 2013, 21:30 GMT)

It's fine to claim the pick and stick mantra if you have Waughs, Warne and Boonie, but the current lot don't learn. You don't pick players who lose Ashes matches by an innings. Fast-tracking Warner, a grade cricketer, was an act of feverish desperation. The opener, wicketkeeper and bowler positions have been revisited more times than Flinders Street Station. Nothing has been spared yet they are in the worst position since Kim Hughes cried. Who is the best 'keeper in Australia? Ian Healy, a one-eyed Queenslander, has been critical of both Haddin and Wade yet the Shield players say Hartley is best and daylight second. The simple problem is the NSP don't know who the best cricketers are, and taking T20 form into consideration for Test match selection is utterly ridiculous. The NSP didn't bother to turn up to Harris' comeback Shield match. Why? Too busy to watch Australia's best bowler? It's time Invers & Co went to a few more shield games and found out who the best really are.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 21:25 GMT)

Now all of a sudden personalities and journalists are writing what I have been saying for years.

In 2013 Australia has played 7-Tests -

- the highest average for a wicket partnership for this year comes from the 10th Wicket @ 45.18 that has saved Australia from utter humiliation on more than one occasion The averages for the top five wickets are (1) 37.79, (2) 26.14, (3) 22.50, (4) 30.14, (5) 27.64.

- the first five wickets have only produced 3 x 100 run partnerships while the last 5 - Wickets have produced 2 x 100 run partnerships.

The list of stats go on, But it's not a recent phenomenon, with bowlers and wicketkeepers winning Tests with the bat .... something that have repetitively commented about for years.

One of the best stats is -

Since the Australia vs Pakistan Tests in 2010, the 2nd Wicket Partnership has averaged only 1-run more than the 9th wicket partnership and less than the 10th wicket partnership. The 3rd WP averages only 4 more runs than the 10WP


Posted by MartinC on (July 22, 2013, 20:19 GMT)

It just got slightly worse for Australia - Pattinson has a stress fracture in his back and is out of the tour. That's one of Australia better batsmen out.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 20:01 GMT)

Clarke has to go as captain..his personality issues are wrecking the team. We are witnessing the meltdown of a key team in a sport, not at all advisable. Katich and Hussey need to return, Watson captain. All the jacks in the box like Warner, Smith, Hughes, Cowan have to go back to Sheffield Sheild or IPL (whichever takes them). Agar should go back and finish school and Lyon needs to come back.The pace bowling looks promising though. This is a thirty year cycle for Australia and last time Border rode it through discipline, fight and tactics. Clarke has none of these, bowling pacers to Bresnan on the 3rd morning was a sign.In five years Clarke has had one good year and the rest are mid 30's averages.If quick and drastic changes are not made Australian cricket will discover a phase not experienced thus far in its history. Where are Callum Ferguson, Mitchell Johnson ? Right now it looks like they're trying anything with the hope that something will stick...Engalnd will like that very much.

Posted by andazz on (July 22, 2013, 19:53 GMT)

katich has retired from aussie first class cricket so he canot be selected

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 19:50 GMT)

At least Watson's 'infuriatingly handy scores' are (by definition) still handy scores, which is a whole better than most of the rest seem to manage.

Whilst he should be doing better, if at 50% performance he is still better than some of the others at 100%, you can't really drop him.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (July 22, 2013, 19:49 GMT)

Is it time to push the panic button yet?

Posted by VVSR92 on (July 22, 2013, 19:48 GMT)

borders opinions are spot on ! Aus batting indeed looks baffling & they got to stick to their best 11 but these guys are not the best from aus, when players like katich,hodge made themselves available fro ashes why not pick them . Instead they could also have given someone like bailey,s.marsh,ferguson a long run rather than sticking wih guys who not produce enough runs .

Coming to watson he is atleast capable of wining games single handedly & whether he performs fully to his potential is his biggest challenge & it would be a pure delight for cricket fans . He should open else his skills would be under utilised .

Posted by Fareen on (July 22, 2013, 19:37 GMT)

And as it sounds much as playstation cricket, I think Australia MUST bring in or at least try to bring players like Katich, M. Hussey, Voges etc. into the team before they suffer a whitewash. Katich, Watson, Rogers, Hussey, Clarke, Voges, Haddin, Starc, Pattinson/Bird, Siddle, Agar/Lyon.

Posted by khiladisher on (July 22, 2013, 19:37 GMT)

India looses the Golden Generation (Sachin-Sehwag-Rahul-Laxman-Saurav)-they get replaced by KOHLI_DHAWAN_ROHIT PUJARA-VIJAY_they thrash Australia 4-0,win Champions Trophy to go along with World Cup.THEY are #1 in one day matches and #2 in Tests. Australia and West Indies have no replacements and lie at the bottom of the rankings.

Posted by Fareen on (July 22, 2013, 19:33 GMT)

To be fair Watson shouldn't be the only person to blame. Also, Rogers was brought in to support Watson, and he should get more opportunities. But the likes of Smith, Hughes, Khawaja etc. are failing miserably when it's really needed. I somehow feel Aussie selectors simply regret the fact that they somehow dropped Katich from their plans and brought in Warner, who hasn't quite adapted for test cricket YET. I know people would think it as foolish, but I still think bringing in guys like Voges, Jacques etc. would strengthen the team rather than keep playing the likes of Hughes and Smith.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 19:32 GMT)

If Watto is the concern here, what about the others? Rogers, Cleark, Smith. Hughes & Haddin apart from one knock have failed. Watto is not an specialist opener. He has been told to do so. He bowls too & pick you wickets. If so send Hughes to open & play Watto in the middle which suits him well. That's the rold Andrew Symonds played for Ozs. No marks for blaming Watto for these losses.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 19:13 GMT)

Rogers is 35 and has had a long domestic career, still his performance so far doesn't inspire any confidence. Watto is 32 and with his technique, he doesn't look like starting firing anytime soon. Hughes will never improve and so are Cowan and Smith. Khawaja can be given some more chances(but not more than 2 tests tops). Haddin is 35 again and is very inconsistent, so is Wade, and both of them are also not good wktkeepers. Agar needs to learn a lot about bowling spin. Clarke's form is another concern. Just what is that the selectors or management are doing? What are the long time prospects?

Posted by anurade on (July 22, 2013, 19:05 GMT)

All these talk on techniques are well and good and needs to be looked at. But what they all really lack is the "HEART" and the Australian GRIT & FIGHT we have always seen with all the past Aussie sportsmen, not only cricketers. It is the JOB of the captain and the Coach to instill the fight, Grit and the shame of losing into the players. This lot smiles when the drop a catch, bowl a bad ball, get out to a bad shot. They need to start playing for someone (Country, captain or Coach) but for themselves. On paper they are way better than the team Alan took over in 1984 and all they need is the Heart and the belief they can beat this mediocre England team. They have shown that they have the ability in short spells, but seem to throw it away at crucial times. Show them how past cricketers such as Border, Warne, HUSSEY (in Capital as in my books he was the greatest Aussie fighter of all time), Ponting, Macgrath, Doug Walters, Chapel brothers etc.etc and the list goes on and on.

Posted by coldcoffee123 on (July 22, 2013, 19:05 GMT)

@Watson was supposed to be a make-shift opener after Hayden, Katich left the scene. To blame him for not having the technique of an opener, is YOUR PROBLEM. If Australia had a half decent opener, Shane would be batting at 6, and believe me, he could seriously scar the opposition there. With Watson at 6, it would also prolong the Aussie lower order partnerships. In my view, 95% of the Aussie problems would get solved once they pick a genuine opener. Every day I ask myself one question: Is Katich invisible to CA?

