England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 3rd day August 23, 2013

England forced to grind as Australia chip away

150

England 247 for 4 (Bell 29*, Woakes 15*) trail Australia 492 for 9 dec by 245 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Capacity crowds have been drawn to the Investec Ashes all summer in anticipation of another high-octane series, but sometimes things do not work out that way. Instead, England are juddering to their final destination as if Australia have slipped petrol into their diesel engine.

When England are under pressure, they commit themselves zealously to pre-programmed, conservative, risk-free cricket. There will be a computer programme somewhere suggesting that the careworn approach they displayed on the third day of the Oval Test has improved their victory chances by 5.62% and their chances of avoiding defeat by rather more.

Their give-'em-nothing approach probably possessed unabashed cricketing logic and provided further proof of their tough mental state. They were 3-0 up in the series and were determined not to grant Australia a consolation victory with the return series already looming. Faster scoring, according to Joe Root, young in years but old in brain, was "not viable". The result was drab fare for all but the most obsessive Test cricket watcher.

Excited England pre-match talk of an unprecedented 4-0 Ashes victory was quietened on the first day by a lost toss and Shane Watson's domineering century for Australia. What has followed has been prosaic in the extreme: attritional batting, laggardly attitudes which might usefully waste a bit of time along the way, and a general tedium as England have made grim, and probably successful, progress towards passing the follow-on figure of 293.

They scored at only 2.19 runs per over on the third day, making 215 in 98 overs, while losing only three wickets on a ponderous but reliable Oval surface, one on which Australia proceeded at 3.81 runs per over while making 492. But Australia had to make the running and that meant taking wickets. They failed in their prime task.

Australia's attack was disciplined but - as England emphasised, hour after long hour - resistible: Nathan Lyon, barely seen until mid-afternoon, got the occasional ball to turn and bounce sharply and, if Ryan Harris ever opts for body art, a huge bull nose ring would be perfect; for his unyielding approach alone, he deserves to be named as Australia's man of the series. But England's obduracy triumphed and it arose not from conditions but largely from their choice to put an unwillingness to yield above loftier ambitions.

Perhaps the presence of a debutant allrounder, Chris Woakes, at No. 6, was enough to curb England's ambitions. As it was, Woakes, although only 15 not out at the close, launched his Test career with a ringing square drive against Mitchell Starc and generally looked more comfortable than most. If he has a Test future it may be as a batting allrounder.

Even the umpires caught the slow rhythms. Aleem Dar thought for an age before giving out Jonathan Trott to Australia's first delivery with the second new ball, ten minutes before tea. Trott, who had reached 40 with great deliberation, while bearing the demeanour of a cabinet minister who had just approached the despatch box to announce the banning of Fun, reviewed Starc's lbw decision but the call was a good one. Australia had stifled his leg-side strength to good effect.

Alastair Cook's unproductive Ashes continued when he became the only England batsman to fall on the third morning. Cook's exceptional record - 766 runs in seven innings - was the bedrock of England's first series win in Australia for 24 years three years ago, and he has another series victory to bring contentment here, but he has found little personal glory in his first home series as an Ashes captain.

When Harris enticed him to push woodenly at a wide one, and offer a simple catch to the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, it left him with 243 runs at an average of 27 and the prospect of one more innings, at best, to remedy matters.

As for Haddin, he is only two dismissals short of Rod Marsh's all-time record of 28 dismissals in a Test series, achieved against England in 1982-83, which is not the sort of statistic you expect to find when a side is 3-0 down.

Cook has three half-centuries in the series, but his batting for the most part has been characterised by stilted defence. His 28 came from 88 balls, with only 11 added from his overnight total, his pleasure drawn from a solitary square drive against Harris and the only half-century stand that his new opening alliance with Root has brought all summer.

He also survived an Australia review, on 25, when Harris exposed his summer-long tendency to fall too far over to the off side. But it is doubtful whether he was overly concerned. Predictably, replays showed the ball pitching well outside leg stump, continuing the trend in a series in which the DRS success rate of both sides now lies under 25%.

Root did at least find some benefit. Remove his herculean 180 in the second Test at Lord's and all he had to show for his first series as an opener was six scores under 20, but he survived an awkward examination from Starc in particular and by the time he unpacked his first third-man glide of the morning he looked in better order. His half-century was neatly packed away by lunch.

James Faulkner, like Woakes, is a one-day allrounder on Test debut, and his introduction after lunch encouraged Root's most enterprising moments as he twice preyed on width to drive to the boundary. But expectations that Root could inject some life into the day were dashed by Lyon, who had him caught at short fine-leg from a top-edged sweep.

Kevin Pietersen was awarded a miniature silver bat at lunchtime as recognition of becoming England's highest runscorer in international cricket, but it brought no air of celebration. His fifty took three hours, his second slowest in Tests for England, and came up with a bottom-edged pull against Faulkner as he was through a pull shot far too early. Ironic cheers rang out from a crowd which had soaked up its punishment patiently.

He has rarely made such ugly runs and did not make another run after his half-century, poking a full-length ball from Starc to first slip. There had not been a strut in sight. There was, though, a prolonged exchange with Michael Clarke after he was sledged for the way he apparently mothers Ian Bell through an innings when they are together at the crease.

Pietersen had most difficulties of all against Lyon, who found turn from around the wicket and enough harum-scarum moments against bat and pad to keep the short leg, Steve Smith, in perpetual hope that a deflection might fall within his range. His impatience was apparent when he gambled on a risky single to mid-on and was spared by David Warner's inaccurate shy. Lyon caused occasional alarms, but he could not cause mayhem.

Were it not for forecasts of heavy rain, spinners could be expected to have a sizeable say on the last two days. Instead, with storms forecast for Saturday, there was a sense of a series meandering to a climax, a series which has sporadically brought great entertainment, but which has been of inconsistent quality.

Roy Hodgson, the England football manager, was in the crowd and, in his terminology, he must have felt that the third day remained goalless, with only a couple of shots on target.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Wealwayslosethecricket on August 24, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    One of the features of the great Australian team of the 2000's was their mindset that they were playing to win in every situation except for 500+ to win on day 5 of a test match. With that in mind, it was disappointing to see England already playing for a draw on the third day. Isn't it the responsibility of both sides to try to get a result? Having a negative mindset is not going to go well for them against stronger sides. Here, it won't do harm because it's a dead rubber against a very young bowling attack on their own turf, but things could easily change next series, when suddenly Starc, Lyon and Bird have test match experience against England and Smith and Watson have centuries to boost their confidence. I don't believe any of that 'deny Australia a win' stuff, because it is their responsibility to play to win, and getting a win would result in more of a psychological advantage anyway.

  • cric_J on August 24, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    It wasn't a particularly adrenalin pumping day of cricket but an attritional one nonetheless.

    Although I do believe that England's RR of 2.19 was too slow (about 2.5 rpo would've been fine) and their approach was way too cautious on a more than decent batting surface, especially as it will get even tougher to bat on days 4 and 5. But they can't be blamed for much wrong, being just 4 down and taking the initiative away from Australia, who were pretty tight but a bit uninspired with bowl.

    A much needed, tough and "put-your-head-down" effort from Joe. Even KP was uncharacteristically patient for his 50, but only to splash water on all his efforts with a terribly lazy shot. And don't even get me started on Cook's dismissal.Just what was he trying to do and WHY did have to touch that ball in the first place ? A headless shot to get out to a perfectly ordinary delivery.

    Chris certainly looked much better with the bat than he did with the ball and Bell is still there, yet again.

  • thectexperience on August 24, 2013, 2:28 GMT

    England's strategy should bring to mind India's defeat of Australia in Adelaide back in 2003 on a similarly flat wicket. A Ponting century took Australia to a first innings score of 550-odd, but India played tit-for-tat and made it to 500 early on the 4th day. In the second innings Australia were skittled on a deteriorated wicket and India made the runs to win on the 5th day. We all know England have got the batsmen to pull off feats like this, and Swann is supposed to strike fear into the Australians in the second innings. It's the tactics and the attitude that limit England and keep their side as a good one rather than a memorable one.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 23, 2013, 23:15 GMT

    History shows that sides which bat like this for long periods go nowhere except inot an ever deepening hole they have dug for themselves. In a period of captaincy one is on average going to lose the toss half of the time. One cannot play sterile cricket for 50% of the time and hope to stay on top. Fortune favours the brave. We won in 2005 by scoring at a quicker rate than Aus. Here we have batted at 1/2 speed of Aus. Why should the toss ever have affected the way we play? A good side has to win under any and all circumstances. England have no excuses at all. Plans A,B,C,D, E should be to attack at all times. Only when one gets to plan F should defend be a good idea.Under the present circumstances it would be interesting to see how Matt Prior would captain the side. somewhat more agressively I'd bet. Thje side batted to see who would win the Tavare Trophy to be the most boring batsman ever. They all took an equal share.

  • TomPrice on August 23, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    I think England's critics are largely missing the point. England are blocking Australia out deliberately to deny them any consolation in this series. The media have talked Australia up and talked England down but both sets of players know that the onus is on the tourists to prove themselves on the field. Australia are just not winning. So far, except for a warm up match for the Champions Trophy nearly three months ago, Australia have won precisely one game since they arrived in June - against Somerset. England want to keep things that way. The pressure on Australia has been obvious all series with the gyrations in the batting order and revolving door selection policy, and shows no sign of ending. Cricketers know all about scoreboard pressure, and a scoreboard that reads 3-0 suits England very well.

