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

Australia show their truer colours

The recent run of defeats has made people think Australia are worse than they are. Old Trafford was a fairer reflection on their standing, but they must continue to improve over the rest of this series
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As the supervillain Hank Scorpio sagely observed while counselling Homer Simpson in his under-siege bunker, you can't argue with the little things. "It's the little things that make up life," he says, while his headquarters burns and crumbles around him. It is tempting to look at the past year and think Australian cricket is a similar smouldering wreck. At Lord's and in India, the resemblance was uncanny. Elsewhere in the Investec Ashes, and against South Africa last summer, the little things have hurt.

A better forecast here, another wicket there - it could have been a pretty good year for Australia. Of course, hypotheticals change nothing. Australia didn't beat South Africa, were embarrassed in India and have now failed to regain the Ashes. Since the start of their last home summer, Australia have played 13 Tests against four teams and have not won a match against anyone but Sri Lanka. The statistic is damning, but also damn deceptive. It doesn't tell how close they have come.

Yes, this is a squad whose worst is woeful and has been for several years. From 47 all out in Cape Town to a historic loss to New Zealand in Hobart, from a series of humiliations in India to another debacle at Lord's, it is a side that finds ways to sink to new lows. It is a team that also finds ways to threaten the world's best. They outplayed South Africa in Brisbane and Adelaide, but turned neither into a victory, and with a weakened attack were crushed in Perth.

On this trip, they were a Brad Haddin tickle away from winning at Trent Bridge, and a few rainclouds from a victory push at Old Trafford. They travel to Durham at 0-2; had a few quirks of fate fallen differently it could have been 2-1 to Australia. But that would have been misleading, as misleading as if they'd lost in Manchester and become the first Australia team in 125 years to lose seven straight Tests. They are not that bad. But nor are they 2-1 good.

The best reflection of where Michael Clarke's team stands is the ICC Test rankings, where they sit fourth. There is no shame in that, but no pride either. And they cannot expect to rise beyond that while their batting relies so heavily on Clarke. He is the reason they can compete with the teams above them. It was no coincidence that Australia's most threatening performance so far on this tour came when Clarke scored big at Old Trafford.

At times, he takes other batsmen with him. Against South Africa at the Gabba, his 259 was accompanied by hundreds from Ed Cowan and Michael Hussey. In the next Test in Adelaide, his 230 was supported by another century from Hussey and one from David Warner. Here, his 187 came alongside contributions, though not tons, from Chris Rogers and Steven Smith.

During Clarke's captaincy the only batsmen outside Hussey to score Test tons in an innings when Clarke hasn't have been Warner, Matthew Wade and Shaun Marsh. Warner is the only one to have done so against top four opposition - India at the WACA. Until the rest of Australia's batsmen find ways to score big when Clarke doesn't, they will struggle to beat the best sides.

Clarke said after the Old Trafford draw that he felt the gap between Australia and England was minimal. In bowling, yes. In batting, no. Clarke remains Australia's only centurion; England have had two tons from Ian Bell and one each from Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen. That the most prolific scorer of centuries in their squad, Alastair Cook, is yet to make one in this series only highlights England's batting depth and quality.

Shane Watson is Australia's second most experienced batsman but his role remains fluid, and for some time has been more water than wine. Rogers and Smith showed signs of batting big in Manchester but could not go on. Usman Khawaja is yet to make a serious impression on Test cricket and Warner's role needs to be defined.

For now, the Ashes are gone, but the next series starts later this year. The next two Tests at Chester-le-Street and The Oval are a chance for Australia's batsmen to show they are Test quality, to prove that players beyond Clarke can bat big. To give England pause for thought ahead of the return series. Using the next two Tests to settle on a batting order would help, for that has been as changeable as the Manchester weather.

Australia move on to Durham without the Ashes, but at least they are not in a smouldering wreck.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Paul_Rampley on August 6, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    What i saw in this test was good, we came back strongly after the lords performance and really glad to see that. Rhino and Siddle continue to be our best 2 bowlers and Clarke was inspirational. Dissapointed with the umpiring but we will improve. I am predicting big performances from Khawaja and Warner in Durham as they both play pace well and it may be a pacy wicket. Also watch out for Starc and hopefully Harris will be fit and ready to continue his form

  • on August 6, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    Australia is still a good team . They have great pace attack and good fielding unit but just lacks in exp. in batting department but still feels apart in subcontinent, they can beat any strong team on given day in test cricket and they are still strong team in ODI's and T20 cricket even more competitive to thier Ashes counterparts. What they need to ensure that they need to give time to young spinners to get settle in the team . The kind of picthes, they are playing international and sheffieled matches in down under are only condusive for qucikies and even spinners like murlitharan, ajaml,ashwin too find hard to turn bowl there, and spin legend like warne are born only after every 30 years, so they should allow spin to settle in thier team. They can take example of Indian team ,after 2011 W"C, they were getting kicked all over the world whether in tests ,one days or T20's , infact lost test series at home against England but now with the passage of time and experince, they are improvin

  • on August 7, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    There have been some "what ifs" and "but onlys" in the 13 matches since the last Aus summer. But I'd say an interesting fact is that the Aus seam attack is considered their best weapon, but in those 13 matches they've only taken 20 wickets on 5 occasions (Once on this tour, and once against SA at home and 3x against SL at home)

  • on August 7, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    @Leggie: you make a great point, especially if you throw the overall run-rate into the mix.

  • HopefulAussie on August 7, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    As a proud Aussie it pains me to say England have played the better cricket and deserve to retain the urn - until November for . But lets not get to carried away about the quality of teams playing. Australia have lost 7 in a row including 5-0 in India and 2 in England while England were a hairs breath away(thanks to an outstanding 9th wicket partnership) from losing a series to NZ - not considered a cricket powerhouse. ALL of the talk in the first 3 tests have focussed on the umpires and very little about the players. Lets hope we actually get 22 players being the focus of the play and not the umpires and that the actually give us some quality, consistent cricket. Both teams have some very good players, but on the world stage, well recent results would seem to indicate that they tend to fall short of world class teams.

  • Flash_hard27 on August 7, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    There are some interesting comments on here, especially from Australian fans. This team is not that bad at all. Clarke is a world class batsman and dynamic captain (particularly when compared with ours!), Harris is excellent when fit. Siddle to me is a mystery,I simply cannot work out how he gets so many wickets, looks innocuous but always dangerous and will run through walls for his team. Lyons is clearly a work in progress but better than any other slow man that you have. Starc, unfortunately for you will always give away too many four balls, rather like Finn.

    The batting is clearly in need of work and Watson would be long gone if he didn't bowl so well. But he does not have the technique to open in England or where the ball is moving. I find it a mystery why Australians are in love with Warner, a T20 slogger who will fail more often than score big. Smith and Rogers have guts and will fight for their wicket at least and understand the importance of batting time in test cricket.