Posted by ShashidharHundi on (July 22, 2013, 18:57 GMT)

Every team goes through transformation once their set and winning combination retires / leaves. Aussies dominated the world cricket in all formats for more than a decade. It will take some time for them to get the right combination. I still feel their bowling is good and it can only get better. At top of the order, Roger & Khwaja are new and need some time and good backing of selectors to settle down. May be good idea to bring back Katich (burry the difference he has with the captain) move Watson down the order. With few more tests this team will settle down and you will see the results.

Posted by coldcoffee123 on (July 22, 2013, 18:52 GMT)

"we need to find our best 11 suited to the conditions"... Bring back Katich, Hussey right now. Move Shane Watson to 6. Believe me, Shane can do some serious damage there, like Gilly did. Win/draw the Ashes, and leave the "transition to the future" nonsense to the future. By the way, as long as Aussie domestic cricket keeps producing best batting averages in 30-40 range, Australia can forget cricket. Chopping and changing does not improve averages. Putting in years of hard work can.

Posted by Cricfever_PM on (July 22, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

To be frankly saying Australia right now doesn't have better players to replace these under performed players!!! If you look at last years Sheffield Shield Ponting was highest scores and young layers didn't played well!! They can go with baily/Voges but not sure why selectors are not showing any important on them!! They even could have selected Phill Jaques rather than Rogers, and Marsh totally forget the 1st class cricket.. Yes they are going through rough path and they should remember India who lost 8 consecutive abroad Test match and now playing well and packed 2nd place in Test cricket ranking!! So when your team is in transition you should have patience and give opportunity to young players to perform!!! If you keep experiment you will never get right combination!!! Mike has to remember of 1936 ashes team who come from 0-2 lose to 3-2 win but that time Aus found god of cricket Don Bradmen!!! Fingers crossed and wish Aus to win at least one game!!

Posted by Hardy087 on (July 22, 2013, 18:29 GMT)

I think that Agar is do great work at all-rounder but not experienced bowler so not get a wicket when ausi need,nathan leon can come in third test is more required to stop england to make a big target.

Posted by Nampally on (July 22, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

It is sad to see a great Australian team almost reduced to a "Minnows" level. I would be interested in recalling Michael Hussey for at least another 12 months & definitely for the 3 remaining Test matches. Losing Ponting, Hussey in batting with no reliable replacement has reduced the Aussie batting to a "very unreliable" status. Watson & Clarke are supposed to take over but they seem to have faltered & no youngsters performing. Warner has been also knocked out of the side on disciplinary grounds. If Australia is to put up any show at all they need both Hussey brothers + Lyon, as the off spinner. In addition Clarke & Watson need to stay there rather than throw away their wkt. Watson needs to cut his sweep shot which often gets him into trouble. Test match demands patient batting with sound defence & discipline. If the Aussie batting incorporate these 3 attributes they can still fight back with reinforcements. Clearly the current team is very weak in batting + experience.

Posted by cheguramana on (July 22, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

@bonobo : well said. Cud be that CA is trying to re create big stars or legends, instead of just using the best talent at hand. If Greg Chappell is behind that approach, I am not surprised. That arrogant wrong headed man almost ruined the Indian team. As soon, as he was gone after WC 2007, the team bounced back spectacularly, with just 'team managers', even without a coach !

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

There was time when West Indies used to rule the cricketing world with all time great players such as Rohan Kanhai,Joel Garner,Richards, Logi,Gordon,Marshal,Walsh,Ambrose,Lara,Logi,Richardson,Kalicharan,Sobers, Clive Lloyd etc keep on writing it wont end,then the time changed and west indies is down in the ICC table because there was no such replacement of these great players.Same thing happened with Australia they also ruled the world for more then 10 years because they had players like Boon,Waugh brothers,Border,Langer,Ponting,Martin,Gilly,Healy,Warne,Mcgrath,Brett, ,Lehman,Mark Taylor,Michael Slater,Craig McDermott ,Carl Rackemann,Jason Gillespie,Chappel brothers,Symonds and the father of Autralian cricket SIR DON BRADMAN and so on here is also the same case no replacement of such great players.I wonder one thing what these respective bords were doing once these players were on the verge of retirement? One thing i can say cricket is all about MONEY now a days.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 18:13 GMT)

selectn committee of australin team is not good they are filling the players by watching t20 perfomance.... i think shaun marsh,bailey,adam voges are the good choice to replace some players...bring back warner as an opener.....

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 18:12 GMT)

Absolutely agree with @Mittkap. Watson should be used lower down the order, moreso against Swann. If Aus batsman are able to negate Swann & Jimmy for few sessions, they'll be posting a healthy total.

They cant keep Agar in the team as a batsman. No doubt he is a wonderful talent, but Lyon needs to come in. Even England can't play good quality spin. So, if he's turning the ball along with Smith, it would be quite handful.

Thirdly, I still think Cowan deserves a place in the team. 1 bad game shouldn't be the sole reason to drop him. He's one guy who can stay in the middle for long, and this is what the Aussies need.

Posted by thelapal on (July 22, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

Final 11 which has to stick for rest of the matches 1.Rogers 2.Katich 3.Khawaja 4.D.Hussey or bailey 5.Clarke 6.kevin wade 7.lion 8.Pattinson 9.Siddle 10.Mitchell Johnson 11.Starc

Posted by kosiganti on (July 22, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

I believe there is a technical fault in Shane watson especially with new ball. In stead of making his confidence deteriorated better make him play at no 5 or 6 and bring phil hughes to opening slot. this will atleast solve the problem

Posted by vsssarma on (July 22, 2013, 17:48 GMT)

Young JC Silk (TAS, 347 runs in 3 matches) batted very well in the last Sheffield Shield.

Fawad Ahmed (Victoria, 16 wkts for 454 runs off 885 balls), CJ Sayers (SA, 48 wkts for 889 runs off 2,118 balls) bowled extremely well.

JR Hopes scored 473 runs in 8 matches and took 32 wkts for 728 runs off 2,010 balls.

These 4 players should have been picked up.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 17:40 GMT)

Nothing will change this Aussie team back to being world beaters overnight, be it technique, selection, psychology or tactics. So knee jerk reactions are not helpful. When I started watching cricket around '95 this is where the English side was. It took England about 7-8 years to come out of that, and a few years still to become as good as they are now. So lets get some perspective here. Australia has to take the right decisions for the long term and stick with them. Of course some things can be put right straight away but they are few and won't save them from England. They have enough to avoid a whitewash though and probably enough to give England some real headaches down under. But England are clear favorites for these remaining 8 tests.

Posted by John_Mil on (July 22, 2013, 17:36 GMT)

It's a Too big loos for Australia.They look some what better team but not the Best.After the loss of the recent players like Mike Hussey,Ponting,Gilchrist,Langer,Shane Warne,Andrew Symonds,Hayden .Austrial still struggling to find a player to play long innings. Players like Huge,Clark,Watson,Haddin,Warner needs to play for a long innings.Australia Bowling looks OK but Batting needs to improved a lot.

Posted by Mittkap on (July 22, 2013, 17:36 GMT)

Few changes that I think are required in Australian team:

1) Shane Watson to move down the batting order for two reasons. i) Save him from 1st new ball's movement until he regains his form ii) Give someone else the opportunity to open the innings.

2) Ashton Agar is of no use as a bowler in Australian test team. Lyon should replace him immediately.

3) Pattinson should be promoted higher in the batting order as he is the man in form with the bat for Australia.

