England v Australia, 3rd Investec Test, Old Trafford, 5th day August 5, 2013

Underwhelming way to secure glorious prize

Having been outplayed at Old Trafford, England retaining the Ashes was met with a subdued atmospshere
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This is not what retaining the Ashes is meant to feel like. A generation of England supporters, raised on hubris and weaned on disappointment, who, until 2005, went 16 years waiting for this moment, might have found this like a sip of warm champagne. Anti-climax hung over Old Trafford as tenaciously as the clouds.

It was not just that it rained. We expected that. It was that, before the rain, England were disconcertingly outplayed. Their three best batsmen were all dismissed in the brief window of play possible and, of the two that survived, Joe Root was dropped during a torturous innings that underlined the concerns about his readiness to face the new ball at this level and Ian Bell sustained a blow to his thumb that briefly provoked fears that it may end his involvement in the series. England did not so much cruise past the winning line as collapse on it.

As it was, the ECB confirmed that Bell is not seriously hurt and is not an injury doubt for the fourth Investec Test on Friday. The squad for the game is the XI that played here, plus Graham Onions and Chris Tremlett. Steven Finn remains surplus to requirements and, with Kevin Pietersen having proved his fitness, James Taylor is not required. Both Tremlett and Onions will, perhaps surprisingly, play for their counties in the Friends Life t20 quarter-finals on Tuesday evening.

The pedantic might point out that the series is not decided. And it is true that Australia might yet leave the UK with a 2-2 draw. But they came to win back the urn, not share a series.

Perhaps England are the victims of their own expectations. They have, after all, retained the Ashes in the minimum number of games possible - a feat achieved only once before in a five-match series, in 1928-29 - and they were worthy winners of the first two Tests. There was a time when that would have been enough to warrant unstinting praise. Perhaps it still should be.

Certainly many England supporters will not care a jot how this result was achieved. After years of pain, retaining the Ashes in almost any manner is cause for celebration. To have held the Ashes after three successive series underlines the impression that this is a golden age for English cricket. No England side has achieved such a feat since the 1950s. Maybe it says everything about how far England have progressed in recent times that this result has not provoked caveat-free joy.

"We have found ourselves in situations like this over the past couple of years. We knew we had experience to get through it and proving we are a hard side to beat."
Alastair Cook

It would be wrong to diminish their success too. Series are decided across several weeks, not a few days, and England are not the first side to benefit from some assistance from the weather in such circumstances. It does not negate their achievement.

But England would be deluding themselves if they did not admit to some concerns after this game. The most obvious was the impression Australia's fast bowlers gained more from the pitch than England's. It is true that Australia won an important toss and first use of a good pitch but, even in Australia's second innings, England's seamers failed to find the bounce and movement available to the excellent Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris.

There are various reasons for that. One of them is simply that the Australian pair are stronger than their England counterparts and able to thump the ball into the pitch a little harder. Both attacks gained swing but Australia appeared to swing the ball later and gain more movement off the pitch.

The England attack also looked weary. Perhaps it was the nerves of appearing on his home ground, perhaps it was his workload - he has hardly looked the same since that 14-over spell at Trent Bridge - but James Anderson endured one of his least impressive displays of the last 18 months, while Stuart Broad is, albeit somewhat unfortunately, taking his wickets at a cost of 52.00 apiece so far this series. In the longer-term, Broad needs to strengthen himself considerably if he is to fulfil his potential. In the short-term, a case could be made to rest one or other of them from the team for the next couple of Tests.

The batting is also a worry. Jonathan Trott, in particular, and Cook, by their own high standards, look someway short of their best. Trott has fallen - almost literally - into an old habit of over balancing on to the off side when he plays to leg, while Pietersen should reflect more on his loose stroke, throwing his hands at a ball well outside off stump at a time when his side required him to resist throughout the day, far more than the reasonable umpiring decision that cost his wicket in the second innings. Jonny Bairstow might, in a different era, consider himself fortunate to retain his place.

England captains continue to be defined by their performance in Ashes series and Cook, in his first at the helm, has retained the Urn in the minimum amount of Tests possible. So you might have expected him to be in celebratory mood. Instead he appeared deflated and used a hardly euphoric phrase to describe the atmosphere in the England camp.

"The feeling in the dressing room is very pleasant," Cook said in the voice of a fellow on the phone to the Samaritans. "We wanted to keep the Ashes and we have done that. Now we want to go on and win them.

"It's a strange feeling. We've been behind the eight-ball in this game, but we've fought hard and if you had offered us this position 14 days ago, we would have snatched your hand off.

"We didn't play our best game here and were put under pressure by Australia. But we fought extremely hard, batting a long time. Avoiding the follow-on was crucial, so I can't complain how we have handled this week.

"We have found ourselves in situations like this over last couple of years: the last Test in New Zealand, when Matt Prior batted fantastically well, and in Nagpur, where the whole side batted well. We knew we had experience to get through it. We are proving we are a hard side to beat."

Indeed they are. But with Australia improving and England stuttering, the celebrations will be muted. Both sides head to Durham with something to prove.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 5, 2013, 21:06 GMT

    England's celebrations were muted because the main objective isn't done yet. Retaining the Ashes is one thing, we know that, but England's objective is to win the series. The celebrations won't be muted once they've won the series, and they'd want to win it 4-0. I still think 3-1 will be the overall reflection of the two sides, but make no mistake, Australia will be tough to beat in their own back yard, even if, two years ago, and arguably against a stronger Australia, England took them to the cleaners in three innings victories. It's definitely an Australia that can compete when conditions suit them, but arguably, England don't just roll over and die. This Test has given them a certain wake-up call though, and I look forward to the Durham Test. Hopefully it'll be a bowlers paradise.

  • on August 5, 2013, 20:20 GMT

    Great piece of writing George, it sums up what a lot of people have been sensing. For all the success, there is still a vulnerable feel to England of late, especially when the opposition puts them under the microscope as they did here. Perhaps, for all the talk, they had become mentally complacent after the first two games, expected Australia to fold, and didn't quite know what to do when they didn't.

    oh, and - "The feeling in the dressing room is very pleasant," Cook said in the voice of a fellow on the phone to the Samaritans - one brilliant line.

  • on August 9, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Interesting to see the England's fans reactions - methinks they doth protest too much!

  • on August 7, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    England need to pick Onions for Durham , far better bowler than Bressy Lad , would pick him in front of Broad on his home patch, give himm a crack

  • on August 7, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    The urn retention felt hollow as the series has all been about an alarmingly weak Australia playing poorly rather than England playing well. A stark contrast to 2005 when England deposed one of the strongest Australian teams of all time. Even against such a poor Australian team, England are lucky to be 2-0 up - and in a parallel universe Eng are 2-1 down with Aus scraping an extra 16 runs at Trent Bridge and 5 interrupted days at Old Trafford leading to a crushing Aus win.

  • mikkkk on August 7, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    The child like reasoning of some Indians is only matched by Aussie delusions of grandeur. Both have a propensity to win matches on paper or assume future results. Why not just judge *actual* matches, *actual* series that have *actually* been played rather than all this infantile wish fulfillment.

  • JG2704 on August 7, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (August 6, 2013, 21:08 GMT) Unusual for you to find a way of slating Eng and also turn it to a "let's talk about my team" on a thread which is on a series between Eng and Aus and which is not even talking about the issue of supremacy and is on a format which you have constantly tried to belittle

  • Lmaotsetung on August 7, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    KP/Bell/Anderson - 4 Ashes win and counting...Cook/Broad/Prior/Swann/Trott - 3 Ashes victory and counting....life is good as an Eng fan!

  • brusselslion on August 7, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    @IndiaNumeroUno: In terms of Test cricket, what exactly has changed? Eight of the Indian team which beat Oz in the final Test played against England a couple of months previously. India have changed Test openers - for the better - and brought in Kumar (6 wickets in 4 Tests; not exactly Anderson-like) so are probably a better side now, however, they were so comprehensively outplayed by England that I doubt that they have made up the gap, let alone overtaken England.

    India have a great ODI side but will continue to underperform in Test cricket unless they play more of it. Anything less than a 3-0 win for SA in the forthcoming Test series against India would be a major surprise.

  • kearon47 on August 7, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    This test match was nothing about Australia improving and England struggling. History will tell you that if you win the toss at 'Old Trafford', you win or draw. This was pure and simply 'a ground' result.

  • on August 5, 2013, 21:06 GMT

    England's celebrations were muted because the main objective isn't done yet. Retaining the Ashes is one thing, we know that, but England's objective is to win the series. The celebrations won't be muted once they've won the series, and they'd want to win it 4-0. I still think 3-1 will be the overall reflection of the two sides, but make no mistake, Australia will be tough to beat in their own back yard, even if, two years ago, and arguably against a stronger Australia, England took them to the cleaners in three innings victories. It's definitely an Australia that can compete when conditions suit them, but arguably, England don't just roll over and die. This Test has given them a certain wake-up call though, and I look forward to the Durham Test. Hopefully it'll be a bowlers paradise.

  • on August 5, 2013, 20:20 GMT

    Great piece of writing George, it sums up what a lot of people have been sensing. For all the success, there is still a vulnerable feel to England of late, especially when the opposition puts them under the microscope as they did here. Perhaps, for all the talk, they had become mentally complacent after the first two games, expected Australia to fold, and didn't quite know what to do when they didn't.

    oh, and - "The feeling in the dressing room is very pleasant," Cook said in the voice of a fellow on the phone to the Samaritans - one brilliant line.

