England v Australia, 4th Investec Test, Durham, 4th day August 12, 2013

Australia's roadrunner out of reach

Australia have got close to England a few times in the series only to be unable to quite catch them and when they have let chances slip they have done so in style
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Wile E. Coyote spent his entire cartoon life thinking he would catch the roadrunner. On so many occasions he thought he had his dinner, only to end up falling off a cliff, getting caught in his own trap, being outsmarted or just blowing himself up.

Australia put England in an innings-long chokehold to gain the momentum. And then give it away with a bad collapse in their innings. Snap. Australia take three quick wickets to take charge of the match. And then can't stop Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell. Beep, beep. Australia take Bell and Matt Prior in two balls to keep the total chasable. And then England's tail mock them. Thud. Australia start their innings like the total of 299 is easy. And then they lose one wicket. Bam.

Other than routinely giving away good positions, Australia have done nothing consistently. Even their two collapses in this Test weren't consistent. One was half hearted after trying very hard to get a lead. The other was whole and complete. They stepped into the doom entirely, even before the clouds came over.

There are things they cannot be blamed for. Bell is better than them. Stuart Broad has those Tests. England are more professional. England have better players. England have a coach they're used to. England are playing at home. England are the better side.

But Australia are now 3-0 down from four Tests. In three of those Tests they have had chances. One was denied by weather, and KP. The other two they combined their worst with some of England's best. As far as losers go, they've been good ones. But losers just the same.

Ryan Harris probably doesn't deserve to be thought of as a loser. When in two years time he can't walk without wincing, it'll be because of days like today when he had to do the entirety of the world. As Tim Bresnan slogged him you could hear the fluid in his knee joints boil.

Peter Siddle was the batsman who offered the final catch as the dark clouds hovered above Lumley castle. In Ashes cricket he's taken hat tricks, large hauls, and put every single vital organ on the line Test after Test. For his trouble he's lost three Ashes series. Nathan Lyon, the spinner that nobody wanted, took seven wickets. Shane Watson came in at No. 6, a position he would have found unpalatable a few weeks ago, and played his best Test innings since he was at the Wanderers in 2011.

Even the accidental opening partnership did well. A player that Australia ignored because they always assumed they could find someone better, and the other who almost missed the entire tour for being an idiot. They batted in such a way that Australia believed they could finally catch England. David Warner proved again that when his head is still, and he wants to use it, he can score runs at important times. Chris Rogers hang on to the side of the boat for both innings, but no matter how many times England tried to force him off, he clung on.

But that's all Australia have been this Test, this series and of recent times, a team that can cling onto the edge and wait for the other team to break their fingers so they fall off. And when Australia fall, they fall. Today they fell so quickly it was impossible to distinguish each body from the next.

Had they been beaten by a truly great team, or even a team playing at their very best, they could draw something from that. This is not the case. England can only get better. Australia are two injuries to Harris and Clarke away from being a club side with grand ambitions. If Tony Hill and Aleem Dar could see Australia's future, they'd take them off the field for being too dark.

They will continue to fight, win the odd moral battle, have some great individual performances, and even steal the odd Test.

They can see the roadrunner, but he's just better than them, and despite the odd good sign, they might not catch it for a long time.

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | August 13, 2013, 1:11 GMT

    The sad thing about Aus at the moment is that the light at the end of the tunnel is a train heading towards them. Ryan Harris was MAGNIFICENT, and I use capitals advisedly, in this test. The bowling spells last evening and with the new ball today were among the best I have ever seen for sustained and well-directed hostility. He deserved every wicket. But he's 34 in a few weeks and with his fitness history, how much longer has he got?

    Clarke is now 32. He's a great batsman, but he has a bad back. He also has a record of W. 12, D. 6, L.10 as a captain and 4 of those losses have been to England. He looks drained. How much longer has he got?

    Rogers and Haddin are 35. Siddle is the only reliable bowler under 30. The brave new world of young Aus pacemen hasn't materialized. The young batsmen are Hughes, Smith and Khawaja. Who is on the horizon- Maddinson, maybe?

    When Clarke, Harris, Rogers and Haddin are gone, who's left? The train is getting very close.

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    In 2005 England beat a very good Australian side in a really tight series, but we knew many of their best players would retire in the next couple of years.

    This time England have beaten an average Australian side 3-0 and again their best players will be heading towards retirement over the next couple of years.

    Australia really need to unearth some major talent. The talent pool has already shrunk, been tainted by good quality batsmen being drawn to the short game, and looks to be shrinking further in the next 2-3 years.

