England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 2nd day

Smith achieves his moment, England miss theirs

The Report by David Hopps

August 22, 2013

Comments: 135 | Text size: A | A

England 32 for 0 (Cook 17*, Root 13*) trail Australia 492 for 9 dec (Watson 176, Smith 138*, Anderson 4-95) by 460 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Steven Smith was delighted to reach his first Test hundred, England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 2nd day, August 22, 2013
Steve Smith went to a maiden Test century as Australia took control of the match © Getty Images
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It is not often that striking Jonathan Trott for six has been portrayed as a career-defining moment, but that will understandably be Australia's ambitions for Steven Smith after he completed a maiden Test hundred to quell England hopes of an unprecedented 4-0 victory in the Investec Ashes series.

This series has long fallen to England but Australia could yet cobble together a reasonably cogent argument that they are finishing the stronger and, with another five Tests in store in the Great Brown Land to come, Smith's unbeaten 138 - extended from 66 overnight - will support their contention that they can be competitive in the return.

As for this final Test of the series, England could draw comfort from the fact that Alastair Cook and Joe Root survived 17.3 overs before bad light clipped a few minutes from the second day. They will hope that their decision to field two spinners for the first time in a home Test for four years will be justified by the end of the match but, after conceding nearly 500 and with an unsettled forecast for Saturday, the odds are not in their favour.

To discover Trott trundling in as a bit-part bowler in England's attack was no bad thing for Smith with a first Test hundred in the offing. Trott had only four Test wickets to his name and Smith allowed himself an over of reconnaissance before asking Brad Haddin, his batting partner: "Do you think I could hit him over the top?" Keep a clear mind, Haddin advised and Smith did just that.

His response to the first ball of Trott's second over, a graceful loft over long-on for six, might have been the final genial blow in a practice session, a gentle mickey-take of a team-mate. Instead, as his delighted expression showed, it was further proof of a potential breakthrough.

Smith had been overshadowed by Shane Watson on the opening day. Conditions were more exacting as he resumed his innings but he reined in the most adventurous elements of his game, surviving against a ball that regularly nibbled around off the seam. His occasional full-blooded moments were well judged, which has not always been the case. When the mood takes him, he does not lack for courage.

England will sense that they wasted a good bowling opportunity. When play finally began at 2.30pm - morning drizzle having delayed the start by three-and-a-half hours - the skies remained heavy, the pitch had a darker tinge and there was more encouragement for the seam bowlers than there had been on the opening day when Australia moved blissfully to 307 for 4.

Smith's mind attuned to a more taxing task but, understandably, the same could not be said for the nightwatchman Peter Siddle, who was picked off in Anderson's third over of the day when he tried to whip the ball through midwicket and was bowled by a late outswinger.

A year ago at The Oval, England were 250 for 2 before conditions changed, South Africa hurried them out for 385 and Hashim Amla's triple century went on to ensure that England lost by an innings. With Australia five down for 320, England must have sensed their opportunity.

But England were unable to make the same impact. Anderson and Broad bowled without much luck and Chris Woakes, although he exerted reasonable control, again made little impression as a third seamer. If he had been adequate at best on the first day, he would have hoped for better in more favourable, oft-times gloomy conditions, but he carried little menace.

When Haddin on-drove him into a puddle on the boundary edge, it did not enhance England's mood. If they asked for the ball to be changed once, they must have asked a thousand times.

England also wasted a review with Haddin on 15, Matt Prior persuading Cook to turn to the DRS for an imagined leg-side glance in which the bowler, Anderson, had no interest. The ball missed the bat by a distance, underlining the feeling that England, who began the series as superior in their use of the DRS to Australia, now possess the same confusion.

By the time Smith's century arrived, followed shortly afterwards by tea, the skies were clearing and batting conditions had erased. Smith had achieved his moment; England had missed theirs. But Trott underlined that he is not quite as harmless as he appears. Four balls after Smith experienced the most fulfilling moment of his career, Haddin departed, trying to manufacture a chop behind square on the off side but deflecting the ball on to his stumps.

With 36 overs remaining at tea, and a 7.30pm finish on the horizon, Australia's main consideration was whether to have a bowl at England at the tail end of the day.

They declared with 75 minutes left after a satisfying post-tea thrash brought a further 95 runs in 13 overs. England, whose professionalism knew no shame, dawdled through only 11 overs in the first hour, three by the offspinner Graeme Swann, retreating into obsessive ball drying and continued requests to change the ball rather than actually caring much about propelling it in front of a capacity Oval crowd.

James Faulkner, a debutant allrounder who has made his name in one-day cricket, was well suited to instructions to make quick runs after tea. Three boundaries off Broad in four balls, the best of them a forearm smash over cover, gave him some fun before Woakes, in his 23rd over, took his first Test wicket when Faulkner's top-edged pull was neatly taken on the run by Trott at deep square leg.

Thirty-two overs had passed, and Australia had added 137 runs, before England introduced spin. Unsurprisingly, it was Graeme Swann, not Simon Kerrigan, whose method deserted him under Watson's onslaught on the first day. Swann needed only two balls to strike, tossing one up and defeating Mitchell Starc's lusty swing by a distance. Anderson ended a vigorous contribution from Ryan Harris with an excellent high catch off his own bowling.

As Australia hit their way towards a declaration, England eschewed the option of turning to Kerrigan. An ambitious captain would have risked another mauling to give Kerrigan his first Test wicket. A conservative captain would have protected him for another day. Cook, to no great surprise, took the path of minimal risk.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 24, 2013, 8:23 GMT)

@Bonehead_maz on (August 23, 2013, 9:28 GMT) Eng are inconsistent. They proved both how good they can be and how bad they can be within 6 months or so vs India and then Pakistan.

@ReverseSweepIndia on (August 23, 2013, 8:01 GMT) Agree re Eng winning in India had little to do with Cook's on field captaincy , however we did go a test down by a heavy margin so Cook must take some credit for the teams comeback and for reintegrating KP into the side. Yes , you may well beat us now but isn't it a coincidence that India seem to be in transition whenever Eng beat them?

@ Jono Makim on (August 23, 2013, 9:03 GMT) I answered your query on the "Watson Lifts Australia.." thread but it was not published 1st time for some reason but it is now

Posted by Shaggy076 on (August 23, 2013, 13:35 GMT)

Jesse Xu, I'm guessing you haven't played cricket, school kids are notoriously slow as they lack focus, have no idea how to set a field and bowl a lot of wides. Senior amateurs average between 18 and 20 overs an hour. To go to 12 you lose 90 overs in a test a full days play. 15 should be easy but too much running out drinks, captains having conferances with bowling and posturing at umpiring. The over rate has been the biggest issue in cricket by so many countries for around 3 years no. England have been deplorable in that respect this series.

Posted by mikkkk on (August 23, 2013, 12:59 GMT)

I would have thought Aus would have been more up for a consolation win but their negative containing bowling is making very little impression. Perhaps they are happy with a draw.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 12:56 GMT)

people say time wasting when you cant hit 15overs/hr but even without DRS my school team finds it hard to reach 15 overs/hr.... and we sprint between overs... i think sometimes too much slack is given and a 12overs minimum per hour over rate is more sustainable and only under that should you be penalised

Posted by SirViv1973 on (August 23, 2013, 11:17 GMT)

I wish Aus fans would stop going on about Cummins. He had 1 good test match 2 years ago & has barely managed a FC game since. There is a very real chance the guy will not play another test match due to his long standing injury problems. He has played very little FC cricket & if he does ever regain full fitness he will need to go back & learn his trade at that level.

Posted by TMSFan on (August 23, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

England's time wasting is disappointing given that they are 3-0 up. They are not the only ones but I am sure this type of gamesmanship is one reason why Test match audiences generally are dwindling.

Penalise the bowling team for timewasting by making them bowl say 13 overs per hour played. After each hour; any overs under that should be added immediately to the score as 10 extras per over not bowled.

Either that simple approach; or with a game capable of inventing and using Duckworth Lewis for limited over games, a more complex arrangement could be made for Test matches. This would need to take into account wickets, DRS reviews, times the batsmen wasted time etc.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 10:59 GMT)

Some say that England and Australia are much more equally matched, and that the games have been much closer, than the results suggest. I say that every time the Aussies have looked like getting anywhere, England have simply moved up a gear and someone has pulled a personal performance out of the bag that has regained momentum. They have won the Ashes while coasting.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 10:58 GMT)

negative play like this is why T20 is becoming the preferred format. Teams should be playing to win every game. The fact that England have already won the series and would still prefer to play for the draw makes for a poor example of what is otherwise an exciting format

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 23, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

@ jb6733, who believes that "there are no great sides in world cricket at the moment." Just because the Ashes is the playoff for the #3 spot does not mean every other team is rubbish. Have some respect for South Africa, who beat Eng & Aus - both at home - and lead the rankings by a country mile or 3. When the Ashes sinks to club cricket level, the rest of the world does not suddenly start playing rubbish cricket. Only Swann could make it into the Proteas, as they lack a top class spinner, and Bell on form could perhaps muscle his way in.

