England v Australia, 5th Investec Ashes Test, The Oval

Faulkner to debut, recall for Starc

Brydon Coverdale at The Oval

August 20, 2013

Comments: 200 | Text size: A | A

James Faulkner, the bowling allrounder, will make his Test debut at The Oval on Wednesday and will bat at No.7 as the Australians search desperately for a way to end their failed Ashes campaign on a high. Faulkner and Mitchell Starc have been included for the final Test while Usman Khawaja and Jackson Bird have been dropped, and the batting order will be reshuffled to feature Shane Watson at No.3 and Brad Haddin at No.6.

The inclusion of Starc was expected but the naming of Faulkner was a major surprise given that it is Australia's batting that has been their biggest issue on this tour. Faulkner has scored 111 runs in the tour matches and has been dismissed only once, but there is no question that his bowling is his stronger suit: in 37 first-class matches, he has made eight half-centuries and is yet to register a hundred, but has 132 wickets at 22.87.

Faulkner will become the 17th player used by the Australians in this Ashes series, leaving backup wicketkeeper Matthew Wade as the only squad member not to have played a Test on the trip. He will also be Australia's 435th Test cricketer, and the 18th man to make his debut under the captaincy of Michael Clarke, who took charge only two and a half years ago. Clarke said Faulkner's fighting attitude was as much a reason for his inclusion as his record.

"As we've seen so far in this series, statistics, records, first-class performances haven't meant that much," Clarke said. "It's about finding a way on that day or over those five days to have success. I know James Faulkner has got the strength to do that whether it be with the bat or with the ball.

"Like a lot of our young players, he's a wonderful young talent. But I think he's got the toughness to mix it with any opposition in any form of the game at the highest level. He's a fighter. He's a competitor. He might not look the best all the time but he'll find a way to stay out there and help his partner go on and make a hundred, or make sure he's batting with the tail and find a way to get them through. I think he's got that in him.


James Faulkner runs through the crease, Worcestershire v Australians, Tour match, New Road, 2nd day, July 3, 2013
James Faulkner will bat at No.7 © Getty Images
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"With the ball, he's extremely competitive and will find a way to take wickets, as he's done so far on this tour and in the shorter forms of the game. I think generally the better conditions are for batting, the better bowler James is, because he's at you all the time and he's extremely competitive. I think he's the right character for this team and I think you'll have a good opportunity to see just how much talent he's got in this Test match."

Faulkner will provide the Australians with a fifth seam-bowling option at The Oval, while Watson will be available to bowl despite picking up a groin injury during the Chester-le-Street Test. Watson's move to first drop will mean on this Ashes tour he has occupied the opening role, No.4 and No.6, and this year he will have batted in every position in the top six.

"Shane will be able to bowl," Clarke said. "Shane will certainly play that allrounder role once again. But I think it's an extra string to James' bow that he can bowl as many overs as possible. He's fit and strong and he'll play a big part with the ball. He adds that extra option to help us take 20 wickets.

"But I think it's the overall package that James brings: his toughness, his performances of late in whatever form of the game he's played, and the fact that he's not just a bowler, he can certainly make some very handy and crucial runs for us."

Faulkner will be the second debutant used by the Australians in the series after Ashton Agar played in the first two matches at Trent Bridge and Lord's. Agar will not be at The Oval for the final Test, though, as he will be sent home early due to illness.

"Ashton has had a mild viral illness for the past week and needs some time to rest and recuperate," team doctor Peter Brukner said. "It has been a long tour and while he has handled the pressure extremely well, we thought it would be a good idea for him to get home as soon possible to have a short break before preparing for the domestic season."

Australia: 1 Chris Rogers, 2 David Warner, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Steven Smith, 6 Brad Haddin (wk), 7 James Faulkner, 8 Peter Siddle, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 Nathan Lyon

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by hyclass on (August 22, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

The selectors have taken the only course open to them. There is no second spinner available with Agar ill and short of the mark at his age and experience, for Test, spin bowling. Both Starc and Faulkner have second strings to their bow, which lessens the pressure on their batting. Better to have two players capable of making contributions at some level. Neither Khawaja nor Hughes were instilling confidence. Khawaja has been out of form since Feb 2011 and was chosen for this tour on hope rather than performance. His fielding and running have been publicly criticised. Hughes has continued to demonstrate ability at 1st Class level but isn't the same prodigy who slew the mighty SA attack on their turf in '09.The front-on and leg-side game forced on him have left him with slower feet, a different arc of the bat and no room for the late adjustment to swing, spin and bounce that his original side-on game possessed. Unless he is encouraged to revert, it's hard to envision him succeeding.

Posted by seantells on (August 21, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

Lehman is foolishly brave, he should've tried all that with a A team first, or the Country have to wait for him to give results. too many bowlers, another much predicted lose end

Posted by Lalindra2012 on (August 21, 2013, 16:28 GMT)

10 years ago England was Australia's punching bag, Australia would even go to England and beat England pretty convincingly without a sweat, but then Michael Vaughn and his band of merry men turned the tables on the Aussies and they were even invited to the Buckingham Palace, and given OBE,MBE.The Strauss regime continued the good work, and now cook is even better at a even younger age than his predecessor's and he's hungry for more, 10 years ago what Australia was and now what they are no one would thought...now Australia are getting a taste of their own medicine and it is really sour...... oh.......what a petty Australia... the last seven years in test for England in ashes have enabled them to be a formidable side....the quality in which they have played ashes during the last seven to five years have enabled them to grow in to that superior position once held by their arch rivals.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (August 21, 2013, 11:15 GMT)

5 man tail? I think that is a bit of a stretch, given that Starc and Faulkner are basically allrounders, and then both Harris and Siddle are decent with the bat. Still, a bit short on established top order batsmen, no doubt. But the way Khuwaja was moping around the crease, I don't think his absence will be felt.

At any rate, this was a good toss to win, as has been the case for the entire series on tracks designed to spin for Swann late in the game. Lots of swing early on, but it will flatten out, and if Australia can go to lunch with no more than two down, they will be in a good position. If they get done for not much, then England will have a field day on day two when batting conditions will be perfect.

Posted by Sathyasing on (August 21, 2013, 9:30 GMT)

Shane at no.3 is the right choice.This batting order is going to click.Itd gonna be a big victory for aussies.

Posted by Paul_JT on (August 21, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

Nothing wrong with looking at Faulkner, especially boosting the bowling with fitness issues of Watson and Harris. But it is the batting that is the problem. Will Watson be given an extended run at 3? Surprised it is not Hughes. If selecting on character and temperament, George Bailey must be in contention for the return series. Other than the dropped Khawaja, Australia appear no closer to identifying their top six or its order.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (August 21, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

Faulkner is more than capable of averaging 30 that puts him in front of Khawaja. Feel sorry for Hughes though. Even Wade test record is mid 30's. Faulkner is a class player but not sure if his batting or bowling gets him into the team. His bowling is high class but we have several paceman inn front of him. As a batsman he is very handy but you wouldn't pick him purely as a batsman. I'm sure he will acquit himself very well but not sure he is a long time solution.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 9:11 GMT)

Yikes, a five-man tail. With Smith at five (Test average under 30) and the keeper at six. Quite a risk.

Posted by mamboman on (August 21, 2013, 8:59 GMT)

Thank heavens the Aussies have finally seen sense and ended their flirtation with Khawaja! Common sense finally prevails!

Posted by thavaselvan on (August 21, 2013, 8:49 GMT)

i predict clarke will score a double ton in this match

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

Says it all - "18th man to make his debut under the captaincy of Michael Clarke, who took charge only two and a half years ago."

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 8:23 GMT)

Jackson Bird is bowling good comparing to the Starc , starc cant bowl in good line and length consistantly but bird bowling awsome in perfect length give him a chance to prove. playing 1 test occasionaly doesnt give chance for him to prove his abilities he is bowling like our legend Pidgy ...... my suggesion of squard is Rogers,Warner,Watson,Smith,Clarke,Haddin,Faulkner,Harris,Bird,Siddle,Lyon smith should be given bowling regularly using him can give unexpected wickets

Posted by whofriggincares on (August 21, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

@Popcorn , "cant bat to save his life" Well seeing as how you are obviously a keen follower of Aussie domestic cricket you would have to know that he made 46 and 89 in the shield final and batted for a combined total of 7 hours and 44 minutes and in doing so helped Ponting win his only shield title. I wish we had a few more guys that can't bat like him! This guy is a very very good cricketer and should have played in india before Henriques IMO. The attack he made the runs against in the final was led by none other than Ryan Harris who if I am not mistaken is the leading wicket taker in this ashes series having only played 3 of 4 matches! Great comment to show you don't know what you are talking about.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 8:16 GMT)

7 bowlers(includes watson and smith) + 1 WK + 3 batsmen = AUS test team. I am sorry for the aussie fans.

Posted by ADienst on (August 21, 2013, 8:10 GMT)

@FrontFootSponge, WOW, there's a case of looking for the silver lining! The point that you are missing is that Australia had the fourth test for the taking, but still managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. As a Saffa, I know a lot about choking, as we have managed to do that repeatedly, so I think I can safely say that Australia are the new chokers.

England are not unbeatable, as we showed, but you need both good bowlers (which you have), good batsmen (which you are woefully short of, right about now) and you need the temperament to close out a winning game. The fact that you managed to lose both the 1st and 4th tests shows you don't have this right now. So focus on getting decent batsmen with temperament, and then start talking about dominance, but don't try to run before you can walk.

Posted by Babu22 on (August 21, 2013, 7:48 GMT)

I say cheer up Aussies. It can't be more brilliant than this. It's the grand plan of the selectors to give one more chance to Shane Watson and prove beyond doubt that he is totally useless in Tests at any batting position. I am positively sure this is the plan…. or at least I would like to think / dream that is the plan. If this is the idea for selecting Shane Watson for this match, then I am all for it. At least this guarantees that Phil Hughes or Usman Khawaja will not be exposed to Swann on this Oval wicket (presumably turns a lot). They both or at least Phil Hughes can play the entire Ashes Down Under.

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (August 21, 2013, 7:44 GMT)

Now is the time for Australia to get a win and start their period of dominance over England. There's been plenty of chinks in the England armour and their inability to really crush a side lauded as the worst ever is telling. 3-0 yes but close games and with so many players in the side with question marks over their poor performances England are entering a period of decline under Cook's captaincy. Seeing a poor Aussie side compete with the almighty 3rd ranked England should be really worrying for the fans.

Posted by Redbackfan on (August 21, 2013, 7:32 GMT)

Shane Watson would be 1st picked for T20 and one day cricket cause he is a great short form player but he is not a top 6 test batsmen and isn't up to bowling long spells.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (August 21, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

@ Scott Sandars..Sorry. It was Durham and not Cardiff. @ Peter James Warrington...Agreed Bird was poor in the second innings. But you pick the bowlers(or batsmen) on merit. Not type. Harris, Siddle, Bird and Lyon with Watson as the fifth bowler are the best Aussies have in this series and this should have been the attack from Test One. I suppose they have gone back to Starc on a prayer. On a good day, Starc gives magical spells of late inswing with the new ball but what is his contribution for the next 70 overs until the next new ball? One should never pick bowlers by the runs they make. That is the mistake Aussies made with Agar and are doing now with Starc and Faulkner.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

Need to get rid of Haddin - he has not proved to be a prudent selection. playing on to the World Cup in 2015 - how presumptious... As for Faulkner, he's a goer but it is a perplexing selection given the weakness in our batting - glad that Usman's been dropped though. Surprised that they didn't give Hughes a go...