  • PhillieFanatic on August 23, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    A very slow day on a slowish pitch. Not much for the bat or ball to be excited about. England playing not to lose is understandable but the very slow scoring rate comes with some risk in that the conditions could get worse for batting as clouds and rain are forecast for tomorrow. This pitch has shown some problems for batsmen under overcast skies. Conditions today were more conducive to scoring and it seems that England failed to take the opportunity to score more freely than they did. Australia's bowlers played well but were not exactly menacing for much of the day. While a draw is the most likely result, the weather could yet be a factor.

  • jmcilhinney on August 23, 2013, 18:13 GMT

    Not the most inspiring day's cricket but good, tenacious stuff from both sides. As usual, Starc has bowled some good stuff and some awful stuff. KP should be furious with himself for gifting him that second wicket. Bell looks solid again and Woakes has looked pretty good too. With the forecast the way it is, I'm not sure it will matter in the end what tactics either team employed but, if the weather does us all a favour, things could yet get interesting. The pitch looks to have slowed considerably but we won't really know for sure until Australia bat again. If England can get close to Australia and then Australia push for quick runs and lose wickets due to the slow pitch then England could possibly end up in a position to win. It's not necessarily the most likely outcome, even if the weather holds, but it's a possibility. Swann could play a big part and it would be great if Kerrigan made a comeback. Wouldn't that cheese off those complaining about England's negative approach?

  • H_Z_O on August 26, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    @JG2704 on (August 25, 2013, 21:44 GMT) "However , despite what we hear of Eng's ambitions , they are not playing like a side who believe they can be number 1 again IMO."

    Agreed, but I think the reason for that is fairly simple; they don't really believe the hype. They know they're a good side, but not a great side, a side that's better than most, but not the very best. A bit like, ironically, South Africa for a long time when Australia were on top. It always seemed like they were good enough to beat every other side in world cricket, but still second best to the Aussies.

    "Playing with more positive intent is the only way they can close the gap but I think we all realise the pitfalls"

    I think it's a mixture of the South Africans just being that good (they're a great side in the truest sense of the word) and a generational issue. This group of players has grown up during an era when England weren't very good. The next one should grow up at a time when we're much better. Hopefully ;).

  • JG2704 on August 25, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    @H_Z_O on (August 24, 2013, 18:36 GMT) Re Eng taking back the number 1 from SA - Like you I can't see it happening in the foreseeable future. However , despite what we hear of Eng's ambitions , they are not playing like a side who believe they can be number 1 again IMO. Playing with more positive intent is the only way they can close the gap but I think we all realise the pitfalls and I genuinely think England are more than happy being number 2 right now - which they will be after tomorrow unless something remarkable happens

  • JG2704 on August 25, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    @ Walter Aussems on (August 24, 2013, 15:31 GMT) IMO , Eng were playing for a draw from towards the end of day 1 (when they realised the bowling attack wasn't working well)and not from the word go. Why would a side go with 5 bowlers if they were playing for a draw from the off?

  • Wealwayslosethecricket on August 24, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    One of the features of the great Australian team of the 2000's was their mindset that they were playing to win in every situation except for 500+ to win on day 5 of a test match. With that in mind, it was disappointing to see England already playing for a draw on the third day. Isn't it the responsibility of both sides to try to get a result? Having a negative mindset is not going to go well for them against stronger sides. Here, it won't do harm because it's a dead rubber against a very young bowling attack on their own turf, but things could easily change next series, when suddenly Starc, Lyon and Bird have test match experience against England and Smith and Watson have centuries to boost their confidence. I don't believe any of that 'deny Australia a win' stuff, because it is their responsibility to play to win, and getting a win would result in more of a psychological advantage anyway.

  • cric_J on August 24, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    It wasn't a particularly adrenalin pumping day of cricket but an attritional one nonetheless.

    Although I do believe that England's RR of 2.19 was too slow (about 2.5 rpo would've been fine) and their approach was way too cautious on a more than decent batting surface, especially as it will get even tougher to bat on days 4 and 5. But they can't be blamed for much wrong, being just 4 down and taking the initiative away from Australia, who were pretty tight but a bit uninspired with bowl.

    A much needed, tough and "put-your-head-down" effort from Joe. Even KP was uncharacteristically patient for his 50, but only to splash water on all his efforts with a terribly lazy shot. And don't even get me started on Cook's dismissal.Just what was he trying to do and WHY did have to touch that ball in the first place ? A headless shot to get out to a perfectly ordinary delivery.

    Chris certainly looked much better with the bat than he did with the ball and Bell is still there, yet again.

  • thectexperience on August 24, 2013, 2:28 GMT

    England's strategy should bring to mind India's defeat of Australia in Adelaide back in 2003 on a similarly flat wicket. A Ponting century took Australia to a first innings score of 550-odd, but India played tit-for-tat and made it to 500 early on the 4th day. In the second innings Australia were skittled on a deteriorated wicket and India made the runs to win on the 5th day. We all know England have got the batsmen to pull off feats like this, and Swann is supposed to strike fear into the Australians in the second innings. It's the tactics and the attitude that limit England and keep their side as a good one rather than a memorable one.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 23, 2013, 23:15 GMT

    History shows that sides which bat like this for long periods go nowhere except inot an ever deepening hole they have dug for themselves. In a period of captaincy one is on average going to lose the toss half of the time. One cannot play sterile cricket for 50% of the time and hope to stay on top. Fortune favours the brave. We won in 2005 by scoring at a quicker rate than Aus. Here we have batted at 1/2 speed of Aus. Why should the toss ever have affected the way we play? A good side has to win under any and all circumstances. England have no excuses at all. Plans A,B,C,D, E should be to attack at all times. Only when one gets to plan F should defend be a good idea.Under the present circumstances it would be interesting to see how Matt Prior would captain the side. somewhat more agressively I'd bet. Thje side batted to see who would win the Tavare Trophy to be the most boring batsman ever. They all took an equal share.

  • TomPrice on August 23, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    I think England's critics are largely missing the point. England are blocking Australia out deliberately to deny them any consolation in this series. The media have talked Australia up and talked England down but both sets of players know that the onus is on the tourists to prove themselves on the field. Australia are just not winning. So far, except for a warm up match for the Champions Trophy nearly three months ago, Australia have won precisely one game since they arrived in June - against Somerset. England want to keep things that way. The pressure on Australia has been obvious all series with the gyrations in the batting order and revolving door selection policy, and shows no sign of ending. Cricketers know all about scoreboard pressure, and a scoreboard that reads 3-0 suits England very well.

  • PhillieFanatic on August 23, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    A very slow day on a slowish pitch. Not much for the bat or ball to be excited about. England playing not to lose is understandable but the very slow scoring rate comes with some risk in that the conditions could get worse for batting as clouds and rain are forecast for tomorrow. This pitch has shown some problems for batsmen under overcast skies. Conditions today were more conducive to scoring and it seems that England failed to take the opportunity to score more freely than they did. Australia's bowlers played well but were not exactly menacing for much of the day. While a draw is the most likely result, the weather could yet be a factor.

  • jmcilhinney on August 23, 2013, 18:13 GMT

    Not the most inspiring day's cricket but good, tenacious stuff from both sides. As usual, Starc has bowled some good stuff and some awful stuff. KP should be furious with himself for gifting him that second wicket. Bell looks solid again and Woakes has looked pretty good too. With the forecast the way it is, I'm not sure it will matter in the end what tactics either team employed but, if the weather does us all a favour, things could yet get interesting. The pitch looks to have slowed considerably but we won't really know for sure until Australia bat again. If England can get close to Australia and then Australia push for quick runs and lose wickets due to the slow pitch then England could possibly end up in a position to win. It's not necessarily the most likely outcome, even if the weather holds, but it's a possibility. Swann could play a big part and it would be great if Kerrigan made a comeback. Wouldn't that cheese off those complaining about England's negative approach?

  • H_Z_O on August 26, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    @JG2704 on (August 25, 2013, 21:44 GMT) "However , despite what we hear of Eng's ambitions , they are not playing like a side who believe they can be number 1 again IMO."

    Agreed, but I think the reason for that is fairly simple; they don't really believe the hype. They know they're a good side, but not a great side, a side that's better than most, but not the very best. A bit like, ironically, South Africa for a long time when Australia were on top. It always seemed like they were good enough to beat every other side in world cricket, but still second best to the Aussies.

    "Playing with more positive intent is the only way they can close the gap but I think we all realise the pitfalls"

    I think it's a mixture of the South Africans just being that good (they're a great side in the truest sense of the word) and a generational issue. This group of players has grown up during an era when England weren't very good. The next one should grow up at a time when we're much better. Hopefully ;).

  • JG2704 on August 25, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    @H_Z_O on (August 24, 2013, 18:36 GMT) Re Eng taking back the number 1 from SA - Like you I can't see it happening in the foreseeable future. However , despite what we hear of Eng's ambitions , they are not playing like a side who believe they can be number 1 again IMO. Playing with more positive intent is the only way they can close the gap but I think we all realise the pitfalls and I genuinely think England are more than happy being number 2 right now - which they will be after tomorrow unless something remarkable happens

  • JG2704 on August 25, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    @ Walter Aussems on (August 24, 2013, 15:31 GMT) IMO , Eng were playing for a draw from towards the end of day 1 (when they realised the bowling attack wasn't working well)and not from the word go. Why would a side go with 5 bowlers if they were playing for a draw from the off?