  • on August 9, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Interesting to see the England's fans reactions - methinks they doth protest too much!

  • on August 7, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    England need to pick Onions for Durham , far better bowler than Bressy Lad , would pick him in front of Broad on his home patch, give himm a crack

  • on August 7, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    The urn retention felt hollow as the series has all been about an alarmingly weak Australia playing poorly rather than England playing well. A stark contrast to 2005 when England deposed one of the strongest Australian teams of all time. Even against such a poor Australian team, England are lucky to be 2-0 up - and in a parallel universe Eng are 2-1 down with Aus scraping an extra 16 runs at Trent Bridge and 5 interrupted days at Old Trafford leading to a crushing Aus win.

  • mikkkk on August 7, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    The child like reasoning of some Indians is only matched by Aussie delusions of grandeur. Both have a propensity to win matches on paper or assume future results. Why not just judge *actual* matches, *actual* series that have *actually* been played rather than all this infantile wish fulfillment.

  • JG2704 on August 7, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (August 6, 2013, 21:08 GMT) Unusual for you to find a way of slating Eng and also turn it to a "let's talk about my team" on a thread which is on a series between Eng and Aus and which is not even talking about the issue of supremacy and is on a format which you have constantly tried to belittle

  • Lmaotsetung on August 7, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    KP/Bell/Anderson - 4 Ashes win and counting...Cook/Broad/Prior/Swann/Trott - 3 Ashes victory and counting....life is good as an Eng fan!

  • brusselslion on August 7, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    @IndiaNumeroUno: In terms of Test cricket, what exactly has changed? Eight of the Indian team which beat Oz in the final Test played against England a couple of months previously. India have changed Test openers - for the better - and brought in Kumar (6 wickets in 4 Tests; not exactly Anderson-like) so are probably a better side now, however, they were so comprehensively outplayed by England that I doubt that they have made up the gap, let alone overtaken England.

    India have a great ODI side but will continue to underperform in Test cricket unless they play more of it. Anything less than a 3-0 win for SA in the forthcoming Test series against India would be a major surprise.

  • kearon47 on August 7, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    This test match was nothing about Australia improving and England struggling. History will tell you that if you win the toss at 'Old Trafford', you win or draw. This was pure and simply 'a ground' result.

  • JG2704 on August 7, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    @IndiaNumeroUno on (August 7, 2013, 6:28 GMT) Firstly thanks for agreeing with the fact that Eng beat Ind 2-1. Yes 2-1 is not a thrashing but the ODI's is a totally different format and I believe Eng were beaten 3-2 in the ODI's - same margin as India bt Eng in the tests

  • JG2704 on August 7, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    @ 5wombats on (August 6, 2013, 23:22 GMT) India were in transition as were Australia which is also English conditions so those wins don't count. Or re Aus - a regeneration phase as Liquefierrrr puts it

    @Liquefierrrr on (August 7, 2013, 0:13 GMT) To be fair , Eng too had been going through a regeneration phase. The difference is that ours lasted a number of decades

    @Bear Allenon (August 7, 2013, 7:02 GMT) Absolutely spot on there

  • on August 7, 2013, 7:02 GMT

    @ IndiaNumeroUno

    "I won't give any chance to this england team against current Indian test squad. "

    Well, that's what India fans said before India toured England. Then they said it before England toured India. England won both series convincingly.

    We can all win as many games as we like in make-believe land, but in the real world England convincingly beat India home and away and it's not very dignified that the response from a lot of people is not to acknowledge that but say 'Oh, that doesn't count, NEXT time we're going to thrash you, so really we're still better".

  • SL_BiggestJoke on August 7, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    @Bear Allen: agreed that England beat India in India but 2-1 is hardly a "thrashing" especially considering that England was outplayed in the ODI's. However, a lot has changed in the Indian side now and I won't give any chance to this england team against current Indian test squad.

  • on August 7, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    @ICFA

    "ENG should play more away games to be considered good. As of now they seem to play only home games. Most countries in top 5 are good when they play at home and suck in away series. "

    Seriously, where do these comments even come from? England's already played two overseas series this year, and will start another one in November. The reason they're playing home series at the moment (shock!) is because it's the middle of the English cricket season. Virtually every other cricket playing nation is in the off-season. Where exactly do you suggest they play??

  • crick_sucks on August 7, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    ENG should play more away games to be considered good. As of now they seem to play only home games. Most countries in top 5 are good when they play at home and suck in away series.

  • on August 7, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    @TestIP Your comment looks as if it must be satire but I don't think it is.

    "Clearly South Africa and India will demolish them (England) any day."

    Which day would that be? India has had their chance twice recently. They played England home and away, and got thrashed both times.

    "Put them to play in different countries and the flop!"

    Only Pakistan has beaten England away from home recently. England has won or drawn all their other overseas Test series in the last few years. India, however, has been embarrassing every time they venture overseas.

    "When England wins something major out of home, then I would rate them. "

    How about winning the Ashes? How about beating India in India? Do you even watch cricket? Your comments are bizarre.

  • jmcilhinney on August 7, 2013, 1:55 GMT

    @TestIP on (August 6, 2013, 19:41 GMT), that's hilarious. India will demolish England any day... except for the days where they actually play them in England or in India. I guess if you don't consider England beating India in India major then I guess you mustn't rate India very highly.

  • Liquefierrrr on August 7, 2013, 0:18 GMT

    England looked horrible this test. Anderson turned out an extremely mediocre test, Swann was typically useful but lacked consistent penetration in helpful conditions, and England's tactics, if you can call them that, bordered on comical.

    Slowing the game down, batting like corpses and praying for rain doth not a great team make. Yeah they hammered us at Lord's, and will probably beat us again at least one more time this series. Australian cricket is at its lowest point since the early 80's, and understandably so due to the mass exodus of actual great cricketers. English players and fans measuring themselves on the successes they are having, or as this test showed, not having, against THIS side is almost meaningless. I'd back Bangladesh at home to thump us at the moment.

    That said, England were dead in the water this game, even with our worst XI, and suddenly the smugness and confidence dissipated. Cook a very average leader with one tactic - boredom - and once that fails - nothing.

  • ADB1 on August 7, 2013, 0:15 GMT

    @TestIP: "When England wins something major out of home, then I would rate them."

    Like defeating India in India recently? Maybe you're right though - beating India doesn't really rank as a major accomplishment nowadays, does it?

  • Liquefierrrr on August 7, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge - What you forget or ignore is that, whilst this current English side is good enough to beat, in uneven tones, the worst Australian XI to leave our shores in decades, we are going through a regeneration phase.

    The Australian press is bigging up England's performers to attempt to justify the beatings we've copped. Whilst improved, Anderson was shown what he is when our side were thrashing the entire world of cricket not so long ago. 38 average.

    A few short years after his retirement he will be forgotten. The people from Australia's huge successes (S Waugh, M Hayden, A Gilchrist, R Ponting, S Warne, G McGrath) will never be forgotten.

    Aesop had an excellent fable that sums up Australian cricket at present: 'Mock me now, but, I was a lion once."

    England's fans on these forums are the meeker animals of the forest mocking us whilst we are down. One day we shall rise again, and the names Anderson and Swann will be long forgotten, their 29ish averages testimony to that.

  • on August 7, 2013, 0:11 GMT

    TestIP: You must have missed the comprehensive home and away series victories of England over India then?

  • 5wombats on August 6, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    @TestIP (August 6, 2013, 19:41 GMT) an interesting and well balanced comment from you which is worthy of discussion. You state; "England is over rated. Put them to play in different countries and the flop! What makes a team #1 is when they can go outside their country and perform well". India is outside of England and 8 months ago England won the test series there. Australia is also outside of England and England won there 2 years ago. Hardly a "flop". You state; "When James Anderson bowl in India, he is wack around the ground like a medium average bowler". In 2012 MS Dhoni himself said that Anderson was the difference between the teams. It was good enough for him it should be good enough for you. India did not demolish England when they played in India 8 months ago. You state; "When England wins something major out of home, then I would rate them". As we said - England won in India and Australia very recently. Both are major achievements. This is why this team is ranked so high.

  • on August 6, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    @TestIP : "Clearly South Africa and India will demolish them any day."

    So why didn't India do that against England in India last year then?

  • DustBowl on August 6, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    If Onions doesn't play for the Fourth Test there is no justice. Being 12th for ever is not a great preparation if a call up came. Geoff Boycott, particularly, and Michael Vaughan rate him highly.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 6, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    @TestIP: I take it you don't watch much cricket then?

  • JG2704 on August 6, 2013, 21:09 GMT

    @5wombats on (August 6, 2013, 13:35 GMT) I'm not doom and gloom about it. Aus are a very capable side in these conditions and if one thing this series has already shown us is that because one test is close , does not mean the next test will be close and because in another test one side dominates , does not mean that the same side will dominate the next test

  • JG2704 on August 6, 2013, 21:09 GMT

    @RandyOZ on (August 5, 2013, 19:09 GMT) Glad you enjoyed the occasion and I genuinely would have prefered Aus to have won this game than Eng be saved by the rain.

