Sussex v Australians, Tour match, Hove, 1st day July 26, 2013

Top-order Australians fail to convert

82

Australians 354 for 5 (Smith 98*, Hughes 84, Cowan 66) v Sussex
Scorecard

A quick glance at the scorecard tells only half the story of Australia's first day against Sussex. At stumps they were 354 for 5, which in a Test match would have set them up soundly. Steven Smith was on 98 and there were contributions all the way down the order; except for Matthew Wade, who failed to score, the batsmen all spent valuable time in the middle. But it was also a day that could have been so much more, a day of missed opportunities. And the men who missed them know that David Warner didn't waste his chance in Pretoria this week.

Warner's 193 against a quality South Africa A attack featuring Kyle Abbott and Marchant de Lange might have been placed in perspective by the way the South Africans batted on the same pitch: Dean Elgar, who had made a pair on Test debut at the WACA last summer posted a lazy 268. But there were plenty of reasons for Australia's batsmen to relish the conditions at Hove as well: a benign surface, a quick outfield, a tiny square boundary and a weakened attack. That Smith was the only man still in the market for a century by stumps was a disappointing outcome.

He was a little shaky early and survived two tight lbw calls against the inswing of the left-armer Lewis Hatchett, including one off a no-ball. But Smith persevered and rotated the strike, he found the boundary when possible - which by the time the second new ball came late in the afternoon was often, including three from consecutive deliveries against Chris Liddle. It helped that on the pavilion side the dimensions were so tiny that the square-leg umpire was two-thirds of the way to the fence.

Smith and James Faulkner put on 131 for the fifth wicket, which fell shortly before stumps when Faulkner was bowled for 48 trying to slog-sweep Monty Panesar. By the close of play, Smith had been joined by Ashton Agar, yet to score in his new position of No.7, having starting his Test career at No.11. The only other entry on the scorecard that was not double-figures was that of Wade, who cut Panesar to point for a sixth-ball duck, ending any hope he had of forcing his way into the Test side as a specialist batsman.

The day started encouragingly for the Australians, whose stand-in captain Ed Cowan won the toss and chose to bat. Although there was some movement early and plenty of thick edges evaded the slips, the conditions were generally favourable. Cowan and Phillip Hughes put on 150 for the opening wicket and both men looked like centuries were there for the taking.

However, soon after the break Cowan fell on 66 when he clipped Hatchett uppishly to square leg and was caught by a diving James Taylor. It was a frustrating end for Cowan, who is in his 21st first-class match since his one and only Test century, which also happens to be the most recent time he has reached triple figures in a first-class innings. That hundred came in November, around the time Usman Khawaja also made his last first-class ton. Here, Khawaja looked good until on 40 he edged Panesar to slip.

But perhaps the batsman with the most to lose was Hughes, who until Faulkner was dismissed late in the day was leading the averages during the first-class matches on this tour. It is easy to forget the contribution Hughes made in the first Test at Trent Bridge, where his unbeaten 81 was overshadowed by Ashton Agar's 98. But at Lord's, Hughes struggled significantly and Warner's near double-century piled up the pressure on him as much as anyone.

Hughes was dropped on 22 when he edged Chris Jordan, the leader of the attack in the absence of Steve Magoffin and James Anyon, to Chris Nash at slip, and it was one of very many early edges off Hughes' bat. As his innings wore on, Hughes played some impressive back-foot drives and appeared much more at ease against Panesar, spinning the ball in, than he had in the Tests against Graeme Swann, turning it away from him.

Hughes brought up his half-century from 62 deliveries and not surprisingly outpaced Cowan comfortably. But Hughes is becoming the Hall and Oates of cricket: big in the 80s but can't crack the 90s. Since the tour of South Africa in late 2011, Hughes' highest Test scores have been 88, 87, 86 and 81 not out, and in the tour match against Worcestershire he added another 86 to his tally. Here, he edged behind on 84 when Hatchett moved a delivery away.

It was a good innings but whether it compares favourably enough with Smith's potential century and Warner's 193 remains to be seen. And with rain forecast for the second day at Hove, the selectors might not have another innings on which to base their decisions before the Old Trafford Test.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • 5wombats on July 27, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    Well, here we are in Sunny Sydney! Interesting to note that moments from this tour game were being shown on seven this morning. The reporter described the Old Trafford Test as "must win" which in itself struck me as odd, I guess some people here are acting under the delusion that The Ashes 2013 can still be won by Australia. Anyway most folks here are fairly down at heel about it all - "Ashes, what Ashes"? Beautiful to behold. It's also odd to see Aus being bigged up about scoring 300+ ...... Against Sussex.... Never seen anything like that before either. All in all beautiful to behold.

  • 5wombats on July 28, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha - yeah - you're right of course people are trashing it. It's just the attitude - I'm surprised. I've been coming here on and off for over 20 years and I haven't seen Aussies write off their team like this before. People here seem to have given up with Australia atm. I must go out and get a Sun Herald this morning and see what they make of it.

  • H_Z_O on July 28, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha it's not that Warner's innings doesn't count, it's that some people have totally blown it out of all proportion. Glenn Maxwell scored 155 not out in the same innings, on the same pitch, against the same attack.

    Yes, Warner scored more, but Warner also faced more balls. The strike rates were almost identical. Yet I don't hear anyone suggesting Maxwell should be back in the side. And arguably there's a better case for his selection rather than Warner's.

    Maxwell's 155* was his highest First Class innings, only his second ever First Class hundred. His bowling's better than Warner's too.

    I'm not saying Maxwell should be picked, or that he's a better batsman than Warner (I'd have to be crazy to suggest that) but if Warner is picked, it won't be because of the innings in South Africa, but because of his track record. The innings will just be a case of having had some time in the middle.