  • POSTED BY Rowayton on | August 14, 2013, 4:45 GMT

    The thing is, if you look at career averages, the current Australian team probably are the best batsmen in the country, excluding the old age pensioners like Katch and David Hussey (whether they should be excluded is another thing). Some people have been pressing the claims of such as - Shaun Marsh, average after 79 games 35, Ferguson about the same number of games (half in Adelaide) 36, Forrest 31, Finch 29. Compare this to the good old days when over a career Jamie Cox averaged 42, Siddons 45, Love and Law about 50 each, and those 4 gentlemen played a total of 6 tests between them. Not sure why this has happened, but I have no expectation that the players outside the Australian team are any better than those in it. Maddinson might be OK, but I'd like to see him score big consistently, not just occasionally. Same with Burns. Oh, and Cosgrove maybe.

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    England has what Australia had in its dominant years-hunger.As a fan of Australia you had the hope that Australia will turn this game on its.Same can be done for England today.Matches are won by hunger,fight and skill.

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | August 13, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    Henrik Loven hit the nail on the head. We are expecting every player to come into the side and straight away replace Hayden, Ponting and Gilchrist and average 45. This is not going to happen.

    We have to develop what we have and then we might actually end up with a decent team.

    Hughes is case-in-point. Scored lots of runs in lead up games and fought hard under pressure to play an excellent match changing innings. But because he didn't dominate the next test too, he got dropped! If we stuck with him he may well have played more fighting innings like that one which is exactly what the team needs! So why was he dropped?

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    @SamRoy " if you take out Bell's performance Australia have done better than them in every test except the 2nd test." did you think what you were typing there or is putting random words together a hobby of yours? It's 3 - 0 mate. If Bell hadn't have done this and if Australia had've done that blah blah blah. If England weren't so much better than Australia then Australia would have won comfortably fairdinkum.

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | August 13, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    Young players on the fringes of the test team need to be given central contracts. They need the security of a regular income if they are to tough it out in the Sheffield Shield and not move over to t20.

    Say what you like about him but when Phil Hughes was dropped from the test team he abandoned t20 to go and work on his test game. But how many young players are willing to do that? Maddinson?

    T20 players do not need any more financial support than they already get and should not be given central contracts. Until this is changed then our test team will continue to struggle, our best talent will go to t20.

  • POSTED BY avinashpawan on | August 13, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    first of all, get rid of shane watson. If you need a batsman who can bowl at fair speed. then try moises henriques. he is young, talented. Watson has a clear lack of temprament needed for test. Have lyon for evey test from now on. Bring back pat cummins. he has abillity and we have seen that against india and south africa. give lehmann more time. he is passionate and skillful cricketer who would be a good coach. Haddin has not live up to the chances he has been offered. I don't know what wrong was with Wade's batting. I think Khwaja is unlucky the way he gets out.

  • POSTED BY Jagdish3k on | August 13, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    Winning is a habit, so is loosing. Australia is going through identity crisis. Their captain does not believe players i.e. openers, Spinner & bowlers. They keep on experimenting with their playing eleven.The players don't believe their captain. They have just lost the belief to win. If you see this Ashes , England have not been splendid. But they have shown the fight when down. Australia, on the other hand have always wilted when put under pressure.Australia need calm approach and steady selection and they should think in direction of building the team rather than being unrealistic and make hasty decisions.

  • POSTED BY RichardG on | August 13, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    "Australia are two injuries to Harris and Clarke away from being a club side with grand ambitions."

    This is a very pertinent point and the most worrying for Australia. For my money, Australia's best five players in this series have been Clarke (back made out of balsa wood), Harris (knees held together with Gloy gum), Rogers (aged 35), Haddin (ditto) and Siddle. All five may be about for the next Ashes battle in England in two years' time, but it would take a brave man to put any money on that. England, of course, have question marks over the successors of Swann and Pietersen, but the former has just had an operation which he thinks will prolong his career, and the latter has only just turned 33 and wants records. Both will no doubt be eyeing 2015.

    As for this winter, I think the wickets in Australia will suit England's batsmen. Trott, KP, Bairstow and Prior tend to like fast, bouncy wickets. We haven't seen many in England. If England win an early test, it could be ugly for Australia

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | August 13, 2013, 1:11 GMT

    The sad thing about Aus at the moment is that the light at the end of the tunnel is a train heading towards them. Ryan Harris was MAGNIFICENT, and I use capitals advisedly, in this test. The bowling spells last evening and with the new ball today were among the best I have ever seen for sustained and well-directed hostility. He deserved every wicket. But he's 34 in a few weeks and with his fitness history, how much longer has he got?