Posted by samvarma on (July 22, 2013, 17:26 GMT)

First test it was bad luck but second test was really heart breaking. not sure what Aussie should do...bring in Hussey brothers & Brad Hodge ?. this is a way backward though

Posted by bonobo on (July 22, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

After 2006, Australia had available to them what you could call a very strong second XI in their early 30s. Katich, DHussey, Rogers, Hodge, DiVenuto, Jaques etc....But they decided and Greg Chappell was very determined about this, they didnt want to settle for something less than a golden era...and decided to blood young players like Hughes, Warner, Smith etc...assuming the next Ponting and Hayden would emerge...This was a mistake...they should have had best 4 or 5 of that waiting generation...who given that there is not that much world class bowling on offer, would surely have performed solidly...particularly in England, where they all have had succesfull county careers. There is always trial and error with new players, since Strauss and Collngwood retired...Bopara, Patel, Bairstow, Compton and Taylor have all been tried...but only Root has clearly emerged...but they have been buffeted by an experienced backbone. Australia are asking six picks to become six new stars at the same time

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 17:15 GMT)

the real problem with australia is that for too long they have stop producing world class batsmen so it is no surprise that they r going through this crisis england is a team that can beaten by a few teams now because the core of england team is make up of players who have been around for a long time together as a unit also this is a wake call for people like warne to understand that u cannot be at the top all the time not too long ago he had the temerity to advocate for a 2 tier system whereby only aus/eng/s/a and india should play in the super league so not much people will sorry that they r getting a trashing and they have more to get chaining coach is not the answer if the players dont have the right attitude towards the game well they will continue to loose test matches but as usual the coaches always get the blame for loosing

Posted by sweet2hrme on (July 22, 2013, 17:11 GMT)

Im fully-fully agreed with border comment!. I never think S Watson is a test match player by any standard. He dnt hv any shots in test match, neither he has temprament nor have any class. He know only two shots straight drive or pull. In test he cant pull all the time than playing 1 or 2 straight drives he gots out. Talking to other batsman Phil huge, Ed Cowan, Smith, Roger these are more than ordinary player. I m very much disappointed by Aus team selectors they had selected "A deaf n dump" team for this ashes. You see another white wash is around the corner. This is worst test team of aus that i hv ever seen. Be aware Ausies selectors.... Thnx

Posted by Alexk400 on (July 22, 2013, 16:59 GMT)

I blame australian selectors and michael clarke for this utter failure. Hey i am making them scapegoat just like clarke make every one scapegoat except himself.

Posted by vigneshvinu on (July 22, 2013, 16:40 GMT)

Australia known to have good bench strength but it seems to be missing.Legends are not created in a day.Agar batted well in first test match but what was his role in the team.Clarke must bat at 4. 1. Ed cowan 2. Rogers 3. Khawaja 4. Clarke 5. Hughes 6. Watson 7. Haddin 8. Pattison/Bird 9. Lyon 10. Harris 11. Siddle

Posted by swervin on (July 22, 2013, 16:34 GMT)

ppl just need to be a bit patient - the top order made a lot of mistakes and there were a few unlucky dismissals but i don't think there are a lot of options in terms of batting changes - remember the dark days when the boons, haydens and langers of the world couldn't score runs - border knows you can turn these guys into champions if they are handled the right way - i think warner maybe come in with rogers - put watson or khawaja in next, clarke better at five and maybe give smith or a rest - pattison probably could sit out the next one depending on how the bowlers feel - i do think australia has some players that will be good over time - watson has to be in the team but he doesn't necessarily have to open...just need one of the top six to get a big score and things will look a little better...

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 16:34 GMT)

I will blame Australian selection committee too. Poor selection of guys. I think they need to resign. George Bailey, Katich, etc are far better players of test with patience and technique. I think they should send the tail to open, and if there are two or three out till the ball is old, one would expect that the rest should get score. Even that is not the situation here. They are getting out to Swan and Root.

Posted by alltalkandnoaction on (July 22, 2013, 16:25 GMT)

Why does Rogers have a this right to open the batting? Why not accept that the gamble to bring him in has not worked? The opening partnership of Warner and Cowan did work well......why not try that again? While Warner plays shots, Cowan is the level headed player you need. He had one bad test and has been labelled the fall guy for everyone elses failures. In 25 innings together, Cowan and Warner scored 1111 runs at an average of 44.44. It worked. Why change it? The current system is not working. Cowan has serious experience in England (which is what Rogers was picked on), and so give him a chance at the top of the order. What have you got to lose?!

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

The Aussies need psycologists to work on their thinking, decision-making, concentration and coaching. To see international players, who have good coaches and everything that goes with it, not being able e.g. to play off break/spin bowling, not be able to read the bowling and not being able to read the situation the team finds itself in, is appalling. I rate Swann as an useful bowler but not great. Weak selection and execution of strokes have been their downfall against Swann. The Aussies 'prefer' to play every Swann delivery to the off or prefer to prod and nudge, instead of hitting the ball to leg either keeping it down or hitting it over the top.

s with club or schools' cricket, may be they will show the Aussies a thing or two. I am not a professional cricket, I am a has been pensioner and it is easier said than done. But these guys must be able to work out how to combat spin and e.g. Malinga yorkers.

Posted by shamlaatu on (July 22, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

First you butchered the career of Usman Khawaja by playing him on and off at different batting positions and now you dragging him into the realm of worst of a top order batsman than the bowlers while your entire batting line falls like a hay stack. Why target top three only?

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 16:16 GMT)

being an Indian fan and having seen how aussies were before and now.. it is really painful. Aus selection team must sit down and get back players like katich who are still good enough and far better than current top order that Aus has. Yes it good to build a team with fresh blood, but we need few experienced players too to stop this humiliation. Best of luck Aussies!

Posted by gandhala on (July 22, 2013, 16:05 GMT)

I might sound stupid but to me if australia wants to win atleast one test in this ashes they need to do some silly stuff which can disturb the english. Some one like a pattison,haddin or agar coming in at no 3 and score some 50+ runs just in first innings and Clarke with be my no 3 in second innings.I am sure this might do wonders in the team. I will even try this for rest of the series.This off course is a risk knowing that only australian tail has consistently in this series, we are trying to disturb its consistency.First test match when watson score some quick runs I thought this was the start australia needed for the rest of series but bad it was thrown away. It reminded me of sehwag at his peak for a very short stint but some how Watson gets out at the wrong time consistently. And regarding the reviews this is expected from players who are not certain about being in the playing eleven in the next game. They need that confidence for sure.Top 4 should play atleast till tea

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 16:01 GMT)

I would like to see Bailey in the side. He is a adaptable cricketer and can adapt to test cricket as well. Aussie selectors also should not label him as a limited overs guy and limit his chances. I am no India supporter, but all other teams should take a cue from India, who field more or less the same bunch of players for all 3 formats. There was a good article from Martin crowe as well recently on this.