    He's a very good batsman, imho, but that innings in South Africa proved nothing.

  • TheBigBoodha on July 27, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    @5wombats far from building up 5/350, everyone is trashing it. Read the headline. No matter what the players do it is not good enough. Short of hitting a double ton, I doubt anything would make an impression here. Just look at Warners' innings in SA. Everyone saying it doesn't count because of the pitch and the bowlers. How on earth is anyone supposed to "succeed" with such absurdly impossible criteria for success in these games?

  • KARNAWAT33 on July 27, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    Sussex might be without their top bowlers, but it's always nice to get some runs and confidence under your belt, so that's good for Smith, especially reaching three figures. This is the first tour in which he is getting a realistic chance to play and perform and I'm pretty sure he will prove the selectors right after the 5 match series. Now, can we please have DAVID WARNER back in the side. I mean, the fans have had enough nonsense to deal with on the India tour after Mr.Arthur decided it was best for the team to suspend four players when the side is 2-0, so that they could be WHITE WASHED and the confidence in the camp would be SKY HIGH before the Ashes. James Faulkner has played all the possible warm up games, and now that James Pattinson is injured (bad news for AUS) Jimmy deserves his chance. Agar is in their cuz he can bat. OZ like to play a spinner cuz the bowler "claimed" he is a spinner. : Warner, Rogers, Khwaja, Watson, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Faulkner, Agar, Siddle, Harris.

  • WhoCaresAboutIPL on July 27, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    The calls for Warner remind me very much of the many India fans calling for Sehwag to be recalled in Summer 2011. He was going to score 300 and put England to the sword. Result: a king pair! It is very rare that one player can change the fortunes of a losing side and to criticise Rogers who has a solid first class record seems unfair.

  • on July 27, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    It really is an almost impossible dillemma for the selectors but I guess when in doubt they should not change. My rationale is that if you discard anyone too early such as Phil Hughes; you might prematurely end their careers and waste their talent which is something Oz cannot afford to do. The fact that Hughes has been through many ups and downs in his career is a plus IMO because he has had to fight his way back through the Shield. He probably has the most determination out of any of the young guns (Warner included). His very important knock in the first innings of the first test has been the grittiest so far of any of the Aussies and warrants 1 more chance at coming good. Warner's 193 has had the desired effect of putting external performance pressure on all the batsmen and there is no doubt at least in my mind that he is the most talented batsmen Australia has so his time will come though I just dont think it should be at the expense of any of the top 6 at present.

  • on July 27, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    Warner will play in place of Khawaja. Calling it now. They gave him a game, he did ok. They can't be called racist for never picking him. They even have a perfect excuse - Hughes scored more on tour, Warner scored nearly 200. Ussy scored a worried 60 in the 2nd test.

    I bet this is how it goes.

    Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Warner, Haddin is your top 7 for the third test.

  • landl47 on July 27, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    @poms: It's not far off a C squad, though, is it? Abbot (who is not a kid, he's 26) and De Lange have played 1 and 2 tests respectively. The SA test bowlers are Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Kallis and either Peterson or Tahir, The ODI bowlers preferred to Abbot and De Lange are Morkel, McLaren and Tsotsobe and Kleinveldt was also in the CT squad. That's a lot of bowlers ahead of those in this game.

    @VivGilchrist: Well, this might be an Australian C squad in terms of quality, but all the players you mention were available for selection but just not picked, so presumably in the selectors' minds those currently playing are better. Whether you agree with the selectors or not is another issue.

  • xtrafalgarx on July 27, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    Again, it's not as if this warmup match is the SOLE criteria for selection in the next test...I would be very surprised if Warner is picked for the next test. We already know what Warner can do at this level, leave him out. The series is gone (Technically not, but i don't see us winning 3 in a row).

    It's time to find out who of Rogers, Khawaja, Smith and Hughes have what it takes at this level once and for all, then stick with that team indefinitely.

  • 5wombats on July 27, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    Well, here we are in Sunny Sydney! Interesting to note that moments from this tour game were being shown on seven this morning. The reporter described the Old Trafford Test as "must win" which in itself struck me as odd, I guess some people here are acting under the delusion that The Ashes 2013 can still be won by Australia. Anyway most folks here are fairly down at heel about it all - "Ashes, what Ashes"? Beautiful to behold. It's also odd to see Aus being bigged up about scoring 300+ ...... Against Sussex.... Never seen anything like that before either. All in all beautiful to behold.

  • 5wombats on July 28, 2013, 1:23 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha - yeah - you're right of course people are trashing it. It's just the attitude - I'm surprised. I've been coming here on and off for over 20 years and I haven't seen Aussies write off their team like this before. People here seem to have given up with Australia atm. I must go out and get a Sun Herald this morning and see what they make of it.

  • H_Z_O on July 28, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha it's not that Warner's innings doesn't count, it's that some people have totally blown it out of all proportion. Glenn Maxwell scored 155 not out in the same innings, on the same pitch, against the same attack.

    Yes, Warner scored more, but Warner also faced more balls. The strike rates were almost identical. Yet I don't hear anyone suggesting Maxwell should be back in the side. And arguably there's a better case for his selection rather than Warner's.

    Maxwell's 155* was his highest First Class innings, only his second ever First Class hundred. His bowling's better than Warner's too.

    I'm not saying Maxwell should be picked, or that he's a better batsman than Warner (I'd have to be crazy to suggest that) but if Warner is picked, it won't be because of the innings in South Africa, but because of his track record. The innings will just be a case of having had some time in the middle.