    Clarke is now 32. He's a great batsman, but he has a bad back. He also has a record of W. 12, D. 6, L.10 as a captain and 4 of those losses have been to England. He looks drained. How much longer has he got?

    Rogers and Haddin are 35. Siddle is the only reliable bowler under 30. The brave new world of young Aus pacemen hasn't materialized. The young batsmen are Hughes, Smith and Khawaja. Who is on the horizon- Maddinson, maybe?

    When Clarke, Harris, Rogers and Haddin are gone, who's left? The train is getting very close.

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    In 2005 England beat a very good Australian side in a really tight series, but we knew many of their best players would retire in the next couple of years.

    This time England have beaten an average Australian side 3-0 and again their best players will be heading towards retirement over the next couple of years.

    Australia really need to unearth some major talent. The talent pool has already shrunk, been tainted by good quality batsmen being drawn to the short game, and looks to be shrinking further in the next 2-3 years.

  • POSTED BY Rowayton on | August 14, 2013, 4:45 GMT

    The thing is, if you look at career averages, the current Australian team probably are the best batsmen in the country, excluding the old age pensioners like Katch and David Hussey (whether they should be excluded is another thing). Some people have been pressing the claims of such as - Shaun Marsh, average after 79 games 35, Ferguson about the same number of games (half in Adelaide) 36, Forrest 31, Finch 29. Compare this to the good old days when over a career Jamie Cox averaged 42, Siddons 45, Love and Law about 50 each, and those 4 gentlemen played a total of 6 tests between them. Not sure why this has happened, but I have no expectation that the players outside the Australian team are any better than those in it. Maddinson might be OK, but I'd like to see him score big consistently, not just occasionally. Same with Burns. Oh, and Cosgrove maybe.

  • POSTED BY on | August 14, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    England has what Australia had in its dominant years-hunger.As a fan of Australia you had the hope that Australia will turn this game on its.Same can be done for England today.Matches are won by hunger,fight and skill.

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | August 13, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    Henrik Loven hit the nail on the head. We are expecting every player to come into the side and straight away replace Hayden, Ponting and Gilchrist and average 45. This is not going to happen.

    We have to develop what we have and then we might actually end up with a decent team.

    Hughes is case-in-point. Scored lots of runs in lead up games and fought hard under pressure to play an excellent match changing innings. But because he didn't dominate the next test too, he got dropped! If we stuck with him he may well have played more fighting innings like that one which is exactly what the team needs! So why was he dropped?

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    @SamRoy " if you take out Bell's performance Australia have done better than them in every test except the 2nd test." did you think what you were typing there or is putting random words together a hobby of yours? It's 3 - 0 mate. If Bell hadn't have done this and if Australia had've done that blah blah blah. If England weren't so much better than Australia then Australia would have won comfortably fairdinkum.

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | August 13, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    Young players on the fringes of the test team need to be given central contracts. They need the security of a regular income if they are to tough it out in the Sheffield Shield and not move over to t20.

    Say what you like about him but when Phil Hughes was dropped from the test team he abandoned t20 to go and work on his test game. But how many young players are willing to do that? Maddinson?

    T20 players do not need any more financial support than they already get and should not be given central contracts. Until this is changed then our test team will continue to struggle, our best talent will go to t20.

  • POSTED BY avinashpawan on | August 13, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    first of all, get rid of shane watson. If you need a batsman who can bowl at fair speed. then try moises henriques. he is young, talented. Watson has a clear lack of temprament needed for test. Have lyon for evey test from now on. Bring back pat cummins. he has abillity and we have seen that against india and south africa. give lehmann more time. he is passionate and skillful cricketer who would be a good coach. Haddin has not live up to the chances he has been offered. I don't know what wrong was with Wade's batting. I think Khwaja is unlucky the way he gets out.

  • POSTED BY Jagdish3k on | August 13, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    Winning is a habit, so is loosing. Australia is going through identity crisis. Their captain does not believe players i.e. openers, Spinner & bowlers. They keep on experimenting with their playing eleven.The players don't believe their captain. They have just lost the belief to win. If you see this Ashes , England have not been splendid. But they have shown the fight when down. Australia, on the other hand have always wilted when put under pressure.Australia need calm approach and steady selection and they should think in direction of building the team rather than being unrealistic and make hasty decisions.

  • POSTED BY RichardG on | August 13, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    "Australia are two injuries to Harris and Clarke away from being a club side with grand ambitions."