  • JG2704 on August 25, 2013, 21:43 GMT

    @disco_bob on (August 24, 2013, 10:30 GMT) I get your gripes re the wasting time tactics and I myself said that I'd prefer England to have lost the test than be saved by the weather. Re time wasting , the umpires should be on their case and the ICC on the umpires case. But re the pitches in general being bad - the 3 tests where we've had no weather interruptions have all produced results. The 2 which didn't both had less than 4 days play. My take is that we tried to prepare a turning pitch but it turned out to be a lifeless pitch. Re the scoreline etc and seeing proper cricket - well were the 3 tests which England won not proper cricket? Also , would not have won the 3rd or this test because of so much time lost due to weather. The go slow tactics haven't made a difference to the results

  • H_Z_O on August 24, 2013, 23:28 GMT

    The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that my example of the Gabba has an error in it. Not one that undermines the key point (that Australia had a lead of 445, didn't enforce the follow-on, set England close to 650 to win, and bowled us out for under the 445 they already had) but an error nonetheless. I'd like to correct it.

    I said Australia scored 601 and we scored 175. Well they actually scored 602, while we only managed 157. Not a crucial error, as I said, but I'd hate for my argument to be undermined by a factual error, especially one that I don't think changes the crux of my point.

  • H_Z_O on August 24, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    @Walter Aussems on (August 24, 2013, 15:31 GMT) Our odds of taking the number 1 spot from South Africa have nothing to do with our tactics. I realise it's a popular strawman to beat Cook and Flower with, but tactics won't change one simple thing; South Africa are better than us.

    Not that there's much shame in that. They're better than everyone. Kallis is a great of the game; he's churned out runs on par with Tendulkar, Lara, Dravid, Ponting et al, all while chipping in with 288 Test wickets and taking a mere 194 catches.

    Smith has 8753 runs, 8147 of them as captain, taking over the captaincy in only his 9th Test match. His mental toughness and will to win is unmatched.

    Between them, Smith, Kallis, Amla and De Villiers have over 34,000 Test runs.

    Steyn has the best strike rate of any bowler with 300 Test wickets and averages 5 wickets a match. Philander's stats are even better; 5.56 wickets a match.

    They're a great side. The only thing that'll end their reign is time itself.

  • H_Z_O on August 24, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    @drssucks on (August 24, 2013, 11:30 GMT) 3-1 scoreline? As much as I think there was very little chance of England surviving at Old Trafford, I thought the same back in Cardiff in 2009. Or Cape Town in 2010. Or more recently in Auckland.

    Team A plays Team B. Team A scores 601, then bowls Team B out for 175. Instead of enforcing the follow-on (with a lead of 445) they bat again, score 200, then bowl the other side out for 370. Is that "safety first" or "win at all costs" captaincy?

    Team A was Australia at the Gabba in their 2006/2007 Ashes whitewash. Still think Australia were a "win at all costs" team in the 2000s? Australian sides have always played to make sure they don't lose first, build up an aura of unbeatable-ness, and then seize upon chances to win. That's what England have done.

    Our last 15 Tests: 7 wins, 6 draws, 2 losses. Australia's: 4 wins, 3 draws, 8 losses. If playing "entertaining" cricket means you lose twice as many as you win, no thank you.

  • on August 24, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    I have to laugh at some of the comments talking up the Australian's efforts.

    At the start of the series I said that Australia's fortunes lay with the bowlers, both with the bat and ball.

    1st Test Aust were 6/113, finished with 280, then 6/164, finished with 296. Despite the bowlers efforts with bat and ball, with less brittle batting Aust wins the test.

    2nd Test Aust were 6/91, finished with 128, then 6/136, finished with 235. Aust brittle batting exposed again.

    4th Test Aust were 6/224, finished with 270, then 6/179, finished with 224 losing 10/115. Aust brittle batting exposed again and with less brittle batting Aust wins the test.

    You are not going to win too many 5-TM Series when, for three of the first four tests your first 6-wkts fall for an average of 150 and results look close is because the 10th wicket is averaging over 50.

    With less brittle batting Australia wins 2-1.

    All of this is not helped when two of your tour bowlers are crippled by the training program.

  • on August 24, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    If luck,DRS and some Tactics had been Favored Australia the scoreline would have been 3-1 in favor for the visitors.......However this series has been keenly contested even though England lead by 3-0....looking forward for the Return series in Down Under later this year

  • on August 24, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    @bobmartin, I completely agree with that midset, however England were playing for a draw right from the word Go. All the talk and dreaming of beating the aussies 4-0 seemed to go straight out the window as soon as the aussies posted a good 1st innings total. There is nothing ruthless or tough about playing for a draw from day 2. I have huge respect for most of the english team but if this is their main tactic, then there soon to be my least respected team. To be honest, they will never take the nr1 spot from SA with tactics like this....

  • on August 24, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    Drssucks: "Aus would have won the two games affected by weather" Other than Old Trafford, which second game are you talking about? This one!? Aus have taken 4 wickets in 3 days. Only 16 to go!

  • bobmartin on August 24, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    After the first innings, there was little hope of England winning this match... Had they gone hell for leather attempting to try and force a result and lost by an innings, those criticising England now would be the first to be howling about how poor England are.. The theory in any game is, first try to win and if that is not possible try not to lose. The latter is exactly what England are trying to do and in so doing deny Australia any sense of satisfaction even for a token victory. Message to the England critics..... if you want thrash and dash, go to the T20 matches... not tests.

  • drssucks on August 24, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    I think England have got themselves in real trouble with this negative mindset, play every game to win, especially if you consider yourselves the superior team. Australia have been very unlucky with the weather and probably would have won both games that have been seriously affected by it, and considering they could have won two of the other matches they could easily be 4-1 ahead in this series. The Australian summer should be very interesting, England will go in having retained the Ashes in a seemingly comfortable 3-1 scoreline but with the worse mindset of the two teams.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 24, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    Having now just watched the highlights from yesterday's play, there's a few points I'd like to add to my comments from yesterday: (i) Australia's bowling and fielding was very good, Lyon and Harris particularly testing; (ii) Clarke once again smart and imaginative with his field placements; (iii) Clarke's sledging to KP, especially just before tea, taunting him to up the ante was perhaps responsible for KP's downfall - KP had no need to go after that ball at all! (iv) the commentators agreed with my comments: this negative approach by England at this stage, regardless of being 3-0 up, is actually playing into Aus. hands. Australia's confidence can grow for the next series; England might be more nervous. Nice to see Woakes at least add some spark at the end of the day.

  • H_Z_O on August 24, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    @milepost on (August 24, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

    "Aussie batting as brittle as a straw? 4 centurions"

    Indeed. And 4 centuries to England's 5 (in less completed innings too).

    "Twice past 400."

    And only twice past 300.

    "Once under 200 chasing a win"

    Bowled out for scores of 296, 280, 270, 235, 224 and 128. Lost each of those Tests.

    England lowest scores in completed innings were 215 and 238. We won both Tests.

    "Australia nearly made 500 on the same wicket at 3+ an over."

    And at Lord's? England scored 710 runs in the match at 3+ an over. Australia made 363 on the same wicket at less than 2.5 an over.

    Admittedly, your batting has performed better as the series has gone on.

    But let's look at the bowling stats:

    England 6 five wicket hauls. Australia 3. England 2 ten wicket hauls. Australia 0.

    Harris has a 9 wicket haul, but so does Swann. Even if you'd taken the remaining 7 wickets at Old Trafford, you'd have trailed on both stats regardless of who took the remaining wickets.

  • mikkkk on August 24, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    @thectexperience

    The reason that nice theory falls down is obvious, this isn't a batting track like that one in the Aus India match. In England you usually (if your lucky) get good batting conditions on the first day (sometimes into the second) but, as the players have said it is difficult to time the ball now so scoring a quick 500 isn't really serious. There's also the knowledge of what the weather is going to be like.

    Confirming a pet theory is the easiest thing in the world to do but comparing this match to a match on a different pitch in different conditions and in different circumstances then extrapolating what "should have happened" is being naive at best dishonest to yourself at worst.

  • on August 24, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Of course, this current England are not as good as Australia in the 90s or WI in the 80s. Cricket fans all understand that.

    England are a solid outfit who are have done very well in the last 4 years. They are bringing in new talent and still beating Australia 3-0 without breaking sweat.

    Australia are on the slide and I can't see them stopping this downward spiral. They have come up with some very good plans and have kept Cook and Trott very quiet, but ultimately haven't got the ability or mentality to win a test match against England.

    The return series in Australia will not be fun for Australia. They will be under so much pressure at home to perform and the English team will really enjoy batting and bowling on faster, bouncier pitches.

  • RednWhiteArmy on August 24, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    England once again showing why they havent lost a Test in their last 10. Australia once again showing why they havent won a Test in their last 10.

  • H_Z_O on August 24, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    @AussieSam on (August 24, 2013, 7:57 GMT) "In this case I don't think it's much of factor that this was a 3rd day pitch whereas Aus's innings at Old Trafford was on a 1st day pitch."

    But the other part of that comment "with a massive lead", definitely is a factor. While I think Clarke has been inventive with his fields, it's actually not been in an attacking way. It's all been to stop Cook and Trott dabbing into the leg-side for easy runs. Nothing wrong with that, smart captaincy, but it isn't attacking. He's more attacking than Cook, but who isn't?

    "Have you seen how it's playing? If anything it's probably offering less help for the bowlers than it did on Day 1. And I heard a few commentators saying they think it's the worst pitch for bowlers in the whole series"

    And the reason for that is the lack of pace, which makes it harder to bat on as well. Bell, in the form of his life, couldn't time it. The commentators have also said it's a tough pitch to time the ball on.

    Contd.

  • H_Z_O on August 24, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    @Jono Makim on (August 24, 2013, 7:09 GMT)

    Excellent comment, as so often. While Australia clearly laboured to take wickets on that pitch, that wasn't because of poor bowling by any stretch. Part of the credit for England's slow batting has to be how few poor deliveries the Aussies have bowled.