    @gtr800 on (August 5, 2013, 19:14 GMT) Genuinely believe any captain would have done the same in this test , even if I agree by and large re Cook's negative captaincy

    @henrystephen on (August 5, 2013, 19:57 GMT) / MartinC on (August 5, 2013, 20:47 GMT / sonicattack on (August 5, 2013, 20:47 GMT) - Maybe he was at Trent Bridge but got a little disorientated

    @Shan156 on (August 6, 2013, 19:46 GMT) Spot on there

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 6, 2013, 21:08 GMT

    I don't wish to anger some English supporters here but I feel that this anticlimax celebration of retaining the Ashes could possibly signal the end of this golden era for English test cricket in which they have been fairly successful both home and away since 2007. Test cricket has a cycle, one which goes round and around. England could possibly be at the end of theirs. It would be a shame but that's cricket. Wonder who will be the next team to enjoy such a fine time; it could be India. They already are the best ODI team in the world by light years. All they now need to do is go to SA, and play well there. That would bode well for them. SA are clearly a better test team than in ODIs or T20s. So fair to say that SA are the #1 followed closely by England, and then India.

  • shillingsworth on August 6, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    @TestIP - England have indeed 'won something major' away, and very recently too. Strange that you don't remember the England v India series, played in India at the end of last year. M S Dhoni stated that Anderson was the difference between the two sides in that series. So much for this supposedly 'medium average bowler'. I suggest you revise your ratings - they appear to be based on some very odd misconceptions.

  • brusselslion on August 6, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    @TestIP on (August 6, 2013, 19:41 GMT): England may be overrated and I'd agree that SA are a better Test side, but it's only 8 months since England beat India in India, so I reckon that gives us bragging rights there, don't you?

  • Shan156 on August 6, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    @sachin_vvsfan, SA are clear #1. And, since Eng. beat Ind. both home and away, I would say that we are better than India but the ICC rankings have Ind. ranked above Eng. So, that's what should matter. atm, SA are clearly #1, then daylight, then the #2 position is up for grabs with Eng. and Ind. the strongest contenders.

  • TestIP on August 6, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    England is over rated. Put them to play in different countries and the flop! What makes a team #1 is when they can go outside their country and perform well. When James Anderson bowl in India, he is wack around the ground like a medium average bowler. Same goes for Stuart Broad. I cannot see why this team is ranked so high. Clearly South Africa and India will demolish them any day. Top bowlers: Pakistan has the best bowling line up apart from Stein and Harris. Batting SA and Indian clearly has the best batting line up. SA has more balance because the bowlers are more consistent. When England wins something major out of home, then I would rate them.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 6, 2013, 18:39 GMT

    Interesting reading some of the Aussie press for their reaction after this match: They praise England's bowling attack in the loudest tones, calling Anderson "the King of Reverse swing". It's not how some here regularly put it. Hats off to England for defeating their critics yet again I say.

  • Sunil_Batra on August 6, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    @LyndonMcpaul well said mate, i also think the likes of Warner, Khawaja and Smith are getting better in this series and its credit to boof for showing faith in these guys as they will be our future batting stars. I like Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Warner, Clarke, Smith as the batting lineup for the coming test.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 6, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Lyon was tame. No wizard of Oz.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 6, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    I'm not convinced Broad has been properly fit all season. I'd like to see Onions replace him at Durham. Still early days for Tremlett.

  • Shan156 on August 6, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    I don't care how it is achieved. We have kept the Ashes for the 3rd consecutive series and that feels good. Aus. have not won a series in Eng. since 2001 while we won in Aus. last time. After nearly 2 decades of humiliation as an Eng. fan, it really feels good that we are stringing together series wins against Aus. The fact that it feels incomplete for some Eng. fans only shows how far Eng. have come since their years of misery.

  • voma on August 6, 2013, 17:06 GMT

    One brilliant innings by Micheal Clarke , doesnt change Australias batting problems .England still on course to win this series , for sure ,

  • sachin_vvsfan on August 6, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    A well balanced article from Dobell. But i think the criticism is a bit unwarranted. For us neutrals 2-0 result in 3 matches look pretty decent. Credit to Aussies for stepping up in the third match( should have been 2-1 actually ) Cook & trott's form is a concern but i think Matt prior is also under performing. And it is certainly not a dooms day for Eng. You dont need 5-0 (as predicted by pundits like vaughan) to retain the Cup. A 3-1 is more than suffice in this contemporary cricket world where there is no clear num #1

  • Rufus_Fuddleduck on August 6, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    Truly said Humdrum - I mean what are we talking about? Three competent days from Australia and England search for holes in the ground and in the sky.... Is that all the Ashes has come down to? Battle of the upper basement - lower basenebt being Bangladesh and Zimbabwe? Australia are close to containing their implosions and it is apparent they can get 20 England wickets and not lose their 20 once they put their minds to it. Ashes was Australia's to lose, they did it spectacularly, now they can play catspaw with England in preparation of the return Ashes. England had all the luck with toss and weather, and most of the DRS ... and this is all they can turn in! But still this is among their finest moments in the coming decade .. Can hardly grudge them their happy hours ... Do enjoy guys!

  • YorkshirePudding on August 6, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    @RichardG, I would be in favour of replacing Bairstow with Taylor if nothing else than to give taylor a change to get some more experience at international level, as hes likley to be part of the squad for Down under and could play in the event of unforseen circumstances.

  • RichardG on August 6, 2013, 15:40 GMT

    SirViv1973: spot on again. Too much is being read into one test. It should also be added that when England were playing well and Australia poorly, England won inside four days (Lord's). When Australia were playing well and England poorly, Australia didn't get close in four days. If both sides play well, England are still better.

    Also, the clamour to get stuck into Root and Bairstow is ridiculous. Both are in the top six or seven averages for both teams in the series to date. They are promising young players learning their game at this level. Neither is keeping a proven test star out of the team. Give them a chance.

  • SirViv1973 on August 6, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    @5Wombats, i agree with you to a certain extent. I think some of us got a bit carried away with the ease in which were able to dispatch Aus at Lords & I think many of us just assumed we would continue to dominate the rest of the series in the same way & probably win 5 nil. The fact we were not able to dominate at Manchester & were thoroughtly out played by Aus has probably brought many of us back down to earth, despite retaining the urn. What is important now is that we play well at Durham and try to make sure we win the series 3 or 4 nil. If we do and end up beating Aus in the next test by 200 runs or 7 or 8 wickets then everybody will start to say how good Eng are again & how bad this Aus team is, opions change from game to game.

  • cricketcarl on August 6, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    im not into conspiracy theories, but i would think the ECB and/or the groundstaff prepared a wicket suited to a draw, if england win the toss, they bat and make 600, if they lose, employ go slow tactics so that any sizeable australian total took so long to make, its probably pointless anyway, throw in a miserable weather forecast, ashes retained, point: read nothing into this test, bring on the fourth.

  • liz1558 on August 6, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    England won't lose a single Test in these two series. Their biggest issue is to build a side that can beat South Africa. Winning the Ashes is important, but they will want to keep sight of the bigger picture.

  • on August 6, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    One of the reasons some of the England players appear out of form is because of the expectations heaped on them with reports such as this one. Journalists have a job to do, but boy do they put pressure on, what after all, are very young men!

  • 5wombats on August 6, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    I don't get it? - Why the doom and gloom?!?! Lets have a little reality check here = We've retained the Ashes with TWO games to spare! In the 1990's we would have died just to have a series that was still alive into game 4 wouldn't we?? Reality check = in the last 4 Ashes series England have won 3! I wholeheartedly expect England to win this series as well since despite what a few people think there can be no question that England are the better side. Fair play - Australia made the most, the absolute most of what they had at Old Trafford. But they still didn't win. I don't know why people think England played badly here? 368 on 1st inns is not an unhealthy score and even at 3/37 we only had to bat a further 78 overs - which we would easily have done. I think one or two people have got a bit carried away with England's success in India - fans have become used to that kind of high standard from England. But you can't expect it every time. Let's enjoy what we have now, eh?

  • Puffin on August 6, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    Well, it looks to me that the return series won't be 3 innings defeats by England. Their batting is looking decidedly wobbly at times, too often needing a rescue job by the middle order. Also the glaring lack of a decent all-rounder to balance the team is becoming ever more noticable - we can't leave all the wicket-taking to Anderson and Swann, they do have off-days and the 2nd string bowling does not seem that incisive.

  • SirViv1973 on August 6, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    @Brusselslion, re Bairstow, the selectors do tend to be investing a lot in him but as you say he does appear to have a bit of a flaw in his techique at this stage. He has managed to get himself in a few times in this series but has then got himself out playing poor shots. I agree they will stick with him for the remainder of the series but for me he needs a big score soon if he is to continue at 6 & not to just be making the squad as Prior's understudy. Taylor is clearly very close, Ballance continues to score runs at FC level & must be in the selectors thoughts for the winter. There is also the case of Robson who has now qualified & who could open, which would allow Root to slot back in at 6. There are plenty of other options. I can't help thinking that among them there is a better one than Bairstow who's record is quite similar to that of Morgan who batted at 6 before him & was dropped for not scoring enough runs.

  • on August 6, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    Totally agree with your thoughts brusselslion. Onions and Taylor as a minimum for changes to get some of the squad playing. It would remind the rest of the team that their places are not guaranteed, and lets be honest, bell and Root aside the rest of the top 6 are not pulling their weight.