    This is a very pertinent point and the most worrying for Australia. For my money, Australia's best five players in this series have been Clarke (back made out of balsa wood), Harris (knees held together with Gloy gum), Rogers (aged 35), Haddin (ditto) and Siddle. All five may be about for the next Ashes battle in England in two years' time, but it would take a brave man to put any money on that. England, of course, have question marks over the successors of Swann and Pietersen, but the former has just had an operation which he thinks will prolong his career, and the latter has only just turned 33 and wants records. Both will no doubt be eyeing 2015.

    As for this winter, I think the wickets in Australia will suit England's batsmen. Trott, KP, Bairstow and Prior tend to like fast, bouncy wickets. We haven't seen many in England. If England win an early test, it could be ugly for Australia

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | August 13, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    @popcorn You mean "lucky" as in dismissing Steve Smith three times before he had reached 24 at Old Trafford and seeing him go on to make a big score, when Australia were one wicket away from another potential collapse? Luck always evens out in the end and Australia have had their fair share of fortunate decisions and umpiring errors. Of course, we mostly remember the ones that went against our own side.

    Admitted that the umpirng has not been up to scratch at times and the use of DRS by the 3rd umpire has, at times, been baffling and inconsistent (ask Jonathon Trott) but, in the end, it is the same for both sides.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | August 13, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    If Australia are lucky, they may get one more season out of Ryan Harris. Brad Haddin will be 36 at the start of the Australian season and surely he cannot continue much longer and, like Michael Atherton before him, Michael Clarke will soon decide that there is only so much abuse his back can take. So, you plan for the future, as England did by replacing almost their complete attack over a couple of years in 2008/09.

    I can't agree with @Jono Makin. England have played and won without KP recently and have ready made replacements for Prior, Swann and Bell. Series against weaker opponents and injuries have been used to blood replacements (how much did England miss Graeme Swann in the Champions Trophy?) There are a string of young bowlers who are avoiding the error made with Cummins and Anderson of playing them too young and risking crippling them.

  • POSTED BY Gurudumu on | August 13, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    It beggars belief that Hughes gets being mentioned as a future Test player -NOT. Youngsters like Doolan, S Marsh, Maddinson & Finch ARE the future. As for all-rounders there are Faulkner &M Marsh. Khawaja too has been given enough chances and the 5th Test should be his make it or break it - if he fails he should join Cowan and Hughes in the wilderness.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    Aus need some experience back in that top order. Rogers, Warner, Katich, Clark, Smith/Cowan/Kawaja/Marsh, Watson and Haddin look a great deal more secure than what is being handed to the Pom bowling attack at present.

  • POSTED BY Baby_Ate_My_Eight_Ball on | August 13, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    @Jono Makim - the difference is that all the Aussie greats (with the exception of Ponting) went in bunches at the same time. Strauss has gone, to be replaced by Root, who has struggled in this series but has still got the highest individual score and will go on to be an absolute cornerstone. Pieterson will probably be the next Englishman to go in the next couple of years, but we'll have a few more years out of Swann, Anderson, Trott, Prior and Bell, and the management (known for their attention to detail) will have succession planning very much in mind in light of how it has crippled the Australian and Indian test teams recently. It also makes a big difference blooding young players in a winning team to putting them in to take a hiding.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | August 13, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    Mr.Jarrod Kimber, you seem to forget very conveniently that Australia were done in by poor umpiring (Broad - Aleem Dar) and the numrous occasions when the Umpire's INCORRECT CALL stayed. You forget that Tim Breasnan reaped the Umpire's favour too. Sic. England were plain simple - lucky.

  • POSTED BY JohnOfCourse on | August 13, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    Agree with many on here, Australia are not as poor as many sensationalist TV pundits suggest. England are a descent side and have played well enough to deserve to win. For Aus, agree with @Henrik Lovén, Rogers, Warner, Cowan, Clarke, Hughes, Smith and Haddin looks a good line up, add a few bowlers who can bat, Harris, Siddle, Pattinson, maybe Starc or Johnson and Lyon or AN Other for a spinner and that is a competitive squad. At least it is a team a younger player could come into without fear or favour. England now have this, in that although Root and Bairstow are not secure yet, they can play them and win enough games to give them the opportunity to develop.

  • POSTED BY 100_rabh on | August 13, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    To be honest with Aussies, slice of luck hasnt favoured them in last 2 matches. They could have won last one, weather permitted and Haddin's and Watson decisions in the 2nd innings were really harsh. India would have certainly thrown Tony Hill from remainder of the series and rest of their test matches based on this! Where has Shaun Marsh gone in the pecking order, he is doing god in SA A tour and should have been playing here

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    After predicting a 4-0 English series victory before the Ashes started, things are going more or less as expected. However I thought England would follow right on from 2011 with big innings victories right through, so there are signs there to be positive.