Posted by Great_Nate on (August 21, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

The strategy is pretty clear. Unless Clarke scores a big hundred the aussies will be five out for less than a hundred and fifty, so why waste positions in the team with useless batsmen? Lets just see what Faulkner can do as an all rounder and then they can start working towards an exit strategy for Watson.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

Every team should look for future,, Is Rogers , Khwaja are future for Aus?? certainly not,,, they should have includes James right from second test itself,,,,

Posted by PFEL on (August 21, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

All these worries about a weaker batting line up, if anything this batting line up is A LOT STRONGER. Starc is miles ahead of Bird as a batsmen (and outperformed Khawaja as well over the last year), and I would have much more faith in Faulkner batting now than Khawaja. From what I see this is a far stronger batting line up than we had last game.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

Faulkner and starc are probably both better batters than khawaja plus they bowl. The problem is there is no one else all we can do is wait for some descent batters to come through, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Posted by vj_gooner on (August 21, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

Watson back to no.3? This is becoming a merry-go-round. It is certainly not gonna help him regain his touch. I can see the end of Watson-The Test Cricketer.

Posted by D-Train on (August 21, 2013, 6:26 GMT)

I can't really imagine the conversation the selectors had when they made this decision.

"Our batting has been poor all series. What can do to fix it?"

"How about let's drop a recognised batsmen for a bowling all-rounder?"

"Brilliant"

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 6:21 GMT)

It's possible that England and SA currently have the last generation of test cricketers. It won't be long before both those sides join Australia and WI in the test cricket downward spiral as shorter formats wrap their tentacles around the minds and bodies of their future players. T20 means a young player no longer spends 3-4 years of his life working out his craft and working on the endurance for the long game because that precious time is now filled with 'smash&cash' cricket where bit of natural talent can get you through, and all of a sudden, it's become your life and those plans to spend the winter working on line and length and that in-swinger get forgotten. Without sounding old (I'm only 32), my main thought these days is how lucky I was to live through the Hayden-Ponting-Gilchrist-Warne-McGrath era: it's now priceless. Times are a changin'

Posted by Redbackfan on (August 21, 2013, 6:14 GMT)

Like most on here I'm not sure why you would drop a batsmen and then select a 2nd all rounder. Hopefully Faulkner has a good debut. So why is Watson still in the team??? Bird is a little unlucky he bowled alright and had the key wicket of Bresnan in the 2nd innings no wait that was given not out even though it was plumb with no shot offered! 1st test 1st innings Smith, Clark and Hughes at 4,5 and 6 looked good except Clark didn't fire. Then every innings since the order has changed. Top 6 for this test Rogers,Warner,Khawaja/Cowan,Smith,Clark and Hughes. NO Watson would be better. As for next series Cosgrove/Ferguson/Maddinson/Doolan into the squad Watson and Cowan out. Bowlers ok Keepers Haddin and Wade are both better batsmen than keepers. What we need is good keepers who are handy with the bat such as Chris Hartley and Tim Ludeman. Lastly vice captain, I don't think it should be Haddin maybe Siddle would be a good option it doesn't have to be a batsmen right.

Posted by critical_mass on (August 21, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

the best that australia can do right now is to drop 2 players. the first should be haddin. clearly it is time to look to the future so include wade instead. even if haddin is a better player (which at this stage is a bit doubtful) they have to understand that the ashes is lost and they should use the chance to blood wade.

second should be watson. if he is injured and cant play at his full potential why is he there? and putting him at number three? he just doesnt have the consistency to bat there.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 5:57 GMT)

A sensible move considering the circumstances.. Faulkner has got the best time to make a debut... :) The Ashes... His batting skills will be handy for the team. Best wishes.. :)

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 5:43 GMT)

Venkatesh.. when were Australia playing in Cardiff?

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 5:42 GMT)

What kind of team is this? Where are the pure batsman lads? This is Test for god's sake and not a T20,

4 All rounders in a team and two batsman who can bowl a bit and 2 bowlers who can bat a bit. Craziest selection for a Test.

Rogers/Warner/Clarke - Batsman - That's all? Haddin - All Rounder (Wk + Batsman) Watson/Starc/Faulkner/Smith - All Rounders Harris/Lyon/Siddle - Bowlers

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 5:42 GMT)

Can't say I like the make up of this Aussie XI.. If Watson was fully fit, we wouldn't need Jimmy Faulkner (as good a player as he is). The inclusion of Mitchell Starc puzzles me more though, given he has done not much in the two tests he's played in thus far. Though our abundance of left handers should now cut out Graeme Swann's influence.

hycIass, I agree with you, a top 4 of Rogers, Warner, Khawaja and Clarke reads a hell of a lot better than any of that combination with Watson. If Uzzie had to be dropped, I'd rather have Wade come in at 3, instead of Watson..

Posted by Amith_S on (August 21, 2013, 5:30 GMT)

HycIass completely agree with you on Khawaja mate, he should be playing in this test match.He was the second leading shield scorer by the christmas break with 3 out of 5 man of the match performances by the christmas break after which he didn't play any games because Arthur kept his as 12th man for the entire season, suggest you watch his highlights against Tasmania where he outscored the Tasmanians on his own on a pitch which looked like a grass tennis court.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (August 21, 2013, 5:27 GMT)

They should have stuck with Bird. I don't think Faulkner is ready for test cricket yet. Steve Smith will need to get some runs as well or someone from Australia A may get his spot, e.g. Maddinson.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (August 21, 2013, 5:25 GMT)

I think its good night nurse for Khawaja's Test career for a while with his recent failures. Obvious that Clarke doesnt like him. Who is Faulkner? Why have the selectors picked so many average T20 all rounders for this match.

Posted by Herbet on (August 21, 2013, 5:11 GMT)

Crikey, with this lot Australia's tail will start at 5. Maybe they are thinking 'well, the batsmen have failed, so we won't pick any'?

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 5:01 GMT)

Venkat, Bird was rubbish on a deck made for his style of bowling. he and siddle are too similar and Siddle had the runs on the board.

Posted by ColinFunkyMiller on (August 21, 2013, 4:53 GMT)

Goodevening and welcome to another exciting episode of "LET'S TRY AND COMPREHEND THE AUSSIE SELECTORS' LOGIC!": Question 1 - Australia has failed with the bat this Ashes series and desperately need a reliable run scorer, should they: a) Persist with a promising young player who has struggled this series, but will more than likely develop into a great player in time and could very well score runs this game now that the pressure is off b) Re-select a batsman who has had many opportunities but has failed to address fatal flaws in his technique c) select two all-rounders (three if you include Smith), even though we need a batsman who will score runs.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (August 21, 2013, 4:23 GMT)

Jackson Bird bowled Ok for a man playing a Test after a long gap and that too on a pretty slow surface at Cardiff. He would have excelled on a much more bouncier and hopefully quicker pitch at The Oval. Once again Aussies have got their selections all muddled. Watson will be a sitting duck at No.3. There was no need for two left arm quicks in the XI. My team would have been: Warner, Rogers, Khwaja, Clarke,Smith,Watson, Haddin, Faulkner or Starc, Siddle,Harris and Lyon.

Posted by Baxter_P on (August 21, 2013, 4:19 GMT)

The Australian selectors really have no plan at all, do they? No definite idea on team structure (5 batsmen or 6? Keeper at 6 or 7? Watson's role? etc), no idea about their best batting order (who bats at 3? Does Clarke bat 4 or 5? etc), and the rotation of bowlers is at ridiculous levels (particularly in relation to Starc and Bird [and earlier in the series and in India, Lyon], who are dropped/selected arbitrarily, where performance is irrelevant). They need to choose a path forward and follow it: flip flopping constantly is not the answer. As for this XI, Haddin is not a test #6. Not on current form (25.14 in the series), not ever. He's suited to 7 (much like Prior, but of course England know this). Watson is not a test #3. And fair play to him, but Faulkner hasn't really posted the scores at first class level to compellingly suggest he is a test quality all rounder. He's a decent bowler who is handy with the bat. Put him in at 8 and he adds depth (which Aus don't actually need!)

Posted by Micky.Panda on (August 21, 2013, 4:05 GMT)

Have to agree with azzaman333. Why Starc? Its a big mystery? Just like Mitchell Johnson was selected for Australia before he really had the consistent form, and in the end he was never consistent enough. Same with Cowan in a batting sense. Never ever justified selection. I do agree that Khawaja does not justify selection. Look for consistent performers over the years to strengthen the batting line-up. Rogers was the example of a good sensible selection, even if came some years too late. Forget the obsession with youth, but on the other hand recognise when players are well past their best, e.g. Ponting.

Posted by Manu_reddy on (August 21, 2013, 3:47 GMT)

Aus team is changed again!!!!!!o my god wats happening with them...i feel aus still have good batting line up but their batters r not able to find d rythm bcs of frequent shuffling in batting order n this show clarke doesnt have any faith in his players......

I feel this is wer msd is so good, wen he finds potential in some player he always backs tat player so only v have jadeja,rohit,kohli,dk performing so well today n my dear aus selectors pls select d players with potential n give them extended run n then only u can get next pontings husseys....

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (August 21, 2013, 3:37 GMT)

high praises from clarke for faulkner..why wasn't he selected earlier? surly in the last test he could've been played in place of bird. couldn't he have??

Posted by hycIass on (August 21, 2013, 3:35 GMT)

Khawaja should be playing today. People are going to get out for small scores. It happens. Everyone is suspect at the start of their innings. If they'd stuck around and got to 30 then got out, then we could easily have a go. Number 3 is a bloody difficult spot to start a test career. Even Clarke can't/won't do it. Khawaja has scored as many 50s as Watson this series and has only played 5 innings and in my opinion will do the job for us if we give him the full series. Conditions were certainly more challenging yesterday than on the first day which is what made Rogers and Watto's innings so impressive.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 3:34 GMT)

There is absolutely no issues with the Aussie Bowling its very good without being in the 'high speed domain" which they invariably had in the past. The problem is the traumatic & unpredictable batting line up which is doing well in fits and starts and so not sufficient to win test matches . Hope its not three down before lunch if they do bat first !!!

Posted by I-Like-Cricket on (August 21, 2013, 3:30 GMT)

Appalling not to see Hughes at 3 and Watson dropped!

Posted by DavoWilly on (August 21, 2013, 3:23 GMT)

The only hope Oz have of salvaging something from this tour is if they win the toss and bat. Chasing anything reasonable in the last innings and they lose. Having said that, I think the inclusion of Faulkner is long overdue. He is a tough competitor and toughness is exactly what they need right now. Hard luck Khawaja, but maybe give u another chance to come good in a less intense series. Bird will be back. So sad to hear about Cummins injured again - thought he would be the difference and give Oz a chance back home, now not so sure.

Posted by NaniIndCri on (August 21, 2013, 3:20 GMT)

Why was Starc dropped in the first place? He bowled well in the third test if not great. And he definitely can bat. Instead they brought in a medium pacer who cannot bat. Without doubt Australia would have a had a better chance of winning the 4th test with Starc.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (August 21, 2013, 3:14 GMT)

Good to see some things haven't changed under Lehmann. Watson is still the selector's "friend with benefits".