Posted by khiladisher on (July 22, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

The worst Australian Cricket team ever-Third rate Batting however good bowling.This team has lost 6 Test matches in a row.It is high time they are relegated to the bottom of the rankings.West indies and Australia are just a pale shadow of the great teams they had in the past.They as of today can be bracketed along with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Captain Clarke has to perform in Away Test Matches-His Avg at Home-65,HOWEVER AWAY FROM HOME ABROAD IT IS JUST 39.ALL HIS DOUBLE AND TRIPLE HUNDREDS WERE AGAINST POOR BOWLING ATTACKS.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 15:29 GMT)

As Border says, Watson should adjust his batting position (should bat at #6), and give more flexible to batting order. Because once your top order and more experienced players are gone, then it is easy check the others. This is not only about Watson, everyone should remember that Aussies in a transition period and need to focus on so many things, like # 3 specialist batsman(Ponting's place), solid openers, should find out a player like M Hussey who gives more depth to the batting line up. In my opinion bring back Warner, he can open up with Rodgers, Khawaja at #3, M Clark, Steve Smith/phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Haddin, Agar, Siddle, Pattinson, Ryan Harris. Stick to this line up. Dont worry about losing matches. Bowling department is pretty good.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (July 22, 2013, 15:21 GMT)

David Hussey should be in the team! He had a poor FC season, but I don't know if I could keep churning out massive scores if I was constantly overlooked. Katich is still playing county cricket and is chocking up big numbers. Even Brad Hodge was not given a fair go. He had one technical issue, which could have been easily fixed, instead he was thrown on the back burner. Ricky Ponting was all but forced into retirement due to pressure put on him by the media. Hussey's retirement was of his own choice, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a little more to it than just wanting more time with his family.

Posted by 214ty on (July 22, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

Wrong batting order was a major contribution to Australia's disgrace. Watson is not a test opener and should bat at #6. This is not a one day game. I do not understand why everyone has so much confidence in Watson's batting. Clarke should bat at #4 in order to keep the left right combination. Two left handers at the same time gives the bowlers the upper hand. They will always hold that line and length. Siddle should bat at #11. If Siddle had bat at #11 in first test Ausies may have won that match.

Posted by BinayaMohanty on (July 22, 2013, 15:11 GMT)

The present Aussies team has a problem with its combination. The Openers have failed. The replacements for Ponting, Mike Hussy have not performed. What happened to Marcos North, who had a good start to his career? Even Haddin has not done well at Test level. Mattew Wade was not tried ( or Injured). Their bowling too has not been consistent and not adopted to the conditions. Aussies need to REBUILD its TEAM with setting the combination right.

Posted by Kannan18 on (July 22, 2013, 15:08 GMT)

Its frustrating to see Aussie media and ex-cricketers putting pressure on Watson. I am an Indian, but following Aus international cricket for a while, Watson is a terrific all round cricketer.Even if hes not making big scores recently( or probably less frequently in the past), he still is definitely one of the best 3 available for Aus ( if not the best). And of course instead of constantly criticizing him, replace him in the Test team if you do have a better one !!!!!

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 15:08 GMT)

Don't understand why Adam Voges is ignored either. Averages over 50 in ODIs which shows he can handle international bowling, looked in exceptionally fine form for Middlesex when I had a day at Uxbridge last week and took some extremely sharp slip catches at slip when fielding to Steven Finn at Hove last friday, when hapless Sussex batsmen were edging fast deliveries after being beaten for pace, which showed he can at least see balls at that pace clearly.

Posted by 214ty on (July 22, 2013, 15:02 GMT)

The problem with Watson and everyone else is that they do not put their body behind the ball when going forward. Anytime you go forward with your body away from the ball, your pad takes the lead and becomes your bat. Must put your body directly behind the ball and put your back foot slightly across as if you are seeing the ball in a straight line. In that way the ball will hardly hit the pad. Taking a leg stump guard is worse in that you got to go too far across. Also they need to start using their feet and stop playing forward to full pitch balls. No aggression in batting; batting too slow, this will not win a game. Australia's batting coach needs to be a real batsman who used to play with a straight bat.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

I don't understand why u people are blaming Michael Clarke for Australia's poor performance. he is the best captain available at the moment. the batting lineup is very poor. the top 4 batsmen have to take the blame for Australia's defeat. they have been loosing 3 or 4 wickets for just 30 runs and u expect MC to score hundreds every time. I do think we need to dump some underperforming batsmen like cowan, hughes and Watson who have been terrible for a long time. we must bring fresh talent like alex doolan and shaun marsh.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 14:51 GMT)

Reinforce the batting order with Katich, Dave Hussey and Brad Hodge. After all they cannot do any bad than this spineless batting unit.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 14:48 GMT)

im really excited to see some young players play in Australian domestic cricket next season. Patrick cummins, adam zampa, Jordan silk, nic maddinson, mitch marsh, joe burns, chadd sayers, gurinder sandhu, alex doolan, ben McDermott, ashton agar and jake doran are quality young cricketers coming through. these players will be ready for international cricket after one full season of first class cricket.

Posted by La_Bangla on (July 22, 2013, 14:35 GMT)

Watson is vastly talented with multiple talent. But he seem to be using the wrong skill at the right time. He should save his mouth for his post retirement career, when he becomes commentator. He needs to use his skill with bat and ball more then his mouth at this time..

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 14:35 GMT)

A team is as good as its captain, Clark has found himself in a position like that of Misbah from Pakistan , hero in his own way ,villain for every one else ,at times even for his own team mates.....Clark is too frustrated to be captain of the Aussies ....He needs to relax and step down after this Ashes ,even take a break from test if he can let the team find out how miserably stupid and impulsive they are , meanwhile find a decent pair of spinner for them in his free time......

Now even a draw in the next few test might be greater than victory for Aussies

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 14:31 GMT)

Oz selectors should select David Hussey for the third test. Junior Hussey may not have had a stellar season and in the views of many, is past his sell by date. However, his experience in English conditions, mental resilience and ability to provide Pup with support are sterling attributes. Not so sure about Katich especially when it is well known that Pup and Katich do not see "eye to eye". When the team is under performing consistently, no need to burden the captain with relationship management challenges as well..

Posted by Sarfin on (July 22, 2013, 14:25 GMT)

"We need to find out what the best is for Shane. Is it opening the batting? Or maybe batting at six and making him a genuine allrounder?"- thought he already 32 now. This is generally the beginning of the end of a career. If he's still searching for his proper role, then something was going wrong with him all the time. Talent never dictates a career...

Posted by GeorgeWBush on (July 22, 2013, 14:21 GMT)

I agree with Border. Aussies need to stop chopping and changing and give their players some confidence. I think it is pretty unlikely that Aus will win a test on this tour but they have to also remember that England are a very good team at home. With the exception of SA they have been dominant over other touring teams for a few years now. The biggest problem is the lack of test match players coming through the austrailian system these days. It is very hard to see how they will turn things around in the short term. What happened to the academy that helped produce the great teams of a decade ago.

Posted by landl47 on (July 22, 2013, 14:21 GMT)

Very good analysis from Mitty2 and concerned_cricketer. Watson plays a few pretty cover drives and everyone assumes he's a really talented batsman, but what he doesn't have is the mental application to grind out an innings by cutting out shots that might get him out. If I had to compare him with someone on the England side, it would be Graeme Swann. Watch Swann bat (as in this test) and you see the same lovely-looking drives. The difference between the two is that Swann's batting #10 and has 235 test wickets, Watson's opening and has 63 test wickets.

If Australia loses this series, then there needs to be a full rethink of where this team is and where it's going. The current top 7 are actually OLDER than England's top 7- combined 206 years to 200. That's not rebuilding, it's papering over the cracks. Get in some youngsters with potential (Burns, Maddinson, Wade) and let them develop. Forget Warner, he's a short-format player

The fix will be long and difficult- ask AB.

Posted by seawolf on (July 22, 2013, 14:17 GMT)

finally even if a monkey falls down he first hold a branch before hitting down an then take enough breath only then he starts climbing again to top slowly or swiftly, not in one jump again to top. So take a deep breath realize the facts, sit and realize, defend, make ENG think, AND slowly start climbing your swiftly climb, NOT ONE JUMP UP ON THE TREE, that happens only in cartoons or circus. and you all are not in ether of it. LET WATSON/ROGERS/KWAJA/COWERN/CLARKE/HUGHES/SMITH/HADDIN/SIDDLE OR BIRD/PATTINSON/HARRIS play next match and derive your attacking and strategy a d see for a draw.