The Ashes is about cricket, but cricket is not about the Ashes.

Posted by pat_one_back on (August 23, 2013, 10:18 GMT)

England's bare cupboard on display for all to see this test, there really is nothing of note behind Andersen Swann & Bell, so many weak players surviving on the back of two poorly timed sessions of Aust batting madness. This 'sub-continental' leg of the ashes has on the whole been decided on coin tosses much like the real deal, pitch doctoring is how India beat Aust, it's a shame Eng feel so threatened to stoop to this level, India at least have climate & more than 1 test class spinner!

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 23, 2013, 10:10 GMT)

@ ReverseSweepIndia. I'm not English. Do not presume that because I object to unsubstantiated - please note, unsubstantiated - accusations, I am English. I objected to the comment, not the commenter, or his/her national identity. My comment was devoid of nationalistic bravado, and stated only fact. From that, you should presume only that I object to unsubstantiated accusations, and nothing more.

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 23, 2013, 10:00 GMT)


As for England, if we're to have any hope in Australia we need Cook and Trott both to convert starts better than they have in this series. I would still move Root down to 6, personally, but I doubt the selectors will. It's not like we're lacking for options in terms of openers either; Compton's had another solid County season and I think he was harshly dropped (dropping a player after one bad series smacked of the bad old days of England selection), Chopra's been consistently churning out runs for the last 3 years, Carberry's First Class form has dipped in recent years but he's got runs galore in his career, and then there's the possibility of Robson, though I suspect he may be considering choosing Australia thanks to the new rules allowing him to play Shield cricket. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

We need Finn firing, and Bresnan and Tremlett fit. The latter two, especially, were crucial components in 2010/11 and I'd expect them to be again, if they're fit.

Posted by handyandy on (August 23, 2013, 9:49 GMT)

England could well find themselves being tested under Australian conditions.

Posted by 5wombats on (August 23, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

@JG2704 (August 23, 2013, 8:08 GMT). Hey mate! Maybe I could have/should have been on a few cases - but I have been out of coverage for extended periods in this vast country, and as well as that - I just haven't had the time. I agree that this version of 5-1-5 doesn't look right. I don't think England currently has the resources to make your preferred set up work; we just don't have a Flintoff-like player on hand. Having said that - Woakes is a fiesty guy, and if we don't give him a go in a dead rubber match like this to show what he's got - then we will never know. Who's to say that he might not come good? Freddie had a pretty average start to his Test career. I'm looking forward to seeing how Woakes will bat, as I do think that's his strength. Regarding this game - Don't forget Adelaide 2006 - England scored 6/551d, had a lead of 38 and still lost..... All England have to do at the Oval is get to parity and it will be very interesting.....

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 9:36 GMT)

@thebeardedblunder, I have to agree with you completely. I am an Aussie fan, and it amazes me how the umpires seem to turn a blind eye to this blatant time wasting. Cooke will of course persist with this practice while the umpires continue to do so.

Posted by WAKE_UP_CALL on (August 23, 2013, 9:35 GMT)

@ Greatest_Game .This parroting about doctored pitches amounts to the hypocrisy that one keeps on revealing every now and again.Have you checked England pitches lately esp oval which by the way was called 'Mumbai' by Michael Holding.What about Mike Atherton words to shane warne in current test match talking about gabba brisbane being lively until shane warne came in the picture.Every team does that according to its resources however india can never have swinging conditions due to its geographical climate and has remained true since the time we played cricket.What does doctored pitches say about your bowling attack which calls it best in its home conditions but everyone saw in sri lanka what happened. Respect the versatility of this great game of cricket which makes it interesting and don't expose the lack of knowledge of this great game.And for @SherjilIslam comment was being true about cook's captainship .

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 23, 2013, 9:34 GMT)

@Jono Makim on (August 23, 2013, 7:25 GMT), I can't claim to be an expert on the rules regarding low over rates and am going by what I think I remember having heard but, because the Old Trafford Test was cut short by rain I believe that no over rate penalties can be applied. I could be wrong about that though.

Posted by applethief on (August 23, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

Wasn't the real story here the appalling over rate bowled by England? @5Wombats I noticed England sweating plenty at Trent Bridge. And getting their perspiration masked by the rain which saved the at Old Trafford. I'm I'm sure at least a couple of fielders worked up a decent sweat running to fetch the ball from the boundary during Watson's innings

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

All these posts re Englands negative play in India doesnt remove from the fact that England won the series. The old adages of you can only beat the team the thats put in front of you and good teams will still win when playing badly have never rung more true in either this or tje India series. I agree largely with the comments that its frustrating to watch a team shut up shop so early in a Test and it prehaps reflects the mood and confidence in the dressing room. it therefore falls to the opposition to do something about it and bowl them out - Dont whine when your team cant manage it. Definitely a mistake to blood two debutantes in an under performing team. Surely unless theyre (under performers) fatigued, you want those guys out there trying to regain form?

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 23, 2013, 9:30 GMT)

@SherjilIslam on (August 23, 2013, 7:39 GMT), I agree that the pitches in India for the England series weren't doctored. Lots of people like to throw around that term but it's just an excuse. I don't agree with leaving loads of green grass on a pitch or taking all the grass off an playing on bare dirt but anything in between is legitimate pitch preparation. That said, one thing I definitely don't agree with is the selective watering used in India during the Australian series. To me, that is doctoring. It's obviously not cheating because it's within the rules but, as far as I'm concerned, the entire pitch should be prepared in the same way.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (August 23, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

@ JG2704 Fair call your English team has been better. Please allow we Aussie fans along with any serious cricket fan noticing there's some cracks in even "Fortress England" Please also allow us to marvel at the typical English (just like typical Indian) pitches we've played on :). I'm sure it's been fun for our players !

Just like 1956, this signals desperate clawing at the end of a dominant period ?

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 23, 2013, 9:27 GMT)

@Posted by milepost on (August 23, 2013, 7:55 GMT) I would definitely expect this Aussie side to be much better at home. The edge between the teams has been the greater experience of the England players, but in front of home crowds I could see the "12th man" effect helping some of your younger players to overcome pressure situations better, negating some of the experience advantage England have.

I said before the series that I thought the sides were evenly matched and that only experience might give England a slight edge, maybe just enough to win the series. I thought winning the series was beyond Australia, but drawing it certainly wasn't.

Harris at his best is up there with Steyn, while Siddle's massively underrated. I'm a big Clarke fan, have been since I first saw him, and I think he's second only to Amla right now as the best in the world. Smith and Warner I rated before the series; the talent was clearly there, it was only ever a question of discipline.


Posted by bobmartin on (August 23, 2013, 9:19 GMT)

Well done England.... We've proved we can handle Rogers, Warner, Clarke and Haddin, who were certs for selection down under, and now that we've made sure that Smith and Watson will hold on to their places... we've got the Aussie batting line-up we wanted.. Excellent thinking by Flower and his team...

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 9:09 GMT)

3-0 that's the score England 3 Australia 0 just thought I'd say as there seems to be some confusion that's 3-0

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

@JG2704, so who would be in your 5 man attack? Seems to me that you almost want 5 bowlers with Bres and Broad at 7 & 8?

Agree, that the umpires and match ref need to be the ones moving the game along. Aleem Dar with all of his experience seems particularly lax. The only time the umpires have moved quickly in this match is to get the players off for bad light.

Posted by WAKE_UP_CALL on (August 23, 2013, 8:53 GMT)

@ Greatest_NO IDEA OF GAME _Game.When will you guys have life.I hope the thrashing you got from the team which we eat for our lunch had still not got out of it.However being a true unbiased cricket fan i still back south africa as no.1 team in tests but it wont stop me from telling you that South African pitches have their own characteristics which are not similar to English pitches and for that matter to Australian and west indies.have you heard a word called geography and climate.Please go through it.In India you will always get dry pitches because of hot weather while England will produce swinging conditions because of overcast conditions.but the day is not far by looking at your bench strength that you will go down worse than Aussies.a team dependent heavily on steyn and kallis is no team at all...dont bring philander who will needs juicy pitches such as baby food.everyone is saying that conditions will change from now India A tour to when india will tour in nov .what do you say ?