Whereas everyone else gets up to 3 Tests to prove themselves, Watto gets 3 years.

Commiserations to Khawaja and Hughes. I feel for you guys.

The dressing room must be a very unhappy and divided place.

I'm an Aussie, but I'll be cheering for the Poms - and whoever we play - as long as the Aussie selectors keep playing favourites with Watson.

Posted by Markus971 on (August 21, 2013, 3:02 GMT)

So we now bat our w/k at 6! We have S.Watson, M.Clarke, S.Smith, D.Warner in the top 6 who can Bowl a Lil.. & we need an extra Bowler?! If Faulkner is going to play & we have a good keeper batsman, then the Highest he should Bat is 8! ahmm He's a Bowler who can Bat!! This selection is a Joke! Geez we never played Gilchrist at 6! & He was a match winner with the Bat! _Our Bowlers arent good enough! _Our Batsman arent good enough! Even if we win a one-off game, this isnt the team formula for going forward!

Posted by jparkerr on (August 21, 2013, 2:47 GMT)

Despite the cries for the selectors to show some guts and pick and stick, they continue on with their insane reactive selection policy. Poor young Khawaja, who is struggling to establish himself as a No. 3, has been dropped for a b grade all-rounder who has demonstrated time after time, that he CANNOT bat up the order. Again, two all rounders? Why not a specialist batsman and a specialist bowler? What un written law states that "Irrespective of the situation, Shane Watson must play." Why does Watson get 5 years, when others get two games? Watson must go! Selectors, face up to your failings. Clear the decks, bring in young, talented players with good techniques and temperaments, and stick with them. Courageous defeats by battling young sides are far more easy to take than humiliating capitulation from old hacks of poor character and technique, as we saw at Chester-le-Street. This selection, in a dead rubber, is short sighted and unforgivable.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (August 21, 2013, 2:32 GMT)

Khawaja should have played at the Oval. Has an Australian overseas tour ever had so much craziness? I'm going to get the order wrong, but we've had punch in bar, new coach put in two weeks before tour, old coach sues CA, bizarre selections, umpires on and off the field in controversies, technology controversies, guy on debut at no.11 scores 96 (I think), revelations about captain calling vice captain a 'cancer', some bits of great batting from both sides, lots of terrible batting by both sides, two riveting run chases that were ultimately unsuccessful for the Aussies, captain now coaching vice captain on how not to get out lbw, no.11 who scores 96 goes home early sick. Now Khawaja gets dropped which is hard to believe as he didn't deserve too so soon after making his comeback and we have gone the full monty.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 2:32 GMT)

Watson looked great at 6. If they'd put Hughes at 3, it would have been a formidable side. Poor selection!

Posted by igoy on (August 21, 2013, 2:32 GMT)

Not sure what Aussies are thinking, with just 3 pure batsmen in the side, rest including Watto are allrounders and they will never win you matches consistently. Contrast that with England having 6 pure batsmen(including Root)

Desperate sitautions call for sticking to basics but Clarke definitely seems disturbed

Posted by Kashish708 on (August 21, 2013, 2:19 GMT)

Why Hughes not selected? Hd should be selected ahead of watson. Bird has performed well enough to retain his place.

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (August 21, 2013, 2:05 GMT)

I am sorry but its a disgrace to see Khawaja not picked after only 3 tests, he top scored at Lords, got a howler in Manchester and so soon gets dropped. How are we going to build a world class batting lineup if we don't show faith in our young batting stocks. Same goes for Bird, he didn't do much wrong, he should have got more games as he reminds me so much of Mcgrath.

Posted by steve19191 on (August 21, 2013, 1:47 GMT)

LOL Don't panic Mr Mainwaring...... The aussies are in total and utter disarray. They have NO idea what their best line up is and are completely and utterly falling apart.

The next 3 and a half days will be a joy to watch.

Posted by DylanBrah on (August 21, 2013, 1:47 GMT)

Faulkner is auditioning to replace Watson for the return series. Can't do much worse.

Posted by Gurudumu on (August 21, 2013, 1:32 GMT)

Batsmen have been given enough chances to prove their worth and competence in a tough Ashes Test series - they have all (bar Clarke and Rogers) failed miserably. Khawaja and Hughes must now be dropped for the foreseable future until and unless they make compelling runs (tons) in the Sheffield Shield. Blood new batsmen like Maddinson, Doolan and give S Marsh one more chance. For this Test at the Oval, I believe Faulkner's selection is a master stroke given the resources available. Wishing OZ best of luck.

Posted by CricketChat on (August 21, 2013, 1:16 GMT)

Probably the best 11 for the last test. Even though Watson doesn't deserve his place, there is no alternative. Hope Aussies can get one back from Eng.

Posted by Eight8 on (August 21, 2013, 1:13 GMT)

@ Ian Jones: yes, the Aussies are in disarray. They seem to be in the same state as the weaker 90s England sides with too much chopping and changing. Need to take a leaf out of their own book and similar to 89 just identify the players who could take them forward, pick them, back them, and stick with them to foster their confidence and experience. Last 2 tours have probably been the toughest (apart from maybe SA) they will face so things will get easier.

You are wrong about the bowling though. The bowling has been mainly good and as a fast bowling group would probably be ahead of England overall. England yet to make one score over 400 in 8 innings. It is the batting where Australia has lost this series (being in positions to win 3 of the tests but losing 2 after collapses and weather stopping a probable win at OT.

Aussies need to win a toss and bat first (only 1 from 4 so far). Only 2 lefties in top 6 and they both open so Swann might have less impact on the middle order.

Posted by Eight8 on (August 21, 2013, 1:13 GMT)

@ Ian Jones: yes, the Aussies are in disarray. They seem to be in the same state as the weaker 90s England sides with too much chopping and changing. Need to take a leaf out of their own book and similar to 89 just identify the players who could take them forward, pick them, back them, and stick with them to foster their confidence and experience. Last 2 tours have probably been the toughest (apart from maybe SA) they will face so things will get easier.

You are wrong about the bowling though. The bowling has been mainly good and as a fast bowling group would probably be ahead of England overall. England yet to make one score over 400 in 8 innings. It is the batting where Australia has lost this series (being in positions to win 3 of the tests but losing 2 after collapses and weather stopping a probable win at OT.

Aussies need to win a toss and bat first (only 1 from 4 so far). Only 2 lefties in top 6 and they both open so Swann might have less impact on the middle order.

Posted by DragonCricketer on (August 21, 2013, 1:04 GMT)

Michael Hussey, up until 2009 last test at Oval had so many many failures. He should have been dropped. But I suppose when your winning its easier to hold batsman over a form slump. But if you lose every match like we are at the moment, then like Hughes, 1 bad test, or Khawaja, 2 bad tests and your out !! So you better not get a bad decision or have the ball hit something funny on the pitch because you only have 2 chances: 1st innings and 2nd innings.

Posted by siddhartha87 on (August 21, 2013, 1:04 GMT)

I still can't understand Australia's addiction with the 4th pacer.Batting is their problem.They should have added Hughes and make him bat at no 6.The batting line up for 5th test looks too brittle to be honest. Swann on the other hand would be licking his lips at the moment.

Posted by rattusprat on (August 21, 2013, 1:02 GMT)

A lot of comments about the seeming unusual selection, but the way I see it the selectors may have finally made a tough decision and moved forward. Hopefully.

We have seen the likes of Khawaja, Hughes, Cowan constantly swapped in and out of the side, despite consistantly showing they are not up to it. Maybe (hopefully) the selectors have decided to end this madness and, as they don't have any other batting options on tour, have said sod it and picked a bowler instead. May as well get 30odd from someone who can bowl a few overs than from someone who can't. Hopefully (maybe) we will see those 3 on the long term discard list, until they "prove" themselves again at FC level. With hundreds. Maybe another batsman (Maddinson, et al) will be given a go, or Faulkner might stay with a different team makeup if it works.

Unfortunately, however, I think we will see Hughes and Khawaja play in the return leg, and more than likely fail again.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 0:54 GMT)

Well what can you say? Australia will play 6 bowlers and Steve Smith who was originally picked as a bowler. This when we have only scored over 300 once in the series and we've already got the most productive tail enders we've ever had represent us.

Congratulations to Faulkner and hope he does well, but I was horrified when I saw him picked for the tour because I thought, oh god they're gonna try him as an all rounder at 7 aren't they? Sure enough, here we go again.

Bird played exactly as Bird was expected to play and is dropped after one match. Watson's move up to #3, which isn't so horrible a spot for him, proves once again that they have literally no idea what they're doing with him but won't even consider dropping him, even when we've got 5 bowlers!!!!

Astonishingly horrendous performance on the part of Darren Lehman and Rod Marsh and Michael Clarke this tour, heads should roll, again!

Posted by Nerk on (August 21, 2013, 0:53 GMT)

Australia needs some solidity in the middle order... Answer: Bring in an allrounder! I see that we are not content playing like England in the mid 90s, but we make selections like them as well.

Posted by wix99 on (August 21, 2013, 0:49 GMT)

Have the selectors blooded Faulkner so they can drop Watson when the Ashes series recommences in Australia?

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 0:49 GMT)

You can always rely on the selectors to bugger it up. I know Khawaja's got a lot of stick but he's one of the best looking in terms of technique - that is, what he does with his wrists and feet. He can score all round the wicket when he's batting well. All the 'problems' with his game are mental - he has a tendency to drop his head when low on confidence and that's why simple deliveries can give him some trouble. Dropping him yet again isn't going to fix that problem and he is one of Australia's best prospects at the time being. At least he got a record (for him) six matches in a row of actually being in the team.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (August 21, 2013, 0:40 GMT)

Faulkner go on and make a hundred? He hasn't scored a single one in first class cricket. This reminds me of Hastings who has similar stats

Posted by Eyepop on (August 21, 2013, 0:39 GMT)

What will happen during the Ashes series back in Australia this summer? We will freak out as soon as the team doesn't perform and pull in Khawaja or someone else in for 1 or 2 test matches then swap him over for Phil Hughes?

This period of selection puts no faith in the young Australian players and is in no way helping to build a healthy team culture.

The Oval is a dead rubber, but still an Ashes test match against a strong English side. Why continue to experiment, why not stick with the 'best' selected side and let them play as a team again.

Khawaja has certainly not played well but none of the Australian batsman have. They have however all shown potential so instead of constantly keeping extra pressure of being dropped why not make a decision which may help Australia build some momentum.

Posted by Cricket_Froth on (August 21, 2013, 0:30 GMT)

Australia has significant problems with its batting, so what do we do in the 5th Test? Drop a batsmen and bring in an all-rounder who averages 30 with the bat in First Class cricket. This is unbelievable. The selection mismanagement and total lack of continuity and direction in this Australian set up is appalling. This isn't to say that James Faulkner isn't a reasonable candidate for selection, but the circumstances demand we pick our strongest possible batting line up. There is no evidence to suggest we've done that here.

Posted by Dashgar on (August 21, 2013, 0:28 GMT)

Not sure why Wade wasn't given a chance. Haddin has been far from impressive this series, surely Wade deserves a chance to get his spot back for the home series. He really shouldn't have been dropped in the first place. It was only a leadership void that allowed Haddin back anyway.