Posted by Romanticstud on (July 22, 2013, 14:14 GMT)

Australia were the team to beat in the 1990s and most the 2000s then came the retirements of McGrath, Warne, Hayden, Ponting, Lee, Hussey ... just to name a few ... they were still OK until 2009 when Ponting suffered a slump ... The bowlers then carried Australia with Clarke ... Now Clarke too is not firing and there is no-one to call on to save the day ... The bowlers do more than their bit ... Sounds like the SA side when they had 90 for 5 syndrome and Pollock, Boucher and Klusener would come in and more than double the score ...

Posted by seawolf on (July 22, 2013, 14:10 GMT)

REMEMBER NO BODY IS DOING WRONG IN AUS TEAM, only they are not doing right as well is the problem, spend an hour a day to watch old days in screen to see how they survived hostile attack, all batsmen talk to MC GRATH, WARNEE, GILLASPIE, MC DERMOT, BRET LEE especially top three and FIND THE TRUTH THAT HITTING 2 OR TRHEE boundaries is not a test match, how to survive them, ENOUGH advise and guiaence from great batsmen is not taking you to the right mode. so talk to them and understand some basics. and all batsmen of AUS, be simple with basics and give respect to the opponent bowlers and realize that you are facing a good attack, spend time, a 0 is okay after 100 balles, but u face 100 balles and u are at 0, the fact is next 100 balles you can score 100 runs. try and learn today than you watch all your life others in TV screen, no matter what money you get in 20/20 no respect will come to you if you cannot score a 100 in test...with style.....

Posted by dogcatcher on (July 22, 2013, 14:00 GMT)

Interesting, maybe Mickey tried to tell him and then make him into a number 6 and he just wouldn't listen......

Borders a true Australian so no one is going to doubt him.

Lehmann is quickly finding out that you cannot conjure up runs without quality. In fairness though the English have been "rootless" in exploiting every weakness.

Posted by Sanjiyan on (July 22, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

I recall an article years ago where Waugh( or langer, im not sure) said: We might not be the most talented team, but we will be the hardest working team in the world. This was around the time the aussie team started their domination. It was Hayden who was first at training and last to take off his kit. It seems that mindset has been buried, along with putting an enormous price on your wicket. All the aussies are looking for is to try dominate the opposition bowling and are completely forgetting the amount of grit and discipline needed to be able to do that. Untill they catch a wakeup call they wont even be good enough to hold a candle to the great aussie teams of the 90's and 2000's

Posted by milepost on (July 22, 2013, 13:57 GMT)

There are good players around believe it or not. We just don't pick many of them because of Clarke or because they are too old. If they are serious about winning at least pick the best team. Hodge, Katich, Voges, Hussey, Bailey, Wade etc there are good players. Stick with Rogers, Khawaja, Agar and our bowlers. I think move Watson down the order or leave him out. He has a knack for getting wickets but he puts far too much pressure on the top order but not going big. He should have had Root out for 8 and England at 4 for 30 odd but..... I like Haddin but there have been some uncharacteristic mistake that have really cost us. England aren't even plying their best cricket yet so it could be a very long summer for Australian fans.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 13:57 GMT)

Australian pitches is the main reason why we are not producing quality batsmen. the pitches are very helpful for the fast bowlers and the batsmen cant make big scores. the spinners are also not getting chance because of the green tops. we need to produce good batting pitches for the development of young batsmen. queensland and Tasmania have the toughest green tops when they play in domestic cricket.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 13:53 GMT)

I totally agree with Border about the top order. They don't seem to have a clue of how to bat and have been struggling miserably. Clarke is the only world class batsman Australia have right now and even he isn't doing well. Rogers, Hughes, Cowan and co. are pretty ordinary. Watson is somewhat overrated, if you ask me. He is a brilliant ODI player but has never been exceptional in tests. He is a decent batsman who can bowl reasonably well. I wouldn't say that he is extremely talented or anything.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 13:50 GMT)

Keep Chris Rogers at 1, put Ashton Agar in with him, Starc at 3, Siddle at 4, Patterson at 5, Harris at 6, Haddin at 7, Khawaja at 8, Hughes at 9, Clarke at 10, Watson at 11

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 13:44 GMT)

@kuldip nair simon katich was dumped but mike hussey retired on his own.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 13:39 GMT)

To be ruthlessly fair to Shane Watson; it is an enormous ask to bowl him as a stock bowler in what was a very long England Innings and then expect nothing but steely determination and resolve from him as an opener.It was because of Patto's waywardness and Agar's lack of turn that Watson had to bowl a lot of overs.Bringing Faulkner into the lineup would upset the balance as the batting would have to be weakened but hopefully by bowling Lyon instead of Agar; some wickets falling to genuine spin could take the pressure of Watson's bowling.If faulkner did come into the side; IMO it would have to be at the expense of Rogers because Smith is more than capable of taking wickets with his hard spun leggies and Hughes has played the best Australian innings out of any of the Oz top 7 however; I think that by just including Lyon,Oz will have at least another 4 wickets per amtch in the middle overs and Watto can bowl 70% less. Bowling of Bird, Harris Siddle will take the pressure of Watto also.

Posted by seawolf on (July 22, 2013, 13:39 GMT)

now bowling, it seems all the seamers attacking but seems like they all holding one hand in their pants, common, who is your leader for attack, no matter the experience, i hope it should be pattinson, so he has to bowl at 150k level other wise he is just another bowler, when one bowler is attacking another one should be in defensive mode, later time to time keep the strategies changing but keep the run rate low always it could have given a draw i first test or a win and second test could have given a decent loss than this. you need Pattinson bowling fast, if not he is not in team we are looking at future at sky and falling in to pit is not wise. spinners stop replacing warne, before and after no body, so use smith as your spinner and accept the fact if he gives 50 runs he can score 50 runs and he is future number 5 or 6 and a captain. keep HARRIS/PATTINSON/SIDDLE OR BIRD as pace option for next match, spinner is SMITH and WATSON IS 5TH BOWLER. SW/CR/UK/EC/MC/PH/SS/BH/PS or JB/JP/HARRIS

Posted by sharidas on (July 22, 2013, 13:37 GMT)

Is it just Watson ? I think, Australia is going through a phase,the West Indians went through. But, Australia may have a better domestic set up to get out of this rut, though,it will take time. With no disrespect to Clarke, I think, he should be relieved of the captaincy and Haddin brought in to lead. This will reduce the load on Clarke and help the team perform better. Also, Pattinson has not been very effective,so who not give Jackson Bird a chance !

Posted by Earnest66 on (July 22, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

Is AB available for selection?

Posted by seawolf on (July 22, 2013, 13:22 GMT)

now clarke is not an genuine aggressive captain, he has to stop being too much innovative things to show as an aggressive captain and be what he is, because his non real actions are sliding the team in to more depth hole, he has to read the book by a Chinese great, art of war, out his top 14 principles of war it is before and after it is a truth that when enemy is strong and attacking you have to defend not attack like stupid modern flukes. during the defend time you get the loop hole to attack while observing. decisions like changing bowlers too many times, taking new ball with out considering what the old ball doing, keeping out his best bowler when he is punishing by one man forgetting that other end is still week so that his best bowler can get him, and keep moving player in and out and up and down and when he look at field for a suggestion, all arround him is new for him every day which makes him alone and weak. so make sure next 7 test matches who all he wants for all the matchs

Posted by Mitty2 on (July 22, 2013, 13:20 GMT)

I'm actually sick of these Watson is 'supremely talented' jibes. Talent does't just involve the aesthetics of batting... Surely it's a talent in itself to have the mental ability to grind out and get through the period of good bowling/playing pitch, and restricting the temptation to hit out. Watson has absolutely none of this ability; he is inadequate in all facets of batting.