    He's a very good batsman, imho, but that innings in South Africa proved nothing.

  • TheBigBoodha on July 27, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    @5wombats far from building up 5/350, everyone is trashing it. Read the headline. No matter what the players do it is not good enough. Short of hitting a double ton, I doubt anything would make an impression here. Just look at Warners' innings in SA. Everyone saying it doesn't count because of the pitch and the bowlers. How on earth is anyone supposed to "succeed" with such absurdly impossible criteria for success in these games?

  • KARNAWAT33 on July 27, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    Sussex might be without their top bowlers, but it's always nice to get some runs and confidence under your belt, so that's good for Smith, especially reaching three figures. This is the first tour in which he is getting a realistic chance to play and perform and I'm pretty sure he will prove the selectors right after the 5 match series. Now, can we please have DAVID WARNER back in the side. I mean, the fans have had enough nonsense to deal with on the India tour after Mr.Arthur decided it was best for the team to suspend four players when the side is 2-0, so that they could be WHITE WASHED and the confidence in the camp would be SKY HIGH before the Ashes. James Faulkner has played all the possible warm up games, and now that James Pattinson is injured (bad news for AUS) Jimmy deserves his chance. Agar is in their cuz he can bat. OZ like to play a spinner cuz the bowler "claimed" he is a spinner. : Warner, Rogers, Khwaja, Watson, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Faulkner, Agar, Siddle, Harris.

  • WhoCaresAboutIPL on July 27, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    The calls for Warner remind me very much of the many India fans calling for Sehwag to be recalled in Summer 2011. He was going to score 300 and put England to the sword. Result: a king pair! It is very rare that one player can change the fortunes of a losing side and to criticise Rogers who has a solid first class record seems unfair.

  • on July 27, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    It really is an almost impossible dillemma for the selectors but I guess when in doubt they should not change. My rationale is that if you discard anyone too early such as Phil Hughes; you might prematurely end their careers and waste their talent which is something Oz cannot afford to do. The fact that Hughes has been through many ups and downs in his career is a plus IMO because he has had to fight his way back through the Shield. He probably has the most determination out of any of the young guns (Warner included). His very important knock in the first innings of the first test has been the grittiest so far of any of the Aussies and warrants 1 more chance at coming good. Warner's 193 has had the desired effect of putting external performance pressure on all the batsmen and there is no doubt at least in my mind that he is the most talented batsmen Australia has so his time will come though I just dont think it should be at the expense of any of the top 6 at present.

  • on July 27, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    Warner will play in place of Khawaja. Calling it now. They gave him a game, he did ok. They can't be called racist for never picking him. They even have a perfect excuse - Hughes scored more on tour, Warner scored nearly 200. Ussy scored a worried 60 in the 2nd test.

    I bet this is how it goes.

    Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Warner, Haddin is your top 7 for the third test.

  • landl47 on July 27, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    @poms: It's not far off a C squad, though, is it? Abbot (who is not a kid, he's 26) and De Lange have played 1 and 2 tests respectively. The SA test bowlers are Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Kallis and either Peterson or Tahir, The ODI bowlers preferred to Abbot and De Lange are Morkel, McLaren and Tsotsobe and Kleinveldt was also in the CT squad. That's a lot of bowlers ahead of those in this game.

    @VivGilchrist: Well, this might be an Australian C squad in terms of quality, but all the players you mention were available for selection but just not picked, so presumably in the selectors' minds those currently playing are better. Whether you agree with the selectors or not is another issue.

  • xtrafalgarx on July 27, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    Again, it's not as if this warmup match is the SOLE criteria for selection in the next test...I would be very surprised if Warner is picked for the next test. We already know what Warner can do at this level, leave him out. The series is gone (Technically not, but i don't see us winning 3 in a row).

    It's time to find out who of Rogers, Khawaja, Smith and Hughes have what it takes at this level once and for all, then stick with that team indefinitely.

  • on July 27, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    I prefer the headline "Top-order Batsmen fail to convert" than "Top-order batsmen FAIL!!!

  • on July 27, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    I just think about how I was lauded when I warned about Hughes play in India against spin ..... "They won't bowl Swan that early!!!" I recall someone stating.

  • on July 27, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    If Warner is brought in, which I think he will, I would like to see him replace Watson/Rogers. Stick with the youngins for the rest of the series, the result is destined to be 5-0 regardless of who plays.

  • riahcmra on July 27, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    the problem is batting technique - 3 top order bats have flawed defences Hughes , Smith and Watson. Khawaja showed how to do it - let the ball come to you. Watson and Smith play too far in front of their body - Hughes seems to be permanently on the crease. Lehmann has it right - he wants to know who has a good enough defence to survive long enough to get to triple figures and beyond. Only Clarke and Khawaja looked anything like that. Warner is more capable of big scores than Watson, Hughes and Smith so he should walk back into the team. Clarke should be no.4 - Watson no.5. Warner should open. Smith at no.6 gets in for me as he can play spin better than all except Clarke. Hadden at no.7 Stack the middle order with RH bats to counter Swann. Stack the top order with LH bats for the new ball.

  • mixters on July 27, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    Drop Rogers, Hughes to open (keeps him away from swann for a while) Warner to bat 4 or 6 same with smith. Then work out who will come in for Patto. Bird would be my choice still maybe Starc back when he is on he is awsome just dont happen often enough

  • VillageBlacksmith on July 27, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    as he was picked because of his eng conditions experience, is rogers actually going to be kept on for the return leg in aussie?? i doubt it after these performances.. if he was just picked for this series (seen as a masterstroke by some at the time, but looking pretty silly now) then why keep playing him and not work on trying to get (yet another) opening combo together for nov ??? i expect the next set of aussie openers to come out on monocycles and wearing red noses such a circus it has become...