  • SirViv1973 on August 6, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    @Brusselslion, I agree re anderson looking tired but I would say that he is just too impotant to the attack to rest at this stage. Although the ashes have been retained there is still a series to win & an important psychological batltle to be won ahead of the the return series in Aus. Cook probably needs to get a bit smarter in the way he is usuing JA & shouldn't be afraid to go to Root a bit more and maybe Trott & Pitersen too from time to time. If all the bowlers are fit I would just bring in Onions for Bresnan. I'm still not sure Tremlett is anywhere near his best & I think to have an attack of Broad, Tremlett & Onions at Durham would give a phychological edge to the ozzies.

  • mikkkk on August 6, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    I know Aussies are prone to hyperbole when they desperately pick over every defeat to emphasise any positive they can find but they can't get away from the fact that hardly any of their batsmen averages above 40, that's why they are consistantly beaten. They would much rather win a game on paper than on the pitch. They would much rather have more of their players in an imaginary "combined 11" than put up more of a fight than New Zealand did earlier in the year. If thats the height of your ambition fellas then congratulations on reaching your goal.

  • on August 6, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    England was by far the better side in the first two tests and Australia in the third.A fair reflection would be 2-1 in Englands favour but then weather has always been part and parcel of test matches.It happens all the the time.

  • on August 6, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    Very well summed up George. Jonny Bairstow needs at some near future time to show us that he is capable of playing a proper Test innings. Twenties and thirties compiled out of trick shots are not nearly enough.

    Stuart Broad is not very effective in general although he has his good days when bowling. Lacking a top-class all-rounder England has to suffice with such as Broad and Bresnan. They cannot be a great team unless they produce one. It doesn't have to be a Kallis, a Sobers or a Botham - just an inspirational player which the side lacks in any position as KP plays for himself.

  • jrw39 on August 6, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    @harishk8006 - questionable umpiring decisions in the first test favouring England? How about the one where Agar should have been given out stumped in the early stages of his 98? And I'm not sure how you can say the Haddin decision was a problem when he admitted himself after the match that he had hit the ball.

  • AlanHull on August 6, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    You can't complain about losing the Ashes to a few hours rain when you are already 2-0 down in the series. Maybe if it was 2 games all and the rain intervened. The chances are England would have batted out for a draw with or without the rain. Once the new ball had gone off I'm sure England will have had no trouble batting out the rest of the day. Is Joe Root supposed to have been whacking the ball about as if it was a 20-20, I thought the whole idea was batting time and not worrying about runs and he was the only one who survived for any length of time.

  • RichardG on August 6, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    Well said SirViv1973. Reading through the press this morning in the UK - literally every paper and website - someone who hadn't seen any games in the past few weeks would think that it was Australia who were 2-0 up. Their team has clicked for one test. It may do again in Durham, but it also may not. But the fact of the matter is that England are 2-0 up after three tests. They's pretty comprehensive. South Africa beat England 2-0 in three tests last summer and no one from these shores tried to claim any moral victory for England, because there wasn't one.

    As for those claiming the umpires are biased towards England - I can only assume you've not watched any of the games, and that you've instead been following a certain Australian PM's Twitter feed instead.

  • brusselslion on August 6, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    It's an opportunity - that doesn't occur regularly - to rest a few players. I'd bring in Tremlett & Onions for Anderson & Bres (former looking tired; latter done nothing wrong, just rotation). Let's see how Broad responds to being leader of the attack. I'd also make Bairstow WK, and would have played Taylor but that obviously won't happen now, so play Prior solely as a batsman.

    Some worries for England; the article nicely highlights Trott's problems; Harmony111 has given a good analysis of Cook's issues in another thread. Bairstow's problems are obvious to all. He needs to play with a straight bat; anyone who plays across the line as often as he does will always be in trouble. I would think that he's got 2 matches to prove that 1) he worth his place as a batsman and, possibly, 2) that he's Prior's hier apparent. Otherwise, play Taylor and bring in Davies as Prior's understudy if needs be.

  • harishk8006 on August 6, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    Don't think England deserve to be ahead in this series.....couple of DRS blunders and questionable umpiring decisions (including that of Brad Haddin in the second innings) of the 1st test and umpires and whether favoring England team in the 3rd test......do you want to call this domination of England team or being "lucky" and "favorable"?????

  • SirViv1973 on August 6, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    @Wellrounded87, Although I would agree with most of your XI, im not sure how you get Rogers in at 6! He's opened in every game & has been nowhere near the no6 spot. Apart from one knock he hasn't really done anything in the series (although there are a few batsman I could say that about). Surely Smith should be in at 6. That's more or less where he has batted he's outscored Rogers in the series so far anyway & has also taken 4 wickets. If you are keen to get Rogers in to your XI then surley it woulkd be instead of Cook who has really struggled. Even when compling his highest score of the series so far in the first inns at OT he looked pretty shacky. Personally I'd still say he's done marginally better than Rogers overall so far but not by much.

  • harishk8006 on August 6, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    England repeating their old habits of "sneaking through the back door" through negative tactics!!!

  • SirViv1973 on August 6, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    The amount of Ind fans coming on to these boards trying to say Aus deserve to be ahead in the series is starting to get rather annoying. I actually wonder how many of them are watching the cricket & how many of them are just following the series by looking at the boards on Cricinfo. Eng were clearly the better team in the first 2 matches & deserved to be 2 up going in to the 3rd test, Clarke himself admitted this when he was interviewed after the game yesterday. Credit to Aus they played very well in Manchester & were pretty much on top of Eng for whole match & if drawn test matches were decided on points, this test match would have been a clear points win for them, however there is no way that anyone who has been watching this series can truthfully say Aus deserve to be ahead. As for the Umpires being biased, both teams have had a string of shall we say 'iffy' decisons go against them and things are pretty much even on that count now.

  • skilebow on August 6, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    @the_blue_android - quite possibly but they wouldn't deserve it. 2-1 to England would be a fair reflection on the cricket played.

  • Hatter_Mad on August 6, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    It's good that Australia are showing a bit of fight, England fans may find routine wins against the old rivals hard to compute after so many years of pummeling. The series is still there, a draw would be an amazing result for the green baggies.

  • the_blue_android on August 6, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    Series would have been 2-1 in Australia's favor if umpires and weather were not on England's side!

  • on August 6, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    Both these teams lost to South Africa while playing at home. Root and Bairstow overhyped by the English press. Aussies will win back the Ashes in Australia.

  • dabhand on August 6, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    @ Int.Curator - it seems you are more interested in being kept amused than you are in seeing Aus get the Ashes - just as well really ;-) Still I'm sure the antics of Warner will keep you amused and happy.

    This is test cricket NOT bish bash boff - hopefully Aus will now make it a bigger contest and strive for a series draw.

  • cleanprophet on August 6, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    There's an underwhelming way to retain Ashes? News to me.

  • Int.Curator on August 6, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    This is the best England can play. The pinnacle of English cricket. A clear reminder of their mindset and the way they play the game. Australia literally worlds apart in their education of the game. Thanks Boof, MC and the Australia cricket team for playing positive cricket and trying to keep it entertaining on all fronts at all cost. Stark contrast to the England team and their lack of creativity, their constant negative cricket, lack of inspiring players and true disrespect for the game.

  • LoungeChairCritic on August 6, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    England have got what they wanted out of Old Trafford. After being on the back foot after day 1, they went defensive. The toss was a good one to win. Although oz were unlucky with the weather, they will gain a lot of confidence out of scoring 525 for 7 and having England on the ropes on day 5. After seeing what the Australian fast bowlers can do when the condition's suit them, the ground staff at Durham and the Oval will be up to their usual tricks. I hope and pray that Pat Cummins get's healthy again for the return series. Not many kids play for Australia at 18 and take 7 for against South Africa at the bullring on debut. Together with Starc, Pattinson and Hazelwood the future is bright. Cricket Australia will be tempted to do a England or an India and manipulate their pitches to suit their bowlers. I hope they don't stoop to that level. I am proud that our pitches have generally been the same for many a year.

  • milepost on August 6, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    A close match to go with the other close match that kicked off the series. It's cods wallop to carry on about the 10th wicket partnerships as lucky or miraculous - it was good cricket by Australia and a lack of ability by England to mop up. Lets just see what Friday brings despite your astrological predictions!

  • jmcilhinney on August 6, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (August 6, 2013, 2:52 GMT), having said that, I now recall that KP did get a life during that first innings when he was incorrectly given not out LBW and Australia failed to review. Had that one gone Australia's way then England may have done worse in their first innings, so I accede the point.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 6, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    Anyone who though 5-0 was on the cards was deriously deluded, Australia have put together performances when needed, and England are often guilty of taking their foot off too early, we saw this after 2005 there was a massive rebalnce with a change in personel, then rose to hieghts in 2011 again taking thier foot off in 2012, beating india in India was another milestone again after completion relaxed.

    Then after going 2-0 up they relaxed again, however it was a toss to win and batting on placid pitch that first day helped australia, as im sure it would have England, thankfully the weather came into play as it tends to do, lets not forget 2005 where Aus Scraped a draw after the best part of 3-4 sessions were lost to weather.

    Durham looks like it may well be the same as OT in terms of weather interuptions but that forceast can change.

    As an England fan is twas good to see Aus finally turn up and pressure england, as it has brought a new dynamic to the series.

