England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 1st day

Watson lifts Australia with elusive ton

The Report by David Hopps

August 21, 2013

Comments: 224 | Text size: A | A

Australia 307 for 4 (Smith 66*, Siddle 18*) v England
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Shane Watson reached his third Test century, England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 1st day, August 21, 2013
Shane Watson, back up the order at No. 3, made his highest score in 46 Tests © AFP
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For Australia, the series is lost, the intensity is not what it was and expectations could not be much lower. Shane Watson's bountiful form has come far too late to challenge the outcome of the series, but there was no denying the gentle brutality of his strokeplay as he took the highest score of his Test career off a reshaped and none-too-convincing England attack in the final Test at The Oval.

Watson's move to No. 3 had not delighted all observers but, at the end of a series in which Australia's pick-and-mix batting order has left them 3-0 down, he produced the most domineering top-order batting of the summer. There were no devils in the situation or in a depressingly slow Oval pitch and Watson responded to an unpressurised situation by registering only his third hundred in 46 Tests in a manner which simultaneously stated his ability and questioned his record.

When he even reviewed successfully after being adjudged lbw to Chris Woakes on 166 eight overs from the close, it looked as if he was fated to survive into the second morning. Woakes thought he had achieved his first Test wicket when he defeated Watson's pull shot but the decision of umpire Kumar Dharmasena was reversed when replays showed the ball was too high.

But Stuart Broad, who had felled Watson with a well-directed short ball on 91 and bowled defiantly throughout, removed him three overs before the close. Watson's full-blooded pull at Broad was expertly intercepted by a diving Kevin Pietersen at deep backward square, moved there from long leg by his captain, Alastair Cook, a few minutes before.

Watson never quite discovered the same mastery after Broad struck him behind the ear, a sickening blow which brought him to his knees for a prolonged period and caused brief alarm - and left him munching pain-killing tablets - but he summoned the resolution that has not always been a feature of his Test career.

It was his pre-lunch assault that set the tone. England fielded two Ashes debutants in Woakes and Simon Kerrigan and Watson feasted upon their vulnerability, amassing 80 from 77 balls by lunch as between them as the new pair leaked 58 runs in seven overs.

If Woakes' contribution was just about adequate, Kerrigan, the Lancashire left-arm spinner called up after Monty Panesar became persona non grata, had a humbling experience. As his confidence deserted him and full tosses vied for attention with a liberal supply of long hops, the tacit invitation to Panesar to find the sort of late-season form to regain his place as England's back-up spinner could not have been clearer.

Kerrigan had been treated dismissively by Watson in the Lions match against Northamptonshire last week and, as he won his first Test cap in his 50th first-class match, nothing had changed. He conceded 28 in his first two overs with Watson helping himself to six boundaries. The first four ball, a low full toss, revealed his uncertainty and he repeatedly dropped short in his second over as Watson overawed him.

If the assault subsided, anxiety never left him. He returned for two distinctly nervy overs before tea, his faltering belief exaggerating an unanimated approach to the crease, and although he improved a little after the interval, his lack of conviction was such that every dot ball became a building brick in a desperate battle for survival. It was one of the most nervous England debuts for many years.

The series was already settled and as much as Cook had spoken of their desire to set new standards by winning an Ashes series 4-0, the sense of experimentation was apparent. The inclusion of Woakes and Kerrigan also markedly changed the balance of the side as England switched from a four-man attack to five and fielded two spinners in a home Test for the first time since the Ashes Test against Australia in Cardiff four years ago.

Such a balance was forced upon England by a slow, dry pitch, the sort of conditions in which England have repeatedly dominated in this sun-drenched summer, but as Watson dismissed the debutants from his presence, the five-man attack seemed by mid-afternoon to have been reduced to three as Cook retreated to his trusted trio of Broad, James Anderson and Graeme Swann.

Broad apart, only in the first hour did England possess much threat. There was a hint of swing for the new ball and even a semblance of turn for Swann, but Watson bestrode the morning. It was a powerful display of Test batting, but this was not high-quality, tension-ridden Ashes cricket.

Broad, at least, is finishing the series full of vigour, but after his 11 wickets in the previous Test, conditions were no longer as encouraging. That reality dawned in his first over when he found the edge of Rogers' bat but the ball died well short of Cook at first slip. At the fag-end of the day, though, his threat remained and he was inches away from bowling Steven Smith, whose lofted blows had been a feature of his unbeaten 66.

England, who dismissed David Warner in the fifth over of the day - a simple catch for the wicketkeeper, Matt Prior, as he fenced at Anderson - followed up with the wickets of Chris Rogers and Michael Clarke in the middle session. Rogers' laborious stay - 23 from 100 balls - ended when he nicked Swann to first slip, so ending a lengthy stalemate between the pair. Anderson accounted for Clarke, bringing one back to bowl him off the top of his pad to pass Bob Willis and go second in England's all-time list of Test wicket-takers.

Broad's combative post-lunch spell disturbed Australia's equilibrium. Watson was felled and, not for the first time in this series, Clarke also seemed to have problems picking up Broad's short ball. If Anderson dismissed Clarke, Broad deserved an assist.

It was a careful cover drive off Anderson which brought Watson his first hundred since he took a century off India in Mohali in 2010, and the third Australian hundred of the series to follow those made by Clarke and Rogers. He was dropped on 104 off Anderson at first slip, an inviting chance, knee high to Cook's right, off the shoulder of the bat.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 23, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

@Jono Makimon (August 22, 2013, 7:56 GMT) If it's a turning pitch , then this is probably it (give or take). Bres is injured - Woakes is probably not as good with the ball but a better batsman. Obviously Kerrigan could come up trumps but he's bowled so few overs in the 1st inns and with the rainfall I wonder if he'll be as effective in the 2nd inns. This would be a good 5/1/5 for the sub continent , but I'd have preferred Finn (or if not Tremlett) in there for this game

Posted by 5wombats on (August 23, 2013, 1:02 GMT)

Of course - the really good thing about Watson getting a hundred is that instead of being dropped he has now picked himself for the Australian Ashes series. I say "GREAT"!......

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 22, 2013, 19:58 GMT)

@Lyndon McPaul I actually said before the series that I thought the teams weren't too far apart in terms of talent, but that if England were going to win the series, it was going to be down to our greater experience giving us an edge. We've got more proven Test performers in the side, whereas you're still in transition, and even back in 2009 when you had guys like Ponting and Hussey around, we only won the series because we seized the vital moments better than you did.

Of course you overreacted to losing that series and made sweeping changes which, even at the time, seemed a bit knee-jerk, and I think in hindsight have clearly made the transition period from that great side take longer than it should.

But today you saw the benefit of sticking with a guy who you've identified as being a talent. I've always thought Smith was a talented batsman, and was surprised that people were questioning his merit as a top 6 batsman. Today's century proved that he undoubtedly belongs at this level.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 15:54 GMT)

@Lyndon McPaul, well said mate, pretty close to the truth I think. We have certainly crumbled with the bat a few times when a little more experience may have seen us work through the tough periods like Bell has managed to.

Steve Smith, well played my son! Very good cricket, just good, hard, tough test batting, maybe he has taken all the Steve Waugh analogies to heart!

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 15:26 GMT)

I tend to think that England would of still won the big moments in the series even if Australia had won at Old trafford. The gap in this series has not been with skill or talent rather experience. England's greater overall experience has meant that they have had the performances that have counted in all the big moments from James Anderson, Ian Bell, Graeme Swann and Stuart broad with good support from the likes of KP and Tim Bresnan. If Australia had won at Old Trafford it would still be highly likely IMO that performances in key moments from that solid core of six players would have probably still tipped the scales back in England's favour. The series in Australia; with Australia's batting order now more settled couldl be much more in Australia's favour but only if they can build from their more promising batting performances in Engalnd. (OT and the Oval)

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

Go Aussies! Bat them into the ground. Gee we certainly need the batting practice anyway. Watson has to stay number 3 regardless now and Smith might become the new Mr Cricket

Posted by Biggus on (August 22, 2013, 14:19 GMT)

@brusselslion:-So help me out here for a moment please. The explanation for the hyper dry first day pitch is what? Wet Spring, dry Summer or Fusarium?

Posted by Biggus on (August 22, 2013, 14:03 GMT)

@brusselslion:-Given your dodgy weather predictions I'll take your pitch assessments with a grain of salt thanks. I'm sure you'll understand.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 13:55 GMT)

Match is still very evenly poised, if Eng can restrict AUS below 400 they have a pretty decent chance of taking lead

Posted by brusselslion on (August 22, 2013, 13:42 GMT)

@ Biggus: Meteorologist? No mate. Just the evidence from the TV.

Yep, the Surrey groundsman has been doctoring wickets - producing dry turners -at the Oval all season. It's an interesting tactic; what with Surrey having Tremlett, Meaker, Dernbach, Linley and no decent spinner.

You seem to conveniently forget that the UK had a very wet Spring/ summer so rather than battle against dryness, groundsman had the opposite problem for a large part of the season.

There's not much between the teams but Australia are 0-3 simply because they have lost the important moments/ sessions.

BTW: No rain but a bit cloudy here in Brussels at the moment(-:

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 22, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

While I understand Australia feeling unlucky because of the weather or maybe the fact they've had slightly the worst of the marginal decisions (and definitely the two worst decisions of the series with the Broad nick and the Khawaja DRS review), the great Australian side of 2006/2007 certainly had a lot of luck along the way to their well-deserved 5-0 whitewash. That crucial collapse at Adelaide, for example, began when Strauss was given out caught at short leg when replays conclusively showed that he'd missed the ball by some distance.

Warne made a point on commentary that often the luck goes with the better of the two sides, and I think that's probably true. The better side will often create more of those marginal chances with the ball, while their batsmen are more likely to get an inside edge on an lbw shout, or have improved footwork that can skew the umpire's view on how far in front they are.

As for the weather, we'll find the heat in Australia more challenging than they will.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (August 22, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

Give credit to England when deserved! They played better cricket overall and deserve to be ahead!

Posted by Biggus on (August 22, 2013, 13:18 GMT)

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK:-Might I suggest the hose as a solution to excessively dry first day pitches?

Posted by hhillbumper on (August 22, 2013, 13:02 GMT)

@ manoj patil.Yep England should be losing this series. And you are right England can make it rain when they want.Shame we have had such a dry summer which explains why my garden looks like the oval pitch.Can't wait to play india again though. Remind me how did it go last time they were here?

Posted by PureProteas49 on (August 22, 2013, 12:56 GMT)

SherjilIslam, You still didn't win that series, Looking forward to see how you handle Mr 46/10 Philander, No team has had an answer for him yet

Posted by android_user on (August 22, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

May be the Poms should hand over the urns to the rain gods..

Posted by Samdanh on (August 22, 2013, 12:42 GMT)

It is too early to say anything on how this match will progress, but it is certainly unfortunate that when Aus does well with their batting rains come impacting their chances. Aleem Dar's howler in First Test, Rain on 4th and 5th days in Old Trafford, and now rains again after Aus has done well on the first day of the 5th Test. Quite a lot of ill luck for Aus this series. Cheer up Aussies! You have done well so far, except for performance in Lords. Keep it up and there will be time when luck starts favouring your team

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 22, 2013, 12:29 GMT)

@Biggus (post on August 22, 2013, 11:33 GMT): This has been one the hottest, driest summers in U.K. in decades. Do you honestly believe that a country like England inept at playing spin (U.A.E./SL series ring any bells?) would purposely prepare dry spinning pitches just because they have Swann? Ignore Lyon, Smith and Clarke at your peril. I would say the pitches have been true and fair all series, and if Aus. do the same for the next series it should be another cracker.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (August 22, 2013, 12:28 GMT)

Rain helping england again. England lucky to be 3-0 up in the series where they could have been 3-1 down. Feel for Australia.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (August 22, 2013, 12:17 GMT)

@itsthewayuplay on (August 22, 2013, 10:49 GMT): Tendulkar took 78 ODIs to score his first century bcoz he used to bat at no. 7, the moment he got a chance to open the innings he scored leaps of centuries and never looked back.