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 8:47 GMT)

feeling happy for the superman smith!!future captain...way to go

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 8:36 GMT)

Great knock from steve smith ! the most underrated cricketer in aussie team. To me he's the steve waugh mould cricketer, who believes in fighting & never giving it up. Slowly he's moved from t20 to test cricket & i would'nt be surprised if he would bcom the skipper given the shrewd cricket brain he's got .

Posted by JG2704 on (August 23, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

@Custom Kid - Agree re slow over rate but it is the umpires who need to make sure the game moves forward. Eng are getting away with what they're being allowed to get away with and I'm sure many captains would do likewise in Cook's situation (to get the best result they can) where Aus are so on top that only 2 results look possible

Posted by JG2704 on (August 23, 2013, 8:08 GMT)

@Liquefierrrr on (August 22, 2013, 23:21 GMT) You must think very highly of Broad as a batsman if that nick won Eng the game? If he was as bad as you make out , that nick would not matter a jot. Deservedly or undeservedly , Eng are 3-0 up so this pathetic.one dimensional,horrible team must be doing something right

Posted by JG2704 on (August 23, 2013, 8:08 GMT)

@jb633 on (August 22, 2013, 22:30 GMT) You called me out bud? I'm not AS worried about our bowling stocks but there is a concern. In this game we have 3 regulars and 2 debutants. Jimmy - who many of us thought should be rested has bowled really well. I'll also reserve judgment on the others until after I've seen Eng bat. Even Woakes produced some jaffas early on (amongst the half volleys etc) and also Woakes does not seem to be bowling so much for Warwicks this season anyway. 2 spinners looks like an error on this pitch and while I love 5/1/5 I'd say to try 5/1/5 when your all rounder is in better form and when the 6/1/4 isn't working. Long term (as posted elsewhere) I worry most about replacing Swann

Posted by JG2704 on (August 23, 2013, 8:08 GMT)

@5wombats on (August 23, 2013, 0:54 GMT) Hello - I'm surprised you haven't been on a few cases recently. Anyway , as you know I've always been a 5/1/5 man but reckon they still got the 5 wrong and I also question the timing. Re timing , I'd have liked Eng to have tried this in UAE or vs SA when Woakes was performing better and when our number 6 batsman (or few batsmen) weren't performing. But right now - while I still like 5/1/5 - JB (while not cementing the number 6 spot) for me was showing good signs and for me it goes totally against Eng giving players a run - which on this occasion has worked superbly with Bell. So even if they were to try the 5 man bowling attack

1 - 2 spinners looks wrong for this pitch at this stage so would have gone SF/CT 2 - I'd have rested Matt and kept Jonny in there to keep his momentum going

Posted by JG2704 on (August 23, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

@milepost on (August 22, 2013, 21:35 GMT) So if Eng ARE playing at their full potential , you'd be happy to also say that luck,DRS etc are not reasons why Eng are deservedly 3-0 up?

@TheBigBooer on (August 22, 2013, 23:36 GMT) I'll tell you what , why don't we have an agreement that none of our fans talk about Eng not playing to their potential and none of the Aus fans whinge about DRS,luck etc? I'm guessing this only works one way though?

Posted by DylanBrah on (August 23, 2013, 8:05 GMT)

Graeme Swann should be England's captain.

Posted by whofriggincares on (August 23, 2013, 8:02 GMT)

@FFL I am going to go against the current climate and respond to your meaningless post. Notice hardly anyone is biting at your drivel anymore? James Anderson is a fine bowler but Ryan Harris has out bowled him in this series. You rant on and on about the lad but do you seriously think at the end of his career he will be talked about in the same sentence as McGrath, Lillee, Holding, Marshall, Garner, Ambrose, Walsh, Akram, I Khan, Younis, Donald, Steyn or Hadlee? As effective has he has been over the last 4 or 5 years unfortunately being the owner of a 30 plus average excludes you from the great tag. In fact many would argue 25 plus would rule you out.

Posted by ReverseSweepIndia on (August 23, 2013, 8:01 GMT)

@Greatest_Game and others! Cook indeed was poor, negative and conservative even in India. He won 2-1, not due to his captaincy but because we were so poor and were having way too many passengers in team. I am not takingaway anything from Eng team which were better but not only we were poor, Dhoni as good he is in ODIs/T20, was equally or even more poor in tests. Removing those passengers we have not become world beaters but sure more competitive and I bet, if Eng has to visit this year again you sure will get beaten more because of a poor & negative captain.

Posted by Biggus on (August 23, 2013, 7:56 GMT)

@fictitious123:-We'll be back mate. You can't be on top all the time and it will take some time before we're firing on all cylinders again but when we do we'll play like we always have:-Hard attacking cricket with the focus ALWAYS on going for the win. We don't recognise any other approach as valid. Once we're back on top everyone can get back to hating as and the world will be as it should (lol).

Posted by milepost on (August 23, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 23, 2013, 1:29 GMT) I agree, yep it is 3-0, there's no shaking that and again, hats off to England. But as I said and you highlight it is all about performances and there have been good ones on each side so we can expect the improving Aussies to be good opposition at home. Potential means nothing. @Front-Foot-Lunge, no test match is one any team doesn't want to win. Both teams desperately want to win this match so the notion that it is a meaningless match is fantasy.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (August 23, 2013, 7:39 GMT)

@Greatest_Game on (August 23, 2013, 7:09 GMT): "Beating India, at home, on their specially doctored rank turners, is an extremely positive outcome" I am still not sure why some of you people are not ready to accept the fact that every country has it's own nature of pitches.There's nothing like doctored pitches in any part of the world. The WACA is a pacy and bouncy pitch, the world knows about this fact, so in a same way Chepauk(Chennai) and Wankhede(Mumbai) are a traditionally spin assisting surfaces. Get a life mate and move on.... And as far as my comment regarding negative captaincy of cook is concerned, it is much to do with his tactics in Nagpur test. And he should thank KP for turning it around for England, else the series could have ended on the expected lines of India beating England.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (August 23, 2013, 7:37 GMT)

What a brilliant day to bowl on that rope twine death of a pitch. Suddenly it comes to life and England manage to take a wicket in a session. Nice :) !

Although I appreciate the comments of Landl47, H_Z_O etc as being well balanced, this English side is surely just two injuries away from oblivion? (even against worst even Australian side)

One thing we Aussies can be sure of.... no JP Duminy's or Faf's to steal/save a test in England's backups :)

Posted by Bodders70 on (August 23, 2013, 7:35 GMT)

Jared, what I said was series stats were meaningless. What I meant by that is comments like 'Australia were the better team because they scored more hundreds'. Not if most of those came in a single test they dominated but still failed to win they weren't. This test skews the 'number of hundreds' figure is my point. Yet, people still do it. Australia have most of the top run scorers is the current favourite before one side has even batted in this test!! Even worse, an article yesterday said 'take out Lords and Australia have scored more'. So, take out the one game when they were heavily outscored but leave in Old Trafford where they did most of the scoring and had two innings to the other teams one-and-a-bit. Now, granted a second England innings could've been over very quickly but it could also have been very long with strike rates of 10-20 leading to a draw. That sort of innings gets no 'credit' in series stats but is important. The better team wins the series, full stop.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 23, 2013, 7:33 GMT)

@ R_U_4_REAL_NICK. Could not agree with you more about Cook not turning to his part timers. As you stated, "Partnership breaking is important in cricket - it doesn't have to be a frontline bowler that does that all the time!" People wonder why Kallis still takes wickets. The answer is simple. Because he gets given the ball, and bowls! And because he bowls, he practices his bowling. He thinks of himself as a bowler. Cook should have Root & KP & Trott bowling in the nets regularly, thinking like bowlers.

Against SA last year, which English bowler had, by far, the best figures? It was that part-timer, KP Pietersen - ave 22.75, SR 28.5. A touch better than Swann's ave 77, SR 185. Or Bresnan's ave 139, SR 219. Yes the figs are correct, as published by cricinfo. Final irony, Swann bowled 147.4 overs, & took 4 wickets. Pietersen bowled 19 overs, and took 4 wickets. And Pietersen had better figures: innings, 3/52, and match, 4/78. Swann, 2/63 and 4/157.

Talk nah, part timer!