    Siddle was his usual dependable self, but as you say, I think he's gotten a little bit carried away with the "wide on the crease" stuff. Much like when Broad gets it into his head to be an "enforcer" because he has a good bouncer. The key with having a weapon like that is that is has to be the "surprise" ball.

    I thought Lyon was superb, but this pitch is so lifeless. There's nothing for the quick men, nothing for the spinners, and it's tough for the batsmen to time it. Just a poor pitch all round really.

    But the big thing was Starc. His pace was down all series, but here he was back up to 90mph+ and for the return series that's going to be crucial.

  • mikkkk on August 24, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    @milepost "Aussie batting as brittle as a straw? 4 centurions"

    Lol. Two of those in a match that doesn't matter. No good being successful when it's too late. How many times have they collapsed this series? Can you think of any other series in your history when you've disintegrated as many times? How many of the Aussie batsmen still only have averages in the 30s?

    I know aussies are the masters of clutching at straws and parading excuses for their own frailties rather that recognising them and taking responsibility for them and they have demonstrated this throughout this series which they lost in a mere 14 days. If England had failed as abjectly as aus have then English supporters would indeed have been justified in hurling rotten tomatoes. Bluster wins nothing. Being tough in those moments that matter do and aus have shown themselves weak in every decisive moment. If, as an aus fan that is enough then congrats on a successful tour.

  • verbanonfacta on August 24, 2013, 10:40 GMT

    England do not deserve criticism for their batting yesterday. This idea that conditions were easy was disproved by ball after ball on the highlights going past the bat when we bowled. When Broad moves it egregiously, we can infer there's plenty in it because he often doesn't get it off the straight for long stretches. Or are we saying that their bowlers are poor? (I thought we were saying they were good.) Somehow, we now expect run rates to be high: why is this? Are we watching entertainment pure and simple, with nothing riding on it like the IPL, or are we watching something that matters enough to be careful with it? Let's not saddle England players with the famously redundant advice, 'Smash it, but don't get out.' Australia would have belly ached that they were robbed at Old Trafford and again at the Oval had England collapsed yesterday, and would have believed that 3-2 was a fair reflection of the series. Yesterday was very significant: at best Australia deserve 3-1 LOSS.

  • H_Z_O on August 24, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    Contd.

    "Also it's obviously easier to get batsmen who are scoring at 3.5 out than batsmen scoring at 2.0"

    "Even probably the most attacking side in cricket history with McGrath and Warne used the paradigm: Bowl three maidens in a row and you have an 85% chance of a wicket in the next over."

    You've just contradicted yourself. If bowling maidens helps to take wickets (and it's true, it does) then how can going at 3.5 an over make it easier to take wickets? The reason maidens work is because batsmen get frustrated at not scoring. So actually it's harder to get out a batsman going at 3.5 an over, unless they give their wickets away (which isn't a reflection of the quality of the bowling).

    What you mean, I think, is that it's easier to get out batsmen when they play shots. Which is true. And three of the four wickets to fall were because of loose shots. To say you only took 4 wickets because we were shot-less is untrue. If anything, you'd have taken only 1 if we had been.

  • disco_bob on August 24, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    I actually feel sorry for the England supporters, they've won this series with a bit of luck but Bell apart, and a few lively spells at the right time, from Anderson and Broad, and this performance in a dead rubber is hellish to watch. They are showing complete contempt for the fans who pay big bucks to support their team and get treated like mugs. I'm sure they would rather lose 3-1 and see some proper cricket. The pitches prepared have been the biggest let down seeing as both sides have a seam attack that would enjoy traditional English pitches. How cynical does it seem now remembering England complaining about the Indian dustbowls.

  • Mervo on August 24, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    England's slow play and the rain will save them again. On the wane.

  • Inducker on August 24, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    Ridiculous article, perhaps trying to generate interest. England have experimented a bit with team selection. The Oval pitch is the slowest experienced commentators like Atherton can remember. Australia made 500. How many test matches are turned around from that position -Australian puffing about past glories notwithstanding. Although Root made 60 he is inexperienced in the one uncertain position in the England batting line up. Cook and Trott are basically out of form (for Trott that means getting out at 40 instead of making a big score once he is in). Petersen for once forsook self-indulgence for some responsible batting for the team. The fact that Bell has basically propped up the batting during the series was amplified by all the Australian sledging when he came in. Petersen saw the danger and jumped in timeously. I for one enjoyed the batsmen's tussle with the spinners bowling out of the rough.

  • mulleegrubber on August 24, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    Not many people know that the England Test team always have an undeclared 12th man at their disposal. His name is Jupiter Pluvius and he's unveiled only when England are in danger of losing.

    Isn't such unsportsmanlike behaviour a matter that should be investigated by the ICC?

  • on August 24, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    The record books will read ..... England defeated Australia 3-0.

  • on August 24, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Maybe if the Australian team could manage to bat for 120 overs, and only loose 4 wickets, they would have been in the series.

  • milepost on August 24, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    @ansram - Aussie batting as brittle as a straw? 4 centurions, 2 of whom also made 80 something scores. Twice past 400. Once under 200 chasing a win, something England will never ever consider with the bat. The fans should have been hurling rotten tomatoes yesterday so poor is England's attitude to the paying spectator. Australia nearly made 500 on the same wicket at 3+ an over. I don't know why there are so many critical of Lyon, his test record is excellent. This game is gone but Australia have worked England out and are improving rapidly while England look like the underdogs going to Australia, based on performance, not potential or predictions.

  • on August 24, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    Dear all: forget obligation to entertain and such, I'm all for success and I get the psychology of the return series in the balance, but my but about England yesterday is this - more broadly and longer-term their innings expressed the medium-term decline in Trott's and Pietersen's batting (fact: they've both dipped below 50 averages after long periods above) and the much shorter-term decline in Cook's (still hovering around 47/8 when he was heading for 50+). They didn't make massive scores - near-habitual 150 pluses - by going dead slow, altho they all have different "normal" speeds. So they're "not playing their natural game". And they're getting out for modest scores. Result: take away the rain and this match would not yet be saved by any means. Ergo this is what's wrong with defensive negativity as a strategy for this top order: it doesn't maximise their potential so it's not "pragmatic" because it doesn't work as well as trusting to and playing to their proven terrific ability.

  • WAKE_UP_CALL on August 24, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    what have english fans now left to shout about the real game of test cricket.The kind of filth that cook's team has shown on the field is a clear reflection that no one cares about the fans.I forgot that sport was about giving your best to win but the disgusting tactics of Andy as always has left not room for respect among neuteral cricket fans.All they can do is self praise themselves.

  • No.Name22 on August 24, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    I must say I agree with dmat on that. Cook has had a good success rate as Captain but it has come at a great cost, Boring Test Cricket. Even with Andrew Strauss at least you knew the game would go somewhere but with Cook...need I say more.

    Typical England, never facing up to a challenge because whenever they are under pressure they always withdraw into themselves and play the most boring form of cricket known to man, aka Backwards Cricket. They going so slow that soon, and I mean very soon, they will have a RR which goes into the negatives.

    It seems that only England have adopted this playing style frequently. Do they NOT realise that playing cricket is not so much about the winning or NOT LOSING as in this case but more about the having fun and enjoying it...CLEARLY NOT. GET A MOVE ON ENGLAND.

  • Int.Curator on August 24, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Anyone that supports English cricket and the way they go about it have never aspired to greatness and settled for a life of compromise and mediocrity.

  • on August 24, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Surajrises: Not a fan of Cook then!

  • on August 24, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    I think australia did pretty well with their inexperienced side.But for ashes australia they should get hilfenhaus mitchel johnson david hussey...and perhaps play wade as their non wicketkeeper batsman

  • BenjiNTU on August 24, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Yes it was a slow old day and England were somewhat conservative. But what does Australia expect? England are hardly going to go after length balls a foot outside off stump just to make a game of it when they are 3-0 up. Australia's bowling was as unimaginative as England's batting, far too much was straight up and down or too easy to leave. And now Harris is tired and down on pace, the aussie attack holds no real threat. I'm sure after this match this Australian side and "Boof" will act like they have been cheated out of victory in this series, much like at Old Trafford, but the truth is their bowlers don't have what it takes to run through a side quick enough to win, and all their batters are flat track wonders with out any technique.

  • frankpotter on August 24, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Some words from Stuart Broad earlier this week: 'We do have a win-at-all-costs mentality.' Very difficult to believe this after England's abject performance yesterday. And the slow over rates on the second day. But as a senior England player presumably he should know what he is talking about?

  • on August 24, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    Some really ridiculous comments about how Australia would never play such negative cricket if they were in England's position. Australia killed this game when they batted on, rather than trusting their bowlers to do the job. When in fact they have struggled to bowl out a thoughtful and headstrong team. Imagine if England did play attacking cricket the aussies would be crying even more. Winging aussies.

  • Big-Dog on August 24, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    England may have won the Ashes but they hav'nt won any fans with their negative go slow attitude, coupled with a made to order pitch that has ensured a drab draw. Very bad form England.

  • gsingh7 on August 24, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    this is the reason test cricket is terminally on last leg.if england bowlers are unable to restrict other team under 350 ,then they never even try to force the issue. they will try to draw the match . slow rpo in tests is root cause of its decline . the spectators who paid a fortune to go to grounds are left stranded watching insipid batting against a side who lost 7 out of last 8 matches. india pressed aus in last series and won the last test in 4 dAYS. england need to up the tempo and score at near 4 rpo to atleast make it interesting for us neutrals.