  • balajik1968 on August 6, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    This test finally saw Australia come to the party, but the batting still rotated around Clarke. Until Warner and Watson start accepting the responsibility to score big, Australia will continue to struggle. It is only then that Khawaja will also start coming on his own. Australia should remember that Clarke's bad back means that he may last at the most 2 years. Someone needs to start taking leadership of the batting. The bowling seems to be in good hands with Siddle taking leadership. The others need to rally around him. Right now England are ticking all the right boxes, but with the wickets being so dry, they should possibly look at playing 2 spinners. They are still stronger all round than Australia.

  • Wallruss on August 6, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    It was a good toss to win and Australia played well throughout, but missed their chance because they took too long to bowl England out (13 wickets in 160 overs) and then didn't consider the weather. In the past England would have folded well before the fifth day. 2-0 up after 3 despite not playing at their best ain't too bad. It just shows how expectations have changed.

  • JamesBlond on August 6, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    I don't understand how Australia keep playing these second rate spinners? Lyon is not anywhere near world class. He is not even the best spinner in Australia! That title would go to Steve O'Keefe at the moment. I don't know what he has done or said to the selectors to get continually overlooked, but he has by far the best average out of all the spinners in Aus, plus he can bat! Lyon's strike rate is abysmal, and you cannot win test matches if you are constantly playing the batsmen in with a guy who bowls 30+ overs an innings.

    Starc is just Mitchell Johnson MkII - cannot keep the ball straight. The way he bowled on the 5th morning was terrible. All he had to do was put it on the stumps to make the batsmen play, and he couldn't even do that! Jackson Bird has been unlucky to be overlooked, and should be an automatic selection due to his control and record thus far. That said, his strike rate is not terrible, and deserves his place above Lyon this tour. I would play 4 quicks.

  • on August 6, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    Most boring series this!!!! Doesn't come anywhere close to the hype around it. Only the first test was worth the build up. Mediocre cricket from both sides saved only by the grit shown by some players. The so called Ashes rivalry has got to be backed by some solid performances which sadly have been lacking here

  • GRHinPorts on August 6, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    Is the England triumph yesterday much different to when Australia "retained" the Ashes at Sydney in January 1991 & 1995. On both occasions England were well on top at the match conclusion when rain and bad light interrupted/ended play. On both occasions this meant the Ashes were forfeited because the home team had already secured the first 2 tests of the given series. On the latter occasion England even went on to win the subsequent 4th test. However at the end of both series which Australia won 3-0 and 3-1 respectively I don't remember the Ashes winning team feeling very much underwhelmed. And I suspect come the end of the Oval Test this year this English side will not either. So lets wait and see.

  • ramli on August 6, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    Too early to state that ... Eng can go on to win the series and have every reason to celebrate ... or ... Aus may level the series and may rue their effort in first test ... it does not matter NOW ... we must wait and see

  • on August 6, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    After the 3rd match , it can be safely said that Aus were a far better team than England. That apart, Bell and Broad are turning the game into "unfair" play and are extremely deceitful on their part. Broad is understandably let off but why Bell? From the time he went to the Indian dressing room for overturn to feigning a thumb injury yestrday as time wasting tactics,he has been let off too often. England does have a lot of likable stars such Pietersen, Trott and Prior (who by the way along with Strauss are also SA born) but the rest of the English team (barring Cook) seem to be undoing the other lot's work. This team would surely rank at the bottom if there was such a thing as fair play. cricinfo pls publish

  • BigDataIsAHoax on August 6, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    Why do Australia drop Root in every match ?! Let's hope England persist with Root and Australia get better at catching. Root is the worst opener I have seen in years in one of the top ranked test teams. He is like Virender Sehwag w/o the hand-eye co-ordination. A sitting duck in short. Take your catch and he will be off with a single digit score.

  • Nutcutlet on August 6, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    The Ashes are kept at home again. That's nice. That's about as excited as I can get about this latest triumph of the England Test team. If the England cricket team were a car, I'd be booking it in for a service, so badly is it misfiring. Let's be honest, Australia won virtually every session in this Test. Only when KP & Bell were batting together, or Swann was bowling, did England look anything like a strong & confident Test side. All the other plaudits belong to Australian players. Jimmy, Broad & Bres were completely outbowled by the Oz trio, Harris, Starc & Siddle who found a more searching length . A fluent & enterprising Chris Rogers set the tone for some assertive Oz batting, that Clarke esp, cashed in on. Match drawn. A travesty. Eng 5/10; Oz 8/10. If Eng players don't up their game, this draw could prove the tipping point & by the SCG in Jan. Oz may have regained the Urn. Right now, Onions & Tremlett need to come in. Cook & Trott look tired/out of form. Time for that service.

  • WalkingWicket11 on August 6, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    Rhetorical Question: Why didn't they just settle it by Duckworth-Lewis method?

    Do you now see why it is better to just accept draw in limited overs, than try to calculate a winner mathematically?

  • on August 6, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    England deserves to retain the Ashes. Australia looked good in patches and definitely had England on the mat in the third test, but the way they were outplayed in the first two tests is an indication of how deep the rot has set in. Cohesiveness in effort is lacking and some individual brilliance may occasionally win them matches (like clarke's in this test). But to win matches consistently and steam roll the opposition like their predecessors, I think they have a long way to go.

  • Anandha on August 6, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    'Ashes' is name of a Cup. So title should be England retains Ashes.

  • Greatest_Game on August 6, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    @ 3Cents. The game is called cricket. It is intended to be sporting. It is not called 'do whatever you can to win.'

    Based on your suggestion, India should expect the most viscous green tops imaginable when they visit SA this year. They should not even bother picking Jaddu, Ashwin, or any other spinner. They should not expect any test to last longer than 2 days.

    However, that will not happen. India will play on the same sporting wickets all teams encounter in SA. Kingsmead & Newlands will turn more than Centurian & the Wanderers. On India's last tour, they won at Kingsmead, & drew at Newlands. SA won at Centurian. Sri Lanka won their 1st SA test at Kingsmead. Pakistan's spinners did best at Newlands. Such is the nature of those pitches. The pitches will not be prepared to beat India. They will be prepared to be true to character, and to create sporting contests.

    They will be prepared to suit only cricket. That is the Spirit of the Game.

  • on August 6, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    England were lucky , pure as simple ,they knew they were going to be lucky and that's how they won it ! I knew Aussie had no hope winning the Ashes cause they were simply not good enough, which was true ! The other thing is that I dunno if the Aussie can get it back in Austraila when's the next Ashes comes down under !

  • Will90 on August 6, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    Congratulations to England, they deserved to win the series. Their top-order batsmen and spinner have been the difference.

    @Kitschi, I think you misspelt England there.

  • humdrum on August 6, 2013, 4:42 GMT

    Australia improving and England stuttering- that says it all.England have definetly looked jaded in this match, and the concern among the fans would be as to whether they are losing momentum.Australia ,on the other hand,have much to be happy about regarding their performance in this test,particularly after the drubbing at Lords.They have pulled themselves off from the ropes at a time when the press virtually sneered at Clarke's comment that they could still win. Well,the Aussies have wiped off the smug looks from English faces and all talk of 5-0 has proven to be so much gas. The talk,now will centre on whether Aus can make it 2-2 and that would,in the prevailing scenario,be no mean feat.

  • Shaggy076 on August 6, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    3Cents; Its probably because England administrators have a lot more respect for the game of cricket than the Indians. They know that completely baking a wicket is a bad look for cricket.

  • 3Cents on August 6, 2013, 3:27 GMT

    I am a bit confused by England's selection policies. If anyone has seen how Australia performed against India in their fresh White wash in a long time, the strategy template that England should have adopted is crystal clear. Prepare dry pitches that provide turn and deploy the 2 best spinners they have in the world, the left armer Monty and the off spinner Swann. They are much better than Jaddu and Ashwin, who troubled Aus so much. Not sure if England noticed, but Jaddu got Clarke out most number of times in the series. Having seen how Monty and Swann troubled the Indian batsmen (by far the best players of spin in general) in the earlier series, it should have been an obvious strategy, especially given the kind of dry pitches England has been dishing out. Not only Clarke, other Aussie batsmen struggled against Jaddu, something Monty would have relished. Anyway, it is never too late. I would rather play Monty in place of Bairstow, given the significant value Monty can add.

  • on August 6, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    Well done England!They are deserving Ashes champions. The problem England have is that by repeatedly exposing their best players to this developing Aussie side, with Australia yet to show their full hand;it will likely be Australia who finish in the Ascendancy in Australia IMHO. Players like Khawaja, Warner, Steve Smith are learning the recipe to counter England's best bowling weapons with the Senior players of Chris Rodgers and Michael Clarke showing them how. Oz bowlers have shown their ascendancy borne of superior stamina on flat wickets in this test which should hold them in good stead for the Australian leg. England desperately need to rotate other bowlers to try and find the variety and stamina required for Australia. Australia need to maintain their 4 seamer 1 spinner attack by retaining Watson but also need to rotate their second and third seamers.The second seamer between harris and Bird and the third to include another high pace attacking bowler maybe even Johnson.

  • Aussienogood on August 6, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    England 's attack looked tired and jaded and I think bowling department needs to be looked at for the next test match. At the end of day it was ashes victory for England.