  • lankymanky on August 7, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    It will be interesting to see which Australia turn up in Durham. After getting so close at TB, they followed it up with an awful performance at lords. After that pasting though they showed true character in a top performance at OT. They have to ensure they don't do what they did the last time they got close to a win and repeat Lords. Durham won't suit their batsman. Whereas OT was a bit like an ozzie pitch I don't think it will be pacey or bouncy but will move off the seam ALOT. Jackson Bird is a must in these conditions and if the weather holds I do not think the 5th day will be needed and so it will be a case of which team can scramble the most runs together in tricky situations.

  • on August 7, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    Very good piece and the most spot on evaluation of Australian Cricket that has been written for some time now.

  • on August 7, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    The color of Australia has changed to dull and pale. I would say Australia showed a new color temporarily during end of Summer! Fall is already due next month in this part of the world!!! I guess true colors for Australia would be sledging and winning the games and Clark seems to be a GENTLEMAN in the gentleman game!!

  • Thegimp on August 7, 2013, 3:46 GMT

    Disregarding DRS or who is the better side I think the most important thing that needs to be addressed in world cricket is doctoring pitches to suit the home side. Pitches should always be prepared for the good of cricket. India is a classic example of how doctoring home pitches to accommodate spin has hamstrung them on the world stage. Too many times they have had potential world beating teams only to be undone when touring because they rarely bat on seam friendly conditions at home. England have done it during this series and will probably pay when they go to Australia. Australia have always had their iconic grounds. The Gabba is always seaming on day one and then settles. Sydney always turns, the WACCA is always fast and bouncy, Adelaide is always flat and Melbourne is always Melbourne. A touring team can always expect to get what they know they will get.

  • Paul_Rampley on August 6, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    What i saw in this test was good, we came back strongly after the lords performance and really glad to see that. Rhino and Siddle continue to be our best 2 bowlers and Clarke was inspirational. Dissapointed with the umpiring but we will improve. I am predicting big performances from Khawaja and Warner in Durham as they both play pace well and it may be a pacy wicket. Also watch out for Starc and hopefully Harris will be fit and ready to continue his form

  • on August 6, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    Australia is still a good team . They have great pace attack and good fielding unit but just lacks in exp. in batting department but still feels apart in subcontinent, they can beat any strong team on given day in test cricket and they are still strong team in ODI's and T20 cricket even more competitive to thier Ashes counterparts. What they need to ensure that they need to give time to young spinners to get settle in the team . The kind of picthes, they are playing international and sheffieled matches in down under are only condusive for qucikies and even spinners like murlitharan, ajaml,ashwin too find hard to turn bowl there, and spin legend like warne are born only after every 30 years, so they should allow spin to settle in thier team. They can take example of Indian team ,after 2011 W"C, they were getting kicked all over the world whether in tests ,one days or T20's , infact lost test series at home against England but now with the passage of time and experince, they are improvin

  • on August 7, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    There have been some "what ifs" and "but onlys" in the 13 matches since the last Aus summer. But I'd say an interesting fact is that the Aus seam attack is considered their best weapon, but in those 13 matches they've only taken 20 wickets on 5 occasions (Once on this tour, and once against SA at home and 3x against SL at home)

  • on August 7, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    @Leggie: you make a great point, especially if you throw the overall run-rate into the mix.

  • HopefulAussie on August 7, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    As a proud Aussie it pains me to say England have played the better cricket and deserve to retain the urn - until November for . But lets not get to carried away about the quality of teams playing. Australia have lost 7 in a row including 5-0 in India and 2 in England while England were a hairs breath away(thanks to an outstanding 9th wicket partnership) from losing a series to NZ - not considered a cricket powerhouse. ALL of the talk in the first 3 tests have focussed on the umpires and very little about the players. Lets hope we actually get 22 players being the focus of the play and not the umpires and that the actually give us some quality, consistent cricket. Both teams have some very good players, but on the world stage, well recent results would seem to indicate that they tend to fall short of world class teams.

  • Flash_hard27 on August 7, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    There are some interesting comments on here, especially from Australian fans. This team is not that bad at all. Clarke is a world class batsman and dynamic captain (particularly when compared with ours!), Harris is excellent when fit. Siddle to me is a mystery,I simply cannot work out how he gets so many wickets, looks innocuous but always dangerous and will run through walls for his team. Lyons is clearly a work in progress but better than any other slow man that you have. Starc, unfortunately for you will always give away too many four balls, rather like Finn.

    The batting is clearly in need of work and Watson would be long gone if he didn't bowl so well. But he does not have the technique to open in England or where the ball is moving. I find it a mystery why Australians are in love with Warner, a T20 slogger who will fail more often than score big. Smith and Rogers have guts and will fight for their wicket at least and understand the importance of batting time in test cricket.

  • lankymanky on August 7, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    It will be interesting to see which Australia turn up in Durham. After getting so close at TB, they followed it up with an awful performance at lords. After that pasting though they showed true character in a top performance at OT. They have to ensure they don't do what they did the last time they got close to a win and repeat Lords. Durham won't suit their batsman. Whereas OT was a bit like an ozzie pitch I don't think it will be pacey or bouncy but will move off the seam ALOT. Jackson Bird is a must in these conditions and if the weather holds I do not think the 5th day will be needed and so it will be a case of which team can scramble the most runs together in tricky situations.

  • on August 7, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    Very good piece and the most spot on evaluation of Australian Cricket that has been written for some time now.

  • on August 7, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    The color of Australia has changed to dull and pale. I would say Australia showed a new color temporarily during end of Summer! Fall is already due next month in this part of the world!!! I guess true colors for Australia would be sledging and winning the games and Clark seems to be a GENTLEMAN in the gentleman game!!

  • Thegimp on August 7, 2013, 3:46 GMT

    Disregarding DRS or who is the better side I think the most important thing that needs to be addressed in world cricket is doctoring pitches to suit the home side. Pitches should always be prepared for the good of cricket. India is a classic example of how doctoring home pitches to accommodate spin has hamstrung them on the world stage. Too many times they have had potential world beating teams only to be undone when touring because they rarely bat on seam friendly conditions at home. England have done it during this series and will probably pay when they go to Australia. Australia have always had their iconic grounds. The Gabba is always seaming on day one and then settles. Sydney always turns, the WACCA is always fast and bouncy, Adelaide is always flat and Melbourne is always Melbourne. A touring team can always expect to get what they know they will get.

  • GrindAR on August 6, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    @pvr726: On the spot. When we saw Aussies opponents in their dominant days, we quickly concluded, buts and ifs are for losers, if you apply yourself up-to the task, opposition does not matter at all. I am surprised to see so much of sympathy when they are at receiving end. Again it is their turn to face it off... probably needed for them to fight back as every other team did in past 15 years :-)... considering that.. they still have a long pay off period remaining, which I don't think they will exercise all of them... :-)

  • on August 6, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    @IronCobra: "I hope Joe Root scores some runs and keeps his position as an opener. That will be terrific for Australia in the return Ashes. You always want a free wicket at the top of the order and Root is one for sure. What a MISERABLE EXCUSE for an opening batsman he is!"