Posted by Biggus on (August 22, 2013, 11:33 GMT)

@brusselslion:-Not a cloud in the sky eh? You must be a meteorologist! Oh, you meant there's not a cloud in the sky in brussels? And stop being coy about the pitch. Are you seriously expecting us to believe that the unusual dryness in all the pitches this series is just a strange coincidence?

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (August 22, 2013, 10:49 GMT)

The reaction to Kerrigan's performance yesterday which must have been disappointing for the bowler himself has reached almost levels of mass hysteria particularly from the so-called pundits. For a little perspective, it's worth remembering that Tendulkar took 78 ODI games to register his first century in that format, and that at a time when he was at his peak of his powers. Who knows whether Kerrigan will balze a trail of glory as a spinner, but he hasn't committed a serious crime, he's had a bad first day at the office. It's probably a combination of too many channels with lazy overpaid commentators with inadequate analytical skills, and the age of instant gratification that has led to this over-reaction.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

@sherjilislam - yes but that was when Sachin was a completely different player and made 2 very good centuries, with zaheer and bhaji doing well. And people say he doesn't perform when needed.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (August 22, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

@PureProteas49 on (August 22, 2013, 9:24 GMT): I am not talking about ODI series, i know we lost 3-2, in closely fought series. I am referring to the Test Series we played against you in your own backyard. here's the link you can refer: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/series/463137.html

Posted by VVJ_10 on (August 22, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

Warner's full-blooded pull at Broad was expertly intercepted by a diving Kevin Pietersen at deep backward square it was Watson

Posted by anupamraj114 on (August 22, 2013, 9:49 GMT)

@pureproteas Get your facts right.Indians lost first test.Second they thrashed SA and in third if an injured kallis had not not come down to rescue then we would have won easily....in 2 out of 3 tests we dominated the proceedings....

@TommyTucker Yup we saw how the best team in the world played in SL.It looked like it was a baby vs men contest.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 9:36 GMT)

@jmc, I am not sure Woakes wilted at all, just tried for too much. Kerrigan pretty much just surrendered. I don't know that Watto had any preconcieved ideas to target them, they just offered up a lot of loose stuff. I think Woakes will have better days, Kerrigan will not be back for a good while, I wouldn't think.

Posted by PureProteas49 on (August 22, 2013, 9:24 GMT)

SherjilIslam. I have no idea what you are talking about, last time you were here you lost at Cape Town as well as Pretoria and you lost the odi series, so what series loss are you harping about

Posted by SherjilIslam on (August 22, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa on (August 22, 2013, 8:47 GMT): And I m looking forward to the contest between your so called best team versus team India in Dec. Last time when we toured SA, you people barely escaped a series loss, and not to mention the so called best bowler,batsman and the cricketer in your words played the full series. So to me, that will bring some exciting cricket.

Posted by ramz30380 on (August 22, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

I am sure that this will be the turnaround that everyone is waiting for... There was never a shade of doubt on the ability of this match winner - which none of the new comers have - this has been the reason that Aus has been persisting with Watson & Warner in spite of their poor performances.

Ironically, this has come a day after Arthur going public abt having Watson on the wrong foot during the Ind tour! If the Aussies capitalise, they can very well convert this into a stepping stone to make a comeback in the upcoming Ashes series tht will be played on their home turf.

Posted by 200ondebut on (August 22, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

Well done Watto ....... based on past performances this has pretty much guaranteed you wont score any runs in the return series. Looks like you are now in remission!

Posted by pat_one_back on (August 22, 2013, 8:58 GMT)

@Chris_P, would like to like Smith but he all bar gave his wicket away first ball wafting wide of off with no foot movement, the serve he was going to get from Boof (would have witnessed the reaction to Warner's carelessness) may have been a motivating factor in him putting his head down!

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (August 22, 2013, 8:47 GMT)

This series had been poor cricket all round to be honest. Poor batting by australia and some average bowling from England overall. This series this series unfold with one of the weakest Australian teams ever play cricket against a below par England hardly has been riveting...

I think we are all looking forward to the best Team in Test cricket getting underway against Pakistan within the next few months. Then we get the viewing pleasure of the best fast bowler in the world - Dale Steyn, The best Batsman in the world - Hashim Amla and the best cricketer to ever live - Jaque Kallis. Cant wait.

Posted by Little_Aussie_Battler on (August 22, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

Nice, to finally see Watson score a great ton. We have been waiting 25 test matches and he is blessed that the current generation of Australian batsmen are so lousy or he would have been on his bike back to Ipswich years ago.

It was a superb innings, all the shots were brought out of the bag and he completely demolished the English bowling which has potentially left them psychologically scared. Only time will tell.

Posted by siltbreeze on (August 22, 2013, 8:37 GMT)

I thought Woakes improved as the day went on, and he's definitely added a little pace. For those on here and the commentators (Boycott, Vaughan etc) who continue to describe him as medium pace, please don't let the facts get in the way of your preconceptions. Yesterday's average speeds: Anderson 84.7, Broad 84.5, Woakes 84.7. I admit he doesn't hit the bat as hard as Bresnan and he looks a little straight-up-and-down on a flat track, but don't forget he's averaging mid-40s with the bat this season.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (August 22, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

@Joseph Langford, given that Watson has been given out twice in very doubtful LBW decisions this series, you can hardly call him lucky for surviving another highly doubtful appeal. One sure can imagine "what might have been", if Watson had not been given LBW in the first test with the ball looking like sliding down leg (DRS suggested a tiny portion of the ball hitting the stumps) with Aus well in control of the game and Watson batting just like he did yesterday. It seems to me that all this talk of Watson and LBW has permeated the umpires' minds to such a degree that anything pitching "near enough" was good enough to send him on his way. I think it also has to do with the umpires being subconsciously influenced by the crowd - home teams nearly always get the better of decisions, even from neutral umpires. That's why India doesn't want DRS, as their 100% pro-India crowds intimidate umpires, while overseas they play to 25-50% Indian crowds.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

Kerrigan didnt seem too bad, its hard being a spinner, but it really goes to show how talented Ashton Agar is. I hope he plays atleast in Sydney return test, with or without Lyon.

Posted by brusselslion on (August 22, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

@manu566: Coulddn't agree more. He may have under-performed given his talent, but an all-rounder of Watson's calibre would make the world of difference to this England side.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 8:05 GMT)

@Chris_P, agree completely on Smith, I batted extremely well yesterday. I don't think this pitch is as easy to bat on as it looks. I reckon is Bres was playing it could have easily been more like a 7-250 card. Watto being Watto will always make it look easy while he's there, but the innings of Rogers and Clarke showed otherwise.

This was the third innings this series where he has been really impressive, gees I just hope he can carry through with it here and make a big score, as well as he has batted here it'll do him the world of good to carry through with it. It feels good to have a bloke in the middle order who can come in and not just see off the quicks but can also handle the best spinners getting around.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 7:56 GMT)

@JG2704, just curious as to who you would pick as a 5 man attack? Going on yesterdays results I'd say it can only really work if Bres, Broad and Swann are all playing, as we know they can all bat. If they want a second spinner then it has to be Panesar, that much is clear now, picking Tremlett or Finn too along with Anderson makes for a pretty long tail? For mine Woakes actually bowled okay, he just tried a bit too much on a pitch where you really need to be chipping away, just inexperience. On the flip side Kerrigan looked woeful, he is never going to take wickets at international level. He has zero energy through the crease which is critical, he needs to be far more positive and needs to put more revs on every ball, he is way out of his depth here, even if he can bowl perfectly accurately on his best days he is still going to be toothless.

Posted by manu566 on (August 22, 2013, 7:38 GMT)

Watson is a class act. If the aussies dont need him give him to us, we lack a world class alrounder in tests.

Posted by Samdanh on (August 22, 2013, 7:38 GMT)

Except for the title of the Article, the writer seems to feel that England's decision to blood debutants was main reason for Aus batting domination on 1st day. He keeps repeating number of runs given by the debutants, while around 200 runs have been given away by the 3 experienced bowlers. Looks like he has betrayed a sense of disappointment at Aus performance so far in this match

Posted by Siva_Bala75 on (August 22, 2013, 7:29 GMT)

This series is Win-the-Toss, win-the-match. yes, really.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 7:28 GMT)

Too late Shane Watson. These centuries are no good after you have lost the series. Being one of the senior player, he should have taken more ownership, the result could have been different

Posted by Shaggy076 on (August 22, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

Its a funny series, Australia have one the toss and batted first twice and dominated on the first day, unlucky to not win the first time. England have won the toss and batted first three times and two of those times it was there second innings that one the game. Watching the series it seems that every test the best of the batting conditions have been on the first day. So it seems England struggle when the going is good and Australia don't have a clue when the going is bad. At the moment it is 3-0 but watching it that result doesn't seem just for Australia, however I concede England have been the better team at the key moments.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (August 22, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

This innings is probably why I have been ad advocate of Watson in the team, however I suspect he has been given the opportunity (as someone pointed out unlike Hughes, Cowan, Khawaja) is because he is a more than handy 5th bowler. Anyway, back to why I believe Watson should be in the team because other than Clarke we have had no batsman dominate world cricket, Watson did it for 2 years (except he scored a lot of 80's and 90's). He is a class player performing below average but unlike the crop coming through he can win test matches & test series. He appears to be working super hard on his game at the moment and this seems to be well deserved. HOpe he can continue this for the rest of his test career.

Posted by spot_on on (August 22, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

LOL. The poms will grind out their first innings till the 4th day evening and this will be a draw.. :D Mark my words.. Oz,See you later, good luck for the bilateral series against India.

Posted by ArthursAshes on (August 22, 2013, 7:05 GMT)

If the game is tight and England will need to bat well for that to happen, and if there is any chance of a result, chances are Kerrigan won't get much of a second bowl even if it's turning. If Cook couldn't trust Finn to bowl because he was erratic second innings, first Test, when he had 22 Test's under his belt, he's not going to give the ball to Kerrigan.

Here's what Woakes should do. Go away and watch film of McGrath (later years), Pollock and Philander. Accept you bowl in the low/mid 80's and need to develop that one niggling outside off stump delivery. If you can find that special delivery then you are a Test bowler, if not, you better concentrate on batting, hope to get the 6 spot and be a useful fifth bowler at Test level, because you are never going to have the pace to trouble Test class batsman, even Australians struggling to find consistancy

England are playing with 9 and a half men so far in this Test (the half being that Woakes can bat, Kerrigan can't).

Posted by milepost on (August 22, 2013, 6:56 GMT)

Tend to agree with this comment from @blokker "A strange series. Australia's batting generally woeful, England's bowling sub-par in the main and their batting a disappointment as well. Two teams with a lot of work to do to match it with the best". However, I think Australia are on the way up and England are on the decline with so many players out of nick and clearly no depth if Kerrigan and Woakes are anything to go by.

Posted by Mungchit on (August 22, 2013, 5:51 GMT)

Don't mean to be picky but I'd just like to point out that nowhere in this article or on this page does it tell us Shane Watson's final score. He was dismissed for a well-made 176.