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 7:25 GMT)

@jmc, so why no fines at the end of the OT test? Englands over rate of 13.23 per hour and Aus's of 13.85 are clearly less than required. England took 176 mins to bowl 36 overs in Aus's second innings, barely scraping in at 12 an over. Surely this calls for some sort of reprimand.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (August 23, 2013, 7:25 GMT)

This game is far from over but i predict Eng will settle for a draw. Remember even a draw has to be EARNED. If weather stays out and Australia wins, fair enough. But If Eng manages a draw(again with out whether interruption) then i would say Aus are losers. No matter how close they were in this series they will be remembered for not winning a single game in Ashes(And when was the last time Aussies did that? #curious).@TheBigBoodha In Gilchrist's own words 'close enough is not good enough'

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

Trying out young ones from the county circuit, is a good idea in principle.

But, every Tom, Dick & Harry can't take 'Roots' in test cricket, that easily. Though a "Joe" seems to be doing it, reasonably well.

When England have many in the pace Dept to substitute an injured Finn or Bresnon, for "Christ's" sake England 'Woakes' up to a rookie who proved mainly in the 2nd Dvn! Wow! The only consolation is that they did not immediately turn back to "Dernback". Had it been an ODI, they might have! (OR, do the selectors presume that Oz team is like a 2nd Dvn County Team?)

In my school days, we used to play a game of "Simon says....". But even if a Simon, Kerri a Gun,and get the selectors' attention, they don't have to prematurely pitch-fork him into the test XI. May be, they want to feel the pinch of such decisions, personally. Experience is the best teacher, no?

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 23, 2013, 7:09 GMT)

@ SherjilIslam thinks that "Cook is always a negative captain, that has been proved in his India tour."

Seems like he got a very positive result. Beating India, at home, on their specially doctored rank turners, is an extremely positive outcome. That is what was proved in India!

Posted by WAKE_UP_CALL on (August 23, 2013, 7:05 GMT)

@biggus every word of your make sense mate.This England team has no fans around the cricket world like the great west indies of 80's,Aussies of 95 to 2005 and lately of south africans. When you have players like broad who even English doesn't like and then batsman like cook who according to swann is very boring and the captain who always looks lost of options and waits for Andy flower for the instructions and last but not the least the playing for draw shows utter cowardliness.

Posted by anuradha_d on (August 23, 2013, 6:59 GMT)

are there no fines for slow over rates these days`?

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 6:56 GMT)

If England score 650 and spin Australia out for less than 150 to win the match then all of the drivel written before this must yield to my superior knowledge, Four Centuries later! Mark my words......

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (August 23, 2013, 6:35 GMT)

So funny to see some posters get all worked up over the deadest of dead rubbers. There are obviously a few who bear England a grudge: After all, England went to India and thrashed them in every department. Cook out captained Dhoni. James Anderson (unsurprisingly) was hailed as "The difference between the sides". Now England are back to their old ways of beating Australia, playing a remarkable two d├ębutantes still barely registers on paper when the scoreline reads 3-0. I have loved this Ashes series.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 23, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

@SherjilIslam on (August 23, 2013, 5:50 GMT), yep, that was such a negative 2-1 series victory for England in India.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 6:25 GMT)

@Landl47, not really sure how you work out that the match was even for the day? Cook had half a dozen men on the fence while his bowlers dawdled, conferred, prayed, wandered off the field, complained about the ball, wandered back onto the field, complained about the foot marks and generally made fools of themselves. If I was English I would genuinely be ashamed of Stuart Broad, he is pathetic.

@Capital Markets, Broad, Finn, Tremlett and Rankin at Perth could well be enthraling to say the least!

@Popcorn, what makes you think Smith can do well at 4? His strength is against spin bowling, I don't think he'd do particularly well coming it at 2/50.

@Dunger.Bob, I agree, I would also much rather watch Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies than most other teams because they also have a free spirited attitude.

Posted by fictitious123 on (August 23, 2013, 6:24 GMT)

Its really sad to see Australia being trashed by Eng by a margin of 3-0, but as an indian and a cricket lover i would like to see that Australia again achieve the same position in world cricket which was there few years ago. will love to see again the fighting spirit of Australia.

Posted by thebeardedblunder on (August 23, 2013, 6:19 GMT)

Alistair Cook, how'd you fancy reimbursing my partner and myself a chunk of our ticket price due to the boring, time wasting tactics and slow over rates? That wasn't fair to the loyal fans who had already missed all that earlier play due to the drizzle. After the costs of everything added up to go and watch England play at home, that was shabby treatment indeed meeted out to the spectators by the Captain, who must be held responsible.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 23, 2013, 6:16 GMT)

@TheBigBoodha on (August 23, 2013, 5:00 GMT), the difference is that the career stats of the England players suggest that this series is an aberration for them while the Australians, barring Clarke, have pretty much lived up to their stats. Admittedly, some of the Australians are relatively young and inexperienced so may well improve in time but then so may Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. While you're in a singing mood, why don't you reprise your #1 hit "Australia were just unlucky and they could be winning 3-1" for us?

Posted by SherjilIslam on (August 23, 2013, 5:50 GMT)

Cook is always a negative captain, that has been proved in his India tour.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 23, 2013, 5:49 GMT)

@Bryan Davies on (August 23, 2013, 2:33 GMT), the over-rates are not looked at until the end of the game. If I'm not mistaken, there is never any action taken for low over-rates in a game that has a result. Only if a game is drawn without all the required overs having been bowled is there a case to answer. Maybe that rule needs to change but that's the rule. What that means is that, if England were to succeed in forcing a draw by employing a low over-rate then they would effectively land themselves in trouble. I think that they are more likely just trying to frustrate the batsmen, whom they know like to get on with things.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (August 23, 2013, 5:45 GMT)

@ Chris_P on (August 23, 2013, 1:13 GMT):I used to be a fan of Watson but the way he performed in in first four Ashes test and his selfishness in consuming DRS, has made me realized that he should have been dropped ASAP. It's OK he scored a big century in final test, but do you think he justifies his place in Australian team based on this solo performance considering the no-nonsense Australian way of team selection. Aren't you people going India way....(Shane Watson-3 centuries, more than 45 tests)

Posted by Biggus on (August 23, 2013, 5:31 GMT)

It doesn't take this England team much to put the wagons in a circle and resort to hyper defensive play and time wasting does it? Not the signature trait of a strong, confident and tough team in my opinion. The spirit of Trevor Bailey is alive and well in Captain Cook who's captaincy does neither his team nor the game any favours. Even when this England team is winning they look like losers, timid and fearful. They will never go down in the records as a great team with an attitiude like that. Only the parlous state of our own Australian team has made it possible for the England team to look like winners, but it's a mirage that will fade away to nothing in the face of a team that isn't a complete mess.

Posted by Knightriders_suck on (August 23, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

Slow over rate fines/suspensions are only for subcontinent teams. poms can happily waste as much time as they want.

Posted by whofriggincares on (August 23, 2013, 5:19 GMT)

@sailboatmike, any batsmen worth 20 cents would have made a ton on this track? I suppose you could say the same about the Manchester track for the first 3 days and yet only Clarke and Bell managed tons. The hour after the rain delay was fairly tough batting conditions but only Anderson really made the most of it, Woakes length was all over the shop when he needed to be accurate. I think people are really underestimating the quality of these two attacks, I mean runs can be hard to come by in any conditions when quality bowlers are on their game. As for your close analysis of the aussie innings being a failure because if you take the Smith and Watson innings away they lost 7 for 200, well that is one of the stupider comments I have read on here for a while. What is the best way to compile 492dec , is it 11 batsmen making 44.72 each? as for England winning this test well maybe you are about to make the first wrong prediction of your life (judging by your self appreciating post.) Good luck

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 23, 2013, 5:18 GMT)

@humdrum on (August 23, 2013, 2:51 GMT), slow over rates are one thing but, while I don't think that substitute fielders should be allowed unless there's a genuine injury or illness, there's no grounds to have a go at England specifically on this front because Australia have done the very same thing. Maybe England have done it more often, I don't know, but I have seen a number of instances where a sub comes on for an Australian bowler immediately after a spell. Just like a batsman walking or not walking, that is either within the rules or it's not so either you can do it as much as you like or it should not be allowed at all.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 23, 2013, 5:13 GMT)

@PFEL on (August 23, 2013, 2:28 GMT), a number of England's batsmen have been relatively poor this series but it's not like talking about being in form or out of form is something that England fans have made up this series. Are you saying that Cook was a good batsman before this series but is no longer a good batsman? Do you expect Cook's future output to closely resemble that during this series despite his having almost a 50 average from before this game? Exactly how many games do you have to bat poorly before you are considered a bad batsmen? Is it conveniently the four that have so far been played in this series? Is it just one? Cook demolished Australia last time out there and scored several hundreds in India. Do you contend that he will do poorly in Australia because if this series despite those other two? Poor form is not an excuse for England's batting this series but it is a reason and it won't last indefinitely.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (August 23, 2013, 5:00 GMT)

Let's all sing the song "England have not played to their potential, but Australia have." Now that we have settled on that oft-quoted narrative, we can all get some sleep. But better not tell Starc, Bird, Warner, Khuwaja, Smith, Clarke, Watson etc. that they have all maxed out on their full potential this series. They might get start giggling.