Posted by Robertito on (August 21, 2013, 0:17 GMT)

Once again the selectors have shown that they have absolutely no idea who should be playing in our Test team. It appears that they've abandoned players with technique and class and are now focused on "fighters", sloggers and mercurial "wicket-takers". With Warner swinging like a lumberjack, Rogers edging and prodding away, Watson smashing the ball straight to fielders, Smith making it up as he goes along and Starc slinging down wides, we'll certainly be entertained. Don't worry too much, though, because it will all change again by the next series. A new philosophy will be invented, with new selections and of course Lyon will get dropped regardless.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (August 21, 2013, 0:10 GMT)

In the current Aussie side, getting dropped is the new getting picked. Nobody will emerge from the tour better than Wade.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 0:03 GMT)

I think this the good side but I am disappointed not to see Usman Khwaja name. He should have been in side in place of Smith.

Posted by Rowayton on (August 21, 2013, 0:00 GMT)

Hope Faulkner has a better test career than his fellow Tasmanian al rounder Shaun Young who also made his debut at the Oval. Can't understand the fuss about lefties making footmarks for Swann. Cannot remember him taking a single wicket in the series by pitching in footmarks on that side of the wicket.

As for azzaman333's list of bowlers with sub 30 averages - that means all of those bowlers have better f-c averages than the test averages of Anderson, Broad and Bresnan. So what?

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (August 20, 2013, 23:57 GMT)

And so goodbye Bird, the new "new Glenn McGrath". Or just maybe, the old "new Glenn McGrath".

Posted by wellrounded87 on (August 20, 2013, 23:51 GMT)

@SaadRocx you are joking right? Steve Smith has had 1 decent innings and 1 decent spell in this innings. Apart from that he's done a whole lot of nothing. His batting technique might look good but his application and concentration are left wanting in a very big way. And these two things are infinitely more important than technique.

Furthermore if you don't think Ryan Harris or Chris Rogers have been positives from this tour you truly know very little about cricket. Hughes has done more to impress than Smith in fact his average in this series is bettered only by Clarke and Rogers, yet he's first dropped while Smith has done nothing and is hailed as the hero of Aussie cricket. His test average is garbage and his first class average is garbage what makes you think he's even useful let alone the future of aussie cricket.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 23:50 GMT)

Ian Jones: am sure you fellas must be watching a completely different series! England have had one good game. the 2nd test at Lords. the other 3 tests (despite often having the best of the conditions), they have struggled most of the time against a very average Australian batting line up. I think a much fairer scoreline would be 2-2. God knows what the scoreline would be if this had been South Africa visiting these shores this summer. Steyn, Philander and Morkel would have a field day against this England batting line up. #FalseEconomy

Posted by popcorn on (August 20, 2013, 23:50 GMT)

This is a huge mistake.Droppng Khawaja means the Selectors have been floundering to put a stamp on the best Number 3 for the last 2 years without giving ANYBODY TIME TO SETTLE DOWN.How long with this Chip Chop continue? And James Faulkner? What fighting qualities? He can't bat to save his life. I remember with great dismay that he could not score a SINGLE RUN in the final over to help Tasmania win the Ryobi Cup.He denied Ricky Ponting, Tassie's favourite son, the ONLY PRIZE HE DOES NOT POSSESS-the One Day Title. Punter even took his pads off o that he cross over the single if only James Faulkner could hit the ball to mid off or mid on. SIC.

Posted by thelapal on (August 20, 2013, 23:29 GMT)

How many times they recall starc .. If starc is a good player why australia is dropping him continously ? success comes with patience and potential . australia selection has been patient with shane watson knowing his potential why can't they do the same with other players.There is something going wrong in australian dressing room. i dont think haddin deserves place kevin wade should play !

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (August 20, 2013, 23:22 GMT)

The selectors expect consistency from batsmen. How about some consistency from them?

They say they select on performance, then why is Watson picked and Hughes not? They want more runs, then why do they select more bowlers and leave in-form batsmen on the bench?

Faulkner has been pushed aside the whole tour, batting low down, bowling 2nd or 3rd change. I really can't understand what game these selectors are playing at.

Posted by hmmmmm... on (August 20, 2013, 23:19 GMT)

We might now get England out for less, but effectively four down (which seems to come around by the 15th over these days) means we're into a very long tail. After the last innings i feel scoring 150 consistently will be a tough ask. I agree with other posts, this must have something to do with playing Harris three games in a row...why else would you weaken a ridiculously confused batting lineup (if it can be called that).

Posted by Cantbowlcantbat on (August 20, 2013, 23:12 GMT)

Agree with coverdrive88. Filling the team with mediocre all-rounders is not the way to go. It seems that it is insurance hoping that if the all-rounder fails with the bat, at least he might take a wicket or 2. It reminds me so much of the failed approach of England in the 90s and even Australia in the 80s when they filled the team, with all-rounders like Moody, S. Waugh, O'Donnell, Matthews, Sleep et al. The only one who went on to be a success was Waugh and only when he focussed on batting!

Posted by chrynnon on (August 20, 2013, 23:12 GMT)

I'm intrigued...what does Shane Watson have to do to get himself dropped?

Posted by Batmanian on (August 20, 2013, 23:11 GMT)

Predictable that Khawaja couldn't function at three, but now we've got the problem that from some quarters we will still be hearing 'Cowan got umpteen Tests in a row. How come Khawaja wasn't persisted with for any of his three chances so far? Let's give him another shot, only time at five or six,where the people who have actually followed his struggles stepping up to Test level were always saying he had the best chance.' If they had just given him a chance to succeed or fail once and for all at five or six, with a view to promotion should he succeed, his advocates would be vindicated or silenced definitively and we could move on to looking at players who are still actually young.

Posted by Pookie_06 on (August 20, 2013, 23:09 GMT)

@ Coverdrive88: Comment of the day.

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (August 20, 2013, 23:01 GMT)

This team really highlights the incompetency of the Australian selectors - they have reverted to a failed formula of 3 specialist batsmen (Rogers, Warner, Clarke). Surely Hughes should have been selected in place of Khawaja and Faulkner in place of Watson. And with Faulkner in the team the usual excuses for picking Starc don't really have traction (i.e. footmarks for Lyon). I understand it's a dead rubber, but certainly we must try to win every test! I will honestly be very surprised if this team comes even close to winning this test match.

Posted by funkybluesman on (August 20, 2013, 22:51 GMT)

The idea of calling him an allrounder is a bit of a joke. He's scored a few 50s in first class cricket. At best he's a bowler who's pretty decent as a lower order batsman, a bit like Starc. Considering the number of bowlers who are never referred to as allrounders who've scored first class hundreds, it's pretty hard to call someone an allrounder who never has.

Posted by AusieBangaleeShameem on (August 20, 2013, 22:45 GMT)

Australian team's ROTATION POLICY?????

Posted by Wefinishthis on (August 20, 2013, 22:38 GMT)

Like the consensus here, azzaman333 is spot on. So Starc gets multiple failures and Bird gets ONE go? If McGrath got picked after one test, we would have missed out on the dominating 90's-00's. Bird didn't even bowl that badly - he beat the bat multiple times and remained economical. He was just unlucky. Faulkner is a bowler and NOT a batsmen. These selections could not be more wrong. 3 bowlers (Harris, Siddle, Lyon) and 3 all-rounders (Faulkner, Starc and Watson)? The team is completely imbalanced now. Who will bat at first drop? Don't tell me Faulkner (not a batsman), Watson (walking wicket), Smith or Clarke (middle-order specialists). Disasterous selections! England strategy should be to see off Harris and then score freely off Siddle, Lyon, Starc and Watson. They should tread carefully with Faulkner who has some potential, but with all these bowlers in the side, they will get a diluted time with the ball meaning plenty of loose deliveries which = free runs!

Posted by asraruwant on (August 20, 2013, 22:36 GMT)

It is an excellent decision by the Aussies. Finally! This is the lineup i suggested at the start of the ashes because Aussies can beat the English only by fully attacking with thier strong suit i.e bowling. Whether it was Usman Khawaja or Philip Hughes the number of runs they were scoring Even James Faulkner is good enough to score those 20-30 runs, Plus their tail is now stronger with Mitchell Starc, Siddle and Harris in there. The only way they should think of winning is by taking 20 english wickets. If they can somehow take 20 wickets and give away not more than 500 runs in the whole match then even with this batting line up they are good enough to score atleast 501 runs in the match.Hence ending up as winners because lets not forget English bowling attack is not as strong as it was in the first 2 tests of this series. If not for broad's Spell in the last test Aussies would have won easily. And i dont see broad bowling that spell again anytime soon in his career again.

Posted by alstar2281 on (August 20, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

I like Faulkner as a cricketer and agree with Michael Clarkes sentiments. However, I find it curious that you add a 5th/6th bowling option (when the bowling has already proved the trump card this tour) when it is the batting that has been lacking. All you are doing is taking away another two innings of experience for Hughes, Kawajah or Wade. Why the extra bowler? If you are worried about Harris or Siddle's work load and want extra bowling cover why not rest one of them in preparation for the return series? If the issue is Watson bowling less you are going to need another seamer with the ability to bowl tight. The side looks completely out of balance now. You have made the top order even skinner and batting depth shorter which looks fraught with danger on current form. You have two left arm swing bowlers and two right arm bustling type bowlers, thus little variety. Faulkner may prove to be the find of the tour if he performs but for now Australia looks more confused then ever.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (August 20, 2013, 22:32 GMT)

About time that they gave Faulkner a go! Should have been playing in the first test! The best all rounder in the country by miles. Sadly, this will weaken the batting and, while Faulkner can bat a bit, he is unlikely to do as well as Khawaja would have. Even still, this is the 5th test in a dead rubber so it was high time that he got a go. I am a bit surprised that Matthew Wade didn't get a go in there somewhere. Khawaja was the worst performing of the batsmen so was always likely to be the one to miss out. Good choices all round.

Posted by picket23 on (August 20, 2013, 22:29 GMT)

Hughes is the best batsman Australia has produced in quite a few years. His batting has gone down hill since he joined the Australian team, but this has happened with every new comer recently. Callum Ferguson, Ed Cowan, Rob Quiney, Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Shuan Marsh etc have all gotten worse since being exposed to the Australian side. There is something around the Australian team causing this.

Do not blame the most talented batsmen, do not drop them. Fix the issues around the team while sticking with these players. They are not going to learn to score test hundreds training in the nets and facing the bowling machine. Play them for as many years as it takes. We are not going to win for the next few years whether Hughes or Khawaja are in the side or not. So leave them in until someone better shows up. They might overcome whatever is wrong with the Australian set up at the moment and start scoring the runs they are capable of. If the best young batsmen don't then the next best won't

Posted by KiwiPom on (August 20, 2013, 22:07 GMT)

The player I feel most sorry for is Matthew Wade. He was unlucky to drop out for the recalled Brad Haddin in the first place and, even if Haddin is still the preferred keeper, Wade I think should have been given this test either as the keeper or as a specialist batsman.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (August 20, 2013, 22:04 GMT)

The following seems to me to be the case :-

1) Hughes and Khawaja both look horrible against a ball turning away from them and The Oval spins. While they are the future, best let them have a try to develop a bit on wickets not deliberately dried out and made to turn ..... i.e anywhere in Australia, Sth Africa or NZ ?