  • Chris_Howard on July 27, 2013, 2:10 GMT

    So, are the Australian selectors going to once again favour Watson over Hughes? By not playing Watson, they've already demonstrated he is still in the next Test team. So for Warner to come back in, which would seem to make sense, someone has to go. With Smith outscoring Hughes, it seems yet again, Hughes will draw the short straw.

    The truth is, it should be Watson left out, not Hughes.

    But Watson is the golden child. The one rushed back in in 2009 at Hughes' expense. Even though Hughes has just a couple of Tests earlier scored dual hundreds against South Africa in South Africa.

    So what excuse was the for dropping him back then? Two Tests in England where the English bowlers exploited a flaw in his technique.

    Sound familiar? Yes. His replacement, Watson , also has a flaw that bowlers exploit.

    The difference is Hughes only got two Tests to work it out, Watson has been given four years.

    So, the one with the batting flaw will be kept this time - at Hughes' expense. Cruel and callous

  • HowdyRowdy on July 27, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    I would make one change to the Australian batting lineup for the next Test i.e. bring in Warner for Hughes. Warner has a superior Test average (39.46, compared with 32.46), must be in some sort of form after his time in SA and, importantly, is a class above Hughes in the field.

    Australia should be looking to make considered changes to the Test side. Refusing to make any changes to a lineup that clearly is sub-standard for the sake of 'stability' would be head in the sand thinking.

  • Moppa on July 27, 2013, 1:21 GMT

    Agree with @landl47 that at least Wade has ruled himself out of contention. The way he plays off-spin reminds me of... er, Phil Hughes. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a middle order slot. Too early to call, but the likely changes for Old Trafford are Warner for Hughes, Bird for Pattinson and Lyon for Agar.

    On a different tack, does anyone have thoughts on how many more chances Watson has as a Test batsman, given he has averaged 25.6 across 17 Test matches since the start of 2011 (4 fifties, 0 hundreds, 3 ducks)? I think he has one more chance and then we simply have to accept that he can't mentally cut it as a Test batsman and move on, irrespective of his handy partnership breaking bowling and booming cover drives. Incidentally, he has opened in 8 of those 17 Tests, so we can't blame his moves up and down the order.

  • Dashgar on July 27, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    @Sweet2hrme, if England want to win any matches by an innings they'll need to stop being rolled for around 300 on dry roads. England have won 2 crucial tosses so far. Aus have also batted terribly but in many other aspects this is a tight contest. Could easily have been 1-0 Aus after the first game and we'll provide England with plenty more scares before the series is over.

  • Jeremy303 on July 27, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    It's quite interesting that Khawaja he has lost his wicket to finger spinners in his last three outings. Like others, I feel that he has a decent technique, but it seems this is a dangerous Achilles heel for the bloke - and it could be brutally exposed for the rest of the series.

  • Dashgar on July 27, 2013, 1:13 GMT

    I don't really understand this team selection. Where is Clarke, Rogers and Watson? I assume these 3 will play, they have been as much out of form as the rest. Are they injured now? Are they dropped? This performance just confuses things because as well as the 3 not playing we have Warner, Hughes, Cowan, Smith and Khawaja with a case to keep or regain their place. I don't think we're in a better position with these shows of form, on more confusion over what our best 11 is. Why play so many bowlers when our problem is batting.

  • Shan156 on July 27, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    @Nathaniel Dixon, good point re: the treatment Eng. got in India. As you correctly point out, this was always common practice but the Aussies never felt it in the past as they had some really great and many good players. The current lot is mediocre and hence they are trying to find some excuse for their poor performance in the tests.

  • Shan156 on July 27, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    The only Aussie on tour who has given the selectors less headache is Mathew Wade. He has convinced them that he is not good enough to be selected even in this Aussie side. The rest have all had a decent run in the warm-ups only to disappoint in the tests. Must be tough, not in a good way obviously, being an Aussie selector these days. There were days when they were struggling who to leave out as more than 1 person was good enough to play for any role. Different kind of struggle now.

  • Blokker on July 26, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    So many pessimists. The top order all hit form and everyone complains or tears them down, as usual. Naturally the Poms on these boards will put the boot in, but the Aussies should be supporting their team.

  • poms_have_short_memories on July 26, 2013, 23:32 GMT

    @Landl, I wouldn't have thought that a SA A side that comprises of DeLange(whom is considered one of the brightest young fast bowling prospects going around), Kyle Abbott( who took 7/29 on test debut), Dean Elgar, Justin Ontong and Thami Tsolekile(who has almost 500 fc dismissals) would be considered a 'C' side.

  • TheBigBoodha on July 26, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    Every silver lining has a cloud. People wanted the Aussie batsmen to score runs. So they score runs, but now we say "it doesn't count because...". Give them a break! What more can they do but put runs on the board against whomever they play. I'd hate to think what the write up would be if they actually put together a low score. If England put together 350 runs in a single day (250 being their typical run rate) with only five wickets down I doubt there would be all this doomsday talk. The fact is that these guys are a lot better than the media trashing they are getting. The problem in the test arena is as much attitude and technique as any ability, and those things can be improved upon, and often in quick time.

  • gtr800 on July 26, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    Folks a 5-0 whitewash in the ashes is unheard of. Maybe by a team who are just brutal natured & incredible- the aussies after the 2-1 in england in 05'. But England are not incredible collectively, maybe anderson is world class but only in england & only been ok outside in the last few years. Swann is very good but calling him world class is an insult to all world class spinners like warne & murali. The rest are at best good at times. The batsmen are also not even world class more very good. All Englands batsmen average less than 50- so their not exactly going to post a 600 plus total. When Australia realise that they aren't a bad side (the mauling in India didn't help)- they will win a test it might be the next match or the 2 matches to follow. I suspect the series will be more close in Australia- may even result in an Aussie victory.