Posted by Srini_Chennai on (August 23, 2013, 4:22 GMT)

It is utter disgrace and shameful that england again resorted to time wasting when things going tough. Their over-rates in Manchester and yesterday was a joke. I'm wondering what ICC will do about it when they're quick to punish Dhoni and Matthews. I didn't even hear any news about imposing fine or any other measures.

Posted by fairdinkum on (August 23, 2013, 3:55 GMT)

The key to this series has been how each side has batted in the 2nd innings. England have been the better, however, winning the toss seems to have been significant. I don't think England are so far ahead of Australia. They have not reached 400 in any innings so far and haven't had to bat on the last day.

Posted by DylanBrah on (August 23, 2013, 3:46 GMT)

Smith's emergence was exactly what Australia needed in this series - a young batsmen to stand up and make his position his own. Now that Rogers is basically locked in to open, Watson at first drop, Smith at no.5 - all we need is a no.6 batsmen. Maddinson should be given the first opportunity to bat no.6 in the return Ashes series.

Posted by cricket_ahan on (August 23, 2013, 3:15 GMT)

@Bodders70 - Agree and I would also add that England, for mine, only seem to have performed at 60-70% of their capacity for most of THIS series. And the times when they have stepped up to their potential, Australia have been blown away - e.g. Anderson in the first test, Broad in the fourth etc. Their top 6 have barely fired, and they still lead the series 3-0. Australian wickets will suit their style of play, especially Cook, and if he gets going watch out! I will say one thing though, Australia are starting to head in the right direction - Smith in particular has exhibited the fighting attitude we are used to from Aussie teams in the past, and hopefully Watson will get more confidence from his recent ton. I still think England are miles ahead though, in terms of player development, experience, capability, management and leadership (leaving aside Michael Clarke).

Posted by humdrum on (August 23, 2013, 2:51 GMT)

It's not only about a poor over rate yesterday,but of that right through this series.On more than one occasion,england have been guilty of time wasting tactics,slow over rates,and the presence of subs on a regular basis as their fast bowlers cool off in the pav.It is not professionalism,but a poor approach towards the game and disdain towards the fans.If substitute runners can be denied to the bating side,why the kid glove treatment to the bowling side?Hope Captain Cook is asked to explain all this in great detail.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 2:44 GMT)

sure England must be punished one day for slow over rate, 11 overs an hour?

Posted by Amith_S on (August 23, 2013, 2:38 GMT)

@pomshaveshortmemories good comments mate, we are forming a good nucleus at the moment, the likes of Smith, Khawaja and Warner will form the core of our batting and Cummins, Starc, Bird and Pattinson our bowling, all we need now is a good leg spinner, perhaps SOK.

Posted by landl47 on (August 23, 2013, 2:38 GMT)

Today was about even, which is bad news for England as Australia was comfortably ahead after day 1. England will also feel that with a longish tail to bowl at, to fail to get Aus out in fairly helpful conditions was not a very convincing effort by a 5 (though today the 5th was Trott) bowler attack. Still, Cook and Root batted the day out; had either of them fallen it would have been Aus's day.

Smith has been inconsistent on this tour, but he's definitely giving signs that he might turn into a good test batsman. Faulkner didn't let Aus down with either bat or ball. Harris looked to be labouring at the end of the day and we'll see how he goes tomorrow.

I'm an England fan, but I have to comment that the time-wasting by England is simply unacceptable. 11 overs in an hour, 3 of them by Swann, is no good for the spectators, the TV viewers or the game. The umpires have the power to do something about it (Law 42) and they MUST start using it. Some hefty fines wouldn't hurt either.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 2:33 GMT)

Can someone please tell me why England still haven't been fined or banned for their over rates? they were under 11 an hour last night, after being at 14.22 for the first day. Minimum over rate is 14.28.

Posted by PFEL on (August 23, 2013, 2:28 GMT)

@Roshan_P, using "out of form" as an excuse just doesn't cut it. You are only as good as you play, and England's batsmen have shown how good they are this series. Not very.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 23, 2013, 2:24 GMT)

This does look a fairly friendly pitch so I think it would be wise to wait until England have batted to talk about Australia coming home the stronger. Australia did out-bat England at Old Trafford but if a couple of Australian batsmen can come good in this game then it shouldn't be a surprise if some of the England batsmen who have under-performed during this series also make big scores. Unlike Watson and Smith, Cook, Trott, KP and Prior have records to be genuinely proud of so to assume that they will go five Tests without having a significant impact (although KP at least already has one genuine score) is a bit hopeful.

Posted by mondotv on (August 23, 2013, 2:22 GMT)

England fans disappointed with selection? What about the poor sods who went to the game endured over 3 hours of rain but did not get the cricket they paid for due to 11 overs an hour with a spinner in the mix. A new low and in rugby league we do call that professional - a professional foul and Alastair Cook deserves to be sin-binned!

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 23, 2013, 1:29 GMT)

@milepost on (August 22, 2013, 17:15 GMT) I don't think it'll be one-sided when we tour Australia, and I don't think this series has been as one-sided as the scoreline.

Other than Lord's, the sides have been fairly evenly matched throughout. It took an extraordinary bowling performance from Anderson at Trent Bridge, rain in the third Test, and Broad at his devastating best at Durham. And even then, Siddle took 5 up at Trent Bridge in the first innings and Harris took 9 in the match at Durham.

The top 5 individual scores in the series are Clarke's 187, Root's 180, Watson's 176, Smith's 138* and Bell and Pietersen tied on 113 (with Rogers close behind on 110).

That said, I don't think it'll be one-sided in favour of Australia either. After the 4-0 whitewash of India, a lot of Indian fans complacently suggested that back home it would be a different story. And it was. We only won 2-1 instead of 4-0.

I'm not saying we'll win in Australia, but it won't be a foregone conclusion either.

Posted by Chris_P on (August 23, 2013, 1:13 GMT)

Reviewing some posts from self appointed "experts" from the original selection, I thought I would share with some amusing "predictions". ..Enjoy.....@Bharat Shah "steve smith is also not a full batsman,(Really, how does that humble pie taste?) @BigINDFan "Drop Watson and Steve Smith" (Wow, this was a HUGE miss!), @kp.india "i still feel a player like callum ferguson wud fit better at no: 5 then steven smith. (Really?)" @ Roshan_P "Steve Smith seems to not have much of a role in the side apart from good fielder" (And you base this on what experience?)@wellrounded87 "Smith's batting technique might look good but his application and concentration are left wanting in a very big way" (Lucky for the Poms he has this concentration & application problem otherwise he would have scored 500. A very well rounded thought process!).

Posted by David_Bofinger on (August 23, 2013, 0:59 GMT)

Australia's looking better, but Australia looked pretty good last test until they suddenly threw it away. Australia's problem is that in most innings most of its top order fail and they have to hope somebody will score big - that's exactly what happened again. Coming into this match Australia looked like a team that can fire but isn't reliable and they still look like that.

The god of weather is definitely English.

Posted by 5wombats on (August 23, 2013, 0:54 GMT)

@maximum6. I'm not so sure.... England have won this Ashes without breaking a sweat, we are 3-0 up. If we aren't going to blood new players now - in a complete dead-rubber game, then when are we going to blood them? No offence intended because I like your posts - but it's no use complaining that this England set up is conservative and risk averse, only to then complain when they try something new. 5-1-5 has never been a favoured approach by Flower and co. It was fairly left field to pick these new guys. Lots of debutants get clattered - I'd rather Kerrigan & Woakes got smacked in a game that doesn't matter, than in a game that did. England would never have played these guys if The Urn was at stake. We all know that.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 0:50 GMT)

Surely 11 overs in an hour is the last straw, England must be fined... If they aren't Ponting should ak for his money back...

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 0:37 GMT)

Not a good sign for England to be so "professional". They are not quite believing in their ruthlessness yet. Which leaves the door open for Australia.

For the very reason that the wicket juiced up after the rain, I am baffled by our tactics. I thought we wanted to win a match, to gain some confidence. We went at barely 3 an over in the session after lunch. We should have thrown the bat for 60 minutes, made 380-400, and then got England in while the wicket was still exciting, taking advantage of the 13 seamers we picked. Now it's flat and we have one just adequate spinner. 5 million runs on the board, and not much chance of winning.

very well done Steven Smith. He should be the new Dr Who!