Posted by sanghvir on (August 22, 2013, 5:34 GMT)

Dear Cricinfo Please Correct the following;

"Warner's full-blooded pull at Broad was expertly intercepted by a diving Kevin Pietersen at deep backward square, moved there from long leg by his captain, Alastair Cook, a few minutes before"

This should read as Watson

Posted by Redbackfan on (August 22, 2013, 5:32 GMT)

Well credit where credit is due well done Watson finally but why can't you do it when it's needed at the start or when the series is on the line or a little more often. I guess now we're stuck with Watson at 3 for the next 2 years at least, lets just hope it's not another 3 years between hundreds again.

Posted by Anchal_XXX on (August 22, 2013, 5:32 GMT)

"Warner's full-blooded pull at Broad was expertly intercepted by a diving Kevin Pietersen at deep backward square". Its Watson who pulled. .

Posted by munna_indian on (August 22, 2013, 5:18 GMT)

shane watson is to australia as to what sehwag is for india. excess body weight, slow moving, cant play balls that come into the stumps and always expect freebies to score runs. cant say if the aussies have upped the tempo or england have lowered their guard. either way, dont know how much does it mean for watto and the aussies. the aussies are satisfied with winning small sessions but letting it go when it comes to big occasions. as a cricket fan, its disgusting to witness one sided ashes series in the last 25 years or so with the 2005 series being an exception.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (August 22, 2013, 5:17 GMT)

Congratulations to the genius Aussie selectors who have proven the theory if you give a guy enough chances, sooner or later he'll have a good day.

Shame Hughes, Khawaja, Cowan etc don't get the same courtesy.

Between centuries, (Oct 2010 to Aug 2013), Watson played 24 Tests for an average of 30.4

Three years!! Everyone else gets three Tests if their lucky.

You could imagine a bot of resentment in the Aussie dressing room, with some telling Lehmann "Heck, give me years and I'll get century eventually too!"

Posted by munna_indian on (August 22, 2013, 5:14 GMT)

shane watson is to australia as to what sehwag is for india. excess body weight, slow moving, cant play balls that come into the stumps and always expect freebies to score runs. cant say if the aussies have upped the tempo or england have lowered their guard. either way, dont know how much does it mean for watto and the aussies. the aussies are satisfied with winning small sessions but letting it go when it comes to big occasions. as a cricket fan, its disgusting to witness one sided ashes series in the last 25 years or so with the 2005 series being an exception.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 5:12 GMT)

A win here and the series goes 3-2 to Australia. You ask why? Well, 2 reasons: Stuart Broad and English Weather.

Posted by android_user on (August 22, 2013, 5:11 GMT)

shane watson at his best

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 4:57 GMT)

somehow reach 450 and see the english batting line up. may be chance redeem the lost pride. Hope umpiring will be fine. kumar dharmasena is having horrendous series. Icc should do some thing. kesavkoundinya

Posted by Rohit... on (August 22, 2013, 4:52 GMT)

This is exactly what Australian Bowlers needed... One 150+ score by a player means that they will have plenty of runs to take on the opposition now... Undoubtedly, Aus had maintained higher bowling standards in the series... It was the batting that was letting them down all this time.

Posted by dalboy12 on (August 22, 2013, 4:52 GMT)

This was always coming from Watson - despite what everyone's been saying about him, he was going to make England pay sooner or later. The challenge now is to continue the form into the next series. I reckon England could be in trouble if they lose this test. Chances of them winning now seem slight, but they will want to draw it and draw it comfortably or else this improving Aussie team will get on a roll for what is going to be a lot tougher series in Aussie. It seems like the Aussies have figured out Anderson - he has done little in the last two tests.

Posted by jimbond on (August 22, 2013, 4:36 GMT)

I guess England plays through attrition, and its often the opposition losing, rather than England winning. Hence, whenever any player shows that he has a backbone, England begins to lose their way. No major alarm bells, but some concerns. Swann is no longer the bowler he once was. Too much of dependence on Anderson. Broad occasionally performs, but the remaining bowlers are a bit suspect. Need for more chances to Tremlett, Onions and Finn, as well as Panesar.

Posted by cric_J on (August 22, 2013, 4:36 GMT)

Re England's team selection, it came as a complete surprise and I am not too comfortable with it, especially since we are bowling first. There was precious little swing (surprise, surprise) but Cook still went for Woakes in a 5/1/5. Broady looked pretty troublesome with his pace and bounce and Tremlett/Finn could have posed a similar problem for the batsmen.

But I do feel a few people here are being too-hard-too-early on Kerrigan. Remember that being on test debut, there will be some nerves and unsurity for the lad and I sincerely hope he can get his act together today. Also it is never easy for a spinner to bowl well on a day 1 pitch, more so one that offers excellent batting conditions. I'd expect him to be more effective in the third inngs.

@Electric_loco_: I think you had "go green " glasses on when you were able to see the green grass on the pitch and call it a good swinging wicket because nobody else, not even Ian Botham who did the pitch report, could see a "swinging wicket".

Posted by cric_J on (August 22, 2013, 4:09 GMT)

Yet another "Australia's day" suggesting yet again that they have done much better than what a 3-0 score line would suggest.

It was a good toss to win for Pup, Smith and Watson made effective use of a very good batting surface. Watson proved his mettle with a brilliant knock.And it took an equally terrific catch by KP to get him.

England's squad selection was quite a shocker and I'm not sure if it was the correct one either in a bowl first scenario. Kerrigan looked pretty lost on debut and Woakes was no better, though the latter did seem to get some accuracy later on in the day.

Swanny bowled really well for a day-1 pitch, Broady was fine enough and this was surely the best Jimmy has bowled since Lord's first inngs.

It will be a crucial 1st session today with the new ball. England need to get a couple of wickets in the 1st hour and restricting Australia to 420 or lesser would be a decent effort. Also, they must bat solid and soon enough as there will be significant turn come day 3.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 4:02 GMT)

Eng have picked 1 all rounder & a spinner for a class bowler and a class batsman, so far it had helped Aus specially Watson. If Aus can score 500+ here they have a pretty decent chance of bowling Eng twice with 6 bowlers they have....

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 3:39 GMT)

@denno, can you hear stump cam? He always seems like someone who puts tons of pressurr on himself and other people in the team

Posted by heathrf1974 on (August 22, 2013, 3:16 GMT)

The wicket looks quite dry and is for the spinners and the new ball. Watson did well to take advantage of the rookie English bowlers (I can't believe Tremlett isn't playing as I think Woakes is not a test player). Kerrigan had a shocker due to nerves but hopefully for England he will improve. Broad's bowling I thought was fantastic on a less than helpful wicket for the quicks and Swann has been tight as well. But hopefully the Aussies can get near 450 or a the very least over 350.

Posted by gazoontapede on (August 22, 2013, 2:56 GMT)

Just think of 2017 ashes. Peterson 37,Swan 39,Trott 36,bell 37,prior 35,Anderson 34,Cook,34,,broad 32, even the so callled back up bowlers Tremmlet and Onions will both be 36.Bresnan will be 32 also. Australia will already have rebuilt by then even though they get mocked as having nothing in shield cricket.There are many fine cricketers in the shield comp who by then will be ready. If Cummungs And pattinson can get on the pitch together and fit.look out. Getting a glimpse of Englands back ups in the dead rubber.I know who my money will be on. Too many imminent retirements in the english camp.

Posted by cloudmess on (August 22, 2013, 2:35 GMT)

Watson played a brilliant innings on a flat pitch, but England did themselves no favours with their selection policy. Unnecessarily throwing 2 debutants into an Ashes series, just to get a look at them, smacked of the old, amateurish way of doing things - we should give these Aussie chaps a chance etc. If Australia were 3-0 up in an Ashes series, they would keep picking their best possible side in order to keep England down for as long as possible. England now find themselves trying to contain Australia on a flat pitch with effectively 3 bowlers - allowing Australia time to play themselves into a strong position and develop confidence for the return series this winter.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 2:25 GMT)

English spinning stocks must be extremely thin if Kerrigan is the second best spinner they can put up. It was painful to watch for all cricket supporters - I support Australia but disliked the way this guy was thrown to wolves - was never given the chance to bowl at a new batsman all day and only bought on to bowl when the batsmen were set. Cook obviously doesn't support the selection, otherwise he would have supported the guy a bit more.

Posted by 58cans on (August 22, 2013, 2:10 GMT)

A test 100 is a test 100 it will be in the record books forever.The question still remains why has taken until the 5th test to come good Mr Watson.Now look at this way last test nothing to loose apart from pride England plays 2 new players not their strongest attack .One thinks Watson was playing his test career and another long term contract.Now if he backs this 100 with say another 4-5 in the return Ashes series all will be forgiven,but I have my doubts

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (August 22, 2013, 1:51 GMT)

Finally.

Now the selectors just need to show this sort of faith in some of the young batsmen, Hughes springs to mind. Warner is averaging 22 his last 7 tests with another tame dismissal today. Hughes would have been dropped by now.

If Warner continues to fail then Hughes should open with Warner at 5, Smith 6.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 22, 2013, 1:49 GMT)

@electric_loco_WAP4 on (August 21, 2013, 14:17 GMT), you really don't know anything about cricket at all, do you? There isn't a hint of green on that pitch. It was also bright and sunny all day so what "swinging conditions" are you talking about. Anderson and Broad looked very dangerous early on and were a touch unlucky to only get the one wicket. Anderson should have had Watson if not for Cook dropping an easy chance and Broad looked dangerous all day. That wicket was a slog for the bowlers and Broad in particular but also Anderson and Swann did a good job. Woakes wasn't great although he did come back well after a poor start and Kerrigan was a liability but they're both on debut so you can forgive that. You'll really just make up any old rubbish, wont you?

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 1:43 GMT)

One flat track and a dead rubber and just like that Shane Watson's turned his career around. It's not taking too much away from him, he really needed that innings so it's not like there wasn't any pressure, still a bowling attack that was giving Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers all sorts of trouble.

Kind of feels stupid having him not open now, but whether it's him or Warner at the top or both I guess it doesn't matter that much, both of them like coming in early.

Good on Steve Smith too, he's got a huge future this kid, he takes advantage of his opportunities and he's a scrapper and a hell of a talent. Didn't agree with Faulkner in at 7 but it's looking like working out. Faulkner, Haddin & Smith will be hungry for carnage tomorrow.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 22, 2013, 1:42 GMT)

If England had dismissed Watson on 104 then things may have been different, with two new batsmen at the crease, but once again a dropped catch has proven costly. They may have been able to restrict Australia to 350 or even less but now it looks like anything under 450 will be a challenge. Well played to Watson, particularly to carry on after that blow to the head, but it certainly doesn't answer all the questions hanging over him. Woakes came back fairly well but Kerrigan really just fell apart. England know that he's a better bowler than that but the door is well and truly open for Monty for the squad to tour Australia. England will want someone who can step in for Swann if he's injured and Kerrigan looks a long way from that right now. If Woakes can bat well then he may yet get the job batting at #6 or #7 because, while he doesn't look like a third seamer in a four-man attack, he could definitely be a useful fourth seamer if he can provide reliable runs, which Bairstow hasn't yet.

Posted by Liquefierrrr on (August 22, 2013, 1:30 GMT)

The problem for England and its fans is that Kerrigan is the #1 county spinner at the moment, bar none and by a long way. I hope they have a good physio because if this is what is next then they'll be in deep trouble.

