The Investec Ashes 2013

Australia left with ifs and buts

The tour match at Hove wasn't enough to identify a definitive Australia XI for Old Trafford. A few individual performances stood out, as did the catching, which was dreadful

Brydon Coverdale in Hove

July 29, 2013

Comments: 88 | Text size: A | A

Jackson Bird produced an impressive opening spell, Sussex v Australians, Tour match, Hove, 2nd day, July 27, 2013
How relevant will Jackson Bird's form be if they arrive in Manchester to see a dusty surface and a fine weather forecast? © PA Photos

As pleasant as Australia's seaside diversion was after the gloom of the Lord's Test, the three-day match in Hove provided few clear answers to their many selection questions. Guessing at the XI who will take the field at Old Trafford later this week requires a Kiplingesque amount of "ifs" and just as many "buts". Definitive? The only definitive observation to come out of the past few days has been that the team's catching has been dreadful.

It is not that nobody performed with bat or ball - Steven Smith scored an unbeaten hundred, Ed Cowan and Phillip Hughes both made fifties, Jackson Bird challenged the Sussex batsmen - but that none of it means very much. How much stock could the Australians really take from a three-day friendly against a weakened county side on a bouncy surface that won't resemble that at Old Trafford, with a laughably short boundary on one side?

That the squad has been split across cities - and even continents, for David Warner has been in Africa - has not helped clarify matters. The team management decided that the openers, Shane Watson and Chris Rogers, would gain more from working in the nets at Lord's under the guidance of batting coach Michael di Venuto and fielding coach Steve Rixon than they would from playing Sussex. Peter Siddle was with them.

Warner will rejoin the squad in Manchester on Monday, having just mauled South Africa A for 193 in Pretoria. How do the selectors gauge his performance? It was on a small ground in a game where Glenn Maxwell also thumped a quick 155 not out and South Africa's Dean Elgar made a career-best 268. On the other hand, Warner was facing Kyle Abbott and Marchant de Lange, two wonderful young fast bowlers who have already thrived in Test cricket.

If Warner plays, where does he bat? And who misses out? Rogers and Watson seem certain to remain at the top of the order, which would mean one of Usman Khawaja, Hughes or Smith would have to make way for Warner. Smith scored an unbeaten 102 against Sussex, but is that enough to make him safe? Khawaja showed encouraging signs at No.3 at Lord's, but did little in the tour match.

Hughes tallied 122 across both innings in Hove and is Australia's leading run scorer on the tour, with 436 at 62.28. He made an invaluable 81 not out in the first innings at Trent Bridge, but since then has had three Test failures. Perhaps most importantly, he struggled against Graeme Swann's spin, and if the conditions at Old Trafford are as dry as expected and England include two spinners, he might be the man to miss out.

But what would such conditions mean for the attack? One spot is vacant due to James Pattinson's series-ending injury, but will it naturally go to a fast bowler? Or would the selectors consider using Nathan Lyon and Ashton Agar as a dual spin attack? Neither man had much impact against Sussex and while it is true that the conditions were better for the fast men, Monty Panesar managed to claim three wickets.

Lyon struggled in his first spell and seemed low on confidence, but he did improve as the match wore on. He found some dip and drop, and tempted the batsmen at times. His one wicket could have been two, had Agar held on to a skied chance from Taylor. Agar, meanwhile bowled better early and picked up a few edges, but was outbowled by Lyon as the match progressed. His lack of wickets in the first two Tests cannot be ignored.

Including two spinners might be risky, but can Australia really afford to keep overlooking Lyon, who has claimed 76 wickets in his 22 Tests? There must be a temptation to push for Bird, given the way he swung the ball against Sussex and hit naggingly accurate lines. But how relevant will his form be if they arrive in Manchester to see a dusty surface and a fine weather forecast?

They cannot forget The Oval Test of 2009, when Nathan Hauritz was overlooked on a dry pitch and Stuart Clark struggled in conditions that did not suit him. There is more than a little bit of Clark in Bird, and likely more than a little bit of The Oval surface in the Old Trafford wicket the teams will encounter. Bird might have edged Starc out of contention, but who could really say for certain?

The only thing that is certain is that some remedial fielding drills are in order after the Australians put down roughly half a dozen chances against Sussex. And if they do that against England in Manchester, it won't much matter who the selectors have picked.

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (July 31, 2013, 9:52 GMT)

Lyndon Mcpaul; I have no issue with Henriques playing but dont believe he has the record to be picked purely as a batsman and that is where we are weak. We need guys coming through that will get picked on there batting alone. I will discriminate against Maxwell, Maddinson purely on there batting records at shield cricket. Finch and Marsh its obvious if they are not picked consistently at shield level what the hell are they doing on an A tour. Ok to be a dasher if you average above 40 at shield cricket. Not sure why Joe Burns in particular is not there,

Posted by   on (July 31, 2013, 7:48 GMT)

@shaggy076.I am not sure that discriminating against people with some allround skill is wise. Who says players like Henriques and Maxwell dont have what it takes to hold down a spot with either batting or bowling? Henriques made 60 with the bat on debut in India in what were very trying conditions and then got smashed around with his bowling.This may show him that it is wise for him to make batting his primary focus.Also, just because Maxwell is a dashing shot maker, doesnt mean that he cant develop a sound technique. It is probably more common that talented shot makers will learn better defense in the longer form rather than naturally defensive players successfully learning to play shots. One only needs to look at the difference between Cowan and Warner to understand this. Ricky Ponting started out as a dasher with poor shot selection and then learnt proper restraint and sound defense to make his way back into the team. Players who are natural shot makers usually have a better eye.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (July 31, 2013, 1:57 GMT)

Redbackfan; I think you have a great point there. Our batsman are struggling then the selectors pick an A tour involving all-rounders Henriques and Maxwell, then include two mature opening batsman that cant even make there state side in Finch and Marsh (both averaved under 20 last year), Maddinson who is in in/out the NSW side has the odd flash of brilliance but very odd. It would be better for the Aussies selectors to invest in players who may develop into test level players Liam Davis, Silk, Joe Burns, I think Callum Ferguson has better test credentials than many of those sent on the A tour. We had a perfect opportunity to develop cricketers but sent a pseudo one-day team to South Africa with the A team.