    So this is why he's currently averaging more than any Australian batsman in this series (or career, actually) bar Michael Clarke, is it? I tell you what, you guys wouldn't mind him playing for you. Then you might not have been 128 all out.

  • mikkkk on August 6, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    @InnocentGuy

    Blimey InnocentGuy, a bit of common sense through all this wishful thinking. You've summed it all up nicely:-)

  • crockit on August 6, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    Comments about Lyon are a bit harsh. He has a decent record and came on and got dip and sharp turn. On a different day he might have had 4 or 5 in the first innings. As Coverdale says the main issue is the batting. Rogers looks good. Smith was extremely lucky. Watson looking pretty flat and making limited contribution. Khawaja jury out. What Aus need is one or two young guys forcing their way into batting line up with good performances. A couple of extra class batters is all it would take to make this team compete more consistently with top 3.

  • InnocentGuy on August 6, 2013, 19:50 GMT

    In the past, we in India have dwelt over losses, pondering the what-ifs and but-fors. Fact was, the team just wasn't good to win all those matches that it lost. A good team wins despite the what-ifs and but-fors. For all the things that we keep track of that didn't go right and think may have resulted in a win if they had indeed gone right, there are always, over time, an equal number of things that go right that we conveniently discount. This Aussie team is good yes, but stats don't lie ever, and the truth is, they have lost all of these matches over a period of 2 years now. It is going to take a lot of concerted effort to become world beaters again. The only thing we know for a fact now is that they are capable of doing that.

  • GrindAR on August 6, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    Again, when teams travel to Australia, especially India, the touring sides had many series lost or drawn on similar grounds as Aussies are in. Probably they pay back time demands their pay back. As the media responses were at that time, it goes now as well but the receiver is different. It is part and parcel of the game, if you are capable you can create many chances to get wickets and win.

  • Sunil_Batra on August 6, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    Durham looks like more English conditions than we have seen so far. The weather has been unusually hot and given Australia a big advantage but at Durham it should be a green pitch with more swing and seam and a bit of turn for Swann but i am inclined for us to bring Bird in instead of Lyon. We have won every test at Durham and 3-0 in 3 days is now on.@JonoHakim really glad to see Khawaja look more confident against Swann and had he not got a shocking call in the first innings he would have got a big score and i liked what i saw from Warner as well. Also I wouldn't mind seeing Warner and Smith bowl more overs but this pitch might not support it.

  • pvr726 on August 6, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    Could have, Should have, Would have - but isn't... That's the current plight of Australia.

    But when the won matches there was this factor too.. the chance factor.. The glaring and glorious example was when they defeated SA (Lance Klusener committing the blunder of his life) in the worldcup semi's and went on to win the world cup.. So, to give credit only where it is due, Australia is still not up to the mark.

  • Edwards_Anderson on August 6, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    I don't think we need to change much, we were on top for most of the game and only rain took the game away from us. I would leave the batting lineup as is with the only change being Warner perhaps opening and Watson at 5 but i am not fussed if we leave that one unchanged too. Khawaja will come good for us at 3 and I think Warner will also fire for us. Bring in Bird if this is a pace pitch, Bird will come good for us. Guys like Warner, Khawaja, Smith will be the future batsman for us and will come good for us in this series.

  • Claydo78 on August 6, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    I don't want to blame shame Watson for all of Australia's problems but can anyone out tell me how he is still in the squad let alone the 11? Over the past 2 years Watson has amassed 779 runs at an avg of 24!!!! Please what cricketing nation would persevere with An Opening batter with those numbers? Both Cowan ant Hughes have more runs and they have been dropped! Please cricket Australia cut the bloke loose then maybe the poor bloke coming out at 3 isn't faced with 1 for not many all the time!

  • thejesusofcool on August 6, 2013, 15:12 GMT

    3 things they must do asap:

    Reinstate Warner & Cowan to open, use Rogers(the most exoerienced cricketer) at 3-his OT first innings shows he can attack as a number 3 if the situation merits it & put Khawaja at 5 to continue the spin learning curve he needs.

    Realise Nathan Lyon is a nice bloke, but hasn't got a killer delivery or enough other variation as well to trouble decent batsmen. How else did Swann record another five-fa on a road of a wicket & Lyon manage just one in nearly as many overs? Play Bird at C-L-S to stop up an end & maybe nick out a couple & then think O'Keefe for the return series.

    Judge which of one very average cricketer and one renowed for talent and ability, it's Smith or Watson that's contributed to this series & improved at the same time, and which of them perpetually gives off an ambience of damn the team, it's MY ego first in all they do.

    Won't guarantee regaining the Ashes, but it would make a big difference to team spirit now and in the future

  • Leggie on August 6, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    @Marc - I thought calling Aussies' 172/7 in the second innings as "back to normal" as being a little too harsh. Having thought such, I did make an effort to look at - what looked to me - a stereotype with the new-gen Aussie batters... They are all left-handers, nudgers and pushers - save for Warner who goes to attack. The strike rates of some of the new-gen lefties are as follows; Ed Cowans (41.27), Phil Hughes (53.55), Chris Rogers (51.51), Khawaja (39.64) and Shaun Marsh (41.00). Compare this to the previous generation greats of Hayden (60) and Gilchrist(82), and we see what different brand of cricket these greats played. Personally I would like to see more attacking cricket from the Aussies. The problem is that the new-gen are not playing this fearless brand of cricket anymore, and if they do try 170/7 becomes a normal :-)

  • liz1558 on August 6, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    This sounds like English football's if onlys - Waddle hitting the post, Gazza's leg being an inch too short, the injustice of Solly's disallowed goals (Even HMQ was not amused, apparently), bad luck in the lottery of penalty shoot-outs; all the little things conspiring against us and separating England from international glory. Only MC has separated Aus from 5-0 in this series, and he is the only thing that connects Aus to their glory days, in the way that Lara did for the Windies. @Vishnu27- agreed that England are not a great side, but they still convincingly beat Inda home and away. How do you account for that?

  • on August 6, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    This article is spot-on on the batting abilities of the Aussies.

    Everyone knows (including the Australian dressing room) that the weak-link lies in their batting. They never thought of strengthening their batting by adding Simon Katich (rest are retired).

    If omitting Simon Katich is purely based on the performance then it is ok, if the reason is something else, then both the Captain & the Coach failed to perform their duties.