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 0:34 GMT)

@Roshan_P If I had to chose the number 6 it would be Callum Ferguson. He is a great middle order batsman has played for Australia before got injured (6 months from memory) at the wrong time as there too many people waiting to get in the side. Constantly negotiated spin well, good between the wickets and a great fielder. Also his form in the Australia A side in Feb/March against the lions was good. He is only 28 years old he still has a lot of batting left in him

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (August 23, 2013, 0:34 GMT)

To all other Australian fans - cheer up ! :) Don't write of Hughes or Kawajah - they'll be ok ! :) The only reason they are not playing is we are now in 9th Test match in a row where because we are so bad the opposition has demanded Bunsen pitches - prodigious turn away is a problem for our batsmen. I'm glad Mickey Arthur made it clear how badly cooked the Indian pitches were, and we all have eyes and can see England don't want to play us anywhere it might seam/swing/bounce.

If our side is so bad, why not beat us in the normal conditions the venue has ? In this Test...... have no left handed batsmen, and all England can do is pray for some cloud cover. It's NOT Hughes or Kawajah who have big problems, it's England's need to fuel Swann (and a large percentage of Aust left handed batsmen in this squad encouraging that). Off spinner winning a series in Aus ? ROFL !

Oh well, we have 3 fast bowlers hurt.... England have 2 hurt. That leaves them maybe 4 of any quality and us about 8 !

Posted by dunger.bob on (August 23, 2013, 0:30 GMT)

Once again Australia show they are capable of some good cricket. They just can't seem to do it day in - day out and I reckon that's because they simply aren't good enough to keep forcing the pace as they do. .. not yet at least.

I've often wondered if there is anything to the talk about "the Aussie way" of playing cricket. This series has convinced me there is. .. We, God bless us, play the game like we are millionaires even when our bums are hanging out of our pants. What I mean is we are always push, push, pushing for a result and sometimes, Ok, a lot of the time lately, all that does is cause some sort of spectacular failure. (OT comes to mind).

You know what though, I wouldn't have it any other way. It makes for interesting cricket The "way" isn't working so well but that's not it's fault. You need really good players to follow the path of the way. .. It's like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. A piece here, a piece there. . keep going boys, it'll come together eventually.

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (August 23, 2013, 0:16 GMT)

Given the typical English scoring rate of 2.5 rpo, it will take them 3 days to establish any kind of decent lead - the test will be over by then. We can safely discount any English victory. A draw seems the most likely outcome but the amount of play on offer tomorrow will be important.

Posted by popcorn on (August 23, 2013, 0:15 GMT)

Great News! Two Australian batsmen scored Centuries in this Test, and neither of them is Michael Clarke!At last, we have found the RIGHT successor to Ricky Ponting at Number 3. And Michael Clarke can safely go back to his favourite postion at Number 5 where he has scored his double hundreds and triple hundred, his century on debut away at Bangalore, and the Gabba,knowing that Steve Smith can bat, and bat well at Number 4. With Chris Rogers and Shane Watson as centurions in this Ashes Series, two of the Top 3 in the Engine Room are driving the ship well. And the middle order of Smith, Clarke and Haddin is solid. Our bowling attack has CONSISTENTLY BEEN PUNCHING ABOVE ITS WEIGHT. England will be running scared now. The return Ashes Seriesthis summer is Australia's. The Little Urn is ours! Go, Aussies,go!

Posted by heathrf1974 on (August 23, 2013, 0:14 GMT)

Very pleased for Smith. During this turmoil in Australian cricket he is one of the few young players who has always been professional and put in 100%. I hope he could go onto bigger and better things.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

The early announcement of.Australias weakening batting line up made England arrogant... the selection and dily dalying when things went against them shows they thought this was going to be a walk in the park... Incidents Australia now ave 4 centurians and 4 batsman averaging over 40... there is light!!

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 23:39 GMT)

Really like Smith a positive and exciting cricketer. Glad Australia has persisted and showed faith in him as a talent.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (August 22, 2013, 23:36 GMT)

@Roshan_P, can we please discontinue this tired story of England not playing to their full potential? Do you think Watson, Warner, Starc, Khuuwaja have played to their potential this series? No, they have mostly massively under performed. Individually England have been no better than Australia this series. In fact four of the top five run scores in this series to date are Australian! So much for all these endless stories about how feeble the Australian batting has been. Take out Bell, and England have been considerably worse.

England can thank the fact that they played well in short bursts, had a huge dose of luck here and thereand the weather, conditions and the call at the toss has consistently gone their way. The 3-0 score line is a complete misrepresentation of what has occurred on thefield in this series. At this point I would say 3-2 to England would have been a fair reflection of the series. Weather has again hampered Australia here - could have gotten 600 otherwise.

Posted by Liquefierrrr on (August 22, 2013, 23:35 GMT)

As an Aussie fan it is important to note that I, and hopefully our other fans, are excited by this not because we think 'yes, we can win the Ashes here' (at least per se) but more 'yes, finally someone is doing something to be proud of!'

We are in a heavy rebuilding phase at the moment. In 5 years or so, no less, we'll have a nucleus of players who are still in their 20's with vast amounts of international cricket to their name. Smith is one of those players.

We must stick to this nucleus of players, rain, hail or shine, and give them the opportunities to flourish.

Posted by TomPrice on (August 22, 2013, 23:30 GMT)

Australia have had a better tour than anyone expected.

After all, they did manage to beat Somerset.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (August 22, 2013, 23:25 GMT)

Jim Cleary; I would imagine as Harris was making his way off the field Clarke wanted to know whether he was ready to go or needed to wait 5-10 minutes. Once Harris hit the changerooms indicated he was ready to role then he had to wait a ball to declare.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 23:25 GMT)

@Bodders70 So the Cardiff test was irrelevent to stats in 2009 because it was a test where one side batted well and the other side failed miserably? An interesting argument.

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

I was never a Smith fan but he really won me over on the hiding the Australians received in India. He was probably one guy who broke even on the tour and I'm really happy he has taken his chance albeit a little late in the Ashes. That said he has shown potential to develop further.

As for the English over rate it is a complete disgrace, more so when they have had a spinner bowling long spells. Australia are marginally better but ENG please. Every time they've been under the pump, they slow the over rate down. It shows to me a lot of things but Warne has a point and the over rate shows Cooks lack of intent as a Captain. Sure he's 3-0 up but he's tactically flawed and very negative.

Come the end of the series I hope they throw the book at him and he deserves time on the bench. It won't happen but one thing is for sure, if it was a smaller nation ranked in the bottom half of the world standings, Windies, Pakistanis they would miss games however ENG will be untouchable.

Posted by Liquefierrrr on (August 22, 2013, 23:21 GMT)

Great to watch England squirm and regress to their pathetic 'slow the game down' and 'retreat field' ways. Scratch the surface of this 'tough' English side and they are horrible. They are one-dimensional, lack creativity and are sooks if things don't go to plan.

Good to see my theory that Broad, like Mitchell Johnson, has one good test in every six. All those articles last week about Broad now have much needed perspective.

Kerrigan didn't bowl an over all day, England wasted time and complained about the ball instead of just getting on with it, and will now presumably try and corpse their way through their innings and pray for rain much like the 3rd test.

This has been the worst 'drubbing' in test history. Broad's nick in the first test won them the game, 2nd test they played well, 3rd test were dead in the water and 4th test relied heavily on Bell again. 5th test they got clocked around by the tail and didn't bowl their 'great new spinner'. The worst 'good' side ever.


Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (August 22, 2013, 23:02 GMT)

Good work by England, let australia be competitive in the final game so they wont change the side for brisbane. I wonder if England can do better than last time & get FOUR victories by an innings & 100+ runs.

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

Broad bowled far better than his figures suggest. England missed a trick with selection here, a quality third seamer would have have restricted Aus to a lower total. This is not to take anything from Smith, who was excellent, and I'm glad to see his guts have finally earned a just reward. I was disappointed,but not surprised, by our timewasting towards the end, every team would have done the same, true, but it's never nice to see, some form of in-game sanction, like a run-penalty, needs to be applied, I feel. Still a v good batting track, and if Cook and Root get in tomorrow this one looks like a draw, barring an Aus 3rd innings implosion. If, however, Eng suffer one of their semi-regular collective brain-fades, who knows?