  • on July 26, 2013, 23:23 GMT

    @Thefakebook Watson made 109 and 90 in the warm up games Hughes made 76, 50, 86 and 19 no Clarke made 124, 62, 45 Cowan 46, 58, 45 Rogers 75 Khaw 73

    the top 7 in fact all made runs in the warm up games - they were in form

  • on July 26, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    just for the record Watson is Aus second highest run scorer in the series to date with 109 behind Agar on 120 Faulty technique or not that means of the top 7 he is the top scorer over 4 innings

  • VivGilchrist on July 26, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    @landl47, when you consider that Australia have 17 players in the Ashes squad, and the likes of Johnson, Hilfenhaus, Voges, Bailey, Burns etc aren't included, one could conclude this is an Australia 'C' squad also.

  • PFEL on July 26, 2013, 22:48 GMT

    For those complaining about Sussex not playing their full team, that always happens on England tours. The county sides play almost every day of the season and this game doesn't count at all for them, of course they are going to rest players rather than risk injuring them on a valueless fixture. In Aus the domestic players have more time off so they can field a full-ish strength side against touring parties. And even then in almost every country a tour match will have the domestic side resting several of their better sides, it's not just England.

  • Puffin on July 26, 2013, 22:28 GMT

    It looks like a good opportunity to get some batting practice against an ordinary attack and evaluate replacements. I'd expect a good world-class touring team to have some "retired outs" in these conditions, because they are doing so well and don't want to hog the batting opportunity. That they are absent on its own suggests things aren't quite as good as they should be. Alas for the Australians the England bowling is noticably better than that of Sussex.

  • Greatest_Game on July 26, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    @ bingomister. You are dec right mate. Pretoria & Johannesburg are incredibly dry in winter. That pitch has about as much life as Micky Arthur's coaching career. In 2 days more runs have been scored on that pitch than Aus scored in the 1st two ashes games. Even Watson could get a century in that game!

  • lesamourai on July 26, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    Possible XI for OT: 1.Watson, 2.Rogers, 3.Warner, 4.Clarke, 5.Smith, 6.Haddin, 7.Agar, 8.Starc, 9.Siddle, 10.Harris, 11.Lyon.

    Watson & Rogers deserve another crack. Watson & Cowan have opened twice for Aus (vs India A) - both times put on a century stand. But Cowan hasn't done enough on tour to get back in. Aus needs good counter-attacking no.3 (preferably diminuitive à la Ponting, Boon, etc.). Clarke best batsman at 4. Smith, Haddin, and Agar, best players of spin in middle order. Agar deserves another shot. Top scoring for the team in the tests so far and would be further ahead if not for being run out & given out when not out. Starc for strike power, inswing vs right handers, footmarks for Lyon. Siddle & Harris are the Aus in-form seamers. Lyon, Aus premier spinner, 9 wickets in last test, deserves reinstatement.

  • GeoffreysMother on July 26, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    'Hughes is becoming the Hall and Oates of cricket: big in the 80s but can't crack the 90s.' - best cricketing comment of the year?

  • on July 26, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    if they keep watson and/or rogers and yet again sacrifice one of the younger brigade, who are all scoring more runs, then hell on earth has descended.

  • Greatest_Game on July 26, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    Warner made 3 test centuries in 34 innings. That is 1 every 11.33 innings. His knock in SA means that he is due for his next big score after the ashes in England is over. Considering he managed 6 and 11 against Zimbabwe, he is not exactly setting the world on fire!

  • Amith_S on July 26, 2013, 21:45 GMT

    Rogers, Watson, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Bird, Siddle, Harris, lyon for Manchester

  • on July 26, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    We now know that Australia can get runs against a middling county attack.

    Well, you've got to start somewhere.

  • 200ondebut on July 26, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    Australia's issues are between the ears not in the middle. These performances need perspective. England players used to score runs against state side - but then come the tests Warne and McGrath would turn them over. They could all score doubles - but come Old Trafford they will be facing their test demons again

  • Jatin. on July 26, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    Australian selectors got it all wrong here. I just cant believe their team selection in current series as well as back in India. If you are telling me that Chris Rogers, Usman Khwaja and Steven Smith are better batsmen than George Bailey and Simon Katich, you are still novice in terms of cricket and the disaster not failure is inevitable. Simon Katich might be 37 but is far fitter and better than few current players. Unfortunately he might not get the nod because of his equation with Clarke. But what about Bailey, he is a class act, just because he is captain of T20 team, he cant represent in tests. Infact, he should not be there in T20 team at all. Before the start of 2nd test @ Lords, I wrote here @ Cricinfo that the team selection is bizarre and Clarke & Co. should do something immediately. What they did was even more appalling. The team for 3rd test should be: Watson, Warner, Khwaja, Clarke, Hughes, Smith, Haddin, Faulkner, Harris, Siddle, Lyon. Please stick to this team. please

  • landl47 on July 26, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    @Flemming Jensen: Thanks, I didn't know that.

    Warner's 193 in SA and the performances here have to be put in context. Warner made his runs against a side which was effectively SA 'C', since there is a full ODI going on and Steyn and Philander aren't playing at all. The pitch is clearly a road since there have been 4 scores of over 150, plus a couple of half-centuries; and SA doesn't have a decent spin bowler. It's always good to make a big score, but the situation doesn't compare with what Aus will be facing at Old Trafford.