Posted by   on (July 30, 2013, 20:32 GMT)

@Joseph Langford. "LETS PLAY CRICKET THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE PLAYED!!! GO HARD OR GO HOME!!!" Yes I agree to a point but lets be P-A-T-I-E-N-T first; especially in our batting and then when opportunity strikes WE WILL CRUSH THEM LIKE ANTS!! As far as the bowling goes that attack of five pacers including Johnson and Starc would only make the English batsmen salivate and provide the Barmy Army with inspiration for a new song to this time be about both Mitch's. Unless the pitch is a green monster, the extra pace would only come onto the bat on these slow pitches and the width on both sides of the wicket would be feasted upon. The bowlers who England most fear are those such as Harris and Bird who have the control to bowl in that very narrow channel outside off with just a hint of movement either way.3 Good unnerringly accurate seamers and a decent spinner should be all that is necessary to get 20 wickets which is something we have lacked in our on the pitch team so far.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 30, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

@SirViv1973 Faulkner merited selection in the squad as a bowler (114 wickets at 21 in the last 3 Shield seasons) so I wouldn't read too much into that. They might well pick Wade to succeed Haddin, but if they do, it has to be for a better reason than so they can bat him at 6 and Faulkner at 7, surely?

They'd be weakening their batting (right now they're 6-1-4 with Watson mostly in the side for his batting, at least in theory; Wade at 6 and Faulkner at 7 means it's more of a 5-1-5 split), strengthening the area of their side that's strongest (seam) and potentially hampering the development of another weak area where they have promising players (spin).

Not saying they won't do it, but I wouldn't. If Wade plays, it has to be because he's the best keeper-batsman in the selector's eyes (whether he is or not is an entirely different debate).

Posted by   on (July 30, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

Dear Jayzuz,

If you haven't noticed Australia has lost their past six Test Matches.

In 3 of the last 6-Innings the last 5-Wickets have outscored the first 5-wickets.

Over the last 4-Test Matches the first 5-wickets averages 1-run more that the last 5-wickets.

The top order has been shuffled around like an U10 Saturday Competition, with no structure and stripped of confidence.

Please tell me what positives we can draw out of the past 7-months.

Australia are in the same position as in India after 2-Tests, either win the rest of the tests or fade away into the darkness. Play 5-bowlers!!! Open with Harris/Bird, then Johnson/Starc, then Siddle/XXX (Smith).

Wade will keep and Clarke must sit half a meter closer to Wade and a meter behind.

Warner, Cowan, Khawaja, Smith, Clarke, Wade, Johnson, Starc, Siddle, Harris, Bird


Posted by   on (July 30, 2013, 9:54 GMT)

my Australia XI for 3rd ashes test: usman khwaja,chris rogers ( his last chance),,micheal Clarke c,phillip hughes,steve smith,brad haddin wk,james Faulkner,ashton agar,nathan lyon,ryan harris and Jackson bird/peter siddle depending on conditions. prefect team

Posted by   on (July 30, 2013, 6:49 GMT)

Everyone who rubbishes Warner's technique would be wise to remember that he has averaged 39 in the toughest position in the batting order which means that with only 10-15% improvement in his overall consistency and he would be considered world class. People with short memories also forget that his breakout hundred was on an extremely sporting wicket in Bellerive where he carried his hand through absolute carnage with the rest of the batting order and almost guided Australia to victory singlehandedly.To just pigeonhole him after this as a 20/20 slogger is outrageously silly especially considering the lack of talent available at present in Oz. Warner's basic technique against pace is sound though his shot selection early in his innings needs to improve. He plays very straight though with hard hands. He is not overly nimble with his feet against spin and that needs to be worked on but his assets more than outstrip his liabilities as he is capable of taking apart any attack on his day.

Posted by hmmmmm... on (July 30, 2013, 5:29 GMT)

Khawaja's 50 at Lord's is worth about 200 when compared to the tour match or the junior game in SA - I hope the selectors see that. Warner and Hughes are the same sort of "hit-or-miss-technically deficiant-can come off" player so should be competing for the same number 5/6 position not with a number 3.

Posted by Stromy_A on (July 30, 2013, 5:10 GMT)

2-zip down time to say bye bye to Rogers. Feel for the bloke but time to give some youngns a go. Warner, Khawaja,Huges,Clarke, Watson, Maddison, Haddin, Siddle,Starc,Harris,Lyon

Posted by   on (July 30, 2013, 4:48 GMT)

Watson(last chance & must bowl well), Rogers, Khawaja(Hughes), Warner, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Starc, Siddle, Harris, Lyon. Australia don't need to play 2 spinners because Smith and Warner can provide that option. If Watson doesn't fire they must reshuffle the order and drop him for Faulkner.

Posted by   on (July 30, 2013, 4:43 GMT)

Aussies are good when they attack rather than doing catch-up. Apparently, drop roger and get warner and watson In as Openers and others play-around.

No point defending..they will succumb to the pressure of staying long in the wicket..Play aussie way...

Posted by   on (July 30, 2013, 4:09 GMT)

i think the best attack would be as follows cowan warner khwaja clarke hughes watson haddin faulkner siddle harris bird

Posted by   on (July 30, 2013, 2:55 GMT)

What a pickle the Aussies are in. Part of the problem is too much chopping and changing. Cowan was dropped for not going on to big scores. How more so for Watson! However it is time for some stability.

You have to keep Rogers and Waston as operners, the third position you pick for the future- Who is the next bes long term Aussie batsman. Try him and keep him. Clarke stays at four. Hughes did a great job in 1st test you have to reward that. Smith is there as a half batsman half bowler. Haddin adds leadership and strength. Bowlers Siddle Harris Bird and Agar or Lyon.

Watson stick around until your Silk and Maddison duo mature. Warner has been worked out ( just think of Elliot and the West indies) so he should stick to the shorter forms of the game.

Posted by rattusprat on (July 30, 2013, 0:58 GMT)

A good article asking at least 10 questions of the 11 positions available. And so far 10 comments all proposing different answers. As an Australian its tough to admit the current test team is an Omnishambles.

Posted by AlanF on (July 30, 2013, 0:14 GMT)

Australia MUST offer Sam Robson an opportunity - if he declines it, that's his choice. My team - Rogers, Robson, Khawaja, Clarke, Warner (grudgingly - at least he's in some sort of form), Smith, Haddin (grudgingly again - what more does Chris Hartley have to do?), Harris, Bird, Siddle, Lyon.