2) The Australians want a 5th Bowler and I suggest that if Watson doesn't score here, Faulkner might take his place for the future ?

3) It is essential that Ryan Harris is not overbowled.

4) While our batting has been weak, if we could have crashed through from 3 for to 6 for, quickly, a couple of times, we may have won this series. It's all been too quiet in the middle overs. This is why we've attempted to hold Siddle back ?

5) Faulkner bats right handed. This will be the lowest number of left hand batsmen in the top 7 that this particular squad can muster. Only ones left are opening ! Picked as Swann avoidance ?

Posted by raulraj on (August 20, 2013, 21:59 GMT)

"Boof" The coach needs to know his players, I guess he is trying everyone so he knows actually what they are capable of on cricket field no just practice. He needs time to see who he can give long roe too...I think he knows what watson , smith and haddin are capable of one given days. they just need some backing and he is providing them. I bet this australian team will be better settled with in a year of his term. He is a gud coach who just needs little time. He is just making changes wishing someone will put their hands up and 'sir i am here for u'...but sadly none has done so...to some extent warner did...lyon did..smith did so they will be there and i see some inprovement in watson..he will settle down at 6 pretty quick and u will see Ghilcrist like carnage from him at every australian innings towards the end. It will be a sight if they can have harris...flaukner with new bowl and jhonson and watson with old ball...rest is will be best. watch out for this to happen fellas!!

Posted by MinusZero on (August 20, 2013, 21:56 GMT)

Replacing a batsman with a bowling all-rounder...hmmm. I found an interesting stat yesterday. In the last two years, Australia have won 6 tests out of 18 (33%) when Shane Watson is selected and won 6 out of 10 (60%) when he wasn't over the same period. Food for thought? The Aussies are carrying Watson.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 21:56 GMT)

Oh my god Australia have worst batting performance and now we have only four genuine batsman most of them struggling and more all rounder only change we need is Clarke for got sake don't kill Australia cricket. One person can make a difference change captaincy see the rise

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (August 20, 2013, 21:53 GMT)

D'oh! The batsmen are failing and Australia replace a batsman with a lad who mostly bowls and bats a bit?? 5 pacers and a spinner for Australia at The Oval!!!!! D''oh!

Posted by Dangertroy on (August 20, 2013, 21:41 GMT)

This looks like the kind of team that a random number generator could have picked. I've got no problem with the Faulkner selection, the series is lost, so lets see what he can do. But the Watson selection is baffling. Absolutely baffling. He wasn't performing as an opener, so we drop him to six(where he belongs) and he scores 68(and 2) so we promote him to 3? Crazy. The only selection that could of been stranger would have been moving bird to 3. I've joked in the past with the way we bat, we should just pick two openers, Clarke, a keeper and 7 bowlers. That is exactly what this team is - a joke. This is not our best 11. Maybe it will win a game. But it answers nothing. If Watson fails again, it will prove there is no place for him in the test team. Perhaps Faulkner does well, but is a 5 bowler lineup something we want for the future? We can only go that way if we have 5 outstanding batsmen. We do not.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 21:39 GMT)

I hope the selectors have something in mind with the selection of this team. OK Starc is back in and should not have been dropped in the first place, BUT an allrounder in for a batsman??? And Watson up to 3??? I just hope that the selectors' plan is to drop Watson forever - assuming of course he does his usual and fails again. How many chances does he have to be given. Personally I really hope he fails and is never to be seen again playing Test Cricket.

Posted by xylo on (August 20, 2013, 21:22 GMT)

a) I would expect Faulkner to replace LBWatson, and not Khawaja; he needs an extended run in the team. b) This team is more and more beginning to resemble the Kiwi side of the early 2000s - a bunch of allrounders who could bat/bowl a little. While Clarke is good, maybe he is not as good as Stephen Fleming. And, the attitudes of these sides are at different poles.

Posted by poms_have_short_memories on (August 20, 2013, 20:46 GMT)

As I have mentioned before in posts Australia should persevere with the batsmen that they have, obviously there is a lack of batting talent for Australia and that will, unfortunately, take several years to change. No doubt Khawaja will come good at test level, he has too much talent not to, but mentally atm he appears out of his depth.

Posted by GrindAR on (August 20, 2013, 20:23 GMT)

Finally much needed addition... Should've happened atleast midway into series. Some people provide positive imtheipact just by their presence. JF would not fail on that. Aussies last the 4th just because, their 5-11 did not intend to stay in the crease. JF is good at showing how not to be nervous in tense situations... It comes natural... so experience not needed... Aussie/Clarke/Lehman would scratch their brains... thinking why they stopped JF until the things are done and dusted in terms of test series name sake... I see next ashes with similar results in favor of hosts. Swan/Broad will not have their show in match highlights... Harris/Starc, Siddle/Pattinson can be 1st & 2nd choice pairs. Let Agar take some sessions with Warnie and Steve Waugh to get their valuable mentor-ships on Give enough chances for JF while finding better 2 more young talents, to replace free riders in the team..

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 20:19 GMT)

Sick of writing of how utterly pathetic the Australian Selectors, Management, Leadership and Trainers are ..... the 7-0 score line over the tours of England and India is a true reflection of their talent.

Ben Cutting has a FC Bowling Average in 2011-12 and 2012-13 was 21.1 and 18.8 respectively and he can't even make it into a losing Australia A Team. Not surprising when McDermott had an FC Bowling Average in 2011-12 of 16.0 and couldn't make the Australia A Team.

Posted by Beertjie on (August 20, 2013, 20:16 GMT)

Excellent comments @Rajiv Bhar on (August 20, 2013, 14:54 GMT). Spot on @ PutMarshyOn on (August 20, 2013, 13:42 GMT). Agree entirely @Allan Towle on (August 20, 2013, 13:24 GMT). I hope it was only a one-off experiment triggered by not wishing to give one of Hughes or Khawaja unearned opportunities. If Hughes and Khawaja reprise their early season form of last year they should return. Still, if Faulkner makes a fist of it he'd be worth considering and may even eventually force his way into the team as a batting all-rounder. However, that seems way off atm. @Ramdas S Sivadas on (August 20, 2013, 13:51 GMT) concerning the selection of Starc: It's called the not-rotation policy.

Posted by ScottStevo on (August 20, 2013, 20:12 GMT)

Disgusting. It's hard to believe that we're dropping a batsman to bolster our bowling when our batting is having a horror show. If Faulkner is meant to be an all-rounder, then these guys are seriously mistaken. IMO, he's neither test quality with the ball nor anywhere near close to being a decent number 8. It's these types of selections that are ruining this team. There's no method, it's just pure madness. Also, it's damaging to the confidence of our younger players. Totally lacking in patience in search of instant gratification - at the gravest of costs to our team and player's development. I've lost all faith in our selectors and had hoped Boof may bring some reason, but it appears that he too has succumbed to mindlessness that is CA.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 20:06 GMT)

It is as though Australia has already given up on the top order making runs and have selected Faulkner to bolster the tail, where most of the runs have come from this tour. Clarke is grasping at straws when he says Faulkner was selected for his "fighting attitude." What hogwash. Australia needs ability and performances with bat and ball, not just "toughness" and being a "competitor." Clark talks about "handy runs" that Faulkner may make batting at 7, and "batting with the tail and find a way to get them through." Is this the new game plan? A rearguard batting approach?

Posted by Playfair on (August 20, 2013, 20:00 GMT)

Looks like Australia are beginning to prepare for the return Ashes series later this year. Khwaja out, not surprised, the guy needs some of Dravids grit, concentration and determination potion. Faulkner was impressive during the IPL so it will be interesting to see how he goes in the longer version of the game

Posted by Pyketts on (August 20, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

Doesn't really matter which unknown/untried players Aus bring in they don't have anything good enough to consistantly worry Eng.

@SaadRocx your comment proves the problem for Aus, a very average cricketer is being seen as the future of their cricket.

It really reminds me of Eng when they picked the likes of Dermot Reeve, Robert Croft and John Embury, players who weren't good enough at either disipline but could do a bit of both and had the "right attitude". Long may it continue!

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 19:34 GMT)

A bit funny reading all the praise dished out by Clarke for Faulkner. If Faulkner is such a superman, then why did Aussies wait until the last test to give him a cap :P

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 19:23 GMT)

I find this utterly ridiculous choice to be honest. If your top 6 batsman won't do it, there's no reason why your bowling all-rounder will go out there and score a century against some of the world's best bowlers. This is not T20, It's test cricket. Specialist players are who you need to back. With a left hand seamer in starc, Australia will be inevitably giving Swann few footmarks to work with, which can play a lot more vital role than they could actually imagine. I don't think they are up for the challenge. The mental stiffness, positive approach, that fire under your belly to win games, that pride to represent your country. Every single thing is missing.

Posted by Dr.Scott on (August 20, 2013, 19:09 GMT)

Strange decision to go with only 5 specialist batsmen, although Watson is hardly that. Very disappointing to see Hughes not playing, he should be opening with Rogers. Australia has gone through the whole series without playing the best 2 openers, Rogers and Hughes, as the openers. Cannot believe some people want Cowan in the side, he is a failure, he is the worst batsman on tour, he should have never been selected in the Ashes squad, he probably should never have played test cricket. Smith is not an alrounder, he has been selected as a specialist batsman because he was one of the better players in FC cricket last season although it only took quite a mediocre performance to achieve that.

Posted by amumtaz on (August 20, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

If Faulkner is selected, then Watson should have been dropped. Khawaja should be continued at #3. Dropping him after only two tests is not long enough for him to establish himself. Sure, he has not lived up to his expectations, but he did score a fighting 50 in this series. He still can produce a few more.

Posted by Roshan_P on (August 20, 2013, 18:46 GMT)

I reckon bigINDfan's line-up is the best I've seen so far. Although I would have Hughes in as No. 3 with Cowan as back-up, because Hughes is probably a more accomplished batsman. If Aus want to experiment, use the 5 and 6 positions to break in batsmen like Doolan, Maddinson, Silk, Cosgrove or Burns, like England did with Root. You could even try Khawaja at 5 instead of Smith. I don't understand why they mess so much with the first-drop position. Wade should probably come in for Haddin too.

Posted by ammar7may on (August 20, 2013, 18:42 GMT)

This squad seems pretty reasonable. Clarke and Watson have to take responsibility top the order. Brining more batsmen in does not ensure enough scores on the board, given that losing wickets always builds pressure. Fast bowlers including Starc have to be more utilized without fear of injury, in order to bring maturity and match winningability in them. At least three fast bowlers must be a regular part of the squad now. Selectors have to choose the best.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (August 20, 2013, 18:33 GMT)

If Aus are to post big enough scores to regularly win test matches then they will need to play 6 batsman & a WK who bats at 7. The problem they now have is that Harris has become so important to them that they need a 4th seamer to allow his workload to be managed during the game & to be on hand if he breaks down. Therefore if Aus are to have the right balance with Harris in the side they will need a 4th seamer who can bat in the top 6. This should be Watson but he is just not scoring enough runs at the moment & he also he has his own injury concerns. I don't think Faulkner will end up being the solution, as his inclusion will just mean Aus end up being a batsman short. IMO if he is to forge himself a test career then hes probably competing for the 3rd seamer slot. Without a top 6 batsman who can do an effective job as 4th seamer Aus will likley continue to struggle until they can find an effective 4 man bowling attack which does not include Harris

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 18:21 GMT)

It's a good decision at this point of time. Faulkner can bat better than Khawaja and Hughes I guess. One thing is very clear that Aussies should find a solid player at No.3 position for the future test series.