    Wins are going to be hard to come by, rotating batsman in and out of the team, up and down the order and continually speculating about their worth is not helping. Ponting was essentially forced from the team as past his prime then promptly topped the Sheffield Shield run tally with a raft of stats (highest score, double the average of anyone else, higher strike rate) to claim player of the year. There are simply no players pushing for a spot.

    Five or so years ago Cook and Bell were nothing special, but now are solid contributors for England. Similarly our current batsmen are still finding themselves, but perhaps if we stick by them they may create a foundation for future talent to build upon (not unlike the Australia of the late 80s

  • POSTED BY Biso on | August 13, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    England were always worried that Australia had the bowling to push them into a position from where losing was a serious probability. But, Australia were petrified that they might loose from the best of winning positions. That is the difference between the two sides. Aussies have, I feel, done better than in their last tour to India. They did get into winning positions. But, it was the difference in the two sides that finally showed up. I feel Australia have to take the fight to their own demons than any Anderson,Broad or Swann .

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | August 13, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    There is SA and England and then there is Aus and Windies. Between them there are India, Pak and SL..the first group winners, the second big losers from being a dominant force, the 3rd group ever searching for that coveted position amongst Test nations! What has happened to Test cricket? There is no 1 clear leader although SA and Eng keep getting there the odd loss they have pulls them down! Its England's time to joke of Aussies as they suffered a lot in the hads of kangaroos for a long long time. But for Aus to turn this around, its not just thier batsman to buckle up but the sport is suffering in the hands of administrators and then there is Big Bash and IPL which is enough to make more than just a living.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    @Samroy, spot on, England will face their own headaches over the next five years as the likes of KP, Trott, Prior, Andersen, Swann and Bell gradually disappear. As we've seen from Aus, it doesn't matter how talented the young blokes coming through are, losing 6 or 7 players with such a vast amount of experience is what really hurts. For all of Hughes, Khawaja and Smith's struggles, Root and Bairstow are finding it equally as hard, as are the young South Africans trying to replace Smith, Kallis and Steyn in the ODI team.

    We Aussie fans need to stop being so glass half empty and realise that the likes of Starc, Lyon, Warner, Patto etc have an abundance of talent to work with and with 50+ tests each under their belts they are going to be a real handful for anyone.

  • POSTED BY DustyBin on | August 13, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    If it weren't for all the things Australia did badly & the things England did well, Australia would have won this series. Moral victory to the baggy greens then.

  • POSTED BY TestsbeforeTwenty20 on | August 13, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    @Izzydole - Time to do a reality check mate. Still blaming Arthur for your team's failures is similar to holding on to Watson for that one big match winning knock! Australia just do not have the players currently to win consistantly againts good sides, no matter whether it is Arthur or Lehman banging their heads in the dressing room. Everybody lauded Lehman for stepping up and pronouncing that Watson will be opening up the innings with Rogers - such a positive step and approach - and only three tests later he drops the same Watson down to bat 6. If Arthur is to blame for your team's batting woes even now, Arthur should at least get the credit for your bowlers at least coming to te party every test so far...

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    What ails Australia may indeed be a dearth of class batsmen but what really hurts Australia are the expectations that whoever comes in has to be a new Hayden, Ponting or Gilchrist able to flay the opposition. If you only would look at what you have, let them be what they are and accept that the days of dominance really are history, Australia might have quite a decent batting lineup. If only allowed to play to their potential, not over-inflated Aussie expectations, I'm certain a lineup of Rogers, Warner, Cowan, Clarke, Hughes, Smith and Haddin would be able to get a decent job done. And yes, now that we know that the inclusion of Khawaja was not based on cricketing excellence, he should be relegated to a lifetime of fulfilling State cricket.

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | August 13, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    People should not go gaga over England's performance. I predicted England will win the series easily before the series started and they have won easily but if you take out Bell's performance Australia have done better than them in every test except the 2nd test. In another 4 years there won't be Ryan Harris but there won't be a Graeme Swann as well. And Anderson would be close to 35. I think England have a tough assignment in Australia this summer and I think England will not win easily. And England's fabled young brigade like Bairstow and Root aren't exactly a young Tendulkar and Dravid, which the English might lead you to believe. Bottomline is neither is a great player though Root can become like Cook or a slightly more successful version of Cook.