  • Kitschiguy on August 6, 2013, 2:57 GMT

    Australia were very lucky not to lose this test. Some umpiring decisions went their way and eventually the rain saved them. Being 3-0 down would have been very embarrassing and would have given the selectors even more selection headaches for the 4th Test.

  • jmcilhinney on August 6, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    @RandyOZ on (August 5, 2013, 19:09 GMT), I can't really agree with you regarding the umpiring. There were some close calls that could have gone either way for both sides so I don't think that anyone can complain about those. The really standout bad decision was the one against Khawaja but did that really make any difference to Australia's first innings performance? I don't think so. The decision that could have genuinely affected outcome of the game was KP's LBW in the first innings. I have no issue with the on-field decision being out but there was a clear mark on HotSpot that seemed to simply be ignored by the third umpire and there was apparently an accompanying noise if Snicko is to be believed. It was a very thin edge but that's still an edge so that decision should have been overturned. Had KP remained, England may well have got significantly closer on the first innings. Regardless, Australia were the better team and I'd have liked to see England try to earn a draw without rain.

  • wellrounded87 on August 6, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    @SDCLFC It depends on what you're using as the standard. If you're going on current form then i'd say a combined XI would look something like.

    1.Cook 2.Root 3. Pieterson 4.Bell 5. Clarke 6. Rogers 7. Haddin 8. Swan 9. Siddle 10. Harris 11. Anderson

    If you're going on overall skill. It's pretty much the same except replace Anderson with Pattinson (yes he is better, Anderson only bowls well against poor batsmen when conditions suit), replace Haddin with Prior and Rogers with Trott (probably put Trott in at 3 and move Pieterson to 6)

    Prior might be having a quiet series but he is a much much better batsmen than Haddin and at the least on level terms as a glove man.

    What's scary is even the combined side looks weaker than SA

  • on August 6, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    Should in all likelihood be 4-0 from here. No pressure now on the English batsmen time to show your true Aussie crushing potential!

  • wellrounded87 on August 6, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    @jb633 I think Harris' 5for at at Lords was an amazing spell. But aside from that yes you are correct. Not to take away from Swan or Anderson because they certainly bowled well to take their wickets but i just felt like that was more a case of poor batting then superb bowling. Harris however looked unplayable against an experienced and strong batting lineup.

    I also think these sides are a lot closer matched than a lot of people think. Yes England are better and they showed that in Lords, but not by much. Australia were unlucky to be rained out in this test and even more unlucky to lose in Trent Bridge with a few contentious calls going against them.

  • Crimsonbat on August 6, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    I am blue in the face talking that Eng opening combo is Cook & Trott. Root should play in the middle and slowly promoted up.

  • Blokker on August 6, 2013, 1:45 GMT

    Broad is a 30+ average bowler anyway - he's never set the world on fire though he may improve the way Anderson and Siddle. At the moment he's your archetypal journeyman trundler. Good bloke though.

  • dunger.bob on August 6, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    Congratulations to England. Well played and all that. As the OP says, the harsh reality is that England have wrapped us up in straight sets. .. they should be pleased, they have every right to be.

    They've proven themselves to be a strong side with lots of resilience and resolve. The two outstanding players so far are both English and I think they have been the crucial difference. Bell has been the batsman of the series and is an absolute pain in the backside. The little bloke seems to make zero mistakes and has been a permanent road block to date. .. The other major factor is, of course, Swann. .. This is my first good, long look at him for a while, and yes, he is an impressive bowler. Very much so. .. the way he worked Kwawaja over b4 bowling him around his legs was sensational.

    Now to my Aussies. .. You've shown yourselves what is required. You've seen the light at the end of the tunnel.. The Ashes are gone but the series isn't. .. Work hard, play well and close that gap boys.

  • disco_bob on August 6, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    Why was avoiding the follow on 'crucial'?

  • Greatest_Game on August 6, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    Test cricket. Five days of fascination: the anticipation, the 1st session, a finely crafted innings, the thrall of skilled & wily bowling, that final wicket, just 14 runs short. Nothing compares.

    Essential to the game is the sanctity of fair play. Integrity, honesty, & trust reflect the cricket fan's want of justice. In the Umpires we must trust, for though human & flawed at the crease, we know & accept their imperfection. The illogical & injudicious UDRS now employed makes mockery of their honest arbitration. It must be fixed, & improve, not endanger, the game.

    For the players, flawed decisions stay on the field, their imperfection made whole each day by post play friendship. Foes shrug off ill fortune, share a beer & a laugh. Therein lies the Spirit of Cricket.

    Many here are bitter, believing injustice has prevailed. The game is fickle, but we know none better. Like the 22, we must dismiss rancour, & embrace the Spirit. Such is the game: to love it, we must honour it's frailties.

  • on August 6, 2013, 0:45 GMT

    @Thomas if you think the Australia side in the last Australian Ashes was stronger, you're looking at the team on nothing but paper. Everyone other than the openers in our batting lineup had been in terrible form for over a year. Only Hussey came good, and that came out of nowhere. The bowling was worse. Our best bowler by a mile was out of shape. Hilfenhaus STILL had the new ball and was STILL rubbish with it. Johnson had yet to be dropped despite a year as bad as the batsmen. Contrarily, our one performing bowler, Hauritz, WAS dropped and we drafted in two blokes who didn't have a clue (one of whom turned out to actually be a batsman)

  • dmat on August 6, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    I would rate England's performance so far as about 5/10 and Aus 7/10 (this does not include either side's poor use of their reviews which I rate lower). The fact that England are 2-0 up is an indication of how much better they are than Aus. Having said that, their bowling looks thin and Anderson was very ordinary at Old Trafford. He will need to recover quickly for the next test because, if he's not firing, England struggle. Cook and Trott will come good but they need to. From Aus point of view, their team is starting to look settled - I don't expect any changes for the next test but the spinner is the problem. I'm not convinced Watson is a test cricketer but they wont leave out the golden haired boy.

  • on August 6, 2013, 0:05 GMT

    Those who are praising Smith, note that he was out 4 times in his 89. On form, Clarke is the world's best right now, perhaps equal best to Sangakarra and Amla, perhaps the very best. Warner is the no 3 that Oz has been looking for, behind Watson & Rogers opening. But England really have to stop using 2 bowlers and 2 allrounders as their 4 specialist bowlers. 54 Australian wickets have fallen this series, and excluding runouts, what's the ratio Jimmy and Swanny have taken, around 80% of the wickets to fall to bowlers? If Tremlett & Panesar replaced Bresnan and Broad, England would be all over them. Just in this match, imagine the scores if Panesar had played instead of one the allrounders.

  • on August 6, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    All I feel like saying is ...'Oh God no,..no! not like this!' Sounds like a horror movie where one of the two heroes might say just before he dies...and not by the monster in the movie, but by being caught in a rain storm in pursuit of the monster, slipping, breaking the leg, falling in a elephant trap pit, unable to move and then the rain drowns him...slowly..ever so slowly!. Even the English fans would agree. Not like this...

  • GiantScrub on August 5, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    Now the Ashes are retained, England can rest one or two of the first XI. Prime candidate is Broad, who appears to have caught a mysterious ailment whose primary symptom is averaging 50 with the ball, and whose primary treatment appears to involve ambling off the field for a shower after every spell. The only real argument to keep him is that he's back in form with the bat. Bairstow decided, in his one innings this test, to win the award for the ugliest batting performance. This is quite the achievement considering that Steve Smith was playing in the same test. Compton was unceremoniously dumped for less than this.

    I liked Bresnan's performance, especially with the ball in the second innings; he was very hard to score off and kept it very tight. it looks like he's recovered from that elbow injury and has as much potential as Watson combined with a better attitude. Now all he has to do is not put his hand up to bat at 1 and he'll be a class act for years.

  • on August 5, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    @kitschiguy, wow your name says it all, Australia Lucky not too lose? think you got that one wrong, England were unlucky not too lose, even with poor decision of khawaja still managed a formidable total but I guess you didnt get to see any of the first days play, sure Pietersen wicket was questionable, but did you think England could of Won from this position? Playing Like India fora draw, Clarke Declared early and with not as many runs, Thats the thing Australia Always look for a result (1st Test)

  • whoster on August 5, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    I think people are being a bit harsh about England's performance in this game. Yes, they weren't at their best, but when the opposition bat first and score 527, it's a scrap for survival. England were 64-3 in response, but the middle and lower order produced under pressure to reach 368. Not only that, but taking 139 overs to get there - significantly lessening the time available for Australia to push for victory. An Aussie win would've been the most likely result if it wasn't for the rain, but England battled hard to stay in the game and earned their help from the weather. Big credit to Harris and Siddle - they bowled really well and with great stamina.

    Must take issue against the questions raised about Root's 'readiness' in facing the new ball. England needed him to dig-in, and that's what he did. I suspect his innings was far more 'tortuous' to the Aussie eye than it was to the English! Besides, he's showed his credentials already by creaming 180 in the previous Test.

  • Aspraso on August 5, 2013, 23:41 GMT

    The English bowling is getting weary -- Anderson is jaded. Broad though ineffective was continued long overs only for the personal glory of reaching his 200th. Joe Root, Cook and Trott at top have been fully sorted out by the Aussie bowlers. Cook as captain will continue, Trott should be kept aside and Nick Compton should be brought in to open and Root moves to Trott's slot. Lower down Bairstow is only average. Some day English will find themselves caught a bowler short.