Posted by GiantScrub on (July 29, 2013, 23:03 GMT)

Matt Fallaize: that team is what Australia should do. Given the noises coming out of the Aus camp this week, though, I suspect the actual team will be Watson Rogers Hughes Smith Clarke Warner Haddin Siddle Bird Harris Lyon, and yes that does mean Khawaja misses out again. It's not like the selectors don't have experience dropping him after he's shown some grit.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (July 29, 2013, 21:56 GMT)

@H_Z_O, I would agree that from what I've seen & heard from Aus fans, Paine is a better keeper than Wade. However I will be surprised if Paine ends up taking over from Haddin. The way the series is going you can see this being Haddin's last, I can also see it being Watson's last. CA has been obsessed with the idea of an allrounder since 05 when many thought Freddie was the difference between the 2 sides. Perhaps this is 1 reason why SW has had so many opportunities without consistently being able to deliver. Faulkner looks as if hes being groomed as the next allrounder, his batting isn't strong enough to bat in the top 6 so he could only be accommodated by the keeper batting at 6, which would have to be Wade. Wade's keeping can still improve Prior was no great shakes with the gloves when he was picked it was his batting that got him in the side & he worked hard on his glovework. Perhaps Wade can do the same & give Aus the balance they have so craved all these yrs.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (July 29, 2013, 21:40 GMT)

@Beertje, I think if Watson is to remain in the side it has to be as an opener. He has said that's where he wants bat & it's the position where he has had the most success. I don't think Hughes will benefit from continually being shuffled around the order. He started the series at 6 where he recorded his highest ashes score & was then quicky moved back up to 4 where he failed twice. Personally I wouldn't change the personel in the top 6 for this game but I do think the batting order should be looked at. I know Clarke has a less than flattering record batting higher than 5 but he simply has to bat higher, probably at 4 or it could be argued 3. I would go Rogers,Watson,Kawaja,Clarke,Smith,Hughes. For me Watson has to be on notice at the moment its probably his ability to bowl which is keeping him in the side, should he fail again here I would have Warner in & back opening for Durham, I don't see the point in hiding him down the order he is an opener by trade & thats where he should bat.

Posted by PTtheAxis on (July 29, 2013, 21:08 GMT)

yes selection dilemmas about how many more openers can they include - warner, hughes, watson, cowan, rogers ... might as well try clarke in opening too. may be they can send them all on the pitch together facing one ball each. best chance they have.

Posted by Beertjie on (July 29, 2013, 20:49 GMT)

Mostly agree @BillyLightfoot. Watson can't hope to turn it around within a week so he should drop to 4 with Hughes opening with Rogers. Warner doesn't need to play immediately - probably needs to get into the nets in England again and play at CLS probably for Watson. Lyon must play for Agar, so the best team for OT would be: Rogers, Hughes, Khawaja, Watson, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Siddle, Harris, Lyon and Bird. More importantly, Clarke needs to win the toss! @Matt Fallaize, the problem with either Warner or Hughes at 5 is that they are not good at rotating the strike and will be worked over by Swann. Ideally they open/bat at 3. Agree @GRHinPorts that "at the end of 5 tests with all the scores on the doors take a view of who is in and who is out, and then proceed onto the next series with a new core XI." To do that Warner needs to be given a shot, so someone must drop out before the 5th test, but who? I nominate Watson. Cowan only if someone gets injured - too many chances in the past.

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 20:04 GMT)

Were I an aus selector, I'd be inclined to give Rogers the rest of the series - he's earned it and could bring another opener along. That opener isn't Watson, so you might as well give Warner a go. Khawaja's showed enough application, and I still think Hughes has a lot to offer. Haddin's superior to Wade as wk, and I don't feel confident that Wade'll develop, tbh. Really like the look of Bird. As ever, 5wombats, Landl47 and Biggus are talking a lot of sense. So...Warner, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Hughes, Smith, Haddin, Siddle, Lyon, Bird, Harris strikes me as a fairly competitive XI for OT

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 29, 2013, 20:03 GMT)

@ManThes_P I'd be really surprised if we see Clarke bowl this series. I keep seeing people say "Oh, but Clarke can bowl spin!" and it's as if they haven't seen how hard it is for him to even field at the moment. He's regularly stretching to avoid his back seizing up in the crouched position at slip.

Obviously he realises how important he is as a slip fielder and is willing to take the hit for the team, but is his bowling really worth risking him potentially even missing the home series (let alone the rest of this one)? He's their best batsman by a mile.

He may bowl if Australia get a sniff of actually winning or drawing the series, but if it's just a case of saving face with a consolation victory, I doubt it. If they can get it to 2-1 at OT without him bowling, we may see him bowl in the last two Tests if the need arises, but even then I'm not entirely sure he'll risk it.

They simply have to pick a spinner. But then, I said the same at the Oval in 2009 so who knows?

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (July 29, 2013, 19:09 GMT)

Watson, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Siddle, Bird, Harris, Lyon to hopefully take the field for Thursday, that's our best combination. Cowan has few things to do to get back into the test team… Not only make runs, but lots of them. It's great he makes the ocasional 50, but his average is the poorest of the Aussie batsmen, and, his conversion rate from 50′s to 100′s is among the worse out of all our top 6. For a top order batsman, he needs a far greater conversion rate, and quite frankly, given he's already in his 30′s, so I don't see the point in giving him any further opportunity to attempt to do so. I am inclined to give the opportunity to Smith, Khawaja and Warner for this series, guys who can become test stars for us if we show them the faith needed to succeed. I havent put Warner in for the 3rd test side but if the middle order doesn't fire then he should slot in for Durham.

Posted by crockit on (July 29, 2013, 19:01 GMT)

Playing 4 fronline quicks or 2 frontline spinners makes no sense when the one superiority Australia have is the fact they have both a competent part-time 4th seamer in watto and a part-time spinner in Smith who can be useful on dry pitches. The key bowling wise is simply to get in the best three frontline seamers (Bird or Starc to come in) and the best frontline spinner (Lyon). Batting wise it is only Clarke one can be confident in. Rogers is potentially a competent stop gap for a few years. Khawaja might work so can be given a decent run. The other three are all major concerns and Aussies should be lining up talented young replacements (eg Robson) or quality older players (Voges, D Hussey). Watto just about offers enough is a bit hapless and may be on decline. Smith should be seen as a temporary solution as much for his second spinner role with the small hope that he might come good with the bat over time. Hughes is making same hapless mistakes and might need replacing with Warner.