    The batsmen playing against Sussex have done their job, but again it's an easy pitch and only one bowler is close to test class. Monty Panesar got 3-65, so Aus hardly took him apart.

    I'm not sure that so far the selectors' job has been made any easier, except that there's no case for playing Wade as a batsman.

  • H_Z_O on July 26, 2013, 19:17 GMT

    @slow.mo we thought your batsmen might like to score some runs before they go home. Rather generous of us, I thought ;).

    As Nathaniel's already said, it's not that much of a weakened side, considering the last Championship game for Sussex was 6 days ago and the next one starts just 5 days after this tour match concludes.

    And yes, England do get the same treatment down under. When we toured in 2010 we played a Western Australia side that left out 5 players. One of them was Shaun Marsh, fresh off 136 and 89 in the previous Shield game. Also left out were Hussey and Johnson. Their next Shield game was 10 days after the tour game ended (and Hussey and Johnson both played in that one).

    I do wonder why you don't have a game against the Lions, but for all we know you were offered a game against them and turned it down. Australia A toured against the Lions last year and played two unofficial Tests. Cowan, Hughes, Bird and Lyon all played, so maybe that's why?

  • Amith_S on July 26, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    I think if anyone will make way for Warner it will be Hughes. Smith is on his way to a 100, Khawaja top scored with 50 in the last innings at Lords where all other batsman under the pressure failed and i don't think Rogers will be dropped just yet. In saying that am i the only one thinking that perhaps we don't change our top 6 just because Warner has one good score, Hughes did get a 70 odd in the first innings with Agar and all of the top 6 have got 50s at one time minus Watson. If however Warner is bought in i fear it will be Hughes who gets the punt given his struggles against Swann but i am inclined to leave our top 6 just as it was in Lords and show faith in our young batsman.

  • thebatsmansHoldingthebowlersWilley on July 26, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    The chopping and changing in the aussie top order is hilarious. Just stick to a top 6 and keep the guys batting in the same positions. Except Clarke, all the batsmen are poor test players. That's a fact. Chopping and changing just makes it worse. And Warner is not the answer. If he comes in down the order Swann will eat him for breakfast. Face facts Aussie fans - you can't bat

  • Flemo_Gilly on July 26, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    @2MikeGattings thats a fair point on Hughes, his runs came when Engalnd were allowing singles to be leaked and hasn't looked convincing in his other 3 innings against Swann. My worry is that Swann will expose him again as he was exposed in India and the only way to fix that is to let him open for Rogers or bring Warner in. I am inclinded to have Rogers and Watson opening for one more test to see if they click, keep Khawaja at 3 where he made a very good 50 in tough conditions in Lords and think about Warner at 4. What we can't do is make selections based on runs scored against a county attack, its all about who scores in the tests themselves when the pressure is on and on that basis you could go with Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Warner, Clarke, Smith.

  • on July 26, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    @slow.mo "bottom ranked teams" playing the Aussies. Sussex are second in the Championship only having lost once all season. Admittedly they rested two of their seamers but unfortunately this is common practice as they'll want to prioritise their remaining championship games. The normal keeper Brown is injured so this is a fairly strong side (only Joyce, Anyon, Magoffin rested). Certainly better than the treatment England got in India (lets let them play sides with 4 seamers as that's good practice in the subcontinent)

  • ball_boy on July 26, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    David warner getting 193 is no big news.Considering the fact that a lesser known batsman D Elgar or a no 7 batsman Tsolikele gets a 263 or a 159 shows there were no demons on the track or is that SA A has a Dale Steyn or Morne Morkel in their bowling ranks and aus have kindergardtners in their bowling ranks.

  • on July 26, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    I feel a bit sorry for Australia, they have only one genuine test quality batsman ,Clarke , and he's cracking under the strain.If this lot is the best Australia can muster then they should stick to playing Bangladesh or Zimbabwe.

  • sweet2hrme on July 26, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    Well played Sussex! I will give full credit to sussex to create panic for Australian selectors. Now see these austrailans players, once again they are scoring runs when it not matters. See the run rate they are maintaining. Woh! they are making huge statment. Now aus will go with same dull players in next test match as well and will lost by inning.

  • Thefakebook on July 26, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    OZ batting finally coming good,now hope Warner joins them soon and some positive result from now on!

  • on July 26, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    Panesar bowling tight and getting wickets. Get him in!

  • RoBoBobster on July 26, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    @Guernica Jackson is 2nd team keeper (1st teamer BenBrown has a broken finger that is why Jackson is playing, and I think he's a good keeper but not a great batsman (he has played 2 first team T20s but that is all, and Prior is obviously busy with England somthing or other

  • KARNAWAT33 on July 26, 2013, 17:30 GMT

    I have been crying about this since the 1st Test. BRING IN DAVID WARNER, I don't care who has to go out. With Dave coming in, Watson can bat at No.3 and Rogers can open with Dave. Plus Hughes, Clarke, Smith and Haddin can make a decent middle order. HOPEFULLY Faulkner is finally picked and doesn't end up only playing and impressing in warm up games. I'd have Faulkner, Agar, Bird and Harris. Time to go all out for the WIN!

  • slow.mo on July 26, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    First England organise bottom ranked teams to play against Aussies, then the teams don't field their best eleven? Sounds like a plan! Do England gets treated like that down under?