  • whofriggincares on August 6, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    @FFL Must be a huge worry that England keep finding themselves 3 for stuff all even on "flat roads". The real story behind the game is it showed that these two teams are not that far apart. At least you stopped short of saying that Lyon didn't spin the ball, his development is coming along nicely. Yes we know Swann is better but we also know he is 10 years older and his career will be over and Lyon will have 6 years of test cricket under his belt and 5 more after that. Oh by the way where was Swann when he was 25? he had to wait 10 years after his first class debut to make it in the test arena. Oh and I notice you haven't mentioned the very prolific Al Cook in your posts lately , imagine if his run of poor form continues into the Australian leg of these test matches. It isn't great for a test teams prospects to have it's head cut off early so often. It just shows that even the truly classy players have periods where they struggle.

  • on August 6, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    Im a little sceptical of this idea that Aust have turned any corner yet. Even in this test Clarke dragged the team to a decent score with a couple of useful supporting roles from Smith and Rogers on a very very good batting wicket. My fear is that Andersen and co will get great swinging conditions in the next two test, we will see another Lords type collapse and we will be back to square one again. The revival of Aust batting will take more then one good innings.

  • on August 6, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Noone would seriously doubt that this Australian team has more potential than the last half-dozen results show. The fact of the matter remains, however, that their first-innings total of 527 was the exception, and their 2nd innings 172 for 7 was "back to normal", the particular circumstances of the match notwithstanding. If both sides play up to their potential, England may have the slight edge, but nothing that cannot be compensated by an unlucky call at the toss. So it's all nicely in the balance, excellent opportunity for sports writers to fill their pages, and amateur and professional pundits to over-analyze :-)

  • on August 6, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    I think this article is spot on. The issue for the batting is, 'Who can help the newer guys score tons?'. Clarke can do it. But without M. Hussey their isn't anybody else. That is why they should have brought back someone like Katich - someone who has score lots of tons and can inspire the others. Rogers was a nice attempt, but how can Rogers really inspire Smith? Smith has played more tests and score more Test runs. Unfortunately Watson doesn't go on with big scores and doesn't inspire the others either.

  • Vishnu27 on August 6, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    @Zak- please do tell us all who are the top 5 sides in world test match cricket? I'm intrigued with the Zak- rating system having England at 5 or 6 & Australia 6 or 7. Look forward to hearing from Zak-…..

  • Vishnu27 on August 6, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Quite a few England supporters here that seem completely incapable of registering the fact that they aren't the world beating side they apparently believe them to be. If in England, an ordinary side such as Australia can push England all the way in the opening test, then sit in the drivers seat of the past test for the whole match; what does that actually say about England? Many England supporters here (there are several objective exceptions & this is in no way directed at them) will be trotting out the usual hokum that both sides are prone to bandy about. However, England aren't as good as many in England think they are. India being the absolute exception & it was a wonderful come from behind win. Outside that, the remaining series outcomes in the last 2-2.5 years are hardly much to get carried away with. Australia has a long way to go & Old Trafford was heartening. I agree RichardG: backing up will be a true test of an improving side. I hope for no more weather affected matches :)

  • gbqdgj on August 6, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    @JamesBlond...excellent thought. I actually don't really get the clamour for a specialist spinner. I have to say, I think Smith has looked more threatening than either Agar or Lyon. At Durham, on that wicket with the usual seamer friendly conditions I reckon that bringing in Jackson Bird would be a better option for you guys. By the way, what happened to Hilfenhaus...I thought he was one of your more encouraging seamers when we toured a couple of years ago.

  • gbqdgj on August 6, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    @finncam...really? So you don't think Bell has looked the best player across all three tests so far then. Pieterson has looked scratchy at best. Swann has been outstanding as was Anderson on the first two tests (poor in the last one though) and frankly no one was ever in the class of Shane Warne...the greatest spinner, if not bowler of all time but Swann is arguably one of the best modern day orthodox spinners so your analysis is poor at best. I seriously worry for Australia at Durham because of the usual prevailing conditions...I have feeling England are going to destroy Australia there with a draw at The Oval on a relatively benign pitch.

  • on August 6, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Australian improved a lot from a series of humiliations in India,to a historic loss to New Zealand in Hobart, From 47 all out in Cape Town, they are now a excellent side now a days after darren lehmann take charge. Brad Haddin tickle away from winning at Trent Bridge, a few rainclouds from a victory push at Old Trafford. i still dont think what had happened at old trafford weather suddenly changes its a unimaginable thing for me as weather changes within few days otherwise they can win and level the series.

  • Vishnu27 on August 6, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    The usual nonsense from Front-Foot-Lunge. "Lyon…struggling to cause any alarms". Really? I must've been watching another test match. He bowled especially well in his first spell of the 2nd innings with numerous quality balls & half chances created. The remainder of that innings he bowled with control & grew as the match went on. On the whole he bowled well & without luck. Swann was handled with disdain in the 3rd innings & had little impact. The luck you mention of winning the toss, is completely applicable to Eng & the first two tests. I think Australia are now back in the contest & they know that. Several Eng players are down on form i.e Cook, Trott & Prior. Anderson bowled poorly & struggled. There must be a question mark over Bairstow's place in the team. It appears Australia have worked out how to cut off Root's runs & got him out cheaply in the 1st innings & if Clarke hadn't dropped an absolute sitter he would've gone cheaply to another fast full delivery. Roll on Durham

  • Sultan2007 on August 6, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    Australia currently reminds me of the the West Indian situation when they were transitioning from the Great Team that they had in the 1980's to when there was only Brian Lara and Shiv Chanderpaul anchoring their batting. The difference being that the Windies had an ageing Walsh and Ambrose and Australia have a battery of young fast bowlers coming through. Australia really needs to have some high impact batsmen come through. There is no batsman other than Clarke right now who looks the part in Test cricket. Sadly, there appears to be no raw batting talent seemingly on the horizon either. They really need to bite the bullet on Watson as a Test cricketer though. His bowling is not incisive. His batting as an opener is unconvincing as well. Australia have a couple of young impresive bowling all rounders . They should invest in them and solve the opening position with specialst openers

  • on August 6, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    3rd test was a motivation for Aus. After 6 straight defeat they are up for fight now.Problems are still their but the important thing is the rise and rise above hate.

  • on August 6, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    It would be of tremendous help if the yesteryear legends like langer, hayden and gilchrist spend some time with clarke and help him figure out things.! At this moment the people around him dont have very good heads on their shoulders!

  • JamesBlond on August 6, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    I think Aus have a big problem, and that is this mentality that they need a specialist spinner. Why would a specialist spinner who bats at 11, has a poor strike rate and average with the ball be keeping another strike bowler out of the side? It's lunacy! Who cares that Swann is doing well? We cannot match him, so don't try. Play to our strengths. I think Smith and Clarke bowling a bit of part time makes up for the lack of a full time spinner as Lyon is just not doing the job. You saw that in India (avg 37 really? the part timer Maxwell out-bowled you), the tour matches, and this test. Bird needs to play, end of story.

    South Africa have the same problem. Tahir (or any of their other spinners) never out-bowl the other 3 quicks, so why would you persist with them? Why not run with the extra quick who will actually take wickets? I think they have gone with a better option now in Peterson as he is at least contributing with the bat and chipping in with wickets here and there.