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (July 29, 2013, 18:33 GMT)

Watson, Warner, Khawaja, Clarke, Smith, Rogers for me as our top 6. I am in the ashes aussie support group so seeing the games first hand. Can i say that Cowan was dropped on 2 yesterday in slips and also gave those chances in the first innings. He has had 19 tests in a row so i don't think he deserves more. Hughes also had dropped chances but he is a future prospect so i would have him above Cowan. Smith is better then them both and deserves his spot in the middle order as does Warner. Hughes got worked up with the short ball again yesterday but one thing he has over Cowan is that he converts his starts at least in domestic cricket. Warner will bring aggression to the team as well Khawaja like most folks have mentioned looked solid in Lords under some serious pressure not only for his position but also the pitch and the game situation so he is one worth sticking with as he could be a long term test star for us. . Agar will develop in time but go for Lyon in Manchestere

Posted by Cricfever_PM on (July 29, 2013, 18:30 GMT)

Australia are in worst form including their captain and they need to build good team for the future!! Ashes is not over and anything can happen as underdog India beat unbeaten Ozz side in 2001 home serious!! So believe in the strength you have and try to execute your plans!!! Andersen is in good form but it doesn't mean he can't be controlled!!! Look at what Amla did in last year the same time!! Inform SA team handled all inform England bowlers!! So don't lose your hope and plan for your capacity and execute well!! My XI for Next test ::: Cowan, Warner, Watson/Khawaja, Clarke, Smith, Hughes, Haddin, faulner, Siddle, Bird, Harrish. I didn't select any spinner because both of Aus spinners are not in form and Faulner can play as bowling allrounder and score some handy runs!! Smith & clarke can bowl minimum of 10 to 20 overs a day!!!

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 29, 2013, 17:07 GMT)

@landl47 exactly. I thought the selections made sense before the series, and if the older guys had performed (and Harris aside, it's fair to say they haven't) then those younger guys would probably not have had as much pressure heaped on them.

Instead the top four batsmen for Australia in the series are all the young guys. The top is a fast bowler who's now out of the series because his batsmen didn't do their job properly.

I'd agree with you with one major exception; dropping Haddin for Wade. The young spinners will find it hard enough to develop without having the added pressure of a keeper who struggles keeping up to the stumps. Warne has always said that Healy and Gilchrist were both instrumental to his success, because he trusted them.

If they do drop Haddin, it has to be for Paine. He isn't as good a batsman as Wade, but with a bunch of talented young bowlers, they have to pick the best keeper. He's good enough with the bat to play at 7, and their tail can all bat.

Posted by vigneshvinu on (July 29, 2013, 16:44 GMT)

Watson has some problems with new ball when anderson is bowling, he always bowls well against right handers.Now its better option is to go with Cowan and rogers at top. watson in middle order. clarke should bat at 4 so that he can maintain some stability in the batting order.

1. Rogers 2. Cowan 3. Khawaja 4. Clarke 5. Hughes 6. smith 7. haddin 8.bird 9. siddle 10. lyon 11.harris

Posted by kearon47 on (July 29, 2013, 16:19 GMT)

Aussie 3rd Test Team E.Cowan, C.Rogers, U.Khawaja, S.Smith, M.Clarke, P.Hughes, B.Haddin, A.Agar, P.Siddle, R.Harris, N.Lyon.

D.Warner and S.Watson shouldn't be in the team because of their constant arrogance and disruptive influences.

England 3rd Test Team A.Cook, J.Root, J.Trott, K.Pieterson, I.Bell, J.Taylor, M.Prior, T.Bresnan, S.Broad, G.Swann, J.Anderson.

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 15:44 GMT)

It started off being a bit of an oddity, but understandable given other options available, then it became weird, a perversion of logic, and now it is just completely obtuse drifting towards the "OMG can you believe it?". Clarke has to bat at 4 all the time, he is the only Australian test batsman of class. He cannot be continually wasted at 5, he is in charge of the order and he needs to sort it out. Once that is in place the rest of the team can start to concentrate on their positions.

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 15:11 GMT)

bring back hilfenhaus n johnson. play with 4 pacers siddle harris johnson and hilfy. they have experience plus watson. steve smith has taken more wickets than the main spinner. batsmen have to realize the importance of their wicket. they just cant play for participation. they have talent just needed patience and responsibilty. clarke looks in extreme pressure. rogers and watson should reduce it. they have experience and talent. series is still not lost.

Posted by salazar555 on (July 29, 2013, 14:44 GMT)

For me Watson is a one day player or at most a number 6 all rounder. He's not an opening batsman, at least not in test games. He needs to move down the order and go in and smash the ball around or he needs to be dropped from the team. His average is poor at test level and if it wasn't for the fact he can bowl a bit he probably would have been thrown out of the team a while back.

I agree with others, time for Australia to look to the future and throw everyone out of the team who is older than 27. Australia need to build a team that's going to play for the next 5-10 years

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (July 29, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

While the selectors are mulling things over, they might want to have a think about who the next captain is going to be when Clarke retires, which could be sooner rather than later. It's not going to be the current vice captain, Haddin, is it? I think we can rule out Watson and Warner. Cowan is not in the team. Who else is there except Siddle? Everyone is either too young, too old, or not getting consistently selected.

Posted by 5wombats on (July 29, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

@Biggus. Hello mate! We're in a burrow in Newtown Sydney atm! Yeah look - what you are saying seems to be what everyone here is saying. England are going to get up this time, but if Aus are going down then at least go down fighting and go down having learned something to build on for the future. I liked @landl47's featured comment - he's dead right of course. We Poms know all too well from painful experience how to not build for the future! You have to start with the younger players. This is what Hussain started for England - alright, he got thrashed plenty, but Hussain brought in good youngsters - like Trescothick, Harmison and Andrew Strauss. Then Vaughan picked up those and went on with it to create the side which went to South Africa and won and then brought us 2005 and all that. Australia has to identify the young talent right now, take the pain, and plan for it all to come good in the fullness of time.