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

"Referring to 11 overs an hour as professionalism is an insult to professional people in occupations worldwide. Professional people perform properly under all circumstances. 11 overs an hour is unprofessional and should be exposed as such."

Agree with Stuart here. If we time wasted in my profession, our clients certainly would NOT be appreciative! Let's call a spade a spade. England's constant time wasting is, at best, unsportsmanlike, at worst, blatant cheating. On a positive note, well done to Steven Smith on his maiden Test ton. I was thinking there are similarities between him and a young Steve Waugh in style, but he's got his first ton a few years earlier. Now he just needs to gradually tighten his technique outside off stump as S. Waugh did over a 10 year period.

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

Hindsight is a marvelous thing, but I said before the series started that England needed to have a five man bowling attack. However, whatever Woakes brings to the short format, he's clearly no more than a fourth seamer in a test match. As had been said elsewhere Root and Trott are capable of bowling steadily if required and Root is a superior alternative to Kerrigan as a spinner.

If they were not going to play Tremlett, they should have given Rankin a test debut. When Trescothick says he's the best fast bowler in county cricket, people should listen. He's certainly highly motivated enough to give up playing for his native Ireland and he's another big unit (two metres plus) and you need to find out who your next strike bowler is going to be, because the away series in Australia is not going to be won by a spinner. I'd rather see a seasoned performer like Rankin giving the Australians the sort of snarly treatment that Broad dishes out and play Woakes as a fourth seamer all-rounder at 7.

Posted by jb633 on (August 22, 2013, 22:30 GMT)

I would like to hear from JG207 and JMich because I am a worried England supporter even though we are 3-0 up. Although our batting has failed in this series it is with our bowling stocks that I am particularly worried about. Having watched a fair bit of county cricket this year I just don't see much talent in the bowling ranks coming up. Woakes in white ball, red ball whatever ball you want is simply not a test class bowler. In terms of spinners we have Briggs (bowls sliders more than spinners) Tredwell (solid ODI bowler but not convinced he bowls the "attacking" test match line) Kerrigan (not based on this game but does not get the bounce or the revs needed against top draw players). I like the look of Willey and am still a big fan of Finn but behind these two players I can't say anyone has caught the eye in a huge way. I think England need to invest in Stokes as there will come a point when 5 bowlers will be essential to our success.

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

well played Watson and Smith, looks like all Oz's batting issues have been resolved by a few throw downs with Clarke and some lard thumping by biff or boff whatever he is called.. cracking Still well played to the 2 in particular

Posted by jb633 on (August 22, 2013, 22:17 GMT)

@Pomshaveshortmemories- I agree from an English perspective. I said before the series started that the negative press surronding the Aussie side was way off the mark and I have not changed my mind despite the scoreline. I am obviously happy with the result but there is not much between the two sides. To say that luck or bad sportsmanship is the deciding factor is ridiculous though and any side who wins a test series deserves to to do so. I think the Aussie side need to play tough cricket and to focus their mind on simply getting the job done. Forget the homework scandals, not walking, DRS and whatever else has been discussed because as a nation they are above that and this team is capable of being good. With this crop of players it will never be a great side but there are no great sides in world cricket at the moment and to be churning out solid performances and beating the sides they should will put Aussie cricket back to where it belongs.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (August 22, 2013, 22:15 GMT)

I said this on the other article. Why is everyone so quick to say Smith has laid claim on the number 5 spot. Clarke should have 5. His average is near 30 runs higher at 5 than it is at 4. Why would you blunt your best weapon to accomodate a decent (not great) batsmen in Smith. I see no reason why Smith can't play 6 in a role similar to Hussey and Clarke at 5. Leave 4 for the likes of Hughes, Doolan, Maddinson, Khawaja and Burns to jostle for. Keep the rest of the team as is but bring in patto and cummins when fit. If we can time it right we might be able to have at least one of Pattinson, Cummins or Harris in the side at all times. I long for the day to see an attack made up of all three plus a more mature and dangerous Ashton Agar. That has best attack in the world written all over it.

Posted by Mitty2 on (August 22, 2013, 22:14 GMT)

@Roshan_P, "Prior is a far better keeper than Haddin", maybe before this series but if you've been watching this series you'd know that Prior's had an absolute shocker and Haddin is soon to take the most amount of catches in a series for a keeper. Haddin has been the better of the two this series by far - even more so on batting, has Prior even made a 50?

Well done to Smith. Good to see a young player finally do something of note with the bat. You knew something was different about Smith when you saw him in india - you'd think he'd be terrible and hit out when ever there's an inkling of pressure. But no, he read the match situation well and despite him being a fringe player and despite it being 4-100 at most whenever he came in, he took risks to put the pressure back onto the spinners on the bunsens and played better than anyone else with high temperament. His technique has tightened, and i think his best point is his reading of the situation - this innings he did it perfectly.

Posted by Mitty2 on (August 22, 2013, 22:07 GMT)

It has been a very strange series. We have had many days won and some dominant days - almost more than England have - and yet, we're down 3-0. Our fast bowlers have performed better, which isn't that surprising, but before Durham the discrepancy between the two fast bowling attack's wickets taken was huge - about 20 more to Australia. And this is especially surprising considering that for the better bowling attack it's in away conditions. Swann somewhat evens up the ledger - even though he's got a heap of wickets from batters' ineptness and not necessarily good bowling - but based on batting innings and the difference in quality in batting line ups you'd have to say that Aus have bowled better.

We've had the two highest scores. yet... 3-0. We've had Eng out 3-nothing down a majority of times. 3-0. Best batsman in the world. 3-0. Not a single one of England's players have played to their full potential except Bell. 3-0. And therein lies the difference: Eng have the superior experience.

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

when are England going to be penalised for their slow over rates and disgraceful delaying tactics? who can forget Broad playing with his shoes to delay play. fine them for this Behaviour. England is one of those teams that need to have everything their way or they start with the cowardly tactics.

Posted by Chris_P on (August 22, 2013, 21:56 GMT)

Well done Steve Smith, this is the type of innings Australia wanted from you. I posted yesterday that this innings could well be a defining moment of your career if you pushed on to a solid total & the way you batted after your century was a credit to your hard work. Great effort by the tail with their intent to push the score, made for keen viewing.

Posted by pat_one_back on (August 22, 2013, 21:53 GMT)

Australia in a strong position, ahead for the 3rd consecutive test, having won 11 out of the last 12 days cricket with nothing to show, sadly a result looks out of reach on this dirt track. We know the sub continental teams won't see pitches like these in Eng, yet another sign how Eng no longer play with any sporting spirit... Doctored pitches, constant subs, blatant time wasting, it's no wonder Boof let loose on Broad, possibly the most obnoxious and unsporting player to take cricket field since Arjuna Ranatunga, I guess respect for the game skipped a generation there...

Posted by milepost on (August 22, 2013, 21:35 GMT)

@bodders, the series score might not be tight but the games have been a lot tighter than the almighty suggestions of Eng superiority. Talk of Eng not playing to potential is utter tripe. Matches aren't decided on potential, they are decided on performances and Australia are putting in some good ones, despite the constant excuses (win toss, should have been out, Eng underperforming, DRS, etc). On potential Eng should have beaten NZ away but they were within a whisker of losing. What potential? Goodness that riles me when people carry on about 'not playing at their best'. Their best is what they play at in the game at hand and how the opposition lets them play. This is test match cricket and nobody has a red carpet rolled out for them. Bell is a great example, the guy has played amazingly well, he doesn't need 'potential'.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 22, 2013, 21:20 GMT)

Pleased for Smith.Had him down as a T20 specialist but he's proving he has the ability in this format. From an Eng point of view I suppose there are no wickets down so far.

As for the 5/1/5 selection - you still have to get the 5 bowlers formation right and I'm not sure they have here. This looks more like a 5/1/5 for SC.Conds could change and it could turn in the latter stages and SK could become effective but less than 10 overs from a specialist spinner who can't bat does not bode well I'd have gone with Finn/Tremlett (in 5/1/5) unless it was a guaranteed turner. I'd also liked to have seen them keep faith with Jonny and see how he fairs behind the stumps. If they're going experimental , I'd like them to have backed JB. It's strange that Eng try this when 6/1/4 is working well and ignored the idea when it wasn't - in the UAE for example. Also strange that they went in with no spinner (dropping Swann for a test) vs WI I think and now they go in with 2?