  • Rowayton on August 5, 2013, 23:37 GMT

    I might be wrong, but I thought Anderson in particular looked tired in this game and I am not sure how he's going to go in 3 days, particularly if Australia bat first. While a rotation policy seems vastly unpopular, the fact that Harris and Starc were only playing their second game of the series, and Siddle is supremely fit, played in Australia's favour here. Still, well done to England, although I don't agree with landl47's observation that Australia getting close in the first test was a fluke. Three of the four batsmen involved in the last wicket partnerships (hughes, Haddin and Agar) are all reasonable batsmen, and Pattinson is far from the worst - and all of the wickets count. The most disappointing aspect of this test is I had a bet at juicy odds on Rogers to get a hundred and he got out for 84. Grrr.

  • GrindAR on August 5, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    @Kitschguy: What is your problem... If you see in the test history not very long ago, the very same moments came and gone... we see too many comments on media is just that people are able to deposit their thoughts for the whole world to view. Its not new, but it had been a while people had such feelings...

  • mikkkk on August 5, 2013, 23:12 GMT

    @DCLFC

    If so many Aussies would make "your" combined side how come those same Aussies have 6 defeats and 1 draw from their last 7 matches? How come theyve lost 4 out of their last 5 matches against England. How many centuries have they scores this series? How did they manage to lose the Ashes in 14 days?

    No good your players making into any combined team if they cant win a match.

  • Chris_Howard on August 5, 2013, 23:12 GMT

    @Kitschiguy Agreed. There's been a lot of luck going both ways in this series. In this match, I agree it favoured us (Australia) a lot more.

    But the big concern is how often the luck revolved around bad decisions by the DRS umpire.

    Would it be possible for Clarke and Cook to agree to refuse to refer any more decisions for the remainder of this series?

    99% of the time, any player can accept on onfield umpire's mistake. A thin edge is easily mistaken as being there or not being there. But when the DRS umpire makes mistakes, that's very hard to accept.

    Let's play the last two Tests without DRS and enjoy the cricket.

  • StJohn on August 5, 2013, 23:05 GMT

    There's still a lot to play for in this series: in football, a 2-2 draw would essentially be classed as a win for the away team! If Australia make it 2-2, then they'll take a lot of heart from that into the winter leg; if England win the series by a 2-Test margin or better, then ditto.

    Australia have their issues, but so do England. 30-3 is a regular scoreline in this series, which suggests fragility in the batting. And for all their talent, Root and Bairstow still have to cement their places in the side (but for a really bad miss by Australia at Lord's, Root wouldn't have made that 180; otherwise he's having a pretty poor series). And England's bowlers' relative lack of penetration in this Test compared to the Australians is a worry too. The next 2 Tests will be key for moment going into the winter.

  • Captain_Oblivious on August 5, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    @hhillbumper - You're right, England haven't played well at all and this team isn't a patch on the 2005 side, but IMO cricket is at an all time low in technical standards. There is only one truly intimidating bowler in world cricket right now, and that's Dale Steyn. Compare this to the 70's, 80s and 90s where there were many high quality, genuinely fast bowlers. As for batting, the moment most Test players face a half decent bowler or favourable bowling conditions, they fall to pieces. Wicket-keeping is also of a low standard. IMO, only fielding has improved over the last 2 decades. What a sad state of affairs we're seeing.

  • OhhhhhMattyMatty on August 5, 2013, 22:48 GMT

    As England have uncovered/rediscovered a whole plethora of new Test batting options in Taylor, Compton, Carberry, Ballance and Robson, it would be an ideal time for some of these so-called first teamers to start delivering! Trott has been out of form for a good 2 years now (averages 36.88 in his last 50 innings - his average was 66.77 before this slump!), while Cook's form is decidedly laughable, India away aside (averaging 36.44, taking that series out, since 1st Jan '12). Bairstow is clearly the future keeper-batsman, but the current number 6 he definitely ain't!

  • righthandbat on August 5, 2013, 22:43 GMT

    In terms of Australia, their batting line-up could be helped by pushing Watson to 7 and making him bowl more. Haddin can be elevated to 6, and Starc, Pattinson, Siddle and Agar can all play. Clarke should be batting at 3, with Smith at 4 and Hughes at 5. Warner and Khawaja can open.

  • baskar_guha on August 5, 2013, 22:42 GMT

    England looked quite ordinary in this test which is a testament to how well Australia have fought back. The next two tests will tell us if the balance is shifting quickly away from England and to Australia for the down-under Ashes. Another point - Neither side should complain about DRS after their respective boards foisted it prematurely on the rest of the world. Hot spots, ball tracker, etc etc are all technological "prototypes" with don't have thorough and unbiased supporting data that they are reliable enough to be trusted. At least, I haven't seen any except for self-serving vendor articles and ICC's bumbling unprofessional attempts to show them to be on solid ground.

  • righthandbat on August 5, 2013, 22:35 GMT

    England have to think about their line-up - both batting and bowling. Cook, Trott and Prior are not justifying selection with the bat. Cook can come down the order and Trott can be dropped for a test. Broad and Finn are not with the ball - and Anderson is tired. Root should come down the order and bowl more. Kerrigan should be called up and bowl with Swann. KP and Bell should open. Taylor and Ballance should be called up. Prior should continue due to his glovework.

    Team: Bell, Pietersen, Cook(c), Taylor, Root, Ballance, Prior, Bresnan, Swann, Tremlett, Kerrigan.

  • Captain_Tuk_Tuk on August 5, 2013, 22:28 GMT

    Ausis played well and deserved to win this third Test but sometimes you'll need little luck and if Ausis would have played like this in previous Tests they wouldn't have cursed the rain today.

  • browners76 on August 5, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    There's no doubt that England would have lost this test heavily had it not rained so there needs to be a rethink on the make up of the side come the Durham test. Nice to see Onions included into the 13 and he should take the new ball with Anderson. His extra yard of pace and wicket to wicket attack should pose far more questions than Bresnan's medium pace. I would have also omitted Bairstow in favour of a batting all rounder at 6. Somebody like Adil Rashid. Its clear that the burden of bowling 25-30 overs an innings is taking its toll on Anderson and England need to be far smarter in their use of him. Joe Root should have bowled far more overs in the last test for instance. Its time the top order came to the party too, if they start hitting their straps then it will be one way traffic. Well played Australia but England were seriously only playing at around 60%.

  • on August 5, 2013, 21:43 GMT

    England were in a fantastic position to win this game anyway. Bell and Root would have both got centuries, men in form. Probably knocked it off with overs to spare. Attacking batsman. Prior, Broad and Swann would have chipped in again against a very tame Aussie bowling attack. England in the front seat start to finish, world class batsman, bowlers and team.

  • on August 5, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    @Kitschiguy not sure what game you were watching but Australia were in a very strong position and England were lucky to escape, having being saved by the rain.

  • on August 5, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    we retained but australia are showing they are a good team with the lack of luck on thier side.

  • Fluffykins on August 5, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    After playing exceptionally poorly I would ask England to please turn up at Durham and show us the sort of cricket we know you are capable of .We have retained the Ashes playing mediocre cricket, I expect to win them playing to our capabilities.

  • on August 5, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    Fortune Favours the brave. England won first 2 matches. Rain washed the third. What do you do!! Australia had some fantastic days and sessions this time. Australia are yet to win a match. I thought Heyden and Langer were back during this test. Its interesting to read view on DRS, Duckworth and lewis and the rest.

  • jb633 on August 5, 2013, 21:14 GMT

    Two average test matches and one excellent one. The last 3 ashes series have come nowhere close to that of 05 regardless who wins. I am really far from pleased with our performance this series so I can only imagine how the Aussie fans must be feeling. The most disappointing thing about these three games is the lack of one magical spell of bowling. Sure wickets have been taken but there has been nothing like a Flintoff, Warne or McGrath spell, one that will always hold in the memory. Both sets of fans must admit that their respective sides need much work. For England we really must confess we need to think about this seam attack. Broad, Finn, Onions, Bresnan, are these guys really the make up of a world class attack? The best indication of the failings of these guys came in the away series against New Zeland. On flat decks with no swing, we look hopeless. Lets now face up to it and think about other options.

  • landl47 on August 5, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    England should feel less than ecstatic about the manner in which they retained the Ashes. The seamers definitely did not bowl as well as Siddle and Harris, the batting is still inconsistent and the time-wasting was a disgrace. The umpires have the power to impose penalties on a side blatantly wasting time (see Law 42) and they need to start doing so.

    Having said that, England did bat for almost 140 overs in their first innings and it's hard to beat a side which can bat for more than a day and a half. Whether Australia would have won the game today we'll never know, but India couldn't do it and neither could New Zealand in similar situations.

    England deserved to be 2-up. Ignore those who say Aus was unlucky not to win the first test, it took the cricketing equivalent of a miracle (228 runs for the 10th wicket over the two innings) for them to avoid a thorough thrashing, which they duly got in the second test.

    On to Durham and hopefully an exciting game.

  • hhillbumper on August 5, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    The sad part is that England haven't played that well.They need to get it together for the rest of the tests here and in Australia.Time for Onions to come in and maybe pick a young gun.How about a complete wildcard like Overton from Somerset?