Posted by whofriggincares on (July 29, 2013, 13:37 GMT)

@Edwards_anderson , you are right on the surface it seems strange but if you delve deeper there is some method in the madness. It is easy to show faith if the batsmen are performing. Truth is we are chopping and changing just like England have in the past because like them at the time the best 11 is not obvious. Take Hughes for instance , in the first test he batted really well and looked to have cemented his spot unfortuanately since then he has played 3 terrible innings but it is not just the fact he is getting out it is more the way he is getting out. Flashing outside off just like the poms knew he would! Same with Cowan had he batted like he has in the past in the first test he would still be in the team but he got out stupidly in both innings. With both of these guys their records just don't afford them the patience a more well performed batsmen would get. Someone made a comment about valuing their wicket or getting dropped , this makes a lot of sense to me.

Posted by landl47 on (July 29, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

Yet again I see here calls for Doolan to be picked for Australia. Doolan isn't a young gun, he's 27 (28 this year). His first-class average is 38 and he's made 5 first-class centuries. Just to put that in perspective, Joe Root is 22 and has made 5 first-class centuries this season- and 4 of them have been higher than Doolan's career best.

Players like Doolan, Callum Ferguson (age 28, FC average 36, 8 centuries) and Shaun Marsh (age 30, FC average 35, 7 centuries, test average 27) simply aren't test class and are old enough that the judgement can be made that they never will be. Having a good year in the Shield doesn't make them test players.

Start looking at young talent. Give up hoping that ordinary FC players will suddenly turn into international stars. They won't.

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 13:16 GMT)

They never should have changed the openers. They were the best opening pair, even if they weren't scoring big hundreds.

Warner, Cowan, Clarke, Watson(He is hopeless but people seem to like him), Smith, Hughes (better at 6), Haddin, Siddle, Bird, Lyon, Harris (gives a poor tail but they are the best bowlers)

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 13:10 GMT)

I think Australia need to be encouraged about how they performed with such a competitive effort at Trent Bridge and put the horror-show of Lords behind them. England are a good, solid, consistant side but the Aussies have to try and address the top-order batting, with more application and better shot-selection, that is the biggest worry in their team at the moment. Putting my selectors cap on i can see the Aussies making three changes. Pattinson (injured), Hughes and Agar out, Warner, Bird and Lyon in. Clarke should bat 4, with Warner 5 and Smith 6.

Posted by whatawicket on (July 29, 2013, 12:35 GMT)

nutcuttlet. the lancs new pitches have spun but the test pitch is 4 of the old wickets as its been turned 90 degrees if that makes sense to non lancs supporters. on Saturday i could see green grass on the edge of the protective cover. is this a cunning plan or is it a spinners dream. my bet for what its worth England will play 1 spinner.

Posted by Nerk on (July 29, 2013, 12:31 GMT)

Australia have had their opportunities in this series. But some poor concentration let England get away in both tests, and neither batting or bowling has impressed. England are a good side, and Australia have to really work hard and take every half chance that comes their way to claw their way back. Given a little bit of luck, and its possible.

Posted by ageas on (July 29, 2013, 12:21 GMT)

Let's just hope the Australian touring party has arrived by the time of the Third Test. No sign of them so far.

Posted by CutHis_ArminHalf on (July 29, 2013, 12:10 GMT)


Agree on Smith. Really like him. All my english mates think I'm nuts. I was happy he was called up and given a shot.

He's learning his trade, getting better and better. His technique is coming along and he has such a good eye that he's coping.

His career stats will always be tainted by his early years but I expect his latter career will be test class.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (July 29, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

@Cricketing Stargazer, I agree re musical chairs. I think it's interesting that Aus have used 14 different batsman in the top 7 positions since the start of the last Aus summer, Eng on the otherhand have only used 8. I think Aus have to stop looking for a quick fix, things may get worse before they get better but I certainly think they will benefit from some continuty. There are no glaring ommissions from this squad the Aus batsman currently playing CC or those in SAF with the A team are not suddenly going to come in & transform this team. I would keep the same batting line up for OT, although I would probably want to get warner in at some point but if he comes in here Hughes would probably be the man the carry the can which would be harsh given he has made the highest indivual score of any of the top 7 in the series to date.

Posted by Potatis on (July 29, 2013, 11:54 GMT)

For the short term (this ashes series), the selectors have to choose the best players for each spot, which means eating some humble pie. The openers should be Warner and Cowan. They have the experience, and are in form. Don't expect them to score hundreds, especially Cowan, but expect a solid start. Cowan batted out of position in the first test, and was ill. He wouldn't have batted so soon if the opening stand didn't fail so soon. Watson and Rogers have not proven to be better than them. Next, Aus don't have a specialist #3, so go with experience in Rogers. Then Hughes, Clarke, Smith and Haddin. Drop Watson and Khawaja. Harris, Bird, Siddle & Lyon to bowl will be our best bowlers with Smith chipping in. I expect nobody to agree, but there it is. Warner, Cowan, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Siddle, Bird, Harris, Lyon.

Posted by milepost on (July 29, 2013, 11:52 GMT)

We just need to get our skills right. These guys are professional cricketers, they can play. We lost two tosses on pitches prepared to suit England and but for a few runs it could well be 1-1. It's misguided to be critical of Agar, he can clearly bat, should have more wickets but for poor catching, wicket keeping and players standing their ground when they smack it to slip. He has a fabulous attitude, Warnie likes the look of him and he's 19. They should ink him in, he's got a big future and if Australian wickets aren't any use to spinners in the Shield any more let him play test cricket. Agar should be first pick for about the next 15 years. England do seem to struggle against leg spin so let Smith have a go. Sure he's prone to go for runs but he takes wickets. With a few more things going their way Australia can compete with England, and win. The way England play safe they will likely accept a draw here to secure the series so it could be a dull game.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (July 29, 2013, 11:47 GMT)

A friend of mien from London said something interesting, why do we chop and change and talk about the positions of blokes who are actually scoring runs. He doesn't understand how someone like Smith and Khawaja who were our top scorers in Hove and Lords are even being questioned for the manchester test. I couldn't answer him. All i can think is that most of this talk is generated by us the armchair critics whereas the selectors and coach don't chop and change on the basis of one practice game. Hughes is being talked about as the most likely to be dropped for Warner but would you really make that call, i am with the former greats who are calling for continuity and giving our younger batsman such as Smith, Khawaja etc the full series to show what they are about and not talk about positions after 1 game. England must be laughing us that we are doing exactly what they were doing 10 years ago when they were chopping and changing, but look how they do it now, they show faith in their batsman

Posted by SirViv1973 on (July 29, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

@cantfindmyscreename, I think it's too late now for D Hussey. There was scope to bring in 1 older more experienced player in to this squad after what happened in Ind & the selctors chose Rogers, a popular choice at the time. He outscored Hussey (who had a poor run) by a distance in the last shield season which was probably the decisive factor. As for Ferguson he has a pretty moderate FC record & has never made an outstanding case for selection. As for Doolan he had a good shield season last yr but before then his record was pretty medicore, another good year this year could catipulate him in to the side but at this stage there is nothing to suggest he is better than those who are in the current squad. i would agree that Maxwell's selection for Ind was a bit left field but he only played 1 game & has not been mentioned in regards to the test side since.