Panesar is a very average test spinner, we know that by now, and this Kerrigan has snaked 47 wickets @ 20 this season, which on paper looks fantastic. Suggests to me that County is, for all its improvements since 2000~, still an overall weak competition, chock-full of middling players who get out to this stock spin.

Swann is a good player and turns the ball sharply, he transcends pitch conditions for the most part.

Warne, obviously, was 3 times the bowler Swann was, but it feels like, if this early indication is anything to go by, England will go through an equally barren post-Swann world and soon.

Woakes' FC average of around 25 with the ball also undercuts County cricket. He's stock and middling. Tremlett the better pick.

Attn: England - depth? What depth?

Posted by Thegimp on (August 22, 2013, 1:29 GMT)

Wow, an dry turning pitch on day one of a test match, how surprising!!! I'm with Michael Holding when he said that if he was England's openning bowler he would resign. We should be greatful for Anderson, Harris and Siddle, oh and do I have to say Broad?, that we have witnessed dogged efforts on such wickets.

I wonder whether Cook, upon winning a toss at either Brisbane or the WACA, will chose to bat first? I think, for that aspect alone, the series Down Under will be interesting. It remains to be seen whether the English approach to providing dead wickets will have the same result that India have had after so many years of doing the same, that is being tough to beat at home but ordinary on the road.

Posted by Chris_P on (August 22, 2013, 1:15 GMT)

Without taking anything away from Watson, Steve Smith's effort has the makings of a defining point in his career. At 3/144, with only Haddin & the bowlers to come, he put his head down & played one of his most responsible innings in his short career. If he can continue in this vein & convert his start to something meaningful, then Australia will have another block to build on for the future. He only recently turned 24, so is still young, relatively inexperienced, but has shown he has the determination & dedication to improve his game, none so apparent as the conscience effort to work to tighten his technique the past couple of years with some gritty efforts for NSW. I have seen the improvement first hand, he appears to have the work ethic, seems humble enough to know he had to do something & is actually quite astute at reading games. I look forward to his efforts on day 2.

Posted by cricpanther on (August 22, 2013, 1:07 GMT)

Great Player Great Watson!! Selectors of Aus, know this??? Hard to find good selectors in Aus??? Why M.Clark cant play under leadership/captaincy of Watson??? Watson is Captain Material, if you cant realize now, its too late for Australia!!!!!!

Posted by DavoWilly on (August 22, 2013, 1:01 GMT)

Well done Watto... but let's just imagine for a bit.....Bell out injured early on in series...1st test Australia get another 15 runs against a nervy England 3rd test..no rain on last day.. Aust win comfortably.....4th test, no Bell and Aust chase down 200... in other words the actual difference between the teams has been one Ian Bell. Without him the score could easily be 2:1 to Aust now. Yes, it's a hypothetical , but it's not that far fetched and the point is there is not much at all between these two teams...bring on November!

Posted by spindizzy on (August 22, 2013, 0:26 GMT)

Clarke should be man of the match - he won the toss, the single most important part of any test currently.

Posted by hmmmmm... on (August 22, 2013, 0:23 GMT)

bizarre innings so far - rogers and clarke looked like they were batting on a minefield, watson a road (why has it taken him so long to find that focus??) and warner, well he was just warner 9/10 times he will get out slashing.

We need 500+ here, so the job isn't done yet and we are now into the long lower order - a few quick fire fifties from haddin, starc and faulkener would be useful.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

England might have jumped the gun too early on monty panesar after the rise of kerrigan in domestic cricket. but as we have seen for years domestic vs international cricket is a different ball game. also can't believe how woakes got into the test side as he has looked so average in odi's he has played for england, is performance not the criteria anymore. if only australia could have found one consistent batsman the series would have had been close, as they have bowled really well the whole series and got into the head of the english batsman a bit, hence woakes in as they don't trust prior anymore

Posted by dmat on (August 21, 2013, 23:59 GMT)

Aus will need 500+ and it's time for Smith to stand up and get us there. English bowling attack looks very thin - if Woakes and Kerrigan are 5th and 6th best bowlers in the country, the fans will be praying for the ongoing fitness of Anderson and Swann.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (August 21, 2013, 23:55 GMT)

Basically with these "dry turners", the game is 90% decided at the toss. The only hope for the team which loses the toss and has to bowl is to get a heap of quick wickets - and even then it is a real uphill battle. England's entire plan revolves around having Swann bowling at the end of the match when the track is crumbling. But when they lose the toss that's pretty much the end of that plan, unless England get a big first innings lead - very unlikely when batting second. Australia should post another 500+ score here, just as they did when they won the toss in the third test. Anyway, hope rain doesn't save England this time. For me this series really has been annoying in that Australia has been the better team for most of the last three tests, yet is trailing 3-0. Hope they can win this test, as 3-1 would be a far better representation of the series, & 3-2 to England would have been the truest measure of things, at least at this point with 4 days to go. Eng could still win this, but...

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (August 21, 2013, 23:53 GMT)

I see australia are using a nightwatchman. Didnt they accuse England of being negative by doing the same thing?

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 23:50 GMT)

I think it's time people started looking at Clarkes batting form. Other than one big century, he has done NOTHING for this team in the last 2 years

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (August 21, 2013, 23:34 GMT)

So England serve up another dry pitch, play two spinners and bet on the toss. Of course, I'll suspend judgment until both sides complete their 1st innings but this is looking like a repeat of the third match. The toss has been too influential in this series for my liking. Also, was good to hear Michael Holding blasting England for this pitch in the commentary box, "Why prepare a pitch for one bowler, when you can prepare one for three?" I'll tell you why Mr Holding, it's because England know Australia have no confidence in Lyon.

I think Australia need at least 450 - still a long way off. Hopefully Smith can get a century to get us there. Good innings from Watson, but I'll echo other comments that it has come far too late. Clarke looked terrible - it's sad to see him backing away from Broad who is in comparison to the likes of Steyn et al. quite an average bowler. But I guess Ponting had trouble with Sharma of all bowlers.

Posted by Blokker on (August 21, 2013, 23:32 GMT)

A strange series. Australia's batting generally woeful, England's bowling sub-par in the main and their batting a disappointment as well. Two teams with a lot of work to do to match it with the best.

Posted by cricbranthan on (August 21, 2013, 22:59 GMT)

I am nt seeing any watson criticizers here today .where are you guys hiding??

Posted by Shan156 on (August 21, 2013, 22:54 GMT)

I am going to make a bold prediction that Siddle is going to get a big score tomorrow. Aus. to declare towards the end of the day with a 500+ score and Eng. to lose 2 wickets for under 50.

Posted by phermon on (August 21, 2013, 22:03 GMT)

Wanatawu, Watson will always score runs occasionally in any position. Doing it once at number three tells you how flat that track was. But Australia are welcome to leave him there from an oppositions point of view. Must admit though it was delightful tonking on a dead pitch in a dead rubber.

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

What was Cook thinking? He could have used Root or Trott or even Pietersen to give the bowlers a rest but to throw Kerrigan to the Watson rather than Watsoff was just asking for trouble. As for the childish outbust by Lehmann. Honest, up front, out there and a bit dumb. Young Broad is unpleasant enough to thrive on that. As someone said. Pot. kettle Lehmann.

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

Give any player enough chances & they will deliver. It was a rollicking innings, no doubt, something any team would have loved, but seriously, he is not the answer to our # 3 position. Smith's effort was also gutsy, hanging in tough.That is the type of innings that builds character, hopefully he will push on & rein in his curb to club his way to a ton.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 21, 2013, 21:33 GMT)

@disco_bob on (August 21, 2013, 12:14 GMT) I wouldn't say arrogance. Going 5/1/5 to me shows ambition - esp when you're 3-0 up and don't need to change it - even if it's not working out too well.

@salazar555 on (August 21, 2013, 12:27 GMT) No one else was having success with Watson so why not try Kerrigan. He doesn't bat well from what I gather so if he's not in the team to try and take wickets , why is he in there? I'm sure all bowlers would prefer to bowl at the new batsman as opposed to the set/form batsman

@TheBigBoodha on (August 21, 2013, 13:08 GMT) re "Those previous two calls against Watson cost Australia at least one and maybe two test matches" Nice to see you haven't lost your perspective on the game

Posted by Mitty2 on (August 21, 2013, 21:25 GMT)

Well, I thought it ridiculous for Australia to select 5 bowlers - since when do we need to weaken our batting and strengthen our bowling? - and I thought it ridiculous that Eng would select 2 debutants also in a five man attack - especially two spinners. So i guess the people bagging Agar for his bowling can turn it onto Kerrigan's woeful performance!

People have been annoyed at my repetitive Watson bagging (and after India and the first four tests it certainly was justified), but I think he was being scapegoated a little - as the prime underachiever among many - and this innings truly does show his talents. A very very good knock, and even a smart one (who would have thought!) by attacking the debutants. Broad and Jimmy bowled well, but it does show you how crucial that third seamer is. Watson dealt with both fine. Swann bowled defensively as a result of Watson's batting to Kerrigan. A crucial innings for himself, but a marginal one for Aus - too little too late.

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

Yet another wicket served up specifically for Swann & Andersen but no reverse today and no win of the toss to justify the 1.5 spinners on show. Put's the criticism of the far less experienced Agar's bowling into perspective. Watson's survival of an umpires call LBW, identical to multiple others given so far this tour (according to hawkeye) highlights what may have been had Watson got the rub of the green earlier this series. These 2 teams are a lot closer in ability than 4-0 suggests, a little luck and a lot of self belief separating them, Aust have to take advantage of this weakened attack or accept otherwise as there are only 3 test bowlers on show for Eng.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 21, 2013, 21:18 GMT)

@electric_loco_WAP4 on (August 21, 2013, 14:17 GMT) You keep saying how ordinary the English attack is , but the 3-0 scoreline suggests they've not needed to be anything more than ordinary - if that's what they are

Posted by JG2704 on (August 21, 2013, 21:12 GMT)

5/1/5 Great . Not going so well mind but it's totally shocked me and even if it doesn't work out this time I hope they'll try it again. Is it a pitch where we need 2 spinners and should one of Finn or Tremlett played to give more options?

Well played Watson/Australia and Jimmy looked the pick of our bowlers despite some of us saying he needed a rest

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

Good knock by Watson i must say, a shame it only came so late..One would have to wonder if he felt that this might be his last test for a while so he decided to provide an innings of substance..I see some people here being harsh on Woakes but i felt that after his first spell he bowled quite well..That wasn't the easiest of pitches for a seamer of his kind to make their debut..From what I saw he bowls at a reasonable pace, usually about 83-86 miles an hour and constantly hits the seam..I feel that in more useful conditions he will be a real handful..There wasn't much side ways movement out there but i could still see signs of him nipping it both ways..He seems to be the Philander kind of bowler who bowls that nagging line, constantly hitting the seam and getting movement either way.With his batting to go alone with his bowling I feel that he could be a really good prospect for England in the near future.I mean averaging 25 with the ball and 37 in Fc cricket,you must be a special talent

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 21, 2013, 20:54 GMT)

@electric_loco_WAP4 on (August 21, 2013, 14:17 GMT): "On greenish pitch with swinging conditions..." - the outfield doesn't count but I must congratulate the groundsmen on such a lush green field. The strip on the other hand is one of the driest and brownest I've seen all series.

"...this Eng attack has looked very ordinary." - England do have the advantage/privilege of bringing in 2 new bowlers and experimenting. Bit early yet, no?

"With the opening bowlers barely at 80 mph and toothless even Watson made it look like a batting beauty." - England bowlers have been faster all series, but in my opinion should be bowling around 80mph to exploit swing/seam even more. Warner's had his 1 knock of the series... why not Watson too?