  • JG2704 on August 24, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    I do kind of empathise with folk criticising Eng here. It could be said that England are learning how not to fold against daunting totals and conditions looked less conducive to fast scoring but I wonder if guys like KP are going a bit too much against the grain? Still 3-0 would be better than 3-1 and I'm pretty sure 3-0 takes Eng back up to 2nd though way behind SA whereas I'm not sure 3-1 would. One thing I will say is that with this sort of mindset I think we're more likely to fall back towards (and maybe behind) the pack than get closer to SA

  • JG2704 on August 24, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster - You are actually pretty much spot on for once although you would have been posting similar whatever had happened. Eng certainly are not a great team but it looks like after this series is done we'll be officially the 2nd best side in the world - a way behind SA but having beaten both our nearest teams both home and away. BTW noticed a comm. re Chawla from you in response to one I made comparing Somerset signing Chawla and Surrey signing Amla. Of course I know they are different players as I clearly put but it's like if your favourite IPL side signed someone like Kerrigan and your rivals signed Gayle , you could still compare quality - it's not like comparing Gayle and Narine or Ajmal. As it is Chawla made a dreadful start so I hope he improves for us

  • PFEL on August 24, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    I would rather lose 5-0 than have my team play the kind of cricket England have this series. The time-wasting has been the worst of all, and Cook has got to be the worst captain in the history of the game.

  • jmcilhinney on August 24, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    @Sheela on (August 24, 2013, 2:34 GMT), I'm not sure whether you're aware or not but they did play extra time on day 3 to make up some of the time lost on day 2.

  • jmcilhinney on August 24, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    @Int.Curator on (August 24, 2013, 0:49 GMT), while I'd like to see England scoring at 4 an over, I consider their winning to be a higher priority. I'm more than happy for you to envy the team losing 0-3 in this series. It's quite funny that many people, myself included, have criticised England for not appearing to have a plan B at times, yet you contend that Australia should be lauded for continuing to play "enterprising cricket" despite the fact that doing so has got them to the current 0-3 scoreline. Maybe if they had played more like England at Durham then they may actually have won that game. I would say that WI are currently playing enterprising cricket and yet I don't see anyone envying them. Like a number of Australian fans, you seem not to have noticed that they aren't the great team that they were and may not be again for a very long time, if ever.

  • jmcilhinney on August 24, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta on (August 24, 2013, 1:03 GMT), thank you for repeating what I wrote and explaining to me what I was thinking while I wrote it. I actually knew what I was thinking the whole time but it was good of you none the less. Obviously an England win is the least likely outcome but it certainly doesn't hurt to hope. Many people delight in telling us how Australia will always push for the win and their doing so would likely be the only way England could win. If the pitch is as slow as the England batsmen have made it look then Australia could easily get themselves out for under a hundred if they throw the bat. I don't think that England set out to score so slowly but they have obviously been having trouble timing the ball. That may be partly due to their being out of form but this is not a great pitch. We'll only get an idea of how poor when Australia bat again but, if it has changed character, it may be too late by the time they realise their mistake.

  • AussieSam on August 24, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    @H_Z_O

    In this case I don't think it's much of factor that this was a 3rd day pitch whereas Aus's innings at Old Trafford was on a 1st day pitch. Have you seen how it's playing? If anything it's probably offering less help for the bowlers than it did on Day 1. And I heard a few commentators saying they think it's the worst pitch for bowlers in the whole series... and that's saying something with the pitches England has thrown up this summer, obviously trying to blunt the Aussie attack which they apparently are wary of. Also it's obviously easier to get batsmen who are scoring at 3.5 out than batsmen scoring at 2.0

    Also, since when has any side not used the approach of drying up runs in test cricket to get wickets? That's what bowling in test match cricket is all about. Even probably the most attacking side in cricket history with McGrath and Warne used the paradigm: Bowl three maidens in a row and you have an 85% chance of a wicket in the next over.

  • ansram on August 24, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    England have set themselves up nicely. They know Aussie batting is brittle as a straw and by getting closer to the first innings total, they are not only closer to drawing the test but even have an outside chance to win. Don't be surprised if England get 400 and skittle the Aussies for 150 and go 4-0.

  • jmcilhinney on August 24, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    @coldcoffee123 on (August 23, 2013, 16:08 GMT), I just looked hard at England's cricket and noticed that they are 3-0 up. I'm fairly happy with that and I'm fairly happy that you're not.

  • Surajrises on August 24, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    The UK Editor says that Australia have chipped away on a slowish wicket. England r just 4 wickets down then can someone actually help me understand how did Australia chip away? The fact is that England are getting what they want and that is a draw! I really dislike Cook's Captaincy. Unfortunately his negative Captaincy reflects in that entire team! The entire team is playing for a draw! I really hope Australia becomes so aggressive in their backyard that Cook's defensive Captaincy gets criticized all over the Cricketing World. I want the same thing to happen to England in South Africa. I hope AB Devilliers and Co have done the homework on Cook's Crappy Captaincy and attack so much that English men would understand how poor Cook's Captaincy is......

  • Srini_Indian on August 24, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    A dead pitch, playing for a draw in 3rd day's play is exactly what it is needed to kill Test cricket. Well done, England.

  • jmcilhinney on August 24, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    It's rather funny that neutrals are trying to tell us that it's England's approach that is killing Test cricket and yet this current game has been sold out since before Christmas.

  • on August 24, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    For me it is sad that Aus are in a position where England can afford to play in this fashion. If we'd been in a better position in the series then who knows what Englands response may have been? As it is they can do what they like, I think this is a pitch where it is pretty easy to survive but not that easy to score and said as much after day 1 and 2.

    I really hope we can get in fifty odd overs today, but even looking at the forecast that looks decidedly optimistic!

    For the Aussie bowlers, I thought Sidds bowled pretty well but I think he should be getting closer inti the stumps a lot more often and using his wide on the crease ball as the variation, not the other way around. Harris was terrific as usual, Lyon bowled realy well, the slow wicket is stopping him from really running through England. Faulkner looks like he lacks any real guns on a pitch like this, he needs to work on that. Starc has all the weapons, I just wish he'd make the batsmen play more often!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 24, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    Lyon was never going to be the man for Aus yesterday, not even on a pitch that has deteriorated like this one. The sight of Lyon bowling with a leg slip and short leg has so funny- A Lyon ball has as much chance of turning as water being discovered on the Sun!

  • cric_J on August 24, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    @Clodcoffee123/SJCYork : Australia have probably played the more entertaining cricket in the series and where are they ? 3-0 down in the series. All teams and players play to WIN first. Providing entertainment to the crowd is of secondary importance. England are doing just the same and there is nothing wrong about it. Also, playing "safe" is England's brand of cricket. They believe in strangling and paralysing the opposition by grinding them down rather than stabbing them by being attacking. They tried to be aggressive at OT and Durham 1st inngs and that was a disaster. Say what you will, but their style of play suits them best.

    @AussieSam : Day-1 is always better for batting , especially if it is at the Oval. So it is nothing new , nor great that Aus scored at a greater RR and lost lesser wkts.

  • on August 24, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Feel sorry for Australia. May be they will lose 3-0 but they could have drawn or won the ashes. First one they lost by only 12 runs. Third one nature stopped them from winning. Fourth one the lost from a winning position....So the figure 3-0 does not say it all........

  • Orsoncarte on August 24, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    I'm not going to be critical of a team that has cured my insomnia. Thank you, England

  • balajik1968 on August 24, 2013, 4:35 GMT

    England are a good side, but they are not great. They are arguably the best team if it comes to playing out time. They shut shop if the opponent comes up with a big total. You will never see an Adelaide 2006 from this side. The strange thing is this England side has an aggressive batsman in Pietersen. Trott can score at a good clip, so can Bell. Prior, Broad and Swann are a very handy lower order. The potential is there; the risk-taking mentality is absent.

  • on August 24, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    cant really complain Eng are doing everything right in trying not to lose

    The difference in the 2 teams is on display - Oz put under pressure have folded a number of times, Eng under pressure have not

    BTW - ask any Oz fan if they would rather lose looking good or win looking flat. I know what Id go for

  • dunger.bob on August 24, 2013, 3:56 GMT

    I agree with @TeamRocker and others. There's no point in whinging about England's tactics. It's their party, they pick the music. I reckon they plan to bat deep into day 4, roll us over in 50 overs and canter to victory with time to spare. That's sort of what happened in Durham wasn't it? .. can't blame them for trying again. @ sbansban: Very nice work !!. Slow day at work huh.

    This deck will turn sooner or later. There may still be a result. I, for one, am happy to see what happens before getting too hot under the collar about run rates etc.

  • on August 24, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    ECB either change your captain/ coach for the return tour or stay at home! Ashes or no Ashes i would rather South Africa or India or any other team in world cricket at the moment then this mob. In fact i would rather have no team play and go to the grounds to watch the grass grow then to watch this gutless, scared to lose English team go around. Its better to die on your feet then live on your knees!

  • Rowayton on August 24, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    Hill bumper 14.16, you ask what would happen if Cook was batting with his normal skill. Well, considering that he has played 4 full series against Australia and averaged under 30 in three of them (depending on what happens in the second innings) there is a good argument that he is playing with his normal skill. I haven't seen him make runs too often when the bowlers bowl well.

  • heathrf1974 on August 24, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    England don't have to win. I don't mind there tactics of steady as she goes. One of the things England are good at is saving Test matches. Something Australia can learn from.