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

Redbackfan and Sam simpson couldn't agree more with you on giving the younger blokes a fair chance and stop this chopping and changing. The likes of Smith and Khawaja will be our future stars if we can give them the full series. Warner for Hughes is tempting but i wouldn't even make that change. Rogers, Watson, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Siddle, Harris, Starc and Lyon for me for Manchester.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (July 29, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

@Jayzuz, be honest there is nothing positive to write about this Aus side at the moment. They have just suffered their 6th straight test match defeat & 5 of those defeats were by big to huge margins!

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (July 29, 2013, 10:53 GMT)

@CutHis_ArminHalf, I think there will be some changes as the squad the Lehmann has at the moment was largley picked without his input. Thats why he brought in Smith and Agar from the a-tour.

Smith has paid dividends and Agar hasnt really produced though 98 at TB was good hes not done much as a spinner since.

Posted by liz1558 on (July 29, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

The more success eludes a side, the more the weight of history bears down upon its players. The more the weight of expectation grows, the more scapegoats are sought and easily found. Pressure mounts, old pros can no longer resist, so great is the shame. The worst team in our nation's history; the worst team to leave these shores; a disgrace; the comments pour in, draining whatever confidence there might've been even further. These are hard times to be an Aussie cricketer, so great are the expectations. It is a time of forgotten careers, joke bowlers, even jokier batsmen. They don't just settle into a comfortable mediocrity but they plunge down the steepest slope, uncontrolled, into the depths of the most shameful inconsequence. No better than Bangladesh. No joke. There isn't much Nathan Lyon can do about that.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (July 29, 2013, 9:58 GMT)

There'd be no dilemmas if they just dumped the most out unreliable batsman - Watson.

Aussie cricket's troubles began the day they started their Watson fetish. He's had a guaranteed spot for four years based on very little form.

Swap Watson for Warner. Make Watson earn his place just like the others have to.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (July 29, 2013, 9:55 GMT)

Australia's best chance of coming back in this series is to play Lyon. He is clearly the best spin option available. Old Trafford has been offering assistance to spinners all season later in the piece. Lehmann may well be tempted to go with a second spinner. If that is not to be Agar, then Smith & Clarke himself should be prepared to bowl a quota between them. (If England has an Achilles' heel it is against spin on a responsive surface). In this way the batting will not be (further) weakened as Oz clearly needs every run possible. As for the batting, in the absence of any overwhelming argument to the contrary, there is much to be said for consistency in selection. Only by becoming familiar with a role do players begin to feel comfortable in them. The toss may prove more than usually important & batting first on a true surface before the spinners find some purchase gives Oz the best chance of turning things around, IMO. Let's have a close contest with Oz regrouping successfully!

Posted by max1174 on (July 29, 2013, 9:36 GMT)

Cowan and Hughes should not be selected. Hughes was all over the shop at Lords and despite his first test first innings, he has struggled since and the game at Hove did not have swann, anderson and broad bowling at him. They have his number. I like a 4 man pace attack as well . Bird and Starc. Our batting isnt strong enough. Australia needs to nullify England with wickets.. Warner to get a go at number 5. I am trying to work out a place for Lyon.

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

Aussie XI for Test 3 - Rogers, Warner, Watson, Clarke,Smith , Faulkner, Haddin, Bird, Siddle, Lyon and Harris. I would be very surprised with bowling line up for Siddle Harris Bird Lyon. also can got Faulkner and Watson Bowling as well

Posted by Redbackfan on (July 29, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

Our main problem is the batsmen aren't scoring enough runs and in the two games just played(Sussex game and Aus A V SA A) the selectors aren't picking enough batsmen. Australia A game they had 2 all rounders in the top six Henriques and Maxwell, Finch who is more of a short form player as well as Maxwell which left Warner who needs to pull his head in and Marsh and Doolan who didn't really impress. Aus V Sussex WK and all rounder in top 6 Wade and Faulkner leaving 4 specialist batsmen in Cowan, Hughes Khawaja and Smith. So from 2 games they only played 8 out of a possible 12 specialist batsmen. You must pick your best 6 batsmen! The selectors need to stop with this must have an all rounder mentality. As for the test team surely Watson and Cowan should move on after this series. Watson is a short from play and Cowan has had a enough go at it. Hughes, Smith and Khawaja need to be given a fair go not just 1 or 2 tests. Wade and Haddin sould be swapped for Hartley/Ludeman and Lyon in.

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

Aussie XI for 3rd Test: Watson, Rogers/Khawaja, Warner, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Siddle, Harris, Bird, Lyon. Obviously Rogers is only a short term solution, so I think we need to replace him with Khawaja and stick with these young players. Think everyone needs to accept that were not world beaters anymore but still have some good young talent that needs nurturing, a bit of support from fans perhaps! Khawaja showed some guts last test and thats what we need more of, but surely some people can see the excitement of developing players and the chance for a new hero to emerge, the days when we won every time with the same experienced team was too predictable at times.

Posted by CutHis_ArminHalf on (July 29, 2013, 9:09 GMT)

@Yorkshire Pudding.

Totally agree.

And not only for the next 3 tests. Except for the obvious management of injuries and the odd bowler rotation. That is our team for the next 10 tests at least. Come what may. Time to give the best 11 a shot with some stability. If after a year they aren't good enough, maybe someone has performed at shield level to replace them.