4 wickets enough for you then instead?

Posted by SDHM on (August 21, 2013, 20:42 GMT)

My heart bled for Kerrigan today. Looked horribly nervous and just lost it. Think he did OK to come back and find a bit of a groove in his last couple of overs, hopefully someone puts an arm around him tonight and tells him he's wearing an England shirt, and that they're not handed out lightly. He deserves to be there. Now go out there and bowl like you can, lad.

Posted by iang123 on (August 21, 2013, 20:39 GMT)

Bryce McGain must be happy with Kerrigan's performance - relieving him of the dubious honour of the worst debut by a spinner in recent history!

BTW - congrats to England on finally getting a decent over rate going - could this be a dead rubber by any chance?? Much better entertainment for the fans, compared to watching the England team's histrionics in recent matches robbing the viewing public of ~10 overs a day.

Posted by landl47 on (August 21, 2013, 20:39 GMT)

I wonder what possessed England to act in such an unEnglandlike way? After stressing toughness and control for the whole series, suddenly they drop a player (Bairstow) who was just beginning to look like a test cricketer and put in a bowling all-rounder to bat at #6 on debut, and back that up with selecting a second spinner, also a debutant, which even at The Oval was only likely to prove a good move if England won the toss. I can't see the rationale for changing the balance of the side in that way.

Predictably, the two youngsters got a severe attack of nerves and were hit round the park. Australia are on their way to a big total and England are a batsman short.

To give him his due, Watson played very well and got good support from Smith. Cook must now bite the bullet and give Woakes and Kerrigan lots of bowling. If England loses this match it doesn't mean much. If they lose any of Anderson, Swann and Broad through overbowling it would be a disaster.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 21, 2013, 20:37 GMT)

Somewhat nice to see England finally giving some fringe players a go. With Bresnan and Onions out, I thought they would have done the boring norm and gone for Tremlett. I'm not sure if bringing on a debutant spinner against an already settled Watson was such a good move though, but hey ho... kudos to Watson. I would have kept him in the team for this game, but I must admit I'd never have had him at 3! Good knock.

I think I'm most looking forward to seeing how Faulkner does. I would have had him in the team from game 2. Don't understand what Bird has done wrong, so spot-light on Starc again to justify his preference there.

Posted by iang123 on (August 21, 2013, 20:30 GMT)

Today illustrates what a frustrating series this has been for an Australian cricket follower - there have been only two decent first innings scores this series (ie 400+) - both by the Aussies (Old Trafford and here, barring a collapse), and yet they're set to go down 3-1, which looks to be a comprehensive loss. Full credit to England for keeping their nerve in the close moment but I'm pretty confident that the scoreline in Australia will be very different, so long as the Aussies can learn to keep their heads (and leave the side largely as it is - both Hughes and Khawaja need to put in a couple of good Sheffield Shield seasons to be worthy of reconsideration).

Posted by Malx on (August 21, 2013, 20:25 GMT)

Anderson is a normal bowler when the ball doesn't swing. England should of went for the throat instead of trying out a couple of new guys. Haddin better make some runs or he's history !! But, it's all too late, it really doesn't matter. Clarke is waking up to the situation that he's a rubbish captain. No ones cares about what he says! Good batsman but he's totally lost it .

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

I raised an eyebrow when I heard the England selection this morning, and it wasn't justified by the subsequent play during the day. I thought prior to injury, that the Durham XI earned the chance to finish the job, but following Bresnan's worrying loss, I would have gone for Tremlett. However, fair play to Watson, who took full advantage, and dismissed the two debutants, and it was harrowing to see how nervous Kerrigan was. How Cook must regret that dropped chance, and, if taken, it would have reduced Australia to 150/4 or so, I think.....so it could have been a totally different game. Australia's day. Can Smith be the next batsman to make a personal breakthrough?

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

Joke trying out 2 bowling debutantes in an Ashes series even if series is won this is not the time. England should be looking to really rub salt into wounds real disappointing, this is supposed to be height of Test cricket not some sunday league !

Posted by Lach-Ferragh on (August 21, 2013, 20:16 GMT)

Are you telling me that Simon Kerrigan is the best off-spinner England has?! You have to be kidding me. He has a terrible action. Where do I start:

1) Non-existent lead arm. 2) Terrible pivot. 3) Semi-decent control over line and length 4) Decent loop.

Fine Monty has his negative points, but as an off spinner, his technique is far superior to this Kerrigan chap.

I know England are desperate to unearth a world-class spinner to rival Swann, but let's not get too desperate and be satisfied with mediocrity.

Posted by mixters on (August 21, 2013, 20:00 GMT)

As I watched Watson smash ball after ball to the fence I once again was thinking all that ability he looks like Viv Richards, but he will get out soon. This time he did not and showed why the selectors stick with him. If this is the flood gates opening for this guy like they did for Brian Lara the English bowlers are in for a real tough end to there year. @front-foot-lunge even if this " quality, accurate and superior English bowling attack" with only one bowler (swann) with a career average under 30 the number that represents well just average are going to struggle against Watson if there pet LBW trick stops working

Posted by Captain_Tuk_Tuk on (August 21, 2013, 19:46 GMT)

Many people still criticizing Shane Watson I think they didn't heard the news that he was working on his weakness with Michel Clarke to over come it and Tim Bresman was not playing so if he manages to keep his front leg safe for LBW shout there is no stopping him and he is the batsman to score 150 at number 3 while no one else scored even 100 at that position since one year I think? Of course there are lots of ifs and buts BUT in cricket we never say what if..

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 21, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

It is very hard to know where the advantage lies at the end of Day1. If Eng bowl out Aus by 2.30 they could well win this but if Aus bat till 5.00 pm Aus will be safe. In any case Eng will have to make runs fast and a large amount. Woakes was okayish, but one must pity poor Kerrigan. One must remember he can still bowl well in spite of that terrible first day. Amderson was himself again and Swann was very good, but Broad got the key wicket near the end as well being quite awkward at times. I hope he ignores Lehmann's perspectives. No English seemed to think he was wrong at the time even if he was pushing the spirit of the game too far. He is not the first to not walk in spite of knowing he had hit the ball. He will not be the last by any stretch. He was perhaps more blatant than most, but should enjoy the attention downunder. I am glad they are relaying wickets soon. I'd plough the whole square myself.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

my favourite moment of the day was... watson hit the ball so hard that Kevin peterson who was fielding at the boundary didnt notice the ball passing him(few metres away) to the boundary.. KP didnt knew what happened.. he stood still.. the expression on KP's face was hilarious.. everybody looked at him n then he realised that the ball went to the boundary.. he said "i didnt see the ball"... hilarious.. i laughed like hell

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 19:35 GMT)

Well done Mr Watson ..... very gutsy effort.

But if the umpire's finger went up on that LWB in the 8th over you would have been out .... and DRS would not have saved you. Anderson and Broad bowled brilliantly in the first session .... so many balls just missing the edge.

Watson took apart England's deb's like it was a Sunday afternoon game Make hay while it shines. The Australian Batting Card would have looked quite sickly without your big ton.

Posted by Ninety9 on (August 21, 2013, 19:24 GMT)

Correction : "Warner's full-blooded pull at Broad was expertly intercepted by a diving Kevin Pietersen..." It should say Watson, not Warner.

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 21, 2013, 19:23 GMT)

Contd.

As for Australia, I did say after Watson's first innings at Durham that I thought he'd shown signs of improvement, especially mentally (I've always said his issues are all between his ears rather than being purely technical), and that a first Ashes century was within his sights. Not sure I expected him to do it so soon afterwards, but well done to him nonetheless.

While it's been a good day for Australia, it's not been a perfect one, especially with losing Watson late on. And Aussie fans would be wise to remember Durham. While England fans are still haunted by Adelaide in 2006, I think Durham was worse.

At 168-2, chasing another 131 to win, with 8 wickets in hand, it was not only a Test Match Australia should not have lost, it was one they should have won comfortably. Instead, they didn't even manage to hold on to take the game into day 5.

England lost 9 for 70 at Adelaide against Warne, McGrath and Lee. Australia lost 8 for 56 at Durham, against Swann, Broad and Bresnan.

Posted by delhi-belly on (August 21, 2013, 19:18 GMT)

oh yes..the white shark was on its kill today...he almost ate up woakes and kerrigan...but was unlucky to be be dismissed off a short ball..the ball he plays extremelly well...if he had survived, he definitely would've gone into the record books...anyway enough damage done..the brits are never going to recover from here on and Cook will never get such an oppurtunity again....so CMON AUSSIES

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 19:17 GMT)

Watson.. going in at 3 and dominating as he did... something Clarke has been too afraid to do thus far. Well done Watto, a fine innings.

Posted by Roshan_P on (August 21, 2013, 19:14 GMT)

Well done Watto. This will surely put him in the side for another year and we hope to see more great performances soon. And it looks like he's sorted out his lbw issues. The real loser I feel is Phil Hughes, who should be in the side. The two batsmen most likely to be shunted, Smith and Watson, have come good today. Although Watson is very talented I believe Hughes should be in the side instead of Smith and bat at 3. Watson has done well at 3, but I still feel he is a gamble at first drop, whereas Hughes can be more dependable. Watson should definitely come in at 5 or 6 where he can play more freely.

Posted by Essex_Man on (August 21, 2013, 19:13 GMT)

This is all far too little, far too late for Australia.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 19:05 GMT)

Before people dismiss Kerrigan as useless, it's fair to remind them that after his second test, the great Shane Warne had figures of 1 - 228 and that he didn't take his second test scalp until he had conceded 335 runs. Furthermore, Panesar's second division haul of 2 - 133 off 54 overs against Northants at Colchester isn't exactly inspirational stuff. But what a great innings from Watson!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 21, 2013, 19:05 GMT)

First of all, well done Shane Watson and Steve Smith. Once again the English bowlers proving they are overly dependent on the conditions to favour them. All of them barring Broad looked average. Anderson was lucky to pick up his wickets instead of Broad. But the lowlights of the day should be Woakes and Kerrigan; the latter in particular. What were the English selectors thinking ? This guy doesn't have what it takes to play at this level; at least not now. I felt bad for him as Watson repeatedly swatted him for fours. Is this the way you introduce a youngster to international cricket ? Wrong move by Flower and co. Overall a decent day for spectators, Australia in a good position but England will be equally pleased to prize out 4 wickets; Watson's in particular.

Posted by Shan156 on (August 21, 2013, 18:35 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Sponge, a wallop like the one that was experienced in 2010-2011? Do you realize that this was exactly the same thing you Aussies claimed before that series too? Or, have you forgotten it? Let me remind you. Eng. won a close series 2-1 in 2009, the Aussie batsmen and bowlers had better averages than their English counterparts and everyone expected Eng. to get walloped in the return series. Eng., though, made it look ridiculously easy and won by an innings 3 times. Remember the score 517-1.

To those claiming that Eng. will be outplayed down under because this series was closer than many expected need to think again. Conditions are different and Eng. actually performed better in Australia last time than they did anywhere in recent memory (the 2011 India series was the only series where Eng. performed better than the 2010-2011 Ashes in Australia).

Posted by Shan156 on (August 21, 2013, 18:30 GMT)

Kerrigan had a bad day. I wouldn't dismiss him yet. He will learn and there is no better time. Even Warne went for plenty in his first test against India.

Woakes is a selection that I think was silly. Clearly, they chose him for his ability to bat and bowl a few overs of his innocuous medium pace. If they wanted to groom him as an all-rounder, then they should not have selected Kerrigan and opted for Tremlett instead. Why they didn't rest Anderson and pick Tremlett?