  • Sheela on August 24, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    It is heartening to note that 98 overs have been bowled in the day contrary to other Test matches. Hope this trend continues and old ways bowling around 70 odd overs in a day ends immediately.

  • on August 24, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    England is not interested in taking any risks. Look at their over and run rates in this test for that matter in this series. If their bowlers have not laid the foundation they are not interested in wresting the control back as that is too risky for them. They are not interested in making a spectacle for the public, after all it is a dead rubber even on benign pitches! If you look at the over and run rates you would be hard pressed to say who actually leads the series 3 zip!

  • Dashgar on August 24, 2013, 1:50 GMT

    Before the series there were arrogant Englishmen saying the crowd should get refunds for 5th days as the Poms were going to have every game won by then. In reality the crowd today should get a refund for the pathetic England go slow put on. 98 overs were bowled today but less runs were scored than what Australia managed in just 38 overs yesterday (for the loss of only 1 more wicket). England have been playing for the draw ever since they lost the toss and they will probably get it. But why would a powerful team like England even want a draw against this Australian side, especially at home. It shows they are weak, Australia may have lost this series but they go into the next with all the momentum.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 24, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    It's not very often you get unplayable deliveries. usually the batsman get's himself out through playing rash shots even if it's a plan. If they are just going to sit there, block half volleys and full tosses, well. Nothing much is going to happen.

  • Hammond on August 24, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    Just don't understand the criticism, unless you are an Aussie fan that wanted England to throw the bat and get bowled out for 300. England would rather draw a test than lose it, there isn't much hope in outscoring 9/492 dec with only 3 days left in the test match. I don't think England are scared in the slightest of this bog average Australian bowling lineup, and are demonstrating how toothless they really are by batting a whole day against them for only 4 down. Steven Waugh always used to go on about how the mental side of the game is just as important as the physical side, watch how the shoulders droop in the Aussie camp when they make the highest score of the series on a dead flat wicket and still can't manage a win against a superior England cricket team. And they won't be keen on producing bowler friendly wickets in Australia given how brittle their batting has been overall. Well played England I say, grind the baggy green down! 3-0 is a great result.

  • on August 24, 2013, 1:03 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (August 23, 2013, 18:13 GMT) - When you wrote: "If England can get close to Australia and then Australia push for quick runs and lose wickets due to the slow pitch then England could possibly end up in a position to win."..., it was the most wishful thinking, I read on this match, so far.

    But you corrected yourself immediately saying: "It's not necessarily the most likely outcome..."

    But you still couldn't totally give up the wish, when you continued: "Even if the weather holds, but it's a possibility. Swann could play a big part and it would be great if Kerrigan made a comeback...."

    Hope springs eternal, Mr jmcilhinney. Is it not?

    Unfortunately, a dull stalemate seems to be the most likely outcome. Day 5 could be more of Day 4. Sorry mate! Sorry, all of us the viewers!

  • stueyh1 on August 24, 2013, 0:50 GMT

    I don't go much on this "England have a Negative Approach" stuff. During the 90's and for half the following decade England spent most of their time trying to copy Australia and failed miserably. It was only when they started to play like England and making the most of their strengths that they started to be successful. For me, as an England supporter, the maximum entertainment comes from seeing England beat Australia, not from flashy shots and scoring 5 runs an over, and certainly not trying to copy from anyone else. Thank goodness the English brains trust has not succumbed to the the badgering from outsiders to change how they play. Do whatever it takes to win the series and not give the Aussies a sniff of a victory.

  • Int.Curator on August 24, 2013, 0:49 GMT

    Feel sorry for the english punters paying their hard earn pounds to wait a couple of years for the entertaining Australian team to arrive, only to have A Cook and the team playing their usual mindset of negative cricket. Australia won more sessions in the series, Australia also played more enterprising, entertaining and positive cricket. This brand of cricket will continue to be the envy of all cricketing nations with or without the Ashes.

  • CosmoCrawley on August 24, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    One of the few consolations of this series for an Australian supporter is the certain knowledge that no matter how low Australian cricket sinks, we would never resort to the kind of abject negativity shown by England in this Test.

  • on August 24, 2013, 0:06 GMT

    England's approach to the game shows their lack of quality - Australia in their pomp would have pushed victory even though it might have invited defeat - but this English team doesn't have the skill or ability to do that! No wonder Kevin Pietersen can't stand the Captain or Coach if this is the nonsense he has to put up with - he looked like a tail ender when he curbed his natural game!

    It will be interesting to seem whether time wasting and defensive batting will be a viable tactic on pitches which favour the seamers - one would suggest that trying to play out time in Brisbane and Perth if the English get behind in a match will lead to their defeat.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 24, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    So much for test cricket surviving deep into the future. At this rate, can't see it last beyond the next 2 years. Only a FEW test matches are interesting. The vast majority of them are BORING beyond thought. England once again showing why they aren't a great team. The WI and Australians of the 80s and 90s/2000s wouldn't have batted this way. They would have played a lot more attacking cricket to WIN the game. England clearly playing NOT to lose the game. There is a difference there. Can't believe 2 more days of this kind of cricket is pending.

  • on August 23, 2013, 23:35 GMT

    Given the dry dusty turning wickets prepared for Swann this series, I believe the Poms will have a real struggle on their hands in Australia. Sydney will be the only wicket that may help the spinners.

  • bobpeecee on August 23, 2013, 23:07 GMT

    England's style of play is one reason why Test Cricket will die. I understand wanting to protect your lead but don't do it at the cost of putting on a show. Ban Flower from coaching and Cook from captaining I say.

  • on August 23, 2013, 23:05 GMT

    um, if a diesel engine gets a whiff of the lighter petrol fuel it would darn near go nuclear. Gilly's 50-odd ball century comes to mind. Certainly not todays play...

  • Andygs on August 23, 2013, 22:58 GMT

    3-0 up and England still appear to be playing for a draw. This is disappointing if true. Aussies bowled with discipline if not penetration on a batting friendly pitch. Alot needs to happen for Australia to win from here. Weather may be biggest factor. Australia should at least fight the Test out to take some positives home for the return series.

  • Cantbowlcantbat on August 23, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    England showing their "greatness" again. You'd think at 3-0 they'd try and force a result as the great Australian sides did over and over again. How did Oz beat England 5-0 in 06/7- by shutting the gate at 3-0? No, they did what great sides do and force a victory or lose trying.

  • H_Z_O on August 23, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    @AussieSam on (August 23, 2013, 19:43 GMT)

    "Also, to the people saying 4 wickets in 100 overs shows Aus's attack is toothless, don't forget England only got 3 wickets on day 1 at Old Trafford and Aus were scoring at over 3.5 rpo, not batting for a draw"

    Err. You do realise the difference between bowling on a day 3 pitch with a massive lead and bowling on a day 1 pitch without one, don't you? I wouldn't say Australia's attack were toothless today, they bowled without much luck, but I find it funny that it took three English batsmen playing loose shots (Cook, Root and Pietersen) to get themselves out, and yet you seem to be suggesting that "batting for a draw" is why you only took four wickets.

    By the way, at Old Trafford the fourth Aussie wicket fell after 104.6 overs. England lost our fourth at 100.3 today. Not much in it. And Australia's bowling today was all about drying up runs and forcing errors. When England do that, it's defensive, when Australia do it, it isn't. Why is that?

  • Shaggy076 on August 23, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    As an Australian fan I'm a little bemused how quckly England decided they can't win and starting playing for a draw, but all they have done is removed any chance they have of winning. There is still 196 overs to go and that isa long time to survive if the pitch starts to significantly deteoriate.

  • on August 23, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    There is a time to grind and perhaps this was it. It wasn't very chivalrous, but when you're up against 500 with a number of players struggling for form and timing on a slow slow pitch, I'd say it's fair enough. Hopefully once they hit the follow-on they'll play a wee bit more positively. Hope Woakes makes a good score too.

  • smudgeon on August 23, 2013, 22:13 GMT

    I can't recall ever seeing a team start playing for a draw from the second day. The great teams of recent times marked themselves by backing themselves to win, not settling for anything less except when the game really was out of reach. That approach comes from passion and fire in the belly, and makes for thrilling cricket. Even Kevin Pietersen - a genuinely exciting and passionate cricketer - played like a bank manager. The thing that kind of irks me is that the English side on the park in this Test (aside from the two ring-ins) has the components to make that happen. That they first let Australia get away with the bat, and then closed up shop so quickly, is dizzying.

  • squiff on August 23, 2013, 22:05 GMT

    It's not so much mental disintegration from England, as mental suffocation. Deprive the Australains of oxygen, rather than chop their heads off. Very effective in a Cook-Flower-esque sort of way, but can they turn the run machine back on at the GABBA in November?

  • warnerbasher on August 23, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    Winners can please themselves I suppose but they certainly are a very dull side England which probably reflects the personality of their captain. Cooks batting has been completely unravelled so much that it looks that every time he bats its survival mode. Dark days ahead for England

  • ImpartialExpert on August 23, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    Clarke made a slight error in declaring in the first innings. Many English and Australians may not agree with me but it requires some sub-continental experience. On a slow dry wicket like this you are playing the first four days to set up the fifty day play. Things will start happening rapidly from the fourth day post tea session. So first innings leads plays a big part in how the match pans out. 50 more runs in the first innings means you can declare that much sooner. If you can score those 50 runs in first innings in about 8 to 10 overs you would take 15 to 18 overs in the second innings because run scoring becomes that much more difficult. So you are actually saving time by not declaring or delaying your declaration in the first innings. Australia may have scored those 50 runs in 8 overs the way they were going. If you get out trying to score quickly it is still slightly better than declaration.