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 9:09 GMT)

my 11 would be Chris rogers,cowan,phil hughes,watson,clarke,smith,haddin,Bird,siddle,harris and Agar,i would give bird a chance again as starc is to wavy,Bird is the one on which team can rely and agar seems unfit in last test if he's fit i wud like to give one more chance with siddle harris and bird attack looks good with watson,smith and agar helping them,i would player agar more as an allrounder as he could play as far as we have seen,and smith being to as an allrounder and giving more chance to bowl,watson definitely be the 1st change as with his accuracy. harris and bird for line length and siddle with pace and agression seems a perfect attack.

Posted by 64blip on (July 29, 2013, 8:29 GMT)

"Including two spinners might be risky" Might?? England have Swann and Panesar and picking both of them I'd consider a bit of a punt. As more Aussies are realising, there is no magic combination, and searching for it every game is ruining any chance of building a team for the future.

Posted by Sachit1979 on (July 29, 2013, 8:27 GMT)

I don't think Australia should really push the panic button at this moment. They had few good achievements in first 2 tests and they should try riding on those small success stories. Over experimenting at this moment may backfire and put them on back seat again. Rogers, Khawaja, Smith, Clarke and Hughes got a half century each and should definitely be given another chance. Haddin also is better choice than Wade. Bowling side, I believe Bird could replace injured Pattinson and Lyon could replace Agar. Thus only matter of debate left is Shane Watson's place. I won't mind giving him too another chance though he could also be replaced with Warner or Cowan.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (July 29, 2013, 8:19 GMT)

There really only needs to be 3 changes made by the Aussies, which should remain for the next 3 tests, baring injury.

1) Bring in Lyon for Agar, Lyon is far more attacking as a spinner, very much in the swann mould of offies. 2) Replace Rodgers with Warner, as Rodgers is 36 so very limited in career term. 3) Replacement for Pattinson, Bird or Faulkner, Bird looks to be the next cab off the block in the bowling

Then review the series based on the outcome of the last 3 tests and stick with those that have performed for the Winter (aus Summer) series, and fill in the gaps where required from Shield performers.

Posted by DustBowl on (July 29, 2013, 7:59 GMT)

The Agar selection may come back to bite, spinners ie Lyon need confidence. Lyon has taken more wickets than Warne or Swann at the same period of their careers?

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

Please dont pick Cowan, he has had enough chances, Even Khawaja , I know he score a good 50 in the last test but if he cant score big against sussex in a tour game then id leave him out too. Hughes and Smith are the ones scoring so id keep them , and id bring in Warner to replace Khawaja...... and id bring in Bird and Starc , 4 man pace attack

Posted by GRHinPorts on (July 29, 2013, 7:35 GMT)

Every time I read through the comments on here or indeed the main CricInfo articles its always the same - plenty of opinions and theories eg. "more than a little bit of Clark in Bird" huh?? Everyone seems to have a view on Watson, Cowan, Hughes, Khawaja, Warner Smith et al as to who should be in the test team and where they should be batting but I'm pretty certain none of this tinkering will make a blind bit of difference to the fact that England are the better side in this series. It would serve Australia far better if instead of constant twisting they simply stuck with a core XI unless forced to change either through injury or sheer drastic sustained bad form. Then at the end of 5 tests with all the scores on the doors take a view of who is in and who is out, and then proceed onto the next series with a new core XI. Where as right now the selection panel are doing a darn good effort of impersonating Dexter, Stewart & Gower from 1989 with pretty similar disasterous results.

Posted by Moppa on (July 29, 2013, 7:28 GMT)

This article is not Mr Coverdale's finest hour. At one point he's talking about playing two spinners, the next about The Oval 2009 where Australia erred by not playing any. I would be very surprised with any bowling line up other than Siddle Harris Bird Lyon. To be fair, he does summarise the batting puzzles quite well.

Posted by ravi_hari on (July 29, 2013, 7:28 GMT)

Selection issues do not leave Aussies. Earlier it was problem of plenty and today dearth of performers. The tour game was a waste. Excepting pointing out further chinks in the armour it has not helped them in any way. I am sure Clarke and Lehmann will have a tough time in choosing the XI. On form but for Siddle, no one will get selected. Yet they have to pick 10 more. Being captain Clarke makes it and 9 more have to be found. Looking at potential and the pitch, it would be wise to pick Watson and Warner to open, Cowan at No.3, followed by Khawaja, Clarke, Wade, Smith, Siddle, Harris, Starc and Lyon. Rodgers, Hughes and Haddin loose out due to failures in the first two tests. This team looks balanced as it has the right mix. If the pitch asists spin Lyon and Smith will come in handy and Warner also can roll his arm over. Watson can add to the pace trio. With so many right handers in England, left arm pacer is a big advantage. Hope Clarke wins toss and Aussies bat first and Warner shines

Posted by venkatesh018 on (July 29, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

Aussie XI for Test 3: Rogers, Cowan, Watson, Khwaja, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Bird, Siddle, Lyon and Harris. Blunt the new ball with Rogers and Cowan and give some breathing space to Watson. This is the best Aussie bowling line up of the Series, although one that has been arrived after injuries and bad selection. Aussies should stick with this team least for the next two Tests.

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

Warner and Cowan opening with Clarke batting at 3, Khawaja at 4, Smith at 5, Watson at 6 should work better than what it has been thus far

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (July 29, 2013, 6:55 GMT)

Whatever happened to Tonker Taylor's old maxim of "same batting order. Better batting?" If you play musical chairs after every Test (as England did in 1989) it only saps the confidence even more. One change is forced on Australia, it might be more profitable for results later in the series to make it the only change.

Cowan and Starc got one Test and were dropped. Lyon was dropped before even starting. Wade was going t play as a batsman, but now isn't worth his place as batsman or 'keeper. Hughes tops the tour averages, so drop him too. Make your minds up!!

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 6:29 GMT)

The problem with dropping Hughes and Watson is that there our top performed batsmen on tour. And you can't really drop Khawaja after one match, having just dropped Cowan after one match at #3.

But still, I think the jury is out as for whether Phil Hughes and Shane Watson can be anything more than adequate test batsmen, no matter how many first class tons they smash out against weaker opposition.