Posted by landl47 on (August 20, 2013, 18:19 GMT)

I guess when logical solutions fail, you do something illogical and hope that Murphy's Law works in reverse. The batting has been the problem, so drop a batsman and bring in a bowling all-rounder.

I like Faulkner, but The Oval usually takes spin and Swann's had a good series. Faulkner might find batting #7 a notch too high. His bowling hasn't been great, either: 8 wickets @33 against some ordinary batting- except Taylor and Ballance, who both made 100s.

With 4 specialist seamers, Watson's bowling is not likely to be used much, if at all. Obviously, the right place for him to bat is #3, since he had his only 50 of the series batting at #6.

I wonder if before Starc any player has ever, in a 5-test series with no fitness issues involved, been selected, dropped, selected, dropped and selected. I must Ask Steven. Continuity doesn't seem to be one of the highest priorities of Boof's selection policy.

Still, it all makes for good entertainment and lots to talk about, doesn't it?

Posted by Roshan_P on (August 20, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

Really strange that Oz are only playing three batsmen - Rogers, Warner and Clarke - with Haddin as wicketkeeper-batsman, and the rest bowlers, bowler-batsmen and Steve Smith just lolloping about doing nothing in particular. Lyon, Pattinson, Harris and Siddle can hold their own with the bowling, so I would just play the rest of the team as specialist batsmen.

Posted by Roshan_P on (August 20, 2013, 18:11 GMT)

Bloody hell, Watto at three should never, ever happen. His technique is too poor even for a No. 5. I think he should stick to limited overs, which should be better for his body too. Steve Smith seems to not have much of a role in the side apart from good fielder. As for Phil Hughes not being in the side, it's ridiculous that he has not got a chance. He has three Test hundreds, probably joint second most in the XI. He has grit, solid temperament and a fighting spirit. He would have been the perfect No 3. Or if you don't want to throw him in the deep end straight away, you could tell Clarke to pop a couple of balls in his sack and bat at 3. Glad Faulkner's in though.

Posted by jlw74 on (August 20, 2013, 17:59 GMT)

So after the Argus report, after getting toweled up by India 4-0 and now 3-0 down in an Ashes series this is how far we have come. Backwards. We are playing 6 bowlers and two part timers when our problem is clearly our batting. Rather than drop Khawaja, Clarke should man up bat at 3 until the young brigade coming thru find form and their feet. Khawaja could have slotted into 5 for a short while at least until the SA series next year. Show some faith!! How many chances is Watson going to get??? This is non sustainable selection policy we are going backwards not forward its farcical.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 17:54 GMT)

Its going to be very interesting now to see who gets the batting positions in the top 6 going forward, with Clarke dropping out of the selection panel and Lehmann being added and then Khawaja and Hughes falling out of favour, it just all begs the question, who next? The start of the shield season will be most intriguing, but oh wait, half our prospects will be off in India playing pyjama cricket. Oh well, there is always 2014 and South Africa I suppose.. better make that 2015, then. Failing a bundle of runs from the likes of Davey, Buck and Pup there is no end in sight to this sorry mess. The tragedy being, we really have not been that bad in the last two matches.

@Abhisek Bharadwaj, that made me laugh mate! I think they just saw the Titanic on the way past..

@Luke McMahon, I wouldn't disagree with any of that really, Lehmann would rightfully feel frustrated and the likes of Hughes and Ussie need to do much better thn they have been.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (August 20, 2013, 17:47 GMT)

Australia are already talking about the world cup and anything other than this current Ashes series. Just like the Aussie stadiums were almost empty in 2010/11 as England piled on the wins, this time the mentality of the current Oz team seems empty-headed and disconnected from the almighty realization that they're 3-0 down in this series with one to play. 4-0 would be one of the most devastating scorelines, a thrashing that would affect future players like Starc, who definitely deserves a chance in this game, for long into their careers. For England it's just a question of batting well and letting their bowlers do the rest. I predict they'll wrap this up nicely by the morning of day 5.

Posted by whatawicket on (August 20, 2013, 17:45 GMT)

Australia putting all their eggs in one basket. by employing 2 left handers its win the toss or loose the match. swann will be licking his lips if England bat 1st. i can understand giving faulkner a go but would have stuck with bird. smith i would not have picked, as he is no way a test match batsmen but maybe his leg spinning just may have go him the batting spot.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 17:41 GMT)

If they were planning to do so much chopping and changing, then they could have as well have bought Mitchel Johnson as part of the contingent. He was in good form in IPL and would have done a good job in at least 2 tests of roughing up batsmen with his pace and bounce. Plus he is also more than handy with the bat.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 17:28 GMT)

A very good positive moov by australia faulkner is a good positive attacking player and what australia realy need is agression more than anything how can you judge anybody without giving him chance .james has done enough in limited opportunity he get for a place in the team.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

aussies humbled in the ashes,no doubt faulkner is a good allrounder for aussies,but aussies should include bailey or forrest in place of steve smith to strengthen the middle order batting line up which has been weak through out the ashes.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

Drop khawaja and give the likes of Smith, not even a genuine batsman, unlimited opportunities to fail. Hughes is a proven failure and I was half expecting him to be picked for the 5th test again, but for some reason he wasn't. If these players- Smith, Hughes etc (even Lyon) were part of any other test team except Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, their careers would have been over by now. But such is the lack if batting talent in Australia at the moment that Steve Smith is a definite in the XI. That just about says it all.

Posted by CoverDrive88 on (August 20, 2013, 16:39 GMT)

How times change and how things depend on circumstances!! Check these out - 37, 21, 21, 26, 13*, 12, 65, 38, 0*, 7, 23, 14, 54, 1, 24, 0, 21 and 13, 5, 8, 0, 11, 74, 1, 1, 0, 12*, 2*, 39*, 6, dnb, 0, 28, 71. The first set is Khawaja (364 total, all but 3 at #3). The second is Steve Waugh (218 total mainly at #6). Admittedly Waugh was also a useful part-time bowler, but his next 20-odd innings look the same. He didn't look a particularly good batsman but got an extended stay at a protected position. In fact, his brother Mark looked twice as good. Khawaja gets Tests in bursts of 1, 2, 3, has to bat at #3 all the time, and gets dropped for not making enough runs, but more than Waugh. Hughes' figures are similar except that he made 75, 115, 160 in the first two Tests, total 582, mainly at #1-3. He cops the same treatment.

Posted by 64blip on (August 20, 2013, 16:37 GMT)

@ Shoeshine Says it all. Imagine adding the starting XIs from the India tour to the list. If they'd stuck with their XI from the first test (apart from changes enforced by injury) and in the same order, would the series scoreline be any different? Denial - it's not a river in Africa. @ Luke McMahon If " letting flaky players make a big score in a dead rubber isn't going to help anyone" then what does Faulkner prove if he makes a big score in a dead rubber? Consistency of selection = faith in your players that they're the best available -> greater self-belief -> better performances. Note 'best available' does not always equal 'better than the opposition' and 'better performances' does not always equal 'victory'.

Posted by trav29 on (August 20, 2013, 16:32 GMT)

the only thing I can guess to make sense of replacing khawaja with Faulkner is they are not 100% that harris will make it through a 4th successive test and with Watson now not being able to bowl want Faulkner as cover should harris break down

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 16:30 GMT)

Phil Hughes has got reason to feel hard done by this tour, top run scorer in first class... I'm sorry but the selection is all over the place... Picking a bowling all rounder man as a die hard Aussie fan I'm losing my mind I'm getting frustrated

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

I quite like Faulkner but what I would ask our friends in Oz is: how good a batsman is he really? Is he a genuine middle-order player like, say, Flintoff or Ken Mackay perhaps, or is he more of a bowler that bats a bit, like Tim Bresnan or Stuart Broad?

Mitchell Starc is all right and has good figures for this series, but personally I've always thought of Hilfenhaus as a more consistently probing new-ball bowler. Maybe I just have a thing for pitch-it-up swing bowlers.

Posted by Charlie101 on (August 20, 2013, 16:22 GMT)

Whilst I rate Faulkner from his performances in the IPL and ODI games I feel that the only reason he is selected must be that the formidable Harris is creaking slightly and if they bowl him in long spells he will have fitness issues so they need the bowling beefed up to protect their best strike weapon . The thinking could also be that if there are 2 left armers leaving footmarks then Swan will have a field day with Khawaja and Hughes but it seems incredibly difficult to try and guess what an earth is going on in the Australian selectors minds !!! I hope the Aussie saboteurs / selectors continue in this form and help us retain the Ashes down under.

Posted by SaadRocx on (August 20, 2013, 16:21 GMT)

Steven Smith is the Only Positive Australia can take from this ASHES series ..The Guy looks SOOO Promising..His technique against Spin is Class,Impressive Fielder ,can bowl as well..He's the Future of Australia and In my Opinion should be Made the Vice Captain as soon as possible considering how young he is.

Posted by Thefakebook on (August 20, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

I don't get it why not drop Watto? OK Usie has not done enough to keep his no.3 position but Watto has not done anything (runs OR wickets) for couple of series now,that's right I think time's up for Watson,good that James Faulkner got the call up,he will be the true allrounder Watto never would've been.I rather see Phillip back in place of Watto.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 16:15 GMT)

Australia in disarray - what a great site to behold! Continuous changing of the side is a bad reflection of the state of oz cricket. They're bowling has performed OK, though has appeared out of its depth on occasion. Nice that England have faced ALL of the much vaunted (and over hyped) bowling attack, and mostly found them to be decent bowlers but nothing special. Just needs Mitch Johnson back in the team to make us Englanders really happy!!

Posted by Westmorlandia on (August 20, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

The inconsistency of both selection and the batting order is surprising and they really have to stop. But maybe they felt that Khawaja was just never going to score runs? He quite possibly won't. Maybe Watson can't bowl this test? Who knows? It's impossible to know what they're thinking.

Swann is presumably rubbing his hands with glee at the thought of the footmarks he's going to be able to bowl into. Two left hand bowlers should create a wonderful big area for him to land it in.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

Come on Man! australia needs a better batsman not a bowler. so far in these series only clarke and rogers have played well but not with consistency. Faulkner is a bowler,he can bat a bit but not like a specialist batsmen. already watson is out of form.smith,haddin and warner has not been consistent with the bat. Totally ridiculous thing by australia. Hughes should have been in the playing XI.

Posted by azzaman333 on (August 20, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

Australian pace bowlers with a first class bowling average under 30; Bollinger, Copeland, Cummins, Hazlewood, Henriques, Lalor, Sandhu, Tremain, Watson, Hopes, Cutting, Feldman, Gannon, Harris, McDermott, Mennie, Putland, Sayers, Bird, Butterworth, Faulkner, Hilfenhaus, Maher, Hastings, McDonald, McKay, Pattinson, Siddle, Behrendorff, Coulter-Nile, Hogan, Marsh, Rimmington.

That's 33 different bowlers. Not one of them is a left hander named Mitchell. Even Mitchell of the Johnson variety is closer to having a sub-30 average than Starc.