If you have such pronounced technical flaws, what should you do? Play within your limits, in which Joe Root does so well (hey guess what Shane in 8 innings he has the same amount of centuries as you do in 75+ innings), and not just lunge out the pad - increasing the chance of getting out to a fashion that he has done so in an astonishingly high - record breaking - 30% of all his dismissals (the only achievement of his career).

His inability to learn is most infuriating. In India, he got out to a cross bat shot THREE times... He faced less balls than Nathan Lyon.

75 innings - he has no upside. Get him OUT.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (July 22, 2013, 13:18 GMT)

How's this for a batting lineup for next Text:

Khawaja, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Lyon, Agar, Siddle, Pattinson, Starc, Harris, Bird.

We should score quite a bit more, and with all those bowlers we could go flat out at England all day long.

Posted by Puffin on (July 22, 2013, 13:16 GMT)

It would make sense to bring in AB to help with the current setup, it probably won't fix much for this series but the structural problems that led to this situation will take time to resolve.

The batsmen are too much focused on T20 with seemingly minimal attention for test cricket: they might look the same game from a distance, but they are not.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (July 22, 2013, 13:15 GMT)

In 2009, after two centuries against South Africa, but then a couple of failures against England, CA couldn't dump Hughes fast enough for "repeated technical errors" that need working on.

And of course, it was CA's golden child, Watson, who replaced him. And immediately the Poms found his weakness to LBW. Four years later they're still enjoying exploiting that technical weakness and CA are still persisting with Watto.

I wonder what Hughes thinks of it all.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 13:08 GMT)

Watson is 32 years old. He's played 43 tests, in just about every position imaginable, and the simple fact is that he's only scored two centuries in that whole time. He's no longer a young player trying to find his place in the side, he's an out-of-form old-timer with questionable technique and an opposition that's got his number. If he was anyone else in the world he'd be dropped. But then he goes away and scores 100 in a tour match or a one-dayer and everyone convinces themselves that he's BOUND to come good in the next test.

Posted by SidArthur on (July 22, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

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 people 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. Poms aren't as good as thought and hyped. Teams go through troughs and crests. Nothing new here. Aussies will rebuild and kick Pommy rear-end once again, like they are kicking ours now. Its the cycle of life. Can't be great all the time.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (July 22, 2013, 13:00 GMT)

@Ingurland, I was not going to mention umpires, but now that you have brought it up, I think Australia have definitely had the rough end of the pineapple this series. Yes it's been bad for both but the Lords Test and Broads not out in the first we're just mind-blowing decisions.

Posted by seawolf on (July 22, 2013, 13:00 GMT)

well, i hope some one from AUS team will read this and discuss for them, i have been a fan of AUS team from border times, back 86 onward. i hardly write in blogs and this is my 4th blog in life. the fact Aus has to realize are few philosophical, realistic, facts and sporty technical. First they have to leave their ego and mind set of being a good team or was number one at a time and the legacy for some time. Accept the truth that they all are young and learning and finding right things to bring the team to in to number one. Stick to basics, hard core basics of the game, forget improvising or innovative things as you have to start from root basic to be good test players, accept the truth that you all young an dynamic to grow but not grown to fight an opponent who are set and at top so don't look at to beat them in one shot, try to draw a test make the opponent to start thinking why a draw. one ore thing, if you hold the sand tight less the quantity remain in hand, most of them flow out.

Posted by ozwriter on (July 22, 2013, 12:59 GMT)

i think the headline mis-represents what AB actually meant. all of top 7 are culpable. infact based on the performance at lords, hughes or smith should be dropped for warner. wade may come in for haddin.

Posted by meursault on (July 22, 2013, 12:58 GMT)

The call to replace Agar with Lyon lacks an appreciation of the precise conditions. He was bowling against a team practically full of right-handers (Cook was already out and he hadn't got down to Broad) with rough made by only right-arm over bowlers (no Starc). I don't see how Lyon would have fared any better against right-handers -- probably even worse with the only rough outside their legs. The real problem was Australia having too many left-handed batsmen on a pitch like that with all right-armed pace bowlers in the match and then losing the toss.

Posted by MightyHammer on (July 22, 2013, 12:51 GMT)

"We all know what a wonderful player Shane Watson is" - This has got to be some kind of joke surely? 79 innings and he averages below 35. That is a very long way from "wonderful" fact a whole lot closer to "he should never be picked again!". I've said for years that he is hugely overrated as both a batter and a bowler and as an England fan I was genuinely thrilled when Lehman announced that he was settled on Watson opening the batting. I wonder how many opening batsman in the history of the game have a conversion rate of 50s to 100s that is LESS than 1 in 10! If that is wonderful then maybe I need to reevaluate my own prospects of having a Test career!

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 12:47 GMT)

There is absolutely no way Shane Watson should open the 3rd Test. Initially proven you need right skill set to be an opener especially on English wickets. They also lack services in middle order or at num 4 of Shaun Marsh. I completely agree with Sir Border that you pick and stick. Look at last test which Australia played with New Zealand and one will realize the batting order to one which they sport in Ashes is completely different. If they have to bring on Wade who also did decent batting they need to get him instead of Rogers. The player who performs at the stage where your team cannot is rated as world class player. Something to think about Sourav Ganguly & Rahul Dravid during their debut tour of 96 when India was at similar stage and only player who rose to the stage were these two....

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 12:42 GMT)

I thing Australia need to bring old gun otherwise this team can not win.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 12:40 GMT)

Watson's problem is very simple: he think like an all rounder not an opening batsman. That means when he has scored 50 a voice inside him is saying "Right, the batting is done, now I'll take a few wickets and my allrounder's job is done".

Posted by tony122 on (July 22, 2013, 12:39 GMT)

"has spoken of his bewilderment at how the vastly talented allrounder Shane Watson is skating desperately close to a failed career"- I think most times players perform close to their abilities. Very rarely players under or over achieve if they get adequate chances like Watson has got. Watson in my view looks a very attractive batsman. His front foot straight drive is almost as pretty as Tendulkar. His driving can often be imperious. But he comes from a school of simply planting his front foot down the pitch and just hitting through the line. There is very little scope for adjustments in such an approach. Also Watson is not a great back foot player. Coming to Watson's bowling he has always been a mediocre fastish medium pace bowler. All in all high expectations from Watson in the Test arena are unrealistic.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

why not Aussies have played George Bailey in the tests, he's better than the most in this team...though I am from Pakistan but I always had a good look at Aussies. batting is the problem for Aussies they should also call back Dav Warner to have some stroking flair at the top which is missing at the moment.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

Agreed with the legend AB. Actually they need atleast 50percent replacement of langer hayden caliber openers to win matches.In test cricket if team have openers make 150 + partnerships atleast twice in three test series and one of openers make hundred at rotation then team become invincible.. and bowlers don t get pressurised.. Aus must think of having strong openers and stable no.3

Posted by MartinC on (July 22, 2013, 12:31 GMT)

Apologies my last comment was a reply to @PELT not @Kuldip Nair

Posted by bobbo2 on (July 22, 2013, 12:31 GMT)

Why was Katich ever dumped? He was and is a gun player. Australia needs a top 3 that can see off 50 overs. I would give Rogers more time but Watson needs to be McCullum type who comes in at 7 and gets things moving

Posted by vsssarma on (July 22, 2013, 12:30 GMT)

Aussie bowling - Jackson Bird, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc.