  • POSTED BY vikram_chandrasekar on | August 13, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    nicely put @landl47...the worst part about australia's present troubles is the eerie similarities that one can see between the current aussie team and the west indies team of the mid to late 90s...a flurry of retirements, a huge fall from their peak...able to win the odd match but not consistently...one world class batsman (lara/clarke), the rest of the batting prone to collapses, a couple of world class bowlers (ambrose/walsh, harris/siddle), young bowlers coming with a lot of hype but either injury prone or not able to live up to their initial promise (bishop/franklin rose/ nixon mclean and the like, starc/cummins/pattinson)...we know what happened to the windies after this...hope the same fate does not befall the aussies...world cricket cannot afford a weak windies & aussie team at the same time.

  • POSTED BY izzidole on | August 13, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    Sunil Narula On the contrary I think aussies are still recovering from Mickey Arthur's poor coaching and are just trying to recover from that. They seem to have forgotten how to bat, bowl, field and how to win matches. I think Lehman has done an excellent job and already there are signs of improvement. For instance look at Watson his form is nowhere to what it used to be before Arthur took over as aussie coach. He was such a exciting batsman to watch and recently has been a total failure.What about Warner he is another batsman who has been a total failure in recent times. With some good coaching, hardwork and good captaincy they should be able to retain the ashes end of this year.The team has enough potential but don't seem to know how to win matches. It took England 19 years to win an ashes test series and that was only after the inclusion of some imports from South Africa and I don't think Australia would take that long to recover from it's present plight.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | August 13, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    I want to see what Lehmann can do with a squad he has input on. I can see improvement and we need to remember that we were on a hiding to nothing after the India tour and we have put ourselves in position to win 3 of 4 tests. That's better than I expected. I think it's an exaggeration to say we are no more than a Club side without Harris and Clarke. Rogers can go another 2/3 summers and he's brought some stability to our top order. Yes we need a 3 and a 5. Hughes has been ruined by CA so the options would come down to Maddinson, Silk and possibly Marsh. Khawaja has talent but may need to spend some time at 5. Smith, Faulkner and Watson for the number 6 position. We have the bowlers to do the job. Heads up Aussies! The Ashes in England was a huge expectation...especially with sacking Arthur a month out. I don't think we'll down as long as people are predicting.

  • POSTED BY on | August 13, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    @Chris_Howard: I don't think you need to worry about England being denied a win in the last Test - they would not have won chasing 330-odd form 37-3. But who knows? Australia might have won it, or Root and Bell might have had a big match-saving partnership. It's all conjecture. I do agree, however, that there has been a baffling tendency among some supporters to think Australia have done better than they actually have. The reality is, Australia's batting is impossibly weak, and hiding behind excuses like umpiring, rain, gamesmanship, and selections doesn't actually help their cause. It just papers over these severe cracks. While I acknowledge that England haven't hit peak form (what is peak form?), they are 3-0 up for three very good reasons: 1) Ability to recover with the bat. 2) More consistent wicket keeping. 3) Better spin bowling. There is a notable gap between the teams.

    @ReverseSweepIndia: It was not a harsh article at all. It was accurate and fair.

  • POSTED BY ReverseSweepIndia on | August 13, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    Very harsh @Jarrod. Ever heard of transition phase? Some of the guys have not played even 10-15 tests. And they run into superior opposition. Persist with Smith, he is solid and will come good soon. Watson, will be better if he concentrate on IPL, ODI's. People like him and Raina are not made for Test Cricket. Rogers is good and can stay for 2 years, try grooming someone in this time. Bowling is good as always and whenever batters can get a little spine you will win. Best wishes.

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | August 13, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    It was always going to be a difficult twelve months. India in India, England in England, England at home, then South Africa in South Africa. I think we will be lucky to win 2-3 of those tests. It's a dark time for Australian Cricket. Many fans were talking up the early performances under Clarke but we were playing minnows (and India away) and now the chickens have come home to roost.

    I still think the team's performance this Ashes is better than 2010/11 where we suffered 3 innings defeats. Hopefully guys like Warner, Smith, Khawaja, Hughes, Starc, Lyon and Pattinson will be back again in four years and can apply what they have learned.

  • POSTED BY izzidole on | August 13, 2013, 2:19 GMT

    I reckon poor captaincy and poor field placing by Clarke has cost Australia the test match. After Harris bowled his heart out to take the two crucial wickets early of Ian Bell and Matt Prior he let England off the hook by giving away easy runs to Tim Bresnan who capitalised with some lusty hitting . Bresnan couldn't believe his luck to see all the vacant spaces in the outfield and started swinging his bat to take the total from 251 for 7 wickets to a healthy total of 331 with the tailenders helping himself to an easy 45 runs in the process. Clarke's top priority should have been to stem the flow of easy runs first. Those crucial 80 runs was all the difference in achieving an aussie victory. England had given up all hope when Australia were 120 for1 and were resorting to time wasting tactics on the field hoping for bad light and rain when Clarke started the rot and the rest of the batsmen followed. I reckon he would go down as the worst captain in the history of Australian cricket.