So can someone please explain Starc's selection in lieu of these statistics? If it's because he's supposedly a wicket taker, keep in mind that every single fast bowler in the squad (Watson included) has a superior FC strike rate to go with their superior FC average.

This illustrates the systematic failure of the selectors to actually pick the best players for each format. Starc's a great short form bowler, but he's not the right man for the test team.

Posted by CoverDrive88 on (August 20, 2013, 16:10 GMT)

It just gets worse and worse!! Now we have 6 bowlers plus Smith and Warner in a side which can't make 250. If we're going this way, we should have brought in Wade and Agar too. Then we could have 7 bowlers and 3 part-timers plus Clarke and haddin and hope they can get England out for 50!! This is as short-sighted a selection as I can remember. Are they going to use all-rounders until the next generation of batsmen arrives? It's just not realistic - Hughes, Khawaja and Smith have to form the core of the team in the immediate future. When is someone going to realise that Clarke can't keep hiding down the order? He has to man up, take control at 3, and give the younger guys some protection while they find some form and confidence.

Posted by Poliwag060 on (August 20, 2013, 16:04 GMT)

An odd selection. Faulkner hasn't really taken wickets this tour, despite the runs he's scored. Moreover, Australia will no be playing two left arm seamers, meaning that there is going to be a lot of rough for Graeme Swann if England manage to bat for a while on an Oval pitch which is bound to take turn. Michael Clarke had better win the toss!

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 16:01 GMT)

Australia have lost it, They came to England with Roger, Warner, Cowan, Watson, Hughes with 5 openers and only with one solid middle order batsman Clark the rest are probable bowling allrounders or bowler from the starting they got no chance of winning ashes or any other series in hell.

Posted by Speng on (August 20, 2013, 16:00 GMT)

Australia's problem is not their bowling... Evidently they have enough guys in the squad to take 20 wickets consistently against this English team in these conditions but swapping an upper order batman (Khawaja) for a lower order allrounder (Faulkner) indicates they don't think there are any batsmen left in the squad.

Posted by mike.iz on (August 20, 2013, 15:38 GMT)

More changes. Aus bowling looks strong...batting not so much. Clarke will have to play really well in both innings for Aus to get a big score. I think Faulkner will do well hes a good bowler on dry wickets hes success in the IPL i proof of that.Hes a decent bat as well and got a good 50 against Eng in the champions trophy..looked very capable. Feel sorry for Watson though struggling to get runs pushed up & down the,injury concerns,modified technique (looked good in the 1st knock @ Durham) fingers crossed he does well. With Faulkner in here get the feeling if he does well Watson might find it hard to hold his place in return leg of the Ashes. Think he needs a big knock here. Hoping for greet test match. To Shane Watson please remember "play straight, don't chase wide balls & think every ball is the 1st-respect it"Only hen your gonna far kid...

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 15:35 GMT)

I was thinking Hughes would come in for Khawaja and Faulkner in for Watson. Figured Bird had done enough to keep his place, but Starc's inclusion may be a horses-for-courses selection. Worth noting: with Faulkner playing, Australia will have used 17 of their 18-man squad in the series. Only Wade didn't get a go.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

Seriously, what's the problem. Not one of those batsmen has demanded a spot in the team, so why give them one? Better off playing Faulkner who's not put a foot wrong in limited opportunities. We can't win the series, so give him a go. As for the people mentioning Bailey, turn it up. Just because he's the 20-20 captain, doesn't mean he's test-worthy. He only averages about 8 runs more than Faulkner and can't bowl. Consistency of selection and letting flaky players make a big score in a dead rubber isn't going to help anyone. Better off seeing what Faulkner can do. And all this Katich business...if there was a time to bring him in, it was along with Rogers for the first test. No point whatsoever bringing him in for the 5th. Blaming Boof for not sticking by players already is ridiculous. It's his job to find out who can play or not, and it's his job that will be on the line if he doesn't...if he doesn't think he can depend on Usman or Hughes, fair enough.

Posted by naveenpnayak on (August 20, 2013, 15:08 GMT)

I like this selection personally... Loved to see flaunker in playing XI.. he is good with the bat too, as Khwaja wasnt scoring more runs its good to have him replaced. Its also a good move to promote Watson up the order. He is more confident when playing the new ball.. So I see Aussie winning the last match seeing some positive moves.

Posted by Shoeshine on (August 20, 2013, 15:08 GMT)

Australia's changes in personnel and position this series:

Before the first Test, and from their previous Test side in India Warner dropped for disciplinary reasons, Lyon dropped, Rogers brought in, Wade dropped, Haddin brought in, Maxwell dropped, Johnson dropped, Starc brought in, Clarke back in from injury.

2nd Test Cowan dropped, Khawaja brought in, Hughes moved from 6 to 4, Clarke down to 5, Smith down to 6,Agar up to 8, Siddle down to 9, Starc dropped, Harris brought in

3rd Test Clarke back up to 4, Smith up to 5, Hughes dropped, Warner brought in, Agar dropped, Siddle up to 8, Pattinson out (injured), Starc brought back, Harris up to 10, Lyon brought in

4th Test Warner moved up to open, Watson down to 6, Starc dropped (again), Harris up to 9, Lyon up to 10, Bird brought in

5th Test (so far known) Khawaja dropped, Watson up to 3, Bird dropped, Starc in (again!), Faulkner in, Haddin moved to 6…..

Utter carnage.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

Usman Khawaja and Philip Hughes are currently the best Aus batsmen, so whether the selectors like it or not they have to stick with them because there is noone else available. And in this match none of them are going to play. I can just sit back and wonder the unimaginable depth to which Aussie cricket is diving to currently. Some people had said that losing the 2nd match was the lowest point, but I think there are still some way to go to reach there and the Aussie selectors are determined to reach there quickly.

Posted by kp.india on (August 20, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

Steven smith is a very good player , personally i adore his batting style..he is such an asset in the field..with a little fine tuning of his allrounding abilities he cud easily become australia's yuvraj.Having said all these ..i still feel a player like callum ferguson wud fit better at no : 5 then steven smith.

Posted by Shoeshine on (August 20, 2013, 15:01 GMT)

Australia's changes in personnel and position this series:

Before the first Test, and from their previous Test side in India Warner dropped for disciplinary reasons, Lyon dropped, Rogers brought in, Wade dropped, Haddin brought in, Maxwell dropped, Johnson dropped, Starc brought in, Clarke back in from injury.

2nd Test Cowan dropped, Khawaja brought in, Hughes moved from 6 to 4, Clarke down to 5, Smith down to 6,Agar up to 8, Siddle down to 9, Starc dropped, Harris brought in

3rd Test Clarke back up to 4, Smith up to 5, Hughes dropped, Warner brought in, Agar dropped, Siddle up to 8, Pattinson out (injured), Starc brought back, Harris up to 10, Lyon brought in

4th Test Warner moved up to open, Watson down to 6, Starc dropped (again), Harris up to 9, Lyon up to 10, Bird brought in

5th Test (so far known) Khawaja dropped, Watson up to 3, Bird dropped, Starc in (again!), Faulkner in, Haddin moved to 6…..

Utter carnage.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

The problem for Australia & Pakistan are almost the same. They keep selecting the wrong batsmen! Although both countries have phenomenal bowlers to keep them in the hunt, but the batting lets them down far too often. For example, they dropped a well-settled Katich (35 years old) and a couple of years later, they brought brought Rogers (35 years old). As long as they keep players like Burns, Ferguson, Voges, Bailey out of the test squad, I don't see any significant improvement.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 14:54 GMT)

Looks like the Australian selectors and captain didn't give the comments by ricky ponting, ian healy and steve waugh about consistency of selection too much notice. There are several things that don't make sense. 1) When four bowlers and shane watson haven't struggled to get 20 wickets, why do you need another bowler? 2) What has brad haddin done to make selectors think that he should/can bat at 6?

The selectors and the captain are shunting the players around like a cargo train. Watson didn't work as an opener, nor at no.6, so they plonk him at no.3 (most likely with a wish and a prayer). Cowan got dumped after one test when he played out of position for the very first time at 3. Phil Hughes got dumped after 2 tests, even though he got 81* at trent bridge. Khawaja gets dumped after 3 tests after having waited 18 months as 12th man. Do the selectors think they are providing an environment that will breed success?

Posted by tanweeralam on (August 20, 2013, 14:43 GMT)

Some people are not seeing the logic behind including a bowler at the expense of a batsman. If you see Aussie's performance since India tour. Its been the bowlers who have been scoring the runs. The batsmen even after all permutation and combination have not scored. Best of luck AUssies...

Posted by RichardDonnelly on (August 20, 2013, 14:36 GMT)

There are too many Australian names for us poor Poms to keep up with. Can anyone tell me why George Bailey has not been given a go? Captain of the T20 side and looked to have the mental toughness batting in the ICC Champions Trophy but not even in the Test squad.

Posted by crockit on (August 20, 2013, 14:31 GMT)

They have it in their mind that they need a 4th seamer and presumably Watson is unfit to bowl. It is normally a bit excessive but if you think about the fragility of Harris it might make sense - allowing him to be bowled sparingly. They probably also thought that Khawaja has been so unproductive that they might get as many or more runs out of Faulkner as him. Maybe the same thinking is valid for Hughes as well

Posted by Dr.murdoch on (August 20, 2013, 14:28 GMT)

To be very honest I don't understand this selection. Leaving out usman was probable due to his lack of runs which seems to be due to a lack of confidence, not talent with the bat. I would've persisted with him till the end but that being said, why not bring back Hughes instead of promoting Watson to the top where he hasn't done much? I like Faulkner but personally he should've been chosen next series, not this one. I will also never understand the Mitchell starc dilemma cricket Australia seems to have. None of this makes sense, I thought Boof was going to show some faith in the team rather than chopping and changing players every couple of tests.

Posted by disorientated on (August 20, 2013, 14:28 GMT)

I'm an England Fan, but a lover of Cricket first. I'm sad to see how far Australia have fallen, and hope to see them revive soon. I just worry when they emulate the experience of England in all the bad ways. Do you remember when our one day side was full of bits and pieces players, and how badly that went!

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 14:25 GMT)

Starc and Faulkner should provide some handy runs down the order - unfortunately more than Khawaja has recently. I hope he and Hughes get a chance to find some form before the Australian series. Not happy about Haddin batting at 6 or Watson at 3 but that's what happens when your best performers are your bowlers, I guess. Incidentally, there is extra bowling cover in case Harris or Watson go down.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

Starc's figures for the series are deceptively flattering. He has nothing to lament about and is extremely fortunate indeed to be picked again for the last Test.

Posted by Bockee on (August 20, 2013, 14:15 GMT)

Bizarre decision, they are dropping a batsman for a bowling all-rounder when batting is quite obviously the problem. That said, good luck to Faulkner. I hope he scores a ton on debut and takes Watson's spot.

Posted by 504429641 on (August 20, 2013, 14:12 GMT)

when there are plenty of articles saying that Aus bowling has performed as expected and its due to the batting failures that lead to the 0-3 defeat (which is true indeed), what is the need to select a 5th bowler in the team instead of a batsman? Agreed, Khawaja has failed but still, i think Wade could have been chosen as a specialist batsman instead of faulkner. Now i can't think anything other than 4-0 to Eng.