  • GrindAR on August 23, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    If eng finish above 370, no interruption 45 overs tomorrow, they in the contest to win this match.

  • keithmillersmesserschmitt on August 23, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    @i.a.g.o. : "England playing not to lose is understandable"?!?! They're three-nil up! This is not some noble stand against the odds to save the game and series. England has pretensions of being a great side---but I can't remember the Australians mid-90s to late 2000s or the West Indians 1970s-90s being this dull. One title that could easily be given to the English cricket team is "world's most boring team"---they certainly beat the Saffers, Indians and Aussies on that front! Aren't they concerned about what they're doing to the image of the game? How many of the spectators would have regretted the expense of going to see yesterday's display? How many young cricketers would it have inspired?

  • GrindAR on August 23, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    I just ask one qtn. Who is playing for a draw, Clark or Cook? Very confused on that on Day3. Someone shed their lights.

  • Fluffykins on August 23, 2013, 21:24 GMT

    Excuse me but I was at the Oval yesterday and had no problem with the way England played and would have been there today if I could have. It's test cricket not odi and if I wanted to see my team bat hell for leather I'd have opted for t20. England have been way below par in this series and our batsman need to spend time at the crease and get some confidence back I am sorry if people have a problem with that perhaps they should explain why we should play any different under the circumstances, get over it.

  • Shan156 on August 23, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    You see some neutrals here who harp on about how test cricket is dying due to England's defensive mentality. But if it is their team, they wouldn't mind these tactics. Anyone remember the India Pakistan series in the 1980s would know how boring these teams were then. 5 test matches, 1 result would be the norm then. Why blame the English batsmen? Why not blame the Aussie bowlers? Why don't they try something different rather than bowl the same line and length? Why not try something adventurous if you want to win? What these neutrals would rather like is for Eng. to throw their bats around, collapse for sub-200, sub-100 totals and then laugh at us for being so poor at cricket.

    cricinfo, please publish.

  • on August 23, 2013, 21:21 GMT

    England grinding their way to a 3-0 series victory at 2+ runs an over versus Austrailia racing to a 0-3 defeat at 3+ an over. Need I say more?

  • BRUTALANALYST on August 23, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    @Julian_Franklin Too critical ? Don't be stupid if anything I think everyone is being too kind. Care to remind me of a time Australia even after winning series would then go easy and experiment with 2 debutantes in an Ashes series ? and then come out to bat like they're looking for a draw to tie the series ? this has been a pathetic display from the selection to the ridiculously defensive tactics.

  • JG2704 on August 23, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    @John Iain Pearceon (August 23, 2013, 20:41 GMT) Mate , things have changed over the years. I remember looking at some old Wisdens from the early 80s and was looking at the scorecards. I'm guessing you remember the old JPL (40 over comp). If you scored 170+ you seemed to be in a great position to win. Now 170 is a decent 20 over score

    @coldcoffee123 on (August 23, 2013, 13:41 GMT) Cold Coffee seems to have left a bad taste in your mouth their bud

  • JG2704 on August 23, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    @Shan156/R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 23, 2013, 13:14 GMT) - 2 quality posters , but I think I'm more with RU4 on this one. It's good that we can draw games which we may have lost yesteryear but I still worry about things like the UAE tour repeating itself because we get into a negative mindset. I also think we've been lucky with the weather in the test we were booked to lose and lucky we lost some weather in this one and that the umpires have been lenient with over rates. Maybe I'm being harsh - I mean Eng were probably batting in murkier conditions but I guess Eng felt that with a 5 man attack they'd skittle Aus and when this wasn't happening , they had no plan B. This was a day when I was not away so I got to watch some of it but I ended up finding blackberry picking a more fulfilling way to spend the rest of the day - and I'm not even joking

    @H_Z_O on (August 23, 2013, 19:30 GMT) Yeah but those stats don't fit the agendas of some on here

  • 64blip on August 23, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    @oval77 Australia have to be satisfied with a draw, surely? They've avoided 4-0 and a couple of batsmen have shown that on a flat pitch in a dead rubber, they can stand up and be counted. I think looking back on the tour, Australia have taken the opportunity to give everyone a go, and in lots of different positions in the order, which is nice (not sure what Wade did to miss out, can't have been a homework thing because everyone's having a few beers and a smoke now). It's not the 5-0 most people were expecting after their unfortunate trip to India and thanks to some doughty batting chasing unlikely fourth innings totals it's even appeared close at times. They'll be looking forward to the return series with confidence, knowing their ranks will be bolstered by the young guns ripping up the Shield averages behind Ricky Ponting.

  • brittop on August 23, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    coldcoffee123: A 3-0 fluke! Good joke. Aussie batting should have been more disciplined? You mean they shouldn't have tried to score so fast? Like England?

  • GrindAR on August 23, 2013, 21:09 GMT

    Clarke did not use JF well. He made batsmen play shots... there were wickets during his spells

  • GrindAR on August 23, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    eng intention is to draw this one from the time first ball bowled on day 2. Good resistance from batsmen... Aussies had to bowl with some tooth in it... testing batsman's state of mind... It is tough doing than saying... Clarke to set attacking field to take 40% chance cases... you know slow bowling right... Bowl slower is the key :-)

  • on August 23, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    A lot of tenuous commentary here, England are grinding out a draw, using the rain, and killing off the spirit of the opposition. Sure if England had won the toss, they would have put on 500 and hoped to get Australia out in a day, but let's face it this pitch is toothless and 750 runs have been scored at Avg 60+ so anyone beliving that a result is likely is fooling themselves, Australia batted brilliantly, and well done to them, but as soon as you declare at 492-9 there are only going to really be two results, and an England win isn't one of them. I think Australia will quietly be happy about a bit of rain tomorrow, which equals rest and a change in tempo/swing. Anyway, it's all conjecture, 99% likely a drawn game from here.

  • Julian_Franklin on August 23, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    We're being too critical of England here ... when Australia had their wonderful run in Ashes series between 1989 and 2003, England usually won one. England aren't giving Australia a sniff here and with rain forecast for tomorrow the important thing was for England not to finish 7 or 8 wickets down ... well battled I say!

  • on August 23, 2013, 20:41 GMT

    If people thought today's play was slow I recall a test match at the oval in 1978 when England scored 279 in the first innings off 134.5 overs!! Brearley was England's captain for that test match and considered one of the best post war captains England have had!! Perhaps it's inherent in England's nature to 'grind' opponents down!!

  • on August 23, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    A very slow day at the office. England just did the bare minimum, with probably one eye on Saturday's weather forecast. Batsmen get a start, yet again have played loose shots to get themselves out. A little bit to think about for the winter Tests.

  • nareshgb1 on August 23, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    the real thing here is Aussies have already had to bowl 116 overs and have got only 4 wickets. If they hav eyto bowl even another 80 to get the remaining 6, that is 200 overs - back breaking stuff. possible outcomes - another bowler is injured, England get enough runs to put pressure on Aussies in 3rd innings (well OK, for that they will have to bat 250 overs - which is even better to break someone's back).

    So I dont see what wrong England have done - they have won 3-0 - why should they be doing the running? Let the Aussies do it. Its not entertaining, but its test match cricket - the "real thing" :):)

  • on August 23, 2013, 19:52 GMT

    Then you wonder why tests are dying and this is as premier as it gets when it comes to test matches. England in its all majesty can never compare with Aussies of the 90s or the WI of the yore. English with tail between your legs attitude at the slightest hint of danger will not help them in being proclaimed as a dynasty or dominating test side. The standard of tests have fallen so much world over England who still cares for it is a leading side. I strongly believe Tests as a means of entertainment is on its last leg

  • Shan156 on August 23, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK, you maybe correct. But for Eng. fans like me who have gone through some horror times like the 80s and the 90s, drawing a game using dull methods is still way better than losing playing attacking cricket. The key here is losing and not losing. This Eng. team understand their strengths and limitations and try to play within that. I agree that attacking cricket makes for compelling viewing like Botham's 1981 adventures but they are once in a lifetime experiences. This England team are efficient and know when they can and cannot win. I would rather they continue this approach. You try to win a game but when you realize that it is hard to win, the next thing you do is ensure that you don't lose it. Teams don't lose often after scoring nearly 500 runs. So, Cook's decision was right - to not give a sniff of a win to Australia. Cook's captaincy record is still very good - 9 wins, 1 defeat, 5 draws.

  • whatawicket on August 23, 2013, 19:50 GMT

    in the bad old days we would be well beaten and we would maybe sneak the last test of a rubber. so it looks like we will win 3 - 0 which cannot be bad and the Aussies are going to win zilch and still some English supporters are not pleased.

  • landl47 on August 23, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    Given that this is a dead rubber match, I thought maybe England would throw caution to the winds and play a free-scoring, joyous game. Nope! They continued to follow their mantra of batting long and to the extent that they only lost 4 wickets in the day I suppose they succeeded. However, it wasn't exactly brilliant entertainment for the full house who paid to come in- 215 runs and 4 wickets in 98 overs makes snails look dashing by comparison.

    If weather doesn't intervene, I still like Australia to win; even if England bat until tea tomorrow and score another 150 runs they'll be the best part of 100 behind. An ODI-type thrash for 150-200 and Aus could set a target and give themselves 75 overs to bowl England out on a 5th day pitch. Lyon is bowling well, so they could do it. A draw still seems most likely, especially if any more time is lost.

    Can't see England winning unless they bowl Australia out for about 50, with Kerrigan taking 8-16. I'm not betting my pension on that.