  • POSTED BY jordan_nofx on | August 13, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    It is very much seeming this dire. Clarke and Harris are our two (along with Watson) most injury prone players, so devolving into a club side is a very real chance. You want to take some stock from Smith's performances or Khawaja's potential, but their missed opportunities are starting to stack up. I'm an advocate for sticking with them until the end of our summer, but if you look at all the young batters that have come into sides in the last 5 years and semi-cemented a spot, they have stepped up almost instantly (Duminy, Faf, Dhawan, Pujara etc.). I want to believe that Smith, Khawaja and Hughes are of the standard and worth persevering with, but it's impossible to be confident of this based on the last year of performances. Rogers is obviously good enough, but for how long? I find it hard to believe that this constant shifting of the order is benificial. It might just be time to move on from Watson, as much as more uncertainty seems unwise right now.

  • POSTED BY Chris_Howard on | August 13, 2013, 1:26 GMT

    One of Australia's biggest problems in the last 6 or 7 years is they've allowed the wins to paper over the cracks.

    That is, when we've won, we've grossly overrated their performance and ignored the frailties still shown.

    If we had've won the Third Test, we would have fooled ourselves into thinking we were as good as England.

    And I think we did anyway.

    Yet, you almost feel, if the Third Test wasn't affected by rain, England would have found a way to win.

    Too often we've seen an out of form player (usually a batsman) carried when we're winning but then it bites us on the bum when we lose.

    Too often we hear "Don't change a winning combination" but also when losing "We need give guys a decent run in the team so they don't feel their spot is under pressure"

    So either way we make excuses for keeping guys not performing.

    Winning is the time you should look for the flaws if you want to keep winning. It's too late once you're losing.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2013, 23:06 GMT

    "Australia are two injuries to Harris and Clarke away from being a club side with grand ambitions." Well said, Jarrod! Harris has been far and away the best Aussie bowler all series, and in the top two for best overall bowler from both teams. Clarke has struggled for runs, has made a couple of decent scores and has gotten out to some real gems of deliveries too. The Australian cricket team plays much like an American basketball team. It revolves around 2 or 3 great players but rarely plays as a cohesive unit.

  • POSTED BY SagirParkar on | August 12, 2013, 22:20 GMT

    very nicely put Mr Kimber.. The Aussies have run England very close this series, bar Lords, only to fall off the chase in a spectacular collapse at a very crucial time.. shame really.. hopefully the management and backroom staff can get their heads together and come up with a stable and reliable playing squad of 13, who can put up a serious challenge.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    australia thought by axing arthur and bringing in lehmann they could win the ashes...their players are not good enough....not much the coach can do

  • POSTED BY OhhhhhMattyMatty on | August 12, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    "Australia are two injuries to Harris and Clarke away from being a club side with grand ambitions."

    That's being more than kind - but a great point none-the-less! Ryan Harris is world class, up there with Steyn and Tremlett as the best quickie in the world. Michael Clarke is a proven high class performer (despite his obvious technical flaws to top class seam bowling!). Outside of that, it's a joke of a squad.

    The likes of Siddle, Haddin and Rogers are game and hard-working. No more than that though. Khawaja, Hughes, Smith and Agar are nowhere near good enough and need LOADS of improvement. Watson is Watson. Not threatening enough to play as a bowler, not good enough to play as a batsman.

  • POSTED BY Ninety9 on | August 12, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    Australia are the new New Zealand of world cricket. They raise your hopes only to bring them crashing down. They have no no super-stars (barring Clarke), but a lot of guys who give it their all. The thing is, though, their best isn't good enough for their team to win games.

  • POSTED BY 64blip on | August 12, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    "If Tony Hill and Aleem Dar could see Australia's future, they'd take them off the field for being too dark."

  • POSTED BY Batmanindallas on | August 12, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    Australia are two injuries to Harris and Clarke away from being a club side with grand ambitions....exactly my sentiments. Khawaja like Philip has failed again. Time to move past these batsmen including smith and Watson. These guys are bowlers who are trying to survive international cricket by trying to develop a skill they did not start with. Time to get full time bats and I am sure Aussies can find some...

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    Yet another Kimbler classic! Accurate to every degree.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | August 12, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    A better analogy would be the england of the 90's who at times got tantalisingly close to winning only for Australia to shift gear and put england out of it, eventually it became demoralising and Australia had the upper hand.