  • on August 6, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    I am also of the opinion that England is only as powerful, as we allow them to be. The way they buckled down here is an illustration. Even against India, they did beat India both the venues, but it was more India's weakness rather than English strengths. Even if England become no. 1, they will be miles away from the strong Australian and WI sides of yesteryear

  • cloudmess on August 6, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    Are Australia the new Pakistan? We've seen 2 distinct sides in this series so far, both the Australian side which beat India 4-0; and conversely the Australian side which lost 4-0 to India. They may have lost the Ashes for now, but that counts for little with the urn up for grabs again in just another 3 hours. If they remain focused on the job in hand and on improving their batting, then they still have an excellent chance of walking away with cricket's greatest prize by the end of this winter.

  • on August 6, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    i think clarke did best he could as a captain but in the end tough luck,,,no body can plan for the weather

  • Zak- on August 6, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    All that's happened is the Australians have exposed the over-rated English bowling. They are still a crap side with internal issues. They are still achieving through desperation rather than technical proficiency. They just have accommodating hosts. This is a series between the 5th, 6th or possibly 7th best current test sides, if we are honest. I've described it before as a couple of pensioners having a bonk - that's exactly what it is.

  • Wallruss on August 6, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    This sounds like an article about England about 12 years ago. We're really not as bad as we look, but for some reason we still keep getting beaten. I guess it's the resiliance/belief that's the difference. Any team at this level can play great cricket in patches, especially when you're in a good position as in this test. The difference is what happens when you're 30-3 - do you go on to get 300 or fold and get bowled out for 120. When you are used to losing you begin to expect to lose.

  • heathrf1974 on August 6, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    Australia with an ordinary team and England with a good team will always be a closer contest than the other way around.

  • mondotv on August 6, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    Well don't all teams rely a lot on their great players? Tendulkar, Lara and co were matchwinners for their respective countries. Warne and McGrath for Australia. Botham for England. Nevertheless a correct analysis. Australia currently sits 4th and probably won't improve much until the top order start firing and Nathan Lyon starts taking some wickets by bowling over the wicket to right handers.

  • Lmaotsetung on August 6, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    So a big knock from their captain suddenly makes Australia contenders again?

  • on August 6, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    @front-foot-lunge - "A rare flat road of a pitch". Is that why england were 3 for 37 in second innings and trailing by 180 runs in the first. Having said that, this game only shows how much influence clarke has on the australians and how much they need him to score big.

  • on August 6, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Warner should open.. Watson should play at 6.. Watson has failed for the 7th test in a row.. Very unfair to the other players.. Hughes was given 2 tests.. He made 89 in one of the four innings.. Cowan was given just one test.. Watson is not the most special player in the world.. He has 2 centuries in about 81 innings.. If he were an Indian or an Englishman his career would have been over 4 years ago at least..

  • on August 6, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    @GeoffreysMother, I think thats right. We have some good old heads in the team in the likes of Clarke and Siddle, who will both be around for a good while yet, we just need to keep building around them while continuing to put the likes of Harris, Rogers and Haddin to good use.

  • on August 6, 2013, 5:37 GMT

    @2MikeGattings, it has been the problem for 3 years now at least! Ever since Kat was dropped and Punter lost form our top 3 has struggled. Still, I was heartened to see Khawaja's more aggressive approach against Swann in the second innings here, he looked quite good once he started using his feet, far better than his prod and poke method at Lords. I just think our top order guys need a way to get on top of the spinners, providing they get through the new ball they look pretty good until the spinners come on. Warner is definitely on the improve on this front and I'd like to think Rogers is better against spin than some of his dismissals have shown so far in this series. Anyway, we have two matches now to sort out a game plan for him before we start afresh at 0-0 in Brisbane! Getting on top of Swann should be our no.1 goal because we won't be using the duke in Aus and I think England will be relying very heavily on him to take wickets consistently.

  • on August 6, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    This Australian squad mirrors the one of late 70s, early 80s in many ways. That one had a great batsman and inspirational leader in Border who had the task of rebuilding after a successful run in the 70s, before the disruption of World Series Cricket. Border was "supported" by a few half-decent, though often underperforming bastmen in Hughes, Yallop, Wood, Hilditch, Whatmore, Dyson. There were some reasonable bowlers in Hogg, Dymock, Hurst, Yardley and Higgs then Lillee, Alderman, Whitney and Lawson.

    Clarke is in the process of proving his greatness and inspiration as a leader, still a little way to go on that. There are some promising but as yet underperforming batsmen and at least our bowlers are proving their worth. It took Border many years to rebuild the foundations of what became a great team. Let's hope it takes Clarke less time this time.

  • Andre117 on August 6, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    Before the Ashes I supported England but that time-wasting has really put me off them like time-wasting done by Sri Lanka in the 2nd ODI. Teams should be penalized for that as they give the game and their team a bad name.

  • PrasPunter on August 6, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Having watched the last day getting washed out, nothing but a deep sense of frustration and void prevail in the minds of Aussies !! What if Haddin had not nicked it at TB ? What if they had not used up the reviews at TB ? What if they had reviewed KP's lbw at the OT ? Unfortunately, reality is different and it reads as 2-0 and Eng has retained the Ashes !! So near yet so far for us !!

  • ReverseSweepIndia on August 6, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    I do not see any light of revival. Batting as always (after retirement of greats), relies on Clark, if he goes early there goes the test match. Even the bowling, though very good right now, is riding on old horse Harris. Some of the upcoming bowlers though highly promising, but remain out more injured than even Zaheer Khan and spin, lets not talk about it. Problem is in a test lineup you need robust batsmen with 1-2 flashy players. So you can have either of opener as flashy and a number 6, but rest of them need to be technical correct grinders like Kallis, Dravid, Cook, Trott. In new upcoming players Eng has Root (rest settled except #6), we have Pujara, Kohli (rest yet to be seen against wolves in SA), Pak has Azhar what Aus have is Hughes, Watto, Warner. Usman is good but do he get hi chances? A strong Aus and strong Eng is what makes Ashes interesting. Thats why 2005 was epic because Aus was strong and Eng raised their game. Raise? Yes thats what Aussie can do now.

  • JOHN65 on August 6, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    please forward my comments to aus captain clarke. a few more overs to siddle could have changed the whole senario plus a little more early declaration. siddle should have opened the bowling along with harris. aus batsmen should show more fire power john thomas

  • humdrum on August 6, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    There will be a feeling of dissapointment for sure,at rain thwarting their chances,but the positives by far outweigh the negatives taken from this test.The confidence of the batters who got good scores would surely rub off on the likes of watson and warner,and the fast bowlers look in fine fettle. The only point will be the surprising failure of lyon.The catching in the slips leaves much to be desired,with cook and root both being the beneficaries of clarke's generosity. As for england.their weaknesses in the form of an inadequate bowling attack and negative mindset are there for all to see and won't be lost on the aussie coach.Wonder how the english will tackle these.On to chester-le-street.