Batting - Michael Clarke, David Warner. Mathew Wade, Ashton Agar, Usman Khawaja, Philip Hughes.

This is the best they can do.

Posted by StuartDiscotheque on (July 22, 2013, 12:28 GMT)

At some point the selectors are going to have to make a decision and cut either Shane Watson or Steve Smith in favour of a specialist middle-order batsman. Both are good cricketers but neither are quite good enough on batting alone at the moment.

Posted by MartinC on (July 22, 2013, 12:19 GMT)

@Kuldip Nair - a left handed batsman playing the sweep to an off spinner (so turning the ball away from him) out of the foot marks would be suicidal. Using your feet to negate the spin and hitting over extra cover or better mid off is the way to go (NOT mid on). Get the spinner to drop his length a bit and then you can cut him.

To do this though you need patience, a sound technique and confidence ......and there is precious little of any of that in the Aussie top order right now.

Posted by selva5 on (July 22, 2013, 12:11 GMT)

I suggest australia A side for the ashes and the current australian side for the south african tour. The result may be little better for australia. Never seen this kind of australian side

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 12:11 GMT)

Australia batting woes started when they exited Simon katich prematurely.No opener was groomed along with experienced partner like him.Hayden, Langer retired one after another nd experienced Katich was kicked out. Moreover, why was Philip Jaques not given long run after such n impressive start to his career.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 12:06 GMT)

Border has hit the nail on the head. The bitter truth about this Aussie team is that there is no world-class batter except Michael Clarke. The rest are just pretenders. Surprisingly they also don't have the famed Aussie fighting spirit, something that the likes of Allan Border were famous for. Even if the entire team used to collapse, AB would fight it out with the fiery West Indian attacks of yesteryears, without any great technique to speak off. Fortunately they still have a good unit of pace bowlers. Spinners though have dried up. Something seems to be wrong with the Aussie 'system' which was earlier spoken highly off. May be time to give the likes of David Hussey and Brad Hodge a go. Afterall they cannot perform more badly than this.

Posted by PFEL on (July 22, 2013, 11:52 GMT)

Can someone explain to me why the Aus batsmen refuse to play the sweep against swann? It would solve a lot of Khawaja's problems. I know he made 50 but that was more due to a whole lot of luck than anything else. He looked very ordinary against the off-spin and could have gotten out any moment with his technique of sitting back and blocking.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 11:52 GMT)

The top two batsmen in Australia at present are Michael Hussey & Simon Katich; you have dumped them. What more can you expect then? Australian board had a feeling that the upcoming players are in the same league of Hayden, gilly, ponting which is a big mistake.

Posted by pratit on (July 22, 2013, 11:50 GMT)

Whatever Australia does, it is unlikely to make much of a difference. The difference between the sides is just too much. Look at the difference in the spin department- huge. And contrast the solid Engish batting lineup to the absysmal Australian one. Just the fact that KP and Cook have not even fired and yet England are so comfortably on top tells a story.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 11:46 GMT)

Fully agree with strategy of Pick and Stick, but first place they need to pick the right combination according to condition. For me Here is the playing XI for next match.

Warner, Watson, Khwaja, Clarke, Wade, Smith, Haddin, Siddle, Patinson, Harish and Lyon.

Make no mistake, Old Trafford will assist spinners, Agar looked good with bat but struggled for primary job which is to take wicket ( Pitch at Lords was helping spin as well!). Rogers simply looks out of the shots, Warner has enough of lessons and could counter attack England on his own. Wade comes in due to repeated failure of Cowan/Hughes. Still feels that Bailly /Voges or Ferguson remains better options then Cowan/Rogers.

Posted by Ingerlund on (July 22, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

Baundele, you cannot have watched much of the first Test to say Australia lost because of the umpires. Agar should have gone early to a stumping but the umpire got it wrong. Trott given out lbw when in fact he hit it. England would have won by a mile but for the Agar decision. They would have been all out for around 120!!

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

no wonder how bowler is doing well in ashes for Australian cricket team.....hope top order batsman learn something from them....... AGAR,the real hero of Australia.....

Posted by handyandy on (July 22, 2013, 11:36 GMT)

Pick Faulkner ... at least the guy has some mongrel in him. Also give Bird a run. Maybe Wade as a specialist bat ... he has a better test record than most of the top order batsman.

Posted by CustomKid on (July 22, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

AB you bloody legend. Not a truer word spoken and I just wished this team had a 10th of the mongrel and mental toughness you displayed, we'd be doing a hell of a lot better that is for sure.

I also wished AB was somehow involved with CA at a senior level be it coach or one better taking Sutherlands job.

Posted by Guernica on (July 22, 2013, 11:32 GMT)

There is some truth in that. Maybe not in terms of technique but in terms of application. The exception is probably Khawaja who fought well in the second innings. Pattinson managed so survive 91 balls. If everyone had just managed to survive 100 balls, that equates to 180 overs and could have saved them the game and caused huge frustration for England. As it turned out, they only managed half of that.

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (July 22, 2013, 11:30 GMT)

Australia must be ruing the sacking of one ANDREW SYMMONDS on whatever grounds - They said Shane Watson is the apt replacement for that brute talent. But you never get rid of a fantastic player just because you think you have plenty talent in the bench. When it comes to brutal hitting Gayle reminds me of Symmonds!!! Look how South Africa make use of a similar talent - AB Devilliers - with respect. The Australian Cricketing administration had a good run for couple of decades but you NEVER abolish a talent like Symmonds. Period. Now, you don't even have half his capability in the squad.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (July 22, 2013, 11:29 GMT)

For the next test I would have Lyon for Pattinson or Agar (depending on the state of the wicket) as the Old Trafford wicket might be a raging turner. I would also have Bird for Pattinson if going with three quicks is a better option. Rogers might also get replaced too by Warner. There's not a lot you can do with the batting as this is the best we have. I hope the batsman have read this article from Border and begin to value their wicket. However, these wickets in England at the moment are more subcontinental in nature then English and most of our batsman are hopeless against spin.

Posted by Wacco on (July 22, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

This is almost the same situation....the team will emerge from the Ashes. Probably under Clarke, surrounded by a good bowling squad and emerging characters like Agar....remember Steve Waugh under Border! The current top 4 wont be in the next series.

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (July 22, 2013, 11:23 GMT)

If anyone can criticize the AUS Team for their recent show it is none other than Border. But its only so much this team can do. Look at their main spinner during the first two tests - a teenager merely turning his arm around with no purchase from the pitch where Swann got considerable turn for England. Look at their opening pair! Look at the number 3! Look at their pace attack! We are talking about the replacements for Warne, McGrath, Hayden, Langer, Ponting and co. There is only so much this bunch can do!!! And gone are the days when umpires thought "if Australians are appealing so hard it must be out" haha... It's ok to feel dejected, but I repeat, there is only so much this bunch can do. They celebrated too soon when they whitewashed India down under. And all their average players were hailed as future greats!!! And that future is now and they have nothing to show for it.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 11:21 GMT)

Even if Watson isn't learning from his mistakes, he does still appear to be more productive with bat and ball than other members of the XI. However, his apparently selfish and shortsighted approach in wastefully challenging rock solid appeals, well that has already had a far reaching negative impact upon his fellow team members in just 2 test matches. That's not an indication of a team player, in my humble opinion. Incidentally, not sure why there is so much fus made about a player like Watson being given out the same way in one third of his Test innings. So there's bowled. caught and LBW, right? Three main methods of dismissal, so statistically, you'd expect very roughly a third of each type. Right? In 79 Test innings, Watson has been out 12 times bowled, 37 times caught, 24 LBW, 2 run out, 2 stumped, 2 not out. No one mentions 46% of his dismissals are caught, or 97.4% actually dismissed, do they?! As for the team factions, you simply need to change the cpatain or change the captain.