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (August 20, 2013, 14:11 GMT)

Surprised not to see Hughes come in, at least they have been consistent in having him in and out of the team regularly. Time for an Aussie win!

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

The one bright spot in Australia's Ashes campaign has been the decent bowling and what do the management do? Chop and change it. OK, the batting needs sorting out but why have they changed the bowling attack every match when getting a settled and effective unit is the one hope they have of getting at least one win out of this series? This is straight out of England's test selections from 1989-1999 and haven't they considered what effect that had?

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (August 20, 2013, 14:04 GMT)

I had tipped James Faulkner to have a test career at one point or another, but at present, his selection just doesn't make sense. If Watson is at 3 now, why wasn't he always there? And then put the younger players at 5/6 to develop. I am a huge wrap for Khawaja's talent and still believe he can make something of his international career, but he didn't do alot to keep his spot. That's okay but why not bring a batsman in his place then?

I hope the selectors know what they are doing and have a clear plan setout, goodluck to the players that walk out tommorrow.

Posted by mikeindex on (August 20, 2013, 14:04 GMT)

I see no logic to a selection when what the Australians need most urgently is to strengthen their batting.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 13:57 GMT)

I would like t see the back of Haddin - he almost invariably let's us down when it counts. He also seems quite presumptious about being able to continue his international career despite fairly poor form. I could say that about a few of the others as well. Happy to see Usman K. out - he lacks presence and conviction at the crease. I like Faulkner, but his bowling has not been penetrating at all on this tour. He can't just be expected to get a few runs at 7 or 8 to get a baggy green. As for Starc, he has been far too profligate, despite his relatively good stats during the Ashes. Watson at 3 - not sure. Can only hope. Hughes and Smith are probably worth persevering with. Not convinced about Lyon - doesn't seem to get wickets when it counts. I could go on and on...

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (August 20, 2013, 13:57 GMT)

I'm beginning to lose interest due to these continuing bizarre selections of "bits and pieces" players. Even when we score nearly 600 the batting line-up is shuffled the very next innings!! I may end up turning to t20 where chopping and changing players is the norm. I thought Lehmann would improve things, I'm beginning to wonder.

Our batting is the problem. Shouldn't we then be strengthening our batting so then why are we only going in with 5 bats? Including Smith it's only 4.5 bats which is not enough to win a test match.

What has Hughes done wrong, seriously? He nearly won the first test would have scored a century if he didn't run out of partners, is averaging 62 this FC tour and 56 last Shield season. How can they justify continuing to leave him out? What does he have to do? Interest level: decreasing.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 13:54 GMT)

The Aus pace bowlers have already done well, so it seems pointless to play Faulkner as a bowling allrounder. They should have given either Cowan or Wade a chance at no 3. Wade is a decent batsman. My 15 for the return ashes would be: 1.Rogers 2.Cowan 3.Doolan 4.Clarke 5.Smith 6.Hughes 7. Wade 8.Faulkner 9.Siddle 10.Harris 11.Lyon 12.Ferguson 13.Starc 14.Bird 15.Agar

Posted by salazar555 on (August 20, 2013, 13:54 GMT)

It looks like a one day team to me, people who can bat and bowl a bit, a team of all rounders with Watson, Smith, Faulkner and Starc

Posted by CricketMatchSpecial on (August 20, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

Smith should be persisted with. He scored very important runs in 2 test matches. Then, he was underutilized as a bowler. He did not get to bowl at crucial times. He was given few overs, then removed when he was finding rhythm.

This constant chopping shows that the team selectors are not good at selecting good players. That includes Clarke who does have a role in players' selection. Clarke does not have good captaincy skills, why blame others when Clarke cannot use his team members to the full extent? Instead of searching for good players, I reckon Australia should search for a better captain. There is no substitute for a bad leader.

Steve Smith is a better batsman, James Faulkner is a better bowler. If batting is a problem, why is a bowler replacing a batsman?

1, Bring back Simon Katich. It is not too late. Hussey cannot be brought back, because Hussey will not want to tarnish his good earned image, especially knowing Clarke's fickleness. 2, BTW, What happened to Tim Paine?

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 13:51 GMT)

Funny Starc plays first test. Gets dropped for second. Comes back for third. Gets dropped for fourth. Comes back for the 5th. This just shows that Australia does not have depth in attack

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

I agree with Shah. The Aussies have yet to understand the need for consistency which is not only for the players, it's required of the selectors also. Starc's lament is understandable. Selectors must show confidence in their players for longer durations and not in fits and starts.

Posted by PutMarshyOn on (August 20, 2013, 13:42 GMT)

@broken_chairs: They've actually bowled well for the most part. Take Bell out and the batting stats for the 2 sides look pretty similar. Still - this looks like a lets-see-what-he-can-do selection. It can't be a serious attempt at a long term order though. Can it?

Posted by Sagarneel on (August 20, 2013, 13:40 GMT)

Impatience at it's very best. If Faulkner is such a tough competitor, what was he doing during the first 4 matches? You need your best batsman at No. 3 and I have serious doubts if Watson fits the bill. Anyway, I'm sure Darren Lehman and Michael Clarke have far superior cricketing brains than this arm chair critic. I hope with the new 'toughness' injected into the side, Australia bounces back and experience something they have completely forgotten - a win!

Posted by BigINDFan on (August 20, 2013, 13:40 GMT)

Drop Watson and Steve Smith along with Khawaja and let them play Eng county cricket like Gambhir to earn his place back in the Test side.

If the Aus selectors are reading this post, the line up should look like this:

Rogers, Warner, Ed Cowan, Clarke, Hughes, Haddin, Faulkner, Starc, Harris, Lyon & Siddle

Top 4 should score 250 runs, 5-7 another 100 runs, tail led by Starc another 50 runs. Set goals and if you cannot win with your top 6 batsmen then you will never will.

It is high time Lehmann stops talking and starts coming up a strategy that will put Aus team on the winning path. If not find a better coach - maybe Ponting or Warner anyone?

Posted by DrSeussXI on (August 20, 2013, 13:36 GMT)

This is as baffling as the Dernbach paradox. Australia's batting has been the big problem this series so they, (i) drop a batsman and bring in a debutant all rounder (ii) promote Watson to 3 where he could easily be facing the new ball again and (ii) pick two left armers to help rough it up for Swann.

Thanks Australia. Oh, hang on, I've got day five tickets....

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 13:36 GMT)

Oh man, I don't like this at all, not one bit, BUT at least we will get to see what Faulkner has to offer. I am sure he will fight with the bat and field well, but for mine he has to be able to cut it at as a bowler so I'm keen to see what he can do. Happy to see Starc back.

I'm not sure what role Watto has here now, he won't get much of a bowl I wouldn't expect? He is not a long term prospect nor a specialist batsman, yet he is playing at 3 as an allrounder? Oh man, come on, someone in CA see some sense. If John McEnroe is an Aussie cricket fan I bet he is smashing a bat somehere right now.

Posted by Jeremy303 on (August 20, 2013, 13:36 GMT)

Top order dropping of Khawaja was on the cards, but nobody has much faith in Hughes or Cowan. Putting either of them in should be a stop gap measure until Brisbane. I would have given Khawaja one more go, but he would have been losing his spot to either Cosgrove or Robson at the Gabba anyway.

First test at the Gabba should have Sam Robson (at 3) and Mark Cosgrove (at 5).

Posted by MWaqqar on (August 20, 2013, 13:35 GMT)

It seems Aussies have run out of ideas and players. They ran Eng close in three of the tests but it seems they lack confidence in their ability and so are needlessly making changes.

Posted by Beertjie on (August 20, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

Another left-hander to add to the footmarks that Swann will just love to exploit.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

Well, I don't know about you, but I'll be supporting whoever goes out onto that ground. These guys are the best we have, and deserve a proper go. The form is more than likely a psychological thing that has arisen from the consistent inconsistencies of the test line-up. Settle on a team, include Phil Hughes, and let them get used to some test cricket PLEASE!

Posted by NALINWIJ on (August 20, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

I was worried that they would pick Agar for a batsman but I feel picking Falkner will hamper the batting less and Starc is a better bat than Bird. As Australia''s problem was batting I would have picked Hughes at 3 and left Watson at 5 with Smith at 6. Australia's problem is not 20 wickets but scoring more than England. They would still have 4 bowlers and 2 handy part timers.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

From this tour it is clear Australia neither know their best XI nor the best order for the top 6 to bat. They are in so much disarray that they will probably confound us and win this test.

Posted by thejesusofcool on (August 20, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

This is better, but why they didn't drop Watson completely, put Cowan back in to open with Warner & let Rogers bat at 3,I don't know.

Still, I don't suppose our bowlers will complain wherever Watson bats-he remains a walking wicket, at least in English conditions.

Starc is a far better bet than Bird as a strike bowler & that's what Aus lacked every time, because they haven't once skittled us, despite 8 promising starts out of 8.

Posted by spot_on on (August 20, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

Dropping Khawaja is the best thing Clarke would have done. I mean, come on. The guy has proven he don't have the right mettle for international cricket. Heart breaking to see someone like him in the spot that greats like Ricky conquered.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 13:24 GMT)

Just wow! Weaken an already weak batting line-up by playing a bowling all rounder in the side for a specialist batsman. We did exactly the same in India and it worked so well there didn't it. Khawaja and Hughes are our best young batsman and deserve matches in the side to play, learn and develop. We aren't as good as we once were and looking for answers like this I fear will mean this rebuilding phase is much more painful and longer then we all hope.

Posted by Arrow011 on (August 20, 2013, 13:22 GMT)

Nice to see Faulkner in the 11, so the Aussies still have 4 seamers in mind, Watson, Siddle, Ryan & Faulkner + 1 spinner in Lyon. Good to include an all rounder than a bowler now. Good that the dead wood Khwaja is out, hopefully he is out of Australian team forever.

Posted by 158notout on (August 20, 2013, 13:22 GMT)

Still no recall for Ed Cowan. He was harshly treated after being given just one chance at 3. And that when he spent most of the test puking his guts up. Cowan and Lyon have every reason to be disappointed with the way they have been treated. Cowan was one half of an opening partnership performing better than any other in test cricket at the time and Lyon has shown he is far and away the best of an admittedly bad bunch of Aussie spinners.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 20, 2013, 13:20 GMT)

You can run but you cannot hide. Australia are not facing up to their basic problems though the return of Starc makes sense. he should not have been dropped,but I guess a fall guy had to be found. Either they made the wrong selections in the first place and Hughes and Cowan should not have played or they have been badly treated. Either should be playing for Khawaja, and Cowan arguably should not have been dropped. Batting is the problem and Cowan or Hughes could have addressed that problem. All this selection says is that Watson probably cannot bowl. So where will he bat? 3, I guess. Barring miracles this side should lose by miles.

Posted by broken_chairs on (August 20, 2013, 13:17 GMT)

how many allrounders do australia need? watson, smith, faulkner... it makes for a team that can kinda bat and kinda bowl but do neither particularly well.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 13:13 GMT)

This means Australia has further weakened an already weak batting lineup. steve smith is also not a full batsman, and i am not sure that this 'bits and pieces' batsmen are the best choice for a test cricket, whose bowlers have done very well but have been continuously let down by some inconsistent batting.

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