    I can see Australia being competitive at home and possibly getting a drawn series or maybe winning the series by a game or two but if england fire they could be in for trouble lets not forget that the only england batsman that has been consistent has been Ian bell, the others have been scrappy and looked out of form.

    Bowling wise Anderson is looking knackered, and I hope they rest him at the oval in favour of Tremlett or Onions.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    Remove permanently Shane Watson from the team, and give rest to Usman Khawaja and the team will be recharged to take on England in 5th test. Aussie team needs good middle order batsmen, Shane Watson is a trouble creator rather than a team player .

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | August 12, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    Yes it's true that " England can only get better." We all remember the last Ashes and Cook's 766. It was never going to be the same in English conditions of course, but England's batting hasn't yet fired this series like everyone knows it can. Harris has repeatedly nicked out the top 3 for not many, and on a north-east pitch like Durham you'd hope for a wicket which provides a balance, but honours good bowling. That's what we got here, but not before England's first innings failed to provide the type of application required. It was enough though, especially when you have Stuart Broad in your team.

  • POSTED BY baskar_guha on | August 12, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    It is not as bad for Australia as stated above -- their bowling is good enough, their fielding is good enough, but their batting is undependable. They need their #3 and #5 to deliver at a 40+ average -- they need competent not even equal replacements for Ponting and Hussey. They haven't found them yet. This is mainly why they lose tests which they look like they are going to win.

  • POSTED BY baskar_guha on | August 12, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    It is not as bad for Australia as stated above -- their bowling is good enough, their fielding is good enough, but their batting is undependable. They need their #3 and #5 to deliver at a 40+ average -- they need competent not even equal replacements for Ponting and Hussey. They haven't found them yet. This is mainly why they lose tests which they look like they are going to win.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | August 12, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    Yes it's true that " England can only get better." We all remember the last Ashes and Cook's 766. It was never going to be the same in English conditions of course, but England's batting hasn't yet fired this series like everyone knows it can. Harris has repeatedly nicked out the top 3 for not many, and on a north-east pitch like Durham you'd hope for a wicket which provides a balance, but honours good bowling. That's what we got here, but not before England's first innings failed to provide the type of application required. It was enough though, especially when you have Stuart Broad in your team.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    Remove permanently Shane Watson from the team, and give rest to Usman Khawaja and the team will be recharged to take on England in 5th test. Aussie team needs good middle order batsmen, Shane Watson is a trouble creator rather than a team player .

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | August 12, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    A better analogy would be the england of the 90's who at times got tantalisingly close to winning only for Australia to shift gear and put england out of it, eventually it became demoralising and Australia had the upper hand.

    I can see Australia being competitive at home and possibly getting a drawn series or maybe winning the series by a game or two but if england fire they could be in for trouble lets not forget that the only england batsman that has been consistent has been Ian bell, the others have been scrappy and looked out of form.

    Bowling wise Anderson is looking knackered, and I hope they rest him at the oval in favour of Tremlett or Onions.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    Yet another Kimbler classic! Accurate to every degree.

  • POSTED BY Batmanindallas on | August 12, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    Australia are two injuries to Harris and Clarke away from being a club side with grand ambitions....exactly my sentiments. Khawaja like Philip has failed again. Time to move past these batsmen including smith and Watson. These guys are bowlers who are trying to survive international cricket by trying to develop a skill they did not start with. Time to get full time bats and I am sure Aussies can find some...

  • POSTED BY 64blip on | August 12, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    "If Tony Hill and Aleem Dar could see Australia's future, they'd take them off the field for being too dark."

  • POSTED BY Ninety9 on | August 12, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    Australia are the new New Zealand of world cricket. They raise your hopes only to bring them crashing down. They have no no super-stars (barring Clarke), but a lot of guys who give it their all. The thing is, though, their best isn't good enough for their team to win games.

  • POSTED BY OhhhhhMattyMatty on | August 12, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    "Australia are two injuries to Harris and Clarke away from being a club side with grand ambitions."

    That's being more than kind - but a great point none-the-less! Ryan Harris is world class, up there with Steyn and Tremlett as the best quickie in the world. Michael Clarke is a proven high class performer (despite his obvious technical flaws to top class seam bowling!). Outside of that, it's a joke of a squad.

    The likes of Siddle, Haddin and Rogers are game and hard-working. No more than that though. Khawaja, Hughes, Smith and Agar are nowhere near good enough and need LOADS of improvement. Watson is Watson. Not threatening enough to play as a bowler, not good enough to play as a batsman.

  • POSTED BY on | August 12, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    australia thought by axing arthur and bringing in lehmann they could win the ashes...their players are not good enough....not much the coach can do