Poor selection but I wouldn't be overawed by the score at stumps. It was good batting conditions, a slow pitch, and the team batting first had an advantage. Still, Watson was good enough to make full use of it. Let's hope our struggling batsmen in this series - Cook, Root, and Trott - make it big too.

Posted by Rahulbose on (August 21, 2013, 18:29 GMT)

From the team selection it looks like a clever ploy by Eng to ensure the same set of players are selected by Aus for the return series.

Posted by SamRoy on (August 21, 2013, 18:22 GMT)

This Ashes Series has been the diametrically the opposite of 2005 Ashes with mediocrity everywhere. Only Bell's defining knocks, Agar's scintillating 98, Anderson first test effort and Roger's maiden hundred were above mediocrity. Broad took 11-for on a wicket absolutely tailor made for him and against a batting lineup which is extremely reminiscent of the West Indies in the late 90s. Swann bowled well a couple of times but quite often he was not at his best but it proved enough against a team of lefties who couldn't play spin. From a neutral's perspective did not make all that good a viewing!

Posted by arunan6789 on (August 21, 2013, 18:19 GMT)

More like the watto we knew..:)

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

I really don't understand what the England selectors were thinking here. I know I said in a previous comment 'Well done Kerrigan for for getting in the squad', but I thought that he was only picked as cover for Swann, or at least to let Monty Panesar know that he is out of the frame for the time being. I nearly chocked on my breakfast when I heard that he was to make his debut alongside Woakes in the test match.

The only logical explanation I can think of as to why the selectors picked Kerrigan to play is to see if he is suitable to go on the Ashes tour in Australia. Well, it looks to me the selectors already have their answer, but in doing so they may well have broken the young spinner's confidence and spirit, and it could take at least a year to mend it.

Posted by milepost on (August 21, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

@front-foot-lunge, who is this bowling attack superior to? They got smashed today, by a batting lineup you rate so lowly. We need to give Kerrigan a break, he choked under the spotlight but it's just one day. Give the lad a chance. One look at Warnie's figures for his first 2 tests and you'd drop him but we know how things panned out. Kerrigan wasn't in the setup, it must be tough to come in from nowhere. It was another quality day from the Aussies, the worst team ever right? I don't think any test match is a dead rubber, not when you represent your country at the highest level.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

great innings by watson . Must credit him,staying at crease and doing some damage to english bowlers .

Posted by stonecoldb4u on (August 21, 2013, 18:15 GMT)

wattoo watto..its all abt wattoo..as i always said watson is game changer....soo many people used 2 say watson should drop...i dont know how can they think so....on which bases they want to drop watto?how can a talented n xprniced playr dropped in ds situation..even hughes avgs 30 n khwaja 26.n watson 35 n he is perfect all rounder...now he scored 176..if he made 0 in 1st n 0 in 2nd innings also ill still support a talent..becz form is temporary n talent is permanent....at prsnt australia should find batsman..i can say clark,watson,warner n 1 keeper(haddin or wade)ragers mayb he can play for 1 more year..smith should give more chances atleast 10tests..if he avgs 38atleast aftr 10more tests he is ok...so aus should find 2 batsman...i think vogues,baily or maddinson should given chances nxt series...as a allrounder bat avg 35 n tight bowler is ok in any team...so people please dont say watson is a short form player....if a player is hitter it doesnt mean he is a short form playr.wattoo

Posted by SamRoy on (August 21, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

Well I had said before Woakes is not good enough. English supporters have replied saying he is much better with the red ball. A good bowler is threatening with all kind of balls. e.g. Darren Gough, Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson have the 3 stand outs for England in the last 20 years. Can anyone tell me they were not good with either white or red ball? Bresnan is better than Woakes but he too isn't good enough against quality batsman which Australia have a sum total of 1. Broad and Finn are good but consistency is major problem quite like Morkel (though Morkel is quicker). Anderson and Swann are excellent.

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 21, 2013, 18:06 GMT)

I see the usual suspects are in full effect. A couple from the English side, criticising a shrewd selection, but more from the Aussie side, who must either have lousy TVs or be colour-blind (that pitch is by no means "greenish"; it's beige, any grass is dry, and while there's something there with the newer ball, it's a tough wicket with the older ball, especially as both Woakes and Anderson tend to "kiss" the surface).

Like Brusselslion, I think the selection of Woakes in place of Bairstow and Kerrigan in place of Bresnan is smart, but only if Tremlett replaced Anderson. Anderson and Woakes are similar heights and pace, where Bresnan, as a stocky lad, hits both the pitch and the bat a bit harder. But I think the selection is as much about looking at a different balance to the side as it is about those two specific players. If Woakes scores more runs than JB, then it's something they'll hold back as an "in case of an emergency" option for the return leg.

Contd.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 17:54 GMT)

Despite winning the toss on a belter and having the good fortune for England to include some dire mediocrity in their bowling attack Australia still won't win the match or any in the return series as the Aussies just aren't good enough to play competitive cricket for five days.

Posted by CapitalMarkets on (August 21, 2013, 17:53 GMT)

It's clearly an experimental England side but the selection was misguided, if somewhat adventurous. What was really required was an out and out attacking fast bowler and, if Tremlett was deemed unsuitable (and, whatever he says, his figures tell us that he's not the bowler he was), they should have gone for Rankin. I have long advocated a five bowler attack but if Woakes was regarded as a bowling all-rounder and therefore a replacement for Bresnan, Kerrigan was completely out of his depth, should not have been chosen and I would be astonished if he played another test match. It will not have escaped the selectors that England's best passage of play today was when he got a bit snarly and another strike bowler would do England no harm at all. If another spinner had to play they could have done worse than go for a seasoned campaigner like Tredwell, not a relatively untried young man who was clearly overawed by the occasion, doesn't bat a bit like Agar and who hasn't had a stellar season.

Posted by page8383 on (August 21, 2013, 17:50 GMT)

Interesting to see some new players in this series outside of the English core of players that have been playing since 2005 (Woakes Kerrigan Root). Australia are in a prolonged slump at the moment, but it'll be interesting to see England's results once the first spate of retirements of the T20 era occur. Ie. Bell, Pietersen, Anderson, Prior, Broad, Swann - All still 5 years away though. If Woakes and Kerrigan are the next best thing, the wheel will no doubt turn again in the next half decade. Australia have certainly been a victim of an exodus of great players at exactly the wrong time.

Posted by strikeforce2003 on (August 21, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

Well batted Watto..450 runs on the board batting first and Aussies have a real chance of winning this final test. Kerrigan did lose his cardigan, hard luck as his debut had Watto at the other end, and a Watto wanting to make a statement, which he did very well. Clarke getting bowled to the straight swingers moving sideways could be an embarrassment to a batsman of his calibre..more concentration on that front push shot, has to give way to another choice to caving balls coming onto him, at good length from middle onto off stump. Broad was faced off well, the Broad effect off field on the Ahes seems to have galvanised a better concentration in the Oz response, grit with special determination in attempting to make his bowling figures more ordinary. Another 150 runs, say 450~470 runs, and the will find it tough on a wearied pitch, facing on day 2 or 3, the new ball of Faulkner, the nagging length of Siddle and the wonderful seaming length of Harris. Day 2 is decisive on the result..

Posted by lankymanky on (August 21, 2013, 17:41 GMT)

Wish people would stop using the division 2 excuse as to why Kegs had a poor performance. He had a fabulous 2 years in division one being a big part of the team in 2011 that WON division 1 bowling out Hampshire almost by himself in the penultimate game and was by no means to blame for the relegation when the batsmen failed miserably. I didn't agree to the selection, I thought he would have needed to be around the set up more to feel comfortable in the surroundings and the occasion got to him If he can get his head right Kerrigan can be an international bowler but I fear this will prove to be his only test unless he shows what he can do tomorrow.

Posted by Bodders70 on (August 21, 2013, 17:40 GMT)

It's interesting how much England are being criticised for exactly the sorts of selections so many on here have been calling for! To be fair, on this sort of pitch, just as in 2009, a two-spin, two-seam attack with a third seamer to give the others a rest seems the best selection. Unfortunately, England couldn't predict how much Kerrigan would be effected by nerves and though Woakes would hold his own as an occasional bowler if England had won the toss, having lost it he's just a bit short. In 2009, Flintoff in that role was better even with his dodgy fitness. Given the importance of the toss on a wicket like this, it's a shame you have to make selections before it! It also doesn't make for a good test match wicket. Having said all that, another couple of early wickets tomorrow and this match isn't down to 'Australia win or draw' yet.

Posted by PhillieFanatic on (August 21, 2013, 17:38 GMT)

Interesting day's play with the bowlers on top early and the batsmen struggling to score, then Watson breaking out for a big score and Smith keeping him company ably. Watson's dismissal just before stumps was a little against the run of play, but then Siddle came in and batted brightly. Overall, it was Australia's day and it will be interesting to see how tomorrow morning's session goes with the wicket maybe freshening up a bit overnight and giving the bowlers early help.

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

@electric_loco: Sorry mate, I think the colour on your TV needs adjusting. This pitch is deader than Elvis. It even prompted Michael Holding to make the quip "Welcome to Mumbai."

Really happy for Watson. He's never been my favourite character but with all the pressure he had on him leading up to the series and the amount of slack he got about the LBW's I was hoping he'd come up with a big score and shut everyone up. As many have said he's always looked like a batsman that can play an innings like this but he just always found a way to get out even after getting past 50. Maybe now he can put all that behind him and change his reputation to someone who can go on. I guess that batting lesson from Clarke did wonders.

Overall its been an ordinary performance from England. Not too surprising in a dead rubber, but it is The Ashes. The debutants let them down but it was never a great decision to play two uncapped bowlers. And the fielding hasn't been up to scratch either, I've gotta say.

Posted by ddr3 on (August 21, 2013, 17:14 GMT)

Great knock by Watson but he could have surely tried to get to 200! Rather than playing that Immature shot with just 3 overs left for Day 1 to end.

Posted by crockit on (August 21, 2013, 17:12 GMT)

it was odd to pick a guy who got mauled by Watson in the warm up game and even odder to then bowl him against Watson in the first session. Cook could have looked to wait til Watson was out and then introduce him, letting him bed in against a less domineering player

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 17:11 GMT)

clarke has only got one good knock in this whole ashes series. now watson too has got that one big innings in this series. apart from that one big knock clarke has done little of note. whenever clarke gets out, he's got a ripper. whenever watson gets out, he's got technical problems. watson has also bowled pretty well in this series. clarke has done nothing. in test cricket you are supposed to get good deliveries and you have to deal with those. watson is the maligned guy, but clarke is the best batsman. quite strange.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (August 21, 2013, 16:56 GMT)

With Tremlett all but confirmed to play and reek havoc upon the Aussies just like he did last Ashes, I for one was amazed this morning to look at the team sheet and see that the England selectors had opted for 2 débutantes in this game. Yes, it's a dead rubber. Yes, The Ashes are won resoundedly, and Australia have been thrashed 3-0. But Tremlett should be the first choice back up. He's earned his chance, and every Aussie remembers his Ashes record. Cook's drop of Watson on 104 off Anderson was a little disappointing, but débutante dross was the only reason Watson was able to score in the morning session, a pleasant innings non the less. It's just sad the selectors have cheapened this match by not opting for Tremlett and instead completely experimenting like it was a England Vs Lichtenstein football game.