I wouldn't mind seeing Warner come in at 6 and Hughes open as far as realistic possibilities, but this is the side I'd like to see:

Rogers Cowan Warner Smith Clarke Hughes Haddin Agar Harris Siddle Bird

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (July 29, 2013, 6:17 GMT)

They dropped Hughes as a 21 year old in 2009 because apparently England had "found him out" after only 2 low scores.

In 2013 they have definitely "found out" Watson, that's for sure. Their plan is obvious, give him a few wide half volleys to hit to the boundary and encourage him outside off, then spear a straight one into middle. Watson has some pervasive technical and mental faults to sort out or he will continue to fail.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (July 29, 2013, 6:09 GMT)

Does anybody else see a problem with a batting coach who never played test cricket? Come on Punter, put your hand up please, you are officially retired now. Everybody simply wants you around the dressing room.

Posted by disco_bob on (July 29, 2013, 6:03 GMT)

With the Australian plans and team in such a shambolic disarray, what was meant to be a grueling 10 match contest looks like nothing more than an embarrassing procession that was decided two weeks after it began. The first Test being deceptively close was a blessing in disguise as it ensured that I was not able to purchase tickets for the Gabba.

Posted by CantFindMyScreenName on (July 29, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

Guys like David Hussey, Callum Ferguson, Alex Doolan etc. must wonder what in the world they have to do to get involved in this revolving door selection policy.

I know D Hussey is a bit old now, but he averages over 50 in FC cricket with 40 odd centuries.

Yet guys like Steve Smith, David Warner and Glenn Maxwell get selected for Test matches on the back of a few hearty slogs in T20 cricket. It's absolute madness.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (July 29, 2013, 5:27 GMT)

It's a worry when our best natural fieldsman since Ponting (Smith) has troubles transitioning to slip.

Posted by Gurudumu on (July 29, 2013, 5:23 GMT)

The problem, in my view, is the selection process that is flawed. There is no doubt that there are many talented young batsmen in Australia - BUT .. do they get the chance to show case their skills when no hopers like Hughes keeps getting oodles of chances to flop? Would Doolan, Nick Maddinson et al fare worse? Was Quiney only good enough for one test? How about Cowan - it is painful to watch him bat.

Posted by RJHB on (July 29, 2013, 5:05 GMT)

Regardless of Smith making a low value ton, the batsmen are still displaying an inability to occupy the crease or concentrate for long enough. Even Warner's hundred was made in one day mode and really is meaningless. He needs to make runs like he did in Hobart two years ago against NZ to be of real value to Australia. All of them, even Clarke to an extent, want to make "pretty"runs, lots of shots, lots of poses, lots of mouth. They don't seem to care whether its only 30 runs rather than 130. They have to decide what it really means to them to play for Australia and fight with ANZAC spirit cos the enemy is blowing us off the beach so far!

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 4:54 GMT)

I agree with Jayzuz. The team is in transition and low on confidence and I think it needs support from media and the fans. I find the average australian fan a spoilt brat, who has been bred on success of the 90s and the early 2000s and expect anyone wearing a baggy green is inadequate if he does not lord the opposition. Times are changing, every team has australian coaches or influences and countries like india still focus on cricket . It is a transiton time and it is true that this lot is very ordinary . There are two many bits and pieces cricketers as a throw back to the one day era and now the t20 has brought its own share of challenges. Getting on the back of the australian team and calling them the "worst ever" is not going to help. Maybe they are the worst ever but what does that prove? That they will get beaten more often than not. Try not to ensure that they are beaten mentally before the game begins. Ramanujam sridhar

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 4:45 GMT)

@Jayzuz I agree completely!! After the first test it was how much have australia improved and England are in for a fight now its Australia are doomed and will loose 10 nil... Australia need to settle on a top 6. Now. For me Watson falls out of that top 6 for Warner, removing the division in the side (watson have a camp? not likely) and finally gives 6 batsman with 2 who can bowl a little spin to boot with four 26 and under... Hughes to open to counter his early weakness against spin... Lyon plays if its a spinning wicket otherwise go 4 quicks...

3rd test @ Old trafford 1. Hughes 2. Rogers 3. Khawaja 4. Warner 5. Clarke 6. Smith 7. Haddin 8. Starc 9. Siddle 10. Harris 11. Lyon/Bird

Posted by Biggus on (July 29, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

We can jiggle the squad all we want, but the bottom line is that at this point in time we're playing a better side on their own home turf. England were in the same position for a long time and they know how it feels too. We won't win the Ashes back this time but we can win back some self respect and that should be the aim for the remainder of the series. What I want to see is some fight, and the batsmen should be told that they're expected to put a price on their wicket. Those that throw their wicket away should be shown the door. Allan Border was far from the most gifted batsman to play but by the time he retired he'd scored more runs than any other in the history of the game. At this stage attitude is everything. In lieu of pure talent we will have to rely on mental toughness.

Posted by   on (July 29, 2013, 4:11 GMT)

Drop Watson and bring in David Warner to the top.He is good only facing the seamers..

Posted by davent on (July 29, 2013, 4:08 GMT)

Australia must include War ner, Bird and Cowan in the third test. Not sure about Watson. My 11 for old trafford for what its worth, lol

Cowan, Rogers, Khawaga,Hughes,Clarke,Warner,Smith,Haddin,Siddle,Harris,Bird/Starc.

Smith and Clarke supply average spin, as have our average specialist spinners. cancer,Arthur was right!

Posted by BillyLightfoot on (July 29, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

I guess it is good that the batsman are making some runs and the decision is no assured. Given the reports on the pitch for the third test, Smith and Warner should probably play as batsman and they also provide the second spin option (Not sure Agar and Lyon is going to be much more effective than just one of them) I think that Hughes is better at playing spin when his eye is in which means he should open. He'll no doubt play there at some point in the series, but maybe not in this test given that the openers probably deserve another chance. Although personally I think the team will be better off without Watson - but enough has been said about that. I also think Bird deserves his chance and is very economical which could frustrate England - although No Mr Bell it appears.

Posted by Jayzuz on (July 29, 2013, 3:52 GMT)

Anybody would think both Australuan teams had just suffered massive losses and are about to face Bradman's invincibles from the tone of this piece. Note how it takes the one negative of the two games - dropped catches vsSussex - and makes it the definitive event from the games. Getting tired of the doom and gloom. But I suppose it is better than anothrr piece about how evil David Warner is for his part in an incident so insignificant it didn't even make the umpires' report.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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