  • saikarthikg on August 6, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    An australian team I think that can make a huge difference -

    Batsmen + WKeeper- Rogers, Cowan, Warner, Clarke, Khawaja, Smith, Haddin

    Bowlers- Siddle, Harris, Starc, Lyon

    Take Shane Watson for now and let him score some big hundreds at Shield... Let Pattinson come back and add more vigor to the bowling line up... Let Agar develop more into a bowler...

    Warner attracted all the eyes, but, Maxwell had a century too in that SA a game... Try him out once...

    Wouldn't agree if somebody says that there are no options...

  • PrasPunter on August 6, 2013, 4:02 GMT

    I still see a few flaws with bowling - allowing SA to escape with a draw in Adelaide , allowing the lead to extend to 310 from just 150+ with 6 down at TB, 28-3 and 30-3 to 361 and 347 at Lords, 68-3 to 368 at OT . Wondering why we have not been able to finish things off. May be a change in tactics , may be a more attacking mindset ???

  • tanstell87 on August 6, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    Indian fan here....i have been fan of Jackson Bird's bowling since he made his debut against Sri Lanka....want him to play 4th test...common Australia play Bird !!!

  • Moppa on August 6, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    Nice article but, gee, "settling on a batting order"... easier said than done. Though I like the idea of Warner at 6, he's suspect to Swann coming in down the order. Does Shane Watson have any chances at Test level left? Could one really commit to Khawaja at three for, let's say, the next two Tests and the first two in Australia based on what we've seen so far? Smith should have been out two or three times before he reached 30 at Old Trafford and his best day with the bat was the first of the series. Depending on circumstances, one could still argue for Clarke at 4 or 5, though obviously he has broken the 4 bogey in this match. And if Watson goes I think you can make a decent argument for Faulkner to come in at 7 for the next match. I could be convinced of any of these combos for Durham: Watson/Cowan, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Warner, Haddin, Faulkner; Warner, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Faulkner; Watson/Cowan, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Smith, Warner, Haddin.

  • Crowndog on August 6, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    RichardG, you could also argue England were a Stuart Broad wicket away from being beaten as well perhaps?? It doesn't change the result.

  • wellrounded87 on August 6, 2013, 3:18 GMT

    I think this test showed Agar is worth persisting with. Lyon was unthreatening most of the time. He had one spell where he looked to trouble the english batsmen in the first session of Englands first innings. After that as the pitch became more spin friendly he looked more timid and became a target for the english batsmen. Pieterson in particular. I say either go with Agar at Durham or a maybe bring in Bird/Sayers using Smith/Clark/Warner as part timers.

  • Thegimp on August 6, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    We are the West Indies of the late 90s & early 00s, heavily reliant on Lara in the batting and with a bowling attack which will roll sides when conditions suit but not dominate. We will have games which will give us hope only to be crushed at the turn.

    I'm afraid we are in for some pain, and rightfully so. Without nearly a billion cricket fanatical people from which to chose which has maitained and refreshed India over the years and will continue to do so, without the disciplin which has leaked from our domestic comp which has propped up SA and Eng we will languish in the middle of the rankings for some years, until this group either harden to this level or be replaced by the next group coming through minus the scars that this team will carry.

    My only concern is why isn't CA paying Rod Marsh what ever he wants to come back and lead the academy? Is it a coincidence that an institution he started lead to Australia's dominance and that 10 years ago he started the English academy?

  • LoungeChairCritic on August 6, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    @front-foot-lunge. You crack me up. Did England win the first 2 test matches because Cook won the toss? Batting 1st has been an advantage in each of the previous two test matches. I think the weather and Cooks defensive tactic's were probably the two biggest factors behind the game being a draw. England is a good team but a long long long way from being a great team. I suppose South Africa's tour of England last year and England's tour of New Zealand this year confirmed that one. Great teams back themselves all the time and go for victories from impossible situations. Australia of the 90s and early 2000's would never shut up shop after having a bad day 1. It takes character and guts to go for the win when there is potential to lose the game. Great sides chase 350 to 400 on a wearing day 5 pitch even though there is a higher probability of them losing. Cook is a good captain (he proved that in India), but I don't think he has it in him to make this English team a great one.

  • OneEyedAussie on August 6, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    If the selectors continue with guys like Warner, Hughes, Smith, Wade, Lyon and Khawaja then this team will continue to be a "team of the future" for the next 2-3 years until this group transitions into their prime. It has to be expected that the aforementioned will put in some low-grade performances from time to time.

  • on August 6, 2013, 1:45 GMT

    Watson is a walking wicket wherever he bats at the moment... Batting him at 6 at least means Swann has right handers from 4-7 to bowl at and means the leftys will face the quicks, otherwise i fail to see how he is better than warner, Hughes or Cowan at opening at the moment

  • on August 6, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    Good article But point here is England did not play as projected that they are going to Thrash Australia. Even before the series every body knows this Australia team is comparatively weaker. Still they came closer in the first test and this test even though drawn Aussie was on upper hand So let us cheer Australia.

  • on August 6, 2013, 0:46 GMT

    For example , I watched Nathan Lyons LUCKLESS bowling at Manchester, on another day, he could have ended up with a hatful of wickets, but it was not to be.

  • on August 6, 2013, 0:42 GMT

    This article is confusing and full of contradictions. On one hand, the writer is trying to say that the team isn't as bad as everyone says they are but on the other hand, the writer is also saying that the team sucks apart from Michael Clarke. One person doesn't make a team so to say that Australia shows their true colours because of this test is very misleading. In this game, of the 699 runs that were scored, Clarke was batting during 418 of these runs. The same is the case for two examples provided against South Africa. In the first test, Clarke was batting for 525 runs of the 565 runs scored. In the second test, Clarke was batting for 521 runs of the 817 scored. The same can be said of the India series. The point that I am trying to make out of all of this is that this entire series has been a reflection of Australia's 'true colours' where they can only be competitive if Clarke scores runs. The article should be renamed to 'Clarke shows his truer colours'.

  • obstreperous on August 6, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    Bryon Coverdale's quest for journalistic poise has got the better of his judgment here. Australia really are '2-1 good'. They were within 14 runs of victory in the 1st Test and were robbed of victory in the 3rd by rain and over-cautious umpiring. Only Lord's went according to the standard assessment of this team. That said, the absence of a decent number 3 seems to be Australia's chief deficiency.

  • LoungeChairCritic on August 6, 2013, 0:33 GMT

    I was proud of the way the Oz team responded this test. When you consider that the poms will keep on delivering dry pitches, our batting order in the second innings seemed to be more balanced. Swann on these pitches is our biggest threat and having 3 lefties up front followed by 4 right handers helps diminish his influence. I hope CA does not follow the example set by English curators. The hot English summer excuse does not sit with me. How can Old Trafford be as dry as bone on day 1 after it rained for a week prior to the test match? I am proud that our pitches have their own characteristic's that have been similar for many a year. Although England have retained the ashes it is vital that we lay the platform for the return oz series in the next two tests. For us to get back in the winners circle, our top six needs to click and we need to bowl as a unit. As a bowling attack you need to work as a group so pressure can be maintained.