Posted by Lalindra2012 on (August 21, 2013, 16:52 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 PrasPunter on (August 21, 2013, 16:41 GMT)

wondering what sort of umpire Dharmasena is . Pretty much clear several thousand miles away that the one is going over the top but not so-clear to the one standing 22 yards away !! Pathetic to say the least !! Yet another reason why DRS must stay !! india, wake-up !!!

Posted by Lalindra2012 on (August 21, 2013, 16:30 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 bobmartin on (August 21, 2013, 16:30 GMT)

Watson... 1 test century every 28 innings... Wow !!!!... That's class.. I'm impressed..

Posted by brusselslion on (August 21, 2013, 16:23 GMT)

Oh dear... Here we go. If only Australia had won the toss, then they would have won the four previous Tests.... Life's so unfair.

Also try to get the conspiracy theories aligned, guys. Is a greenish pitch with helpful overcast conditions or dry and will spin like hell on Days 4 & 5 to suit England's 2 spinners? Actually, it's neither: It is typical of Oval wickets this season i.e basically dead but should see some turn - although not excessive - as the game goes on.

Oh and BTW there's not a cloud in the sky!

Posted by mikkkk on (August 21, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

@electric_loco_WAP4 "On greenish pitch..."

Don't know where you got that from. The pitch report said it was bone dry, the driest it has been for years.

Posted by USA_Res on (August 21, 2013, 15:59 GMT)

Looks like a pretty dead pitch. The question is not Why is Watson batting so well, the question is Why didn't the other 3 do better. When 75% of the runs have been made by Watson, and a third of his runs being made against the tyro's, I'm not impressed yet.

I should also say that Australia shouldn't count their chickens, at least not until we see how they fare in the field. (They should have won the last test - but they managed to pull defeat from the jaws of victory)

Posted by DaveFish on (August 21, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

I think Mickey Arthur was onto something.... Pup please give Watto 5 overs in the second Inn... That should help the man of glass breakdown....again Well played for your maiden ton.

Posted by Roshan_P on (August 21, 2013, 15:34 GMT)

@electric_loco_WAP4 - This pitch is actually a dry pitch, not green at all, but the ball is swinging a bit. It's only Watson that has conquered the bowlers. On a batsman-friendly pitch the England bowlers, apart from Kerrigan although he's on debut, have done quite well to restrict them.

Posted by mikkkk on (August 21, 2013, 15:20 GMT)

So he finally gets a ton when the series is all over. What a big game player you are "Watto". Sigh!

Posted by mikkkk on (August 21, 2013, 15:16 GMT)

@Denno911 "Watson.. you are a beast, to take that hit, then shake it off and continue on."

Well there was not really much danger of it doing any damage where it hit, but if it had hit him on the backside...

Posted by mikkkk on (August 21, 2013, 15:12 GMT)

So the first part of Englands cunning plan has been implemented; give Watson a hundred so they don't drop him from the side.

It all seemed a bit embarrassing when he eventually got there. I think people were a bit unsure whether they should be applauding or laughing.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (August 21, 2013, 15:12 GMT)

@electric_loco_WAP4: "On greenish pitch"....Has your TV been given such a bashing this series that the green lights are working more than the rest? This is one of the driest pitches served up so far all summer.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (August 21, 2013, 15:09 GMT)

Pity for Kerrigan, but one look at his pitch map shows that he doesn't fit into this quality, accurate and superior English bowling attack. Getting an attack of the yips is every bowlers' fear. Serving up endless full tosses and short balls in a dead rubber match will do nothing for his confidence. Time and experience cure many things though, and young Kerrigan has plenty of time left to find the groove he has had in County Cricket.

Posted by PrasPunter on (August 21, 2013, 15:09 GMT)

Is it just coincidental that Clarke was not on the field when Watto reached his ton ? Had he scored atleast 25 off those in TB ? Atleast 25 of those in Durham ? Had he .....

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (August 21, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

Australia need a big score here, likely at a higher run rate too. Watson showed some grit coming back from that crunch on the head. Nice to see the players on debut getting smashed about, something to think about given the poor form of many in the England dressing room and their lack of depth. A nice win to the Aussies here and in Australia the English team can experience a wallop.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 14:58 GMT)

Kerrigan seems to be bowling with all the enthusiasm that Inzi used to leave the pitch with, what the?! Does he always bowl with so little pep?

For mine this looks like a pitch that is actually quite difficult to score on, Watto's big cannons are making it look a lot easier than it is, I think 350 will be a good score and would expect the likes of Harris and Siddle to do well here, probably a bit slow for the spinners. Big job ahead for Anderson and Broad.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 14:57 GMT)

Take that haters, watson is definately the second best cricketer on the team when hes in full form, just a shame that thats rare. Ive stuck by supporting watson to my mates and anyone who i talk to about cricket, as i truly think he needs to be in the team. I especially find it annoying when people say that he should be dropped for the likes of usman or phil hughes cause he is a lot better than both of them. Go watto, return series is your time to shine.

Posted by popcorn on (August 21, 2013, 14:52 GMT)

Warner makes me sick.He is useless as a Test opener. When will the Selectors learn that Warner is ONLY GOOD GOR ODIs and T20s? When will the Selectors learn that a Good Test opener is one who is a grafter, one who occupies the crease for long, who scores at a steady rate, blunts the attack? Like Chris Rogers and Ed Cowan?

Posted by ThyrSaadam on (August 21, 2013, 14:50 GMT)

Is the time right to talk about Cook the captain? He is pretty defensive with 5 bowlers, really eagerly waiting to see his captaincy with 3 bowlers...

Posted by bobmartin on (August 21, 2013, 14:48 GMT)

Watson has proved that if you get enough chances.. sooner or later you'll get a century... or in his case 3 in 85 innings or 1 every 28 innings...

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (August 21, 2013, 14:48 GMT)

Filth from Kerrigan. Could be the worst bowling I've seen from an England player since Chris Schofield?

Posted by Harlequin. on (August 21, 2013, 14:47 GMT)

@MaruthuDelft - Watson has always looked good, but ends up losing his concentration and falls across his front pad. Bowlers as skillful as Anderson can exploit this front pad as well. Here, he got an early boost from some nervy bowlers, then I think Clarke came in at the right time and made sure he knuckled down for the long haul. Rogers seems to have been a good influence on him as well.

@electric-loco - that is a dumb post, even by your standards.

Posted by Biggus on (August 21, 2013, 14:42 GMT)

@electric_loco_WAP4:-Are we watching the same match? A greenish pitch? If you want people to take you seriously (and i wonder about that) it's best not to indulge in fantasy. Once you've made a statement such as calling this a green pitch it's almost certain any sane reader will discount anything else you say, and rightly so.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (August 21, 2013, 14:17 GMT)

On greenish pitch with swinging conditions this Eng attack has looked very ordinary. With the opening bowlers barely at 80 mph and toothless even Watson made it look like a batting beauty . On such pitch better attacks like NZ and WI would at least got the batsmen tested on occassion and kept them on a leash. Imagine the 3 top attack of Aus,SA and Pak and the damage they would've done with the new ball on pitch as this ? At least 5 wkts would be down by now.

Posted by salazar555 on (August 21, 2013, 14:12 GMT)

@ Shaggy

Normally I would agree, you've been picked to bowl so you bowl when needed. I just think with a spinner on debut, you try and ease him into things and allow him to get a few overs under his belt. Watson was set and looking to attack, you have a debut spinner on the morning of a day 1 pitch so I'll repeat what I said earlier, everything was in Watson's favour and nothing was in the spinner's favour. As a captain you should at least understand and try and do the spinner a favour rather than having all of his confidence blasted away

Posted by hhillbumper on (August 21, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

well that means his test spot is safe for few years yet then.Cue people talking about his great talent.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (August 21, 2013, 13:57 GMT)

Watson looks so good; how did he keep failing?

Posted by wanatawu on (August 21, 2013, 13:53 GMT)

Excellent batting by Watson, I think he find his spot as the no 3 of the side

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (August 21, 2013, 13:50 GMT)

Jimmy is now the second highest England wicket taker having just passed Bob Willis.

Posted by Denno911 on (August 21, 2013, 13:46 GMT)

Just watching Clarke, It is almost like he is talking his team out of a good total. Swing the bat mate like you do so well... Shane Watson.. you are a beast, to take that hit, then shake it off and continue on. Big things for you in this game.... Clarke OMG that innings was just plain painful to watch..

Posted by AnthonyMD on (August 21, 2013, 13:45 GMT)

Haven't seen Clarke look as scratchy as he did today in years, he never looked like it this innings. Well bowled Broad and Anderson.

Posted by Biggus on (August 21, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

@TheBigBoodha:-That thought had indeed occurred to me, but I was trying to be diplomatic. I must be getting old since diplomacy most certainly wasn't an attribute I posessed in any measurable amount when I was younger.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (August 21, 2013, 13:33 GMT)

@milepost, anyone who knows the Oval knows batting first is generally your best bet, also both sides need to bat on a surface before you make comparrisons.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (August 21, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

@Dark_Harlequin, completely agree, they were damed which ever way they went.

After winning in Durham england had nothing to lose in this game, this game as a win/win situation for england, they could change personel around especially with Bresnan being Injured.

Though I may have liked to see Taylor in place of Bairstow and a simple swap of Woakes for Bresnan. I think Kerrigan had done enough and it was worth looking at him int he context of Monty being out of sorts.

If you look at Swanns figures from his first few matches (2008) they werent world Class, with 8 wickets at just under 40 (4/145 Chennai and 4/171 Mohali).

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (August 21, 2013, 13:28 GMT)

@biggus, this is clearly a policy by the England admin - dry turners. But it can all go wrong if they lose the toss. They lost it in the third test and were getting smashed till the rain came. They are getting smashed here after losing it for only the second time. One can only wonder how different this series might have panned out if Australia had won three out of the four tosses in the first 4 test. The other question that has to be asked is why - if this is really the worst Aus team to tour England in years - do the English need to manipulate the pitches in such a blatant manner.

Posted by android_user on (August 21, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

watson safe for the next 30 tests now. he only needs to score that often to keep his spot.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (August 21, 2013, 13:19 GMT)

Trott and Root looking like good bowling options this afternoon.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (August 21, 2013, 13:08 GMT)

Notably the umpire didn't give Watson out LBW on the dodgy leg side ball this time. He's been given twice this series on similar terrible umpiring, so great to see the umpire make the right call for once. Those previous two calls against Watson cost Australia at least one and maybe two test matches - both coming in close second innings chases where Australia were well on top.

Posted by dmat on (August 21, 2013, 12:53 GMT)

Is playing Jimmy A a mistake? Australia might score 700 if he breaks down - he looked flat at Durham. Just listened to the Mickey Arthur interview. Whilst the plan was to try and win, expectation wasn't high amongst the team for the first leg. All down to the second leg in Aus. I would say that there's a good chance Aus will win 3-1.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (August 21, 2013, 12:53 GMT)

Salazar555; I dont think Cook is the best captain in the game but Im going to pick holes in your argument. Surely if your picked to play test cricket you bowl when its your time and not wait for a set batsman to get out. Do you wait 200 runs? Really, your playing test cricket and you need to be treated with kid gloves? Surely if it was the case you shouldnt be playing test cricket. There is no harm in a spanking its how you bounce back from it that determines if you are going to be successful.