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on July 26, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    Who picks this team? Only 4 batsmen in the XI? Three spinners? Including two teenagers? Faulkner at 6? They should have been playing the full team. We all know they could use the match practice after being flogged last test. England didn't muck around in their last Ashes visit. Playing their whole team in warmup matches. Obviously the selectors and cricket Australia don't respect the Ashes or have written them off already

  • 2MikeGattings on July 26, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    The problem with Hughes at the moment is that England are making him graft for every run. People are forgetting that when he was batting with Agar 9 down at Trent Bridge there was absolutely no pressure. England gave Hughes singles to get at Agar, and lost the plot when they couldn't get him out.

    As for Hughes batting ugly, that is absolutely not a consideration. Clarke and Lehmann have consistently said they don't care how they get the runs, they care how many runs they get. Khawaja and Cowan are cultured players but Smith who bats like a farmer has been more effective. I still fancy Khawaja for the drop when Warner comes back, although it is sounding like that might be the 4th test rather than at OT.

  • Optic on July 26, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    @Andrew Bogie I agree with you're general point about it not being a weak side, it's a decent side. There are a few players missing that weakens it but still.. On the subject of Chris Jordan, he's really only had a half a season bowling at anything like the level to even be talked about playing for England. Woakes & Harris have been doing that for a number of years and are better bowlers imo & are far more consistent. Not sure why Stokes was named by the person you replied to as a bowler, he's an all rounder, or Coles for that matter although he's not a bad bowler at all. If it was a Lions game I'd be looking for guys like Onions, Roland Jones, Meaker, Tremlett, Jack Brooks & Kerrigan playing for the Lions.

  • hycIass on July 26, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    @Barnsey444 take it easy wiht the love for Hughes. Personally i wouldn't drop Hughes for Warner, i wouldnt' drop anyone because all the players in the top 6 have done enough to keep their spots. Hughes got runs in the first game as did Smith, Khawaja made a fine 50 in the last innings with the top score on a tough deck and Rogers got a 50 in one of the games too.Need to show faith and confidence in this batting lineup and stop chopping and changing as that's exactly what England wants us to do.

  • Paul_Rampley on July 26, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    I like Hughes as opener, its his best position, Khawaja is looking more comfortable at 3 and belongs in that role and Smith continues to be our rock in the middle order. Good hit out at Hove today, hopefully Lyon has a good game tomorrow to knock down the spinner's role.

  • on July 26, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Barnsey4444 is having a Hughes love in I see! He forgets that Oz should have been 114 all out in the 1st Test, only a bad DRS decision from it. Also how can he claim Hughes is young trying to find his way? He's in and out of the Oz Test side for 5 (FIVE) Years. He was found out in 2009 over here, he had zero technique then and isnt much better now.

  • Edwards_Anderson on July 26, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    Happy that our top order all got starts, what's dissapointing is that they didn't capitalise on their missed chances. Hughes and Cowan both survived easy chances early in their innings and Khawaja had a difficult one down leg side but that was a half chance. Hughes getting 80 reinforces for me that he should open the batting and if Rogers fails in Manchester we may want to put Hughes back to opening. Khawaja looked very comfortable for his 40 but Monty got on song once again. Hopefuly Smith goes on to get a bigger score.

  • Sunil_Batra on July 26, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    Good to see the likes of Hughes, Khawaja and Cowan get starts but none of them went on to get centuries. Wade wasn't able to use his chance and it looks like we may end up having the same batting lineup as the second test unless Smith fails in which case Warner will take his spot. My guess is warner will have to bid his time

  • Guernica on July 26, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    Yep, it's definitely not a second XI. But it's not the first XI either - Joyce, Wright, Anyon, Magoffin all missing which is a shame (albeit with Taylor added). I've never heard of the wicketkeeper Jackson before either (third choice?). Chris Jordan is a first teamer though and has certainly done his chances of getting a Lions call up no good on this showing

  • Potatis on July 26, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    Well so what? Cowan didn't score a century, but the the opening partnership was broken when the score was 150, what's wrong with that? Perfect for a #3 stroke maker to come in and get a big score with the shine off the ball. Cowan and Warner passed 100 several times, they were successful overall. The problem was there were not enough other batsman besides Clarke and Hussey to come in and help Australia get a huge total. So what did our #3 do today? It was all set up for him, and yet Cowan gets criticised. Breaking the Cowan/Warner opening partnership is what was a step backwards.

  • 2nd_Slip on July 26, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    Haven't been interested in this big fuss called the ashes. What a prdictable bore it is turning out to be from my point of view. England fans please don't get over yourselfs because all that has happened has been expected. Aus fans I think its best you just give it a res,t in terms of selections, nothing can improve Australias performances its simple THE TALENT IS NOT THERE!!. This series will just prove the already known fact of how far ahead SA are against the rest of the test playing nations, which is a very sad thing for test cricket going forwad.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on July 26, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    Cowan lives up to his reputation, a start and didn't go on with it. If the selectors go back to him, it will be a huge step back

  • on July 26, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    @Padraic - While I agree that it would be good to see the Australians play the Lions here, there are plenty of people on this site who think Chris Jordan should be ahead of all the bowlers you list there (possibly not Harris) in terms of the England pecking order, and Monty is currently the second-choice spinner. The batting line-up is not a long way off the first team (and James Taylor arguably strengthens it), which is doing quite well in the Championship this year. I don't think this is a particularly weak side at all.

  • hmmmmm... on July 26, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    I would not be getting too excited (neither should teh selectors) - we saw in the game before the first test the australians got off to a belter, watson hit the ball everywhere...but it's these performances against a lower grade attack that masks the real issue of working for your runs when you face a strong bowling attack as England have. Warner's effort in SA is just the same - @thebigboodha is on the money - it's an absolute road down there!

  • on July 26, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    Once again Cowan fails to convert his half century into a century, and Hughes can only score runs against weak county attacks, but struggles at Test level against the likes of Anderson and Swann.