  • SDCLFC on August 5, 2013, 21:00 GMT

    Only one English seamer would make a combined team, and the back-up would be Australian too. Rodgers and Clarke would make the side, as well as possibly Smith, while Haddin would have the gloves. Aside from not scoring Prior's keeping has been poor. I counted 11 byes in the tightly contested run chase at Trent Bridge to go with a number of missed opportunities in the other tests (it makes me think the discipline of keeping has finally left the game in favour of runs). So that would be 5 possibly 6 Aussies outperforming their English counterparts. That's obviously not where the winning and losing has been. England have had the three outstanding performers of the series; Anderson, Swann and Bell.

  • sonicattack on August 5, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    @RandyOz - nice post, wondered how you were getting on, I do suppose you mean Old Trafford! Yes, the banter between Eng and Aussie fans is great, couldn't get tickets this time but remember it well from Cardiff in 2009. Would take issue with you tho' on the first test, think Australia were well outplayed (except p'raps for the tenth wicket!)

  • MartinC on August 5, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    @RandyOz - think you mean Old Trafford mate not Trent Bridge! I was there the first two days and your right it was a great atmosphere with some good natured banter and a match played in good spirit on and off the field. Even the booing of David Warner every time he touched the ball was good natured.

    Glad you enjoyed the trip.

  • Kitschiguy on August 5, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    Australia were very lucky not to lose this test. Some umpiring decisions went their way and eventually the rain saved them. Being 3-0 down would have been very embarrassing and would have given the selectors even more selection headaches for the 4th Test.

  • on August 5, 2013, 20:42 GMT

    Anyone else thinking same? - as much as I enjoy aus getting beaten, is it not Australia that are playing terrible rather then England being good? NZ tested England better.

  • on August 5, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    Sad really, because as hopelessly outmatched this Aussie team was supposed to be, with a little luck, and some help from the weather, they could, realistically be up 2-1 in the series.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 5, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    it may look like an anti-climax but in reality it is far from that unless one is peculiarly particular. After all it is after 3 games which by the standards of the nineties is apocryphal. Let us look at the facts. This was always going to be Australia's fightback game when they showed us that we are beating a side which is not quite the rubbish we have been led to believe so that our successes have consequently become upvalued. It is true it rained today to save blushes probably but that is just a part of the whole scenario of playing in England and is nice to add a bit of frustration to Australia' s lot.Haha. Anyway we live so much under clouds that at least once they have worked in our favour and Sydney 94-5 is not yet forgotten. We will hopefully be back to best form in Durham and can now administer a serious thrashing to a good side not a bad one. That is valuable.

  • amitchris on August 5, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    I think it is unfair to call them underwhelming performers. In the previous test, there were in similar situation, in both the innings. (30 odd for 3). Yet they won the game with about 300 runs. Even in that game, Root and Bell were the chief tormentors. So, don't write them of just yet.

  • henrystephen on August 5, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    @RandyOZ, you would have been better off going to Old Trafford than Trent Bridge.. Australian fans should not get too carried away - the batting is still very poor, and a couple of good spinners are definitely needed as well. I very much doubt the Ashes will be regained in the next series. Mind you, England are far from perfect. By ditching their negative approach to the game they can reach the next level and also appear less mean-spirited.

  • WhoCaresAboutIPL on August 5, 2013, 19:40 GMT

    I do not think gtr800 really gets it. " England closing in on the no.2 ranking surely cannot employ such a selfish attitude and complete disregard for the crowds that gather and people that watch a game. " Trying asking the crowd! This match (like all the others) was, I understand, sold out for all 5 days - the crowd came today to see the Ashes retained and were more than happy. Facing a large total the only objective from Day 2 was surpassing the follow-on total. Once that was achieved, the necessary draw was odds on. I appreciate Test Cricket is dying in many parts of the world - at least as far as attendance is concerned - but getting a ticket for any test match (including those involving the minnows) at Lords or the Oval is still not a foregone conclusion...

  • 2MikeGattings on August 5, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    This has been a dismal series for Australia, who can expect to cop a tremendous beating from their own press. I don't expect the pressure to let up on them any time soon.

  • gtr800 on August 5, 2013, 19:14 GMT

    That's it- 'hard side to beat' describes England more than the ruthlessness or the aggressive tactics used by most teams to win games. Whenever England have the chance to draw out a game they'll take it- if they believe there is a slight risk of losing. This attitude cannot surely bode well for Test Cricket. England closing in on the no.2 ranking surely cannot employ such a selfish attitude and complete disregard for the crowds that gather and people that watch a game. Test Cricket is already the long period of time a sport occurs for, and to see a side quite literally sit & defend from the 2nd day batting at 2.5 rr of 140 overs is not an entertaining & fruitful sight. As most sportsman believe they have to entertain the crowd & play to win, England defy all logic & play to sit.

  • punter-gilly-haydos-mcgrath-warne on August 5, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    I loved the tweet I saw that said something like this "The Ashes will be much more interesting in 18 when Australia will be far deeper in there rebuilding phase and England will be trying to hold on to there old stars"

  • RandyOZ on August 5, 2013, 19:09 GMT

    Just got back from a wonderful 5 days at Trent Bridge. The crowd on both halves was great with plenty of cheerful banter. It is great when you can all have a beer together at the end of the day. As for the cricket well once again Australia were very unlucky with the rain and the umpiring. Barring the second test we should have won both games. I'd say a 1-1 result would be more accurate about now but fair play to England, we'll let them keep it another 5 months. Thanks Trott too for all the outfield banter!

  • RandyOZ on August 5, 2013, 19:09 GMT

    Just got back from a wonderful 5 days at Trent Bridge. The crowd on both halves was great with plenty of cheerful banter. It is great when you can all have a beer together at the end of the day. As for the cricket well once again Australia were very unlucky with the rain and the umpiring. Barring the second test we should have won both games. I'd say a 1-1 result would be more accurate about now but fair play to England, we'll let them keep it another 5 months. Thanks Trott too for all the outfield banter!

  • punter-gilly-haydos-mcgrath-warne on August 5, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    I loved the tweet I saw that said something like this "The Ashes will be much more interesting in 18 when Australia will be far deeper in there rebuilding phase and England will be trying to hold on to there old stars"

  • gtr800 on August 5, 2013, 19:14 GMT

    That's it- 'hard side to beat' describes England more than the ruthlessness or the aggressive tactics used by most teams to win games. Whenever England have the chance to draw out a game they'll take it- if they believe there is a slight risk of losing. This attitude cannot surely bode well for Test Cricket. England closing in on the no.2 ranking surely cannot employ such a selfish attitude and complete disregard for the crowds that gather and people that watch a game. Test Cricket is already the long period of time a sport occurs for, and to see a side quite literally sit & defend from the 2nd day batting at 2.5 rr of 140 overs is not an entertaining & fruitful sight. As most sportsman believe they have to entertain the crowd & play to win, England defy all logic & play to sit.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 5, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    This has been a dismal series for Australia, who can expect to cop a tremendous beating from their own press. I don't expect the pressure to let up on them any time soon.

  • WhoCaresAboutIPL on August 5, 2013, 19:40 GMT

    I do not think gtr800 really gets it. " England closing in on the no.2 ranking surely cannot employ such a selfish attitude and complete disregard for the crowds that gather and people that watch a game. " Trying asking the crowd! This match (like all the others) was, I understand, sold out for all 5 days - the crowd came today to see the Ashes retained and were more than happy. Facing a large total the only objective from Day 2 was surpassing the follow-on total. Once that was achieved, the necessary draw was odds on. I appreciate Test Cricket is dying in many parts of the world - at least as far as attendance is concerned - but getting a ticket for any test match (including those involving the minnows) at Lords or the Oval is still not a foregone conclusion...

  • henrystephen on August 5, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    @RandyOZ, you would have been better off going to Old Trafford than Trent Bridge.. Australian fans should not get too carried away - the batting is still very poor, and a couple of good spinners are definitely needed as well. I very much doubt the Ashes will be regained in the next series. Mind you, England are far from perfect. By ditching their negative approach to the game they can reach the next level and also appear less mean-spirited.

  • amitchris on August 5, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    I think it is unfair to call them underwhelming performers. In the previous test, there were in similar situation, in both the innings. (30 odd for 3). Yet they won the game with about 300 runs. Even in that game, Root and Bell were the chief tormentors. So, don't write them of just yet.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 5, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    it may look like an anti-climax but in reality it is far from that unless one is peculiarly particular. After all it is after 3 games which by the standards of the nineties is apocryphal. Let us look at the facts. This was always going to be Australia's fightback game when they showed us that we are beating a side which is not quite the rubbish we have been led to believe so that our successes have consequently become upvalued. It is true it rained today to save blushes probably but that is just a part of the whole scenario of playing in England and is nice to add a bit of frustration to Australia' s lot.Haha. Anyway we live so much under clouds that at least once they have worked in our favour and Sydney 94-5 is not yet forgotten. We will hopefully be back to best form in Durham and can now administer a serious thrashing to a good side not a bad one. That is valuable.

  • on August 5, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    Sad really, because as hopelessly outmatched this Aussie team was supposed to be, with a little luck, and some help from the weather, they could, realistically be up 2-1 in the series.

  • on August 5, 2013, 20:42 GMT

    Anyone else thinking same? - as much as I enjoy aus getting beaten, is it not Australia that are playing terrible rather then England being good? NZ tested England better.