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

Im going to be controversial, With the pitch playing like a road and the outright strength of the England batting and the more than fragile Australian batting on anything but perfect pitch Im predicting a English win or if to much time is lost a draw

As every prediction I have made so far has been correct for this series, whilst sometimes going against the "experts" the facts and statistics back me up

In honesty any first class batsman worth 20 cents could have made a ton on that wicket that gave nothing to the bowlers, this is backed up by the scores in the South African test at the same ground last year, were England made 375 batting first and were beaten with plenty of time and wickets to spare

A close analysis shows Australian batting was once again a failure taking away the over 300 runs scored by Watson and Smith, the Aussies lost 7 for less than 200,

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

Anderson sorted, Australia seems the better outfit to me. Toss decided the series imo. Warner firing at the top, England will have a long summer under the southern sun.

Posted by Essex_Man on (August 22, 2013, 21:16 GMT)

I think Clarke missed a trick by not declaring much earlier to take advantage of perfect swing / seam bowling conditions. The Aussie bowlers were then again very poor in that they barely made England's openers play. Australia really do have the air of a team who have completely forgotten how to win or even how to take advantage of a decent position. This will be the first Ashes series since 1977 when the Aussies have failed to win a single Test. Thanks for coming, lads!

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

No. 6 is now up for grabs. Who will it be????????

Not Hughes as he is not very good against spin, unless he gets that sorted out. Maybe Warner at 6 and Hughes to open? I don't think so. I'm guessing a debutant will be given a chance here. Probably Doolan, Maddinson, Cosgrove, Silk, Burns or one of the other batsmen who have done well at first-class level.

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

Unless England make a complete mess of their first innings (which has happened with regularity in this series), this Test has a draw written all over it, especially with the forecast of uncertain weather to come. I think Smith, with his breakthrough, will be more effective for Australia than Watson, as time is on his side. Well played.

Posted by Stuart_online on (August 22, 2013, 20:18 GMT)

Referring to 11 overs an hour as professionalism is an insult to professional people in occupations worldwide. Professional people perform properly under all circumstances. 11 overs an hour is unprofessional and should be exposed as such.

Posted by Roshan_P on (August 22, 2013, 20:11 GMT)

Well done Smith. I had my doubts, and some are still there, but he's played well against a roaring Anderson and Broad. Cannot believe they didn't get more wickets, they bowled so well, especially Anderson. Not to take anything away from Smith, but he has now booked up the No. 5 position for some time, when I always thought that there were better batsmen in Oz. Hughes is one example who should be in the top order of the XI, but with Watto's hundred up the order and Smith's hundred in the middle order, his only opportunity will come if Warner or Rogers has a run of poor form. I can't see him at 6 as he can't play spin well enough. Have Watto at 3, but they have to bring in Hughes to open. Maybe Warner could come down the order.

Posted by Roshan_P on (August 22, 2013, 19:54 GMT)

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK You make a good point. Root and Trott seem to be adept bowlers, they should bowl more to take the pressure off Anderson and co. Even Clarke doesn't use himself enough - career best of 6-9 is outstanding. @milepost England have been the better side, but they have been playing at half their full potential. All of their bowlers are bowling well, but only Bell is in good batting form. Even with out-of-form batsmen England have consistently been making scores of 300-400. Prior is a far better keeper than Haddin. The top four Aussie batsmen, possibly barring Rogers, have got the majority of their runs because of one big innings.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 22, 2013, 19:52 GMT)

Although rain may well dictate the course of this game it is obvious to see that England did themselves no favours in their selection for a team which is supposed to be trying to win a FOURTH historical victory in the series. Quite frankly the selectors have let supporters down badly with this in an all too British exhibition not not giving the fans what they want the most. Typical. It will of course be all the more unpopular if England go and give this game to the Aussies.Quite frankly no-one will really care whether Woakes and Kerrigan made debuts in a month's time- Kerrigan will probably wish he had not, and Tremlett would rather have been taking wickets at the Oval than at C-le-Street. This should have been a celebration,not an exercise in character building. Shame!!

Posted by GrindAR on (August 22, 2013, 19:41 GMT)

Hopefully, all the main bowlers got the feel for the pitch end of the day... They can regress that in their dressing room how to make it work for them... It is going to be the combination and change over roIutines, that Clarke should plan for tomorrow... If the bowlers bowl in the areas, that mandate batsman must make shots... (if you bowl bouncers frequently... you loose the control and time...) bowl below the knees combining the full toss doses... Starc tried a bit... but could not find the rythm.... if he think through it overnite and get his stuffs aligned.... MS and JF will test the patience of batsmen... other ends must ensure they play attacking as well... PS and RH can try swinging the ball as there will be moisture in the pitch for atleast 2 hours into play... 10:30AM start time itself is a coward act by ECB.

Posted by PintOfPlain on (August 22, 2013, 19:37 GMT)

11 overs in an hour should be punished in some way. I agree that in the modern game, any country could be guilty of doing the same thing in the same situation. I think though, that there is something about this cynical approach of the current England team that will sit uneasily with most England fans. It feels ok to ciriticise others for this sort of conduct when you are a losing side. But when you realise that you have had to revert to these tactics to win/save games yourself, it can't help but take make you feel slightly uneasy ...

Posted by Bodders70 on (August 22, 2013, 19:30 GMT)

Milepost, those stats are as meaningless as Shane Warne's comments that Australia now have four centuries to England's five when England haven't had their first innings. Wait till both sides have batted... yes, the top order could be rolled again tomorrow and Ian Bell has to come to the rescue but both Cook and Trott could find form and get double hundreds and then how does the top run scorers list look? The Oval is very flat and it's not impossible... Besides, 2009 where one innings (the first at Cardiff) skewed so many of the series statistics should really have taught everyone that series stats are largely irrelevant, it's the wins-losses that count. Come the Australia series, Cook is better away, Trott prefers those types of wickets too, Tremlett could be fit and firing. It's anyone's game but to assume it'll be close in Australia based on two decent performances on flat wickets having won the toss is as spurious as assuming it'll be one-sided.

Posted by TenDonebyaShooter on (August 22, 2013, 19:27 GMT)

I'm looking at the last two occasions, 1977 and 1981, when England went to the last test at the Oval with the Ashes already won and after a stirring triumph in the previous test and started playing ineptly, and wondering to which this match can be compared. Is this a markedly superior team showing uncertainty because it is conscious of playing at the end of a cricketing era (1977), or is it a team which has ridden through a series on the back of luck and a few extraordinary individual performances reverting to type by reflecting its mere parity (or worse) with the opposition (1981)? My money is on the latter, which means England beware: the England side of 1981 lost its next Ashes series ...

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

Can anyone explain the odd ending of the Australian innings? Why send out Lyon to bat at all? Why then declare one ball later after 1 run was added and Lyon was about to face his first ball? All I could think of was that Clarke wanted to deny James Anderson the opportunity of getting 5 wickets, but that seems very petty?

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 18:45 GMT)

@milepost - Australia have made 400+ scores twice more than England but then they've also crashed for sub-200 scores where England haven't. Basically England has stepped up when required and have otherwise been consistent without being great wherelse Australia's performances fluctuate more. Agree with you re the return series - England start out as favourites but Australia are not going to make it easy for them.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2013, 18:25 GMT)

No need to worry . On this hard flat pitch England should chase down this total with little ease . The Aussies bowling attack will not pose any problem to the strong batting line up of England .

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 22, 2013, 17:47 GMT)

As much as I've always wanted England to try 5-1-5, it does always amaze me how underused part-time bowlers like Trott, Root, KP etc. are by Cook. I mean the likes of Trott aint going to run through many batting orders (even Australia's) and/or pick up wickets every game, but look what can happen! Partnership breaking is important in cricket - it doesn't have to be a frontline bowler that does that all the time!

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 22, 2013, 17:40 GMT)

So hands up who thinks Cook would have declared like Clarke has done...

Oh right - nobody. My hands didn't raise from the keyboard either.

Posted by milepost on (August 22, 2013, 17:15 GMT)

Agree @r_u_4_real, and nice work by the Aussies. In fact, another day of dominance. I think the return leg is looking a good contest in Australia. Talk from posters here over this series about a continued period of Eng dominance is hogwash. The Aussies have 4 of the 5 top run scorers, are the superior bowling side, have the pick of the keepers and are the only side to make more than 400, which they have done twice. Yes Eng are up 3-0 and I credit them, they deserve it. But to think it will be one sided in Australia is crazy talk. Bring on the excuses.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 22, 2013, 16:28 GMT)

Excellent attacking cricket from Australia, and congratulation to Smith on his maiden ton. My money is on England going all out for the boring draw now, which might just backfire and see them skittled out. Hopefully the rain will stay away, in which case fair play to England if they do ensure the draw. But advantage Australia me thinks... 3-1 will help nullify the intense moaning somewhat.

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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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