  • on July 26, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    The weakness of this attack just further highlights the fact that counties don't offer the touring sides a game these days. What value is there to anyone in Sussex 2nd XI playing? Why not give the Lions a go or else let Ireland play a first class fixture against a test match nation? The likes of Alex Lees, James Vince, Shiv Thakor and Daniel Bell-Drummond would really benefit from a chance to face an international attack, and the Aussies would face a far sterner test from an attack of Coles, Stokes, Harris, Woakes and Kerrigan than Sussex's second string. Moreto the point England could learn where their next generation currently stand.

  • Someguy on July 26, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    @Barnesy4444 - Smith has batted ok and made an impact with the ball. He is also one of the best fielders in the team. With the dry turning wickets being presented, we will need Smith to back up whoever they go with as the main spinner. Warner isn't a good enough bowler, and Clarke's back is not worth risking on him bowling. Watson should be the man to go. Let Hughes open so he doesn't have to try and start against Swann and I bet he will get at least 1 century before the series is over.

  • TheBigBoodha on July 26, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    These guys are better than what the last test suggests. It may take a few tests, but At least some of these young Aussie bats will come good. It is mathematically impossible that all the top order will fail all the time. Here's hoping things have turned around with Davy Warner's big century in SA. Time for these guys to start concentrating for more than ten overs.

  • landl47 on July 26, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    @Barnesy4444: I'm not sure whether you realized this, but Smith scored 50% more runs at Lord's than Hughes did.

    OK, Smith scored 3 runs and Hughes 2, but it's the principle that counts.

  • bingomister on July 26, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    David Warner's 193 should be seen in context of an absolute road of a pitch. Almost 1,000 runs scored for 10 wickets lost- Maxwell and Elgar have notched their highest ever FC scores.

  • on July 26, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    @landl47

    Wright has a knee injury.

  • Barnesy4444 on July 26, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Hughes hasn't batted in the same position 2 games in a row so far this tour. He's batted 6, 6, 5, 3, open, 6, 6, 4, 4, open. He's a young batsmen trying to cement his spot in the team. If Watson made some decent scores opening these young blokes would start to flourish.

  • Barnesy4444 on July 26, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    The only thing that stopped Hughes from scoring a century in the first test was running out of partners. I wish he was able to because that would have kept a lot of critics quiet. He is averaging 72 this tour, including a near match saving 81* in the first test. Score 200 Phil and then do it again in the 3rd test. It's Smith who will make way for Warner at 6, a straight swap.

  • Chris_Howard on July 26, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    I know you can only bat against who bowls at you, but the Sussex pace attack is hardly going to test the Aussies.

  • landl47 on July 26, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    I'm surprised Luke Wright isn't playing. After his 161 last week I'd have thought he would have been mad keen to have a go at the Aussies. Still, Sussex have fielded a decent squad.

  • jacoblrfc on July 26, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    Disappointed Magoffin couldn't play, would have been interesting seeing him bowl against his native country. His form this season has been fantastic opening the bowling for Sussex, would have been good to have seen him rip through the Oz top order, show them what a real Aussie seamer looks like.

  • jacoblrfc on July 26, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    Disappointed Magoffin couldn't play, would have been interesting seeing him bowl against his native country. His form this season has been fantastic opening the bowling for Sussex, would have been good to have seen him rip through the Oz top order, show them what a real Aussie seamer looks like.

  • landl47 on July 26, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    I'm surprised Luke Wright isn't playing. After his 161 last week I'd have thought he would have been mad keen to have a go at the Aussies. Still, Sussex have fielded a decent squad.

  • Chris_Howard on July 26, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    I know you can only bat against who bowls at you, but the Sussex pace attack is hardly going to test the Aussies.

  • Barnesy4444 on July 26, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    The only thing that stopped Hughes from scoring a century in the first test was running out of partners. I wish he was able to because that would have kept a lot of critics quiet. He is averaging 72 this tour, including a near match saving 81* in the first test. Score 200 Phil and then do it again in the 3rd test. It's Smith who will make way for Warner at 6, a straight swap.

  • Barnesy4444 on July 26, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Hughes hasn't batted in the same position 2 games in a row so far this tour. He's batted 6, 6, 5, 3, open, 6, 6, 4, 4, open. He's a young batsmen trying to cement his spot in the team. If Watson made some decent scores opening these young blokes would start to flourish.

  • on July 26, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    @landl47

    Wright has a knee injury.

  • bingomister on July 26, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    David Warner's 193 should be seen in context of an absolute road of a pitch. Almost 1,000 runs scored for 10 wickets lost- Maxwell and Elgar have notched their highest ever FC scores.

  • landl47 on July 26, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    @Barnesy4444: I'm not sure whether you realized this, but Smith scored 50% more runs at Lord's than Hughes did.

    OK, Smith scored 3 runs and Hughes 2, but it's the principle that counts.

  • TheBigBoodha on July 26, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    These guys are better than what the last test suggests. It may take a few tests, but At least some of these young Aussie bats will come good. It is mathematically impossible that all the top order will fail all the time. Here's hoping things have turned around with Davy Warner's big century in SA. Time for these guys to start concentrating for more than ten overs.

  • Someguy on July 26, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    @Barnesy4444 - Smith has batted ok and made an impact with the ball. He is also one of the best fielders in the team. With the dry turning wickets being presented, we will need Smith to back up whoever they go with as the main spinner. Warner isn't a good enough bowler, and Clarke's back is not worth risking on him bowling. Watson should be the man to go. Let Hughes open so he doesn't have to try and start against Swann and I bet he will get at least 1 century before the series is over.