Posted by Biggus on (August 21, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

England's groundsmen seem to have collectively lost their hoses. Despite that by winning the toss we'll likely be the main beneficiaries I don't believe that delivering a pitch as dry as this for the first day of a five day test is good for the game. Of course how it performs on day five, should we get that far, remains to be seen but the usual result of pitches as dry as this on day five is extremely variable bounce and that I do have a problem with. I'm happy for it to spin like hell on day five but when one ball flies and the other as near as rolls along the ground that leads to a poor spectacle and makes the toss win too influential. I'll be watching with great interest but my first impression is that this is not a great test wicket. Not worthy of sanction in any way mind you, but a little water would most likely have delivered a better and fairer pitch.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (August 21, 2013, 12:48 GMT)

Absolute carnage from Watson. He is showing his ability now. He just needs to see off the 3 bowlers they have and when they are rested, he will be able to easily score at 6 an over or perhaps even 7 or dare I say it 8 an overm off the 2 new part timers.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (August 21, 2013, 12:47 GMT)

England play two spinners and Australia five pacers - Harris, Starc, Siddle, Watson and Faulkner. What do the teams see so different in the pitch?

Posted by Harlequin. on (August 21, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

Haha, this is typical! England would have been bashed for bringing in Tremlett/Finn for playing an out of form bowler at the expense of blooding a youngster, but instead they are getting bashed for bringing in 2 young debutants instead of an experienced bowler.

I still say that England made the right call, better to test out youngsters in a dead rubber rather than be forced to bring them in when a series is on the line. England are looking to the future, something the Aussies failed to do 10 years ago which might explain the mess they are in now. Woakes and Kerrigan came up against a destructive batsman who went on the attack on a flat deck, and the test for them will be if they can hold it together and improve in their next spells. If they can, they are worth persevering with, if not then their mental fortitude may be questioned.

Posted by AnthonyMD on (August 21, 2013, 12:37 GMT)

Watto looking good, however he often gets out around this time of his innings, hopefully he goes on with it. Looking at the pitch, thought Australia had caught the wrong plane and landed in Mumbai, what's going on there? wish the road out the front of my place looked as good.

Posted by Moppa on (August 21, 2013, 12:37 GMT)

Does Watson's pre-lunch assault really tell us anything new about him? A good pitch, two debutant bowlers and no pressure with the Ashes gone.... and he hasn't gotten to the nervous nineties yet. We always knew he was talented, which is why his chronic underperformance has been so frustrating. Jury still out.

Posted by milepost on (August 21, 2013, 12:34 GMT)

One session and the excuses are flowing for England? A good toss to win but the débutantes are rocking T20 figures and one suspects Jimmy, Swann and Broad may crack under the workload at some point, they tend to lose it when things don't go their way. Dropping Bairstow is fine but surely for a batsman would have been a wiser move. Anyway, it's test cricket and things can change quickly. I wouldn't be surprised to see a 400 run day.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 12:31 GMT)

Lunch time report, Watson, imperious. Rogers, hangin in tough. Woakes, okay but trying to do too much. Kerrigan, the ball has no clothes. This is going to be very, very interesting.

Posted by salazar555 on (August 21, 2013, 12:27 GMT)

Poor from Cook to put the debut spinner on against a set Watson. He gave him some tap a few days ago. Cook put everything in favour of Watson (day 1 pitch, set batsman, someone who had give him some stick a few days ago) and nothing in favour of the bowler. Surely you introduce him to a new batsman who is going to go the attack straight away and give the kid a few overs to settle in

Posted by doughyinperth on (August 21, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

Clueless captaincy by Cook. Why on earth Anderson & Broad hardly bowled in the first session i will never know. They have 2 x umpires call LBW's against Watson & Cook takes them both off & bowsl the 4th & 5th bowlers.WHY ? 29 overs & the ball is useless. The selection is flawed & is based on what Australia had declared yesterday with the inclusion of a debut all rounder.What do Finn or Tremlett have to get a go ?

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (August 21, 2013, 12:22 GMT)

Ominous; in the return leg of Ashes Rogers, Warner, Watson and Clarke are going to massacre English bowling; 500 in every test match.

Posted by PrasPunter on (August 21, 2013, 12:17 GMT)

One good innings and 10 poor ones - thats Warner for you.

Posted by disco_bob on (August 21, 2013, 12:14 GMT)

Cook wanted to go for the kill, yet they bring in two debutantes. Perhaps a touch of arrogance? Early days yet but at least we won the toss finally. As long as the opposition serve up easy targets I guess we should keep Watto in the team but I don't think we can rely on such generosity. It's a real pity that Hughes is not playing in this match.

Posted by crockit on (August 21, 2013, 12:07 GMT)

5 bowlers here! England's hand has been forced a bit by injuries to in form quicks (Onions, Bresnan) and they were perhaps disappointed by Bairstow's return so picked Woakes. I wish both Woakes and Kerrigan well and hope things improve for them. However, this morning's session shows the fallacy of those who would make playing 5 bowlers an article of faith. Test cricket is a tough business and even a weak batting side such as Australia are can sniff out weaknesses in the bowling. The key is thus always to have 4 quality bowlers. If you have only 3 you will not cover for the weakness of a 4th by playing a potentially even weaker 5th. The only situations in which I would play 5 were 1.where they were all quality and had diverse attributes and enough batting skill between them. 2.where the 5th is basically also one of the best 6 batters available

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

Kerrigan and woakes; neither is Test standard Tremlett should have played on his home ground

Posted by ArthursAshes on (August 21, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

A big test now for Cook as captain.

Woakes so far largely ineffective as first change, Kerrigan shellshocked after Watson's blitz, England are basically down to a 3 man attack. Given that Cook didn't trust Finn after he got hit around a bit and he'd played 23 Tests, what will he do with Kerrigan? Somehow the captain needs to nurse these two as it's clear that the Aussies, quite rightly, want to get after them. Could be a long hard graft for Anderson, Broad and Swann from here.

Posted by EnglishCricket on (August 21, 2013, 12:03 GMT)

Still the Oval pitch flat as a pancake. Good for the batsman of course.

Posted by kiwicricketnut on (August 21, 2013, 11:59 GMT)

All the good english players of spin must be in the test team, because the guys in county cricket are making guys like kerrigan look good and even get a test call up, he is bowling straight up pies, i must be right because even a guy as woefull as jeetan patel gets good results in county cricket and every nz fan knows how bad he is, lucky you have 6-7 batters who play spin well, the rest might be a bit of a worry.

Posted by humdrum on (August 21, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

All those gunning for Watto--- a swallow does not a summer make,but at the moment he has got the measure of the pommies--and,oh,by the way,andy(the coach) and andy(the bowler) appear clueless as always.Oh dear me!

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (August 21, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

Watson scoring at a run a ball, smashing it everywhere on a flat track. But why are there cries from the English bowlers " Please, Cookie, give the ball to me!" ? Because it is 5 minutes before the break, and it is time for yet another Watson brain implosion.

Posted by lankymanky on (August 21, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

no honeymoon start for Kegs, he's much better than that first over and im sure it was a case of nerves, plus Watson looks like he is seeing it like a beach ball now. Hope he can find his groove and deliver for England.

Posted by Haiphong on (August 21, 2013, 11:33 GMT)

Dear Headbandenator, thank you for the grammar lesson and, yes, you are right...as i am! Warner, in my opinion, is not good enough to play Test cricket. He may, however, be provided with further opportunities in ODI or T20 but not test matches any more. Khawaja, unfortunately, while having the technique, has also not capitalized on the few and far in-between opportunities he has been provided with so the verdict is still out on him. Point being that Warner and Hughes appear to have been given preferential treatment over the likes of Khawaja.

Posted by Jadejafan on (August 21, 2013, 11:29 GMT)

lol Woakes. I fee bad for Tremlett. One of the top fast bowlers in the country but always gets overlooked and hasn't played many tests. England have only themselves to blame if they cannot climb back to number 2 come the end of this test match.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (August 21, 2013, 11:26 GMT)

After the early setback the Aussies are settling in nicely. A solid early performance - things are looking good.

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

I tihnk I spoke too soon about woakes, hopefully Anderson/Broad will have a chat with him between overs/deliveries or at lunch.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (August 21, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

Woakes seems to be bowling in the mid 80's (mph), so he looks good.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

How long have we armchair critics been saying to bat Prior at six and play five bowlers - whether four seamers or two spinners ? BUT, as Sir Geoff says, the all rounder should be a bowler first .. admittedly Bresnan unavailable but Broad and Swan could surely bat at 7 .. Hopefully Woakes will silence any doubts .. Good Luck to him and Kerrigan ..

Posted by brusselslion on (August 21, 2013, 10:46 GMT)

A- to the selectors. Good to see Woakes given a chance. Would have liked to have seen Jimmy rested and Tremlett in but I guess that was a step too far. With 2 spinners, it's a shame that we didn't win the toss and bat.

Posted by Headbandenator on (August 21, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

Dear Haiphong, I have repeated the statement after you a few times, just to see if it made sense, but it doesn't. Warner is a test player because he has played at least one test match. I suspect what you meant to say was, "I do not think Warner is a good enough player to be playing for Australia", (preferably adding in a clause saying why) "and perhaps Khawaja should be playing in his place.."

Posted by Haiphong on (August 21, 2013, 10:34 GMT)

Repeat after me - Warner is NOT a test player. He is NOT! And don't look for Hughes either. Khawaja dropped - yet again - after a brief run while these 2 characters get opportunities time and again!!!

Posted by Harlequin. on (August 21, 2013, 10:11 GMT)

Well well well! That is an interesting one, and one I am definitely in favour of. Its always nice to see two spinners playing, and Woakes in at 6 is a good move. His batting is at least on par with Bairstow, and if he can chip in with a few tidy overs and perhaps a wicket or two then all the better. Having him at 6 takes a bit more pressure off his bowling than in the ODI's, so hopefully we could see the real Woakes in this match.

Posted by ArthursAshes on (August 21, 2013, 10:09 GMT)

Actually a big gamble by England.

Woakes, is he really a Test first change pace bowler? We will see what his pace is like today. It will also be amazing if he bats 6 although it looks like Prior has been promoted.

Two spinners but Australia winning the toss may have nullified the effect, England won't be bowling last unless they follow on! No Tremlett when a run out on his home ground might have been useful to see whether he's back. Onions couldn't get a game on his home wicket either.

If England wanted a 5 man attack I'd rather have gone Anderson, Broad, Tremlett/Finn, Woakes and Swann. Kerrigan could be surplus to requirements if Australia bat well first up.

Australia should be feeling happier at facing this attack batting first because they must fancy batting against Woakes first change.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2013, 10:01 GMT)

Woakes! crazy selection. My mum could bowl better than him. Surely tremlett should have played

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 21, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

I'm very surprised, although not necessarily disappointed, by this England XI. I do believe that England are trying to win the game but I'm not convinced that they would have selected the same team if the Ashes were still up for grabs. They'll be disappointed to have lost the toss, thus losing some of the advantage of having two spinners. Just having those two spinners in the team together in England is a shock, but I think that they're very keen to get a proper look at Kerrigan before picking the squad to tour Australia. As for Woakes, I didn't expect to see him play as a third seamer, although it's slightly different with a second spinner in the team too. I would expect Australia to be keen to get on top of both of them early, so we could see some fireworks. Bairstow will go to Australia but if Woakes does well here then he may be the preferred #6 or #7 come the Brisbane Test.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (August 21, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

Its good to see England looking at a couple of younger players, Woakes has been around the edges for sometime now and I hope he takes his chance in this test.

Kerrigan, has had a very good couple of seasons at Lancs, and a good overall FC record, plus it must be in the selectors mind that Swann isnt getting any younger and with Monty blowing a gasket Introducing Kerrigan in a dead rubber is a good idea.

England have nothing to lose and everything to gain with this.

All the best to Woakes and Kerrigan.

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David HoppsClose
David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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