Posted by gautam56 on (July 22, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

Watson needs to spend more time at the crease. What if he's talented, he's making a mockery of himself. Watson should take a leaf out of Joe Root's book. Root's application at the crease and shot selection was brilliant and Watson with such huge array of strokes isn't firing one bit. All he needs to do is get back into the nets, practice hard against the in-swinging deliveries. A decent score in the next game can do his confidence a world of good. Clarke, Watson and Haddin have to really pull up their socks, else a whitewash is certainly on the cards. Observe, absorb and apply should be the batters protocol.

Posted by cozens on (July 22, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

Its quite clear that Watson isn't an opener in Test Cricket. He just doesn't have the patience to build an innings. As and Englishman we've seen plenty of highly talented cricketers fail to live up to their ability. Ramps & Hick are 2 that immed. spring to mind. Watson could well be the Aus equivalent. All the natural ability in the world, but lacks the mental toughness at test level.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 11:08 GMT)

Time for a Ponting recall?

Posted by Baundele on (July 22, 2013, 11:07 GMT)

England is the strongest team at the moment. Still Australia were defeated by bad umpiring in the first test. Had they won it, the second test could be much different. I feel sorry for Australian players. They are giving their all, like in the first test, still failing to perform as a team. I see the problem lies in the management. For example, Shane Watson's life has been made difficult by them, when he was returning from the injury. He needed support, he received pressure instead.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 11:05 GMT)

Watson will stay in the side indefinitely, if only because a) low as his average is, it still makes him one of the better Aussie batters, and b) who else is there?

They won't do it but the best Aussie opener going is Katich. Picking Rogers was effectively admitting the cupboard was bare but recalling Katich would basically be raising the white flag.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 10:59 GMT)

"The buck stops with Watson", that is the very essence of the situation that Australia find themselves in, with nothing productive from the top of their batting. In this day and age, if a man makes the same idiotic mistakes time and again, if he is unwilling (or unable) to learn, and if he has absolutely no idea about how to use the DRS, and if he continues to embarrass the team every time he goes out to bat, why on earth is he in the team?

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 10:56 GMT)

Unfortunately for Aus the Watson LBW issue is just one of many they need to sort. He and Clarke are the only talented-ish batsmen in the side (with the possible exceptions of Haddin and Agar). Sorry Zain Malik, but Khawaja looks like he could get out to every ball, as do Rogers and Smith. I think it's a personal discipline issue. By that I mean that none of the top 6 look like they go to the crease with the steely determination that they're going to hang around. It's almost as if they're trying to get on top of the English bowlers by dominating them straight from the off. They need to start playing test cricket instead of one-day stuff. To be fair, England's best two at that; Cook and Trott, look like they're doing the same so maybe it's not as easy as this armchair cricketer might think.

Oh, and the Aus bowlers are all about 2 or 3 notches below their English counterparts so it was always going to be a tough battle to win.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 10:52 GMT)

Replace Watson with whom ? And if this isnt the best XI who is better in Oz to replace the top 6 The sad truth is that one hasnt heard of any batsman who is snapping at the heels of those in England and that is the saddest part of Oz cricket right now

Posted by king78787 on (July 22, 2013, 10:49 GMT)

The thing is he at least makes a "Handy score", most of the Australians get out in single figures. The order needs a makeover, Warner and Maddinson in for Hughes and Rogers. Rogers is getting away scot free here but he is a key part of it all. Dismissals like his in the second innings at Lord's and l Trent Bridge are unacceptable at Test level.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 10:45 GMT)

The best way for Australia to get back in winning ways is to host a home Test series against NZ or SL or WI. Not that it will be a solution for their problems. Atleast if Aus wins any of these teams , that can boost their confidence. You have to realize that's what IND did. After experiencing a low against ENG in home series , Aussie whitewash boosted their confidence. And you saw that in Champions Trophy where they played like world champions.

Posted by VJGS on (July 22, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

This is just a phase... every team goes through a lean period after its legends retire. India was humiliated when Dravid's and Laxman's career came close to an end too, but they bounced back to win the Champions Trophy in the same place where the downfall started. Similarly, Australia is missing the services of Punter, Pigeon, Gilly, Warne, etc. I'm sure that in another 6-10 months, Australian Cricket will be back on track. But for now, all they can do is be patient and try out some combination hoping that it would work.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

A harsh call on Khawaja, I would have thought. Watson is a talent, but there is a disturbing sameness about most of his innings. Scores between 20 and 60, littered with some booming drives and pulls, then out LBW or caught in the cordon. Roger's issues appear to be between the ears, he hasn't convinced himself he belongs at Test level, and as a result no one else is convinced either. It's a real tough call for the selectors, to make wholesale changes or not.

Posted by abcxii on (July 22, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

Shane Watson has no temperament as a batsman. Neither over a green top nor over dry pitches in India. To find a place in the playing XI, he needs to be someone like Flintoff or like Sir Botham. Someone like who could pick 3-4 wickets by bowling 25-30 overs per inning and bats at number 6 or 7 and can slog old ball and or controls the damage if top order fails. If he cannot do this, I believe Aussies are putting money on wrong horse.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 10:35 GMT)

the aussies selector have no sense how can they put 3 lefties in top four when opposition has 2 offspiners, roger's need to put in middle order bcoz he has the patience to play dot ball's, and warner need to open with watto, agar does not desreve a place in playing 11 just for his batting ability rather than his bowling they need to recall lyon in playing 11.

Posted by RichardG on (July 22, 2013, 10:34 GMT)

To sort of nick a quote from Gideon Haigh in 2011: Shane Watson seems to be a good batsman, a good bowler, but a poor cricketer.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 10:28 GMT)

Watson can't tackle spin for 20 or 30 overs, so playing him in the top three and making him face the fast bowlers id the only possible option.

Posted by PFEL on (July 22, 2013, 10:27 GMT)

Not sure why people are considering dropping Watson, it makes no sense. He's still making more runs than the rest of them, and he's a more than handy bowler as well.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

If number THREE in the top three refers to Khawaja then sorry Border, he looked better than any other batsmen apart from M Clarke, he has just come in to the team and has done well to achieve what he has achieved.

Posted by srikanths on (July 22, 2013, 10:22 GMT)

Shane watson just not learning from mistakes.He is quite capable but people should have the humility to learn and adapt

Posted by John-Price on (July 22, 2013, 10:21 GMT)

"I'm a believer in the pick and stick method, so we need to find our best 11 suited to the conditions and stick with it."

That is not an opinion, it is a platitude. Nobody advocates picking anything other than the best team and nobody advocates changing the best players for others who are less good. The difficulty arises in finding the best team with some experimentation.

Posted by Winsome on (July 22, 2013, 10:14 GMT)

It's obviously good bowling from Anderson but if someone with a career record of lbws like Watson has, he obviously does this against almost any seamer. Since the beginning of 2011, he has averaged 25 with the bat. Can Aus ex-players and journos please stop expecting that he is going to become the player that he is not? He's 32, not 22.

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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