  • IAS2009 on August 6, 2013, 0:32 GMT

    Aussies have played poorly only in 2nd test, they played well in first and should have won the 3rd. Aussies batting is still not test standard, if you take Clarke bi inning no one else really can do it. England have batting depth better than Aussies, flat pitch in coming games is quite possible, ECB don;t want to loose revenues in 4 days test match. England is not ruthless like Aussies when they were winning, Cook is caution captain, he needs to be more aggressive.

  • BigDataIsAHoax on August 6, 2013, 0:15 GMT

    I hope Joe Root scores some runs and keeps his position as an opener. That will be terrific for Australia in the return Ashes. You always want a free wicket at the top of the order and Root is one for sure. What a MISERABLE EXCUSE for an opening batsman he is! I cannot remember a single occasion when he moved his left leg forward to the pitch of the ball. I would much rather watch a "Boxer" open the batting than a Root.

  • on August 6, 2013, 0:09 GMT

    Ten years from now, it would be so hard for anyone who reads the scoreline (as it stands now) to realise that the scoreline could have so easily have been 2-1 to australia at this juncture. Well there is no place for 'ifs' and 'would have beens' in this game. If anything, England has and still looks stronger.

  • on August 6, 2013, 0:04 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 ration 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.

  • Paul_Somerset on August 6, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    Coverdale is deluding himself as much as Clarke if he believes the gap between England's and Australia's bowling is "minimal". The gap in spin bowling between Swann and Lyon or Swann and Agar is so vast that Australia is essentially playing with 10 men. And playing every game with 10 men makes winning a 5-match series impossible.

  • on August 5, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    Clarke can't keep scoring hundreds on his own, although he occasionally does have support around him.

  • cricket_ahan on August 5, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    @RichardG: Spot on! Trent Bridge was close, but in my opinion, the difference was Ashton Agar and a few hours of reckless bowling by England. So really, I struggle to give Australia much credit there - if not for one man, the rest of the team still failed miserably. This Manchester test was different though, and it needed Clarke to step up and lead the way with the bat (it helped to win the toss too!). To your point about backing up, hopefully the batsmen will play a little more freely and relaxed knowing the last few tests of this series have no bearing on the current holding of the urn. Would love to see guys like Khawaja break the shackles and really make a good score.

  • samincolumbia on August 5, 2013, 23:04 GMT

    @Front Foot Lunge - What should worry you and the english fans is that England could not even reach 400 on this rare flat road as you put it. That they even managed 368 is due to KP scoring a century and the home grown guys running out of luck.

  • MinusZero on August 5, 2013, 22:49 GMT

    Watson should go, fly Maddinson over there, he was in great form for Australia A. Actual form, not just one good innings and calling that form.

  • on August 5, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    Yeah, that's hilarious Front Foot Lunge. If all it takes for England to look so brittle is a non-doctored pitch and losing the toss, we can safely say they've been hugely overrated.

  • on August 5, 2013, 22:21 GMT

    England is best team on top know, but why they don't keep same team in oneday,t20 kp is best player for odi ,t20. ausies play good last test .

  • on August 5, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    this is the worst australian team in a long long time. full stop.

  • Matt. on August 5, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    I am heartened by this Australian performance, however the conditions suited Australia down to the ground. It's surprising how toothless the England bowling attack become when they can't find movement, but it is rare they can't find it. I fear that in the next test, when England will most certainly swing the ball, the Australian batting will collapse as usual. That's my pessimism/realism speaking, my optimism hopes a switch has flicked within the Australian batsmen and they have regained their confidence.

  • finncam on August 5, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    Despite some fascinating moments in these three matches, not the least from DRS controversies, I've been underwhelmed by this talked-up England team. Australia have been woeful - not unexpected, regardless of Boof - but England have looked ordinary much of the time. None of their batsmen look in the class of Clarke, except Pieterson; Anderson and Swann are good, but hardly riveting in the tradition of great Ashes bowling. The fact that England didn't walk all over Oz in all three tests just shows how unspectacular they really are. And don't blame the DRS and umpires for that - umpiring errors have always been with us. A poor team with a few good players playing a solid, workmanlike one.

  • blitzNM on August 5, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    batting order - watson & warner shud play gambhir-sehwag respectively. i wud prefer watson as gambhir due to lack of form. rogers will play as dravid. clarke ofcourse tendulkar. smith will play the role of laxman. & then khawaja, haddin & bowlers.

  • Batmanindallas on August 5, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    Aussies are a middling team and the results are just about right. Too many average players with only Clark being the only batsmen who could get selected for another team say an England or SA or even India. Look at SA or England they have more than a few world class players in their teams

  • landl47 on August 5, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    Aus played well in the third test and if everyone's fit I expect them to play well in Durham. The Oval might be a different story, since the wicket usually take spin and I think they'll have trouble with Swann there. Chester-Le-Street usually offers more to the seamers and Siddle and Harris have shown that on a wicket which offers them a little help they're a handful.

    England are going to have to think long and hard about the bowling attack they take to Australia. There will be no spinning tracks there for Swann to exploit and pace and lift will be essential. Finn, Tremlett and Rankin must all come into the reckoning.

  • on August 5, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    mcgrath 5wkt hauls, warnie bowling on roughs, the dawn of gilly and hyden, sensation of mr. cricket-this was what aus were having in recent past. what else could be more formidable if u lose these legends. In these abject conditions u want to abjure drs u want to keep your triumph in abeyance, u pray for aberrant weather, u taunt abysmal behaviour of Broad, u start losing the acumen of cricket, u criticise opponents absconded. But being an australian u adamant to accept these miserable defeats. And when u have the accolade of 'ruling the world of cricket' for almost two decades, this is bound to happen as a natural process. But aus instead of beating about the bush should think of how they can wield to attain their pride back. Every dawn has a set.. but after set there is always another dawn. And aus should seek for this 'dawn'.

  • ipkiss on August 5, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    What weak analysis. "Australia didn't score runs and they didn't take wickets so they lost." Can anybody in this business do any analysis that is a little more in-depth than this? I bet a computer program with the game score could throw in a bunch of cliches and come up with the articles that appear on this site.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 5, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    Before the series started Boof identified lack of 100's from the top order as the problem. It still is.

    Morale in the squad seems high, but the sequence of defeats must eventually take a toll. There will be some players who never make it back into the side.

  • fahad_pakistani on August 5, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    England is not the kind of ruthless and blood thirsty team to win 4-0. Yes they r a good team but v shud also remember they lost to pakistan 3-0. Its just a case of putting a few things against england like pitch etc nd they crumble. Cook seems to be a soft captain, more in a strauss mode. He shud model himself along the lines a nasser hussain. He seems to not hav the "quality" that a captain possesses. The qualtiy of being a genuine no-nonsense leader. Great captains like imran kham, both chappels, allan border and steve waugh possessed this dictator-like qualtiy. Cook eminently duznt

  • on August 5, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Well imagine if Australia had won the match today, the series would have become even more interesting. Great comeback by the Aussies! Hope they can start the next Ashes series in the same way :)

  • arvind9990 on August 5, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    yup article is saying the truth. after 2008 ashes first time they showed to us why we all love them . its important for cricket if teams could"t show true colors then cricket will be finish as soon . after saw first test match i realized that they are back despite they lost the match but its not matter for true cricket fans. life shows you true colors when you not doing well but it also taught you how to overcome . best of luck guys for rest of the series :)

  • GeoffreysMother on August 5, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    A very good analysis, and as a Pom, I tend to agree. Australia are an improving package. Despite the hype surrounding Pattinson (who will be good); it is Siddle and Harris that have caused most problems. Here Rogers and Haddin have made significant contributions. The Australian management , if not the public and some of the press and corporate men, have started building around the 'best we have' rather than looking for the new McGrath and the new Hayden. Players like Smith, Khawaja and Warner can learn their cricket in this supportive atmosphere, and Warner looks as if he has learnt to laugh at himself with grace rather than scowl at everyone else. The team will be best served by more articles like this from its journalists and ex pro's than those who play the 'best ever team'/worst ever team' approach to get a few cheap column inches.

  • on August 5, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    Warner should comeback to the team. He can do what Sehwag used to do for India or may be better. People need to trust him. This batting lineup cant threaten the opposition team. One need to imagine what kind of destruction watson and warner are capable of doing in a session. I am not writing aussies off yet. Warner and watto followed by Clarke and smith can bring nightmares to the opposition bowlers.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 5, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    A rare flat road of a pitch to ensure the match went five days. That, and the luck of winning the toss, was the real story behind Australia game here. The funny thing is Swann managed to rip it square on that pitch on day one, by Days 3 & 4 Lyon was still wicketless and struggling to cause any alarms.

  • RichardG on August 5, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    "On this trip, they were a Brad Haddin tickle away from winning at Trent Bridge"

    Not quite. They were a Brad Haddin tickle and another 14 excrutiating, hard-fought runs away from victory. There's nothing to say they would have got them. You could also add that Australia were a Ashton Agar stumping away from an absolute thrashing at Trent Bridge too.

    That said, it was good to see Australia improve so much at Old Trafford. The true test is if they follow it up though. England were always capable of the odd great performance in the 1990s. We would just very rarely put two together.

  • RichardG on August 5, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    "On this trip, they were a Brad Haddin tickle away from winning at Trent Bridge"

    Not quite. They were a Brad Haddin tickle and another 14 excrutiating, hard-fought runs away from victory. There's nothing to say they would have got them. You could also add that Australia were a Ashton Agar stumping away from an absolute thrashing at Trent Bridge too.

    That said, it was good to see Australia improve so much at Old Trafford. The true test is if they follow it up though. England were always capable of the odd great performance in the 1990s. We would just very rarely put two together.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 5, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    A rare flat road of a pitch to ensure the match went five days. That, and the luck of winning the toss, was the real story behind Australia game here. The funny thing is Swann managed to rip it square on that pitch on day one, by Days 3 & 4 Lyon was still wicketless and struggling to cause any alarms.

  • on August 5, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    Warner should comeback to the team. He can do what Sehwag used to do for India or may be better. People need to trust him. This batting lineup cant threaten the opposition team. One need to imagine what kind of destruction watson and warner are capable of doing in a session. I am not writing aussies off yet. Warner and watto followed by Clarke and smith can bring nightmares to the opposition bowlers.

  • GeoffreysMother on August 5, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    A very good analysis, and as a Pom, I tend to agree. Australia are an improving package. Despite the hype surrounding Pattinson (who will be good); it is Siddle and Harris that have caused most problems. Here Rogers and Haddin have made significant contributions. The Australian management , if not the public and some of the press and corporate men, have started building around the 'best we have' rather than looking for the new McGrath and the new Hayden. Players like Smith, Khawaja and Warner can learn their cricket in this supportive atmosphere, and Warner looks as if he has learnt to laugh at himself with grace rather than scowl at everyone else. The team will be best served by more articles like this from its journalists and ex pro's than those who play the 'best ever team'/worst ever team' approach to get a few cheap column inches.

  • arvind9990 on August 5, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    yup article is saying the truth. after 2008 ashes first time they showed to us why we all love them . its important for cricket if teams could"t show true colors then cricket will be finish as soon . after saw first test match i realized that they are back despite they lost the match but its not matter for true cricket fans. life shows you true colors when you not doing well but it also taught you how to overcome . best of luck guys for rest of the series :)

  • on August 5, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Well imagine if Australia had won the match today, the series would have become even more interesting. Great comeback by the Aussies! Hope they can start the next Ashes series in the same way :)

  • fahad_pakistani on August 5, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    England is not the kind of ruthless and blood thirsty team to win 4-0. Yes they r a good team but v shud also remember they lost to pakistan 3-0. Its just a case of putting a few things against england like pitch etc nd they crumble. Cook seems to be a soft captain, more in a strauss mode. He shud model himself along the lines a nasser hussain. He seems to not hav the "quality" that a captain possesses. The qualtiy of being a genuine no-nonsense leader. Great captains like imran kham, both chappels, allan border and steve waugh possessed this dictator-like qualtiy. Cook eminently duznt

  • 2MikeGattings on August 5, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    Before the series started Boof identified lack of 100's from the top order as the problem. It still is.

    Morale in the squad seems high, but the sequence of defeats must eventually take a toll. There will be some players who never make it back into the side.

  • ipkiss on August 5, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    What weak analysis. "Australia didn't score runs and they didn't take wickets so they lost." Can anybody in this business do any analysis that is a little more in-depth than this? I bet a computer program with the game score could throw in a bunch of cliches and come up with the articles that appear on this site.

  • on August 5, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    mcgrath 5wkt hauls, warnie bowling on roughs, the dawn of gilly and hyden, sensation of mr. cricket-this was what aus were having in recent past. what else could be more formidable if u lose these legends. In these abject conditions u want to abjure drs u want to keep your triumph in abeyance, u pray for aberrant weather, u taunt abysmal behaviour of Broad, u start losing the acumen of cricket, u criticise opponents absconded. But being an australian u adamant to accept these miserable defeats. And when u have the accolade of 'ruling the world of cricket' for almost two decades, this is bound to happen as a natural process. But aus instead of beating about the bush should think of how they can wield to attain their pride back. Every dawn has a set.. but after set there is always another dawn. And aus should seek for this 'dawn'.