  • AussieSam on August 23, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    I think people are missing the point about the run rate. Yes, if a team makes 500 then the win is unlikely but the way Eng were in the field on day 2 (having all the fieldsmen on the fence at some points) it seems they were happy to go for the draw as soon as Australia go to 400. The fact is, batting for a draw from ball 1 in their 1st innings, despite being boring and showing a lack of confidence, was also dangerous. If they had've lost a couple more wickets they would be in a very precarious position now, still not even past the follow on target. They could've scored at 3, 3.5 an over and they'd be well past it but now they could be bowled out only a few runs past it and then Australia would be able to make a quick 100-150 and then heap the pressure on them in the 4th innings.

    Also, to the people saying 4 wickets in 100 overs shows Aus's attack is toothless, don't forget England only got 3 wickets on day 1 at Old Trafford and Aus were scoring at over 3.5 rpo, not batting for a draw

  • WoundedSplinter on August 23, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    It's very simple. This is an atrocious way to present Test cricket to the world. The scoring rate is back in the early '60s, and the time-wasting is just plain obnoxious. I blame Broad far more for this than I do for him not walking.

    Cooke is not a credible captain. He's lost his batting mo-jo, and with the one thing he's supposed to be good at (man-management), he's stomped all over a debutant left-arm spinner. (I don't suppose his "Essex" comments regarding Panesar helped very much, much though I want to see Monty back in contention.)

    He just isn't up to captaincy. Bell, I think, would do a better job. Plausibly, Prior would. Speaking of whom, we need to lose Flower fast. He's done his job, and thanks for that, but I just cannot stand this attritional rubbish.

    Horrible things happen when you set out to score at two runs an over. Lose three wickets in a bunch, expose the tail, and you're done.

  • oval77 on August 23, 2013, 19:35 GMT

    I don't understand why Australia seem to be playing for a draw here. Ok they've already admitted that they never came over to win, so perhaps they feel they've got enough positives out of this series? Quite a lot of media exposure, a bit of a look at England's bowlers, Hughes showed some potential, and a good fitness check for their quicks.

  • H_Z_O on August 23, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    The other thing that strikes me about all the stats floating around was the wickets. We keep hearing how only one side has scored over 400 in the series, and how the Australians have scored more centuries, and scored at a quicker rate.

    England have taken 6 five-fers in the series, and two 10-fers. Australia have taken 3 five-fers and no 10-fers. Harris took 9 at Durham, but so did Swann at Lord's. And even if Old Trafford hadn't been washed out, and assuming Australia had taken the remaining 7 wickets, they still would have trailed England on both stats, regardless of who took the remaining wickets.

    Despite the fact Australia have had the only two scores over 400, we've still had 5 300+ scores to their 2. Only one of Australia's sub-300 scores was declared. We've been bowled out under 250 twice and still won both Tests.

    Australia have played some excellent cricket. But England have played the winning cricket. Call it boring, call it what you will, but it's been mightily effective.

  • on August 23, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    David, a masterly and wryly amusing summary - easily the best thing to come out of the day. The ECB must be wondering when the paying public will twig that this sort of cricket is not worth the admission money, let alone the costs and effort of getting to the ground. I cannot remember, as an England cricket supporter, ever feeling less impressed with a 3-0 series win.

  • hhillbumper on August 23, 2013, 19:14 GMT

    I love all this people posting about Aus should have won more tests.could have should have would have.Aus you lost so accept it and we will see you down under when hopefully we play a lot better.Cook tends to bat better abroad. Broad should have fun with a bit of bounce as well.Good luck winning this test because at least Shane Warne thinks you are a great team and his commentaries have become no way baised since he get paid by ACB.He is beginning to Malcolm Conn seem open minded

  • niazbhi on August 23, 2013, 19:11 GMT

    Australia is not as weak as it seems. All their quicks are decent bats and their three most talented batsmen are decent bowlers(Clark, Watson, Smith). Lyon is there. Quicks are good. Rogers and Warner can be very good as well. England is missing a 3rd seamer. only one of Anderson and Broads bowls well in each test. Swann is good. No wonder Aussies can score big when the win the toss. Cook and Co are going to build and then open up. So far as soon as any batsman has a decent score, he goes. So no one opened up. England is not claiming they are the great. They did really well with the limited resources which is 5 or 6 batmen avergaing 40 or more and 2 and a half good bowlers in Anderson, Swann and Broad).

  • SJCYorkshire on August 23, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    Solid professional performance from England to bat for 116 overs for the loss of only 4 wickets . Could Australia have done the same if the roles were reversed?Shame that Cook, Root and KP were masters of their own downfall only Trott was really 'got out'. Weather permitting it would be nice to see Bell get his 4th century and Australia be forced to take the 3rd new ball. Nice start from Woakes, he has every chance of making the No.6 spot his - and would be a good start to a lower order with Prior, Bresnan, Broad and Swann. A good day for England.

  • thelapal on August 23, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    Its tough to believe that Australia is actually trying to win this match they are pretty much playing for a draw and seems like england too are quite comfortable with a draw knowing that chances of going for win against opponent who scored nearly 500 runs is nothing but foolish despite having won ashes already with 3-0 ! They surely dont want to give australia any chance of winning and getting some confidence before the start of T20 Series.If australia cant win this match it shows there are lack of ability to win matches and lack of quality in all departments to be a best test team for future and get back the glory they lost is looks quite impossible.

  • on August 23, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    Aggressive cricket by the team and innovative captaincy by Clarke helps Australia enforce follow-on on England in day 3. Oops.

  • on August 23, 2013, 17:55 GMT

    Regarding Cook, remember he is still a young and inexperienced Captain. He is still developing as a leader and so far is doing fine in a very tough job. England have not been at their best and have won 3-0. Is this Australia's best? Not sure, as the team changes so much. Australia will be more of a force at home, but ultimately England have better stonger cricketers so should win comfortably again. I think 3-0 means that England go up to 2nd in the rankings and Australia drop to 5th.

  • on August 23, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    At least there's now no doubt which is the most pathetically unambitious and boring team in the world!

  • TomPrice on August 23, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    I can see why Aussie supporters have such high hopes for the return series. On this tour Australia have certainly exceeded expectations. After all, they did manage to beat Somerset back in June. Plus only 4 of their seam bowlers are injured.

  • mikkkk on August 23, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    3 wickets in 90 overs, is poor, very poor. And don't tell me this is why Aus is losing 3-0. That is not an excuse for 3 in 90 overs. Aus needs to look hard at their cricket.

  • Bodders70 on August 23, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    Usual rubbish about run rates I see. This seems to be a pattern of:- 1) If England were a great side then they'd push for 4-0. I don't think anyone, since learning the lessons of the fall from the no.1 ranking has claimed England are great. They're a good side, who've learnt how to win series by percentage cricket. Percentage cricket when the opposition puts up 500+ first innings is to play for the draw first, third innings collapse when nothing to lose second. 2) These Australian bowlers are supposedly much better than England's, yet England should be able to score at 3-4 an over against them? How does that work then? Not to mention the bad press that trying to score quicker and collapsing would bring on England (see most of Trott's previous innings this series). However, there is some enjoyment in the growing apoplexy of Shane Warne and others at the negative approach. Ensuring 3-0 and not giving an opponent any hope has as much merit as going for 4-0 and losing 3-1, possibly more.

  • coldcoffee123 on August 23, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    200 runs in 90 overs, is poor, very poor. And don't tell me that Eng is winning 3-0. That is not an excuse for 200 in 90 overs. Eng needs to look hard at their cricket.

  • Essex_Man on August 23, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    Total lack of firepower from Australia's bowling "attack"; and what has happened to Clarke's supposedly innovative captaincy? This is the Aussies' last chance to grab some sort of result from a pitiful tour and they're barely capable of creating any chances, let alone taking quick wickets.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 23, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    @Shan156 (and others): I'm not criticising England's "go-slow approach" at all - in fact in the earlier games I was applauding it because the conditions and game circumstances called for it. Run-rates of less than 3 per over are the norm. for test cricket, and I have nothing against that. What I'm cheesed off about is as xtrafalgarx (post on August 23, 2013, 15:25 GMT) says: every time England are up against a big score, regardless of the conditions and game circumstances, they clam up and go all out for the dull and boring draw - when in reality there are enough decent players there in the team to make a good close-faught game of it (weather permitting of course). I do not believe England are playing like this now because of the predicted weather forecast!

  • TeamRocker on August 23, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    Even as an Aussie supporter, I have to say I have no problems with what England are doing. It may be dull, it may be negative, but it has still kept them 3-0 up in the series. On a slightly brighter note, Australia do have several positives that they can take back from this series, and the next two innings might throw up some more. Smith and Watson are both showing some character, Clarke isn't having to shoulder the entire burden, Rogers and Warner may well form a formidable opening pair, Harris is staying injury free and Lyon is developing into a very threatening spin bowler. I'll just sign off by saying that I am seriously looking forward to the return leg, on slightly livelier pitches.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 23, 2013, 15:25 GMT

    I guess the English will be happy that their team is winning, but this type of batting is really hard praise for a non-english supporter. If you are up 3 - 0, what's to lose? It seems as soon a England are up against a big score, they switch tactics and play for the draw from day 1, even pietersen.

    I just think it's too many plans, too many tactics, the game is to entertain, play some real cricket!

  • on August 23, 2013, 15:12 GMT

    Agree with Thomas. This is Test Cricket not IPL. Bitter Aussies will have to lump it if they don't like it. They are so great apparently yet are so unlucky. 3-0 down? Sore losers more like it. Posting big totals once the Ashes are already lost and the pressure is off is hardly the mark of a great side. And let me also say Lehman's comments regarding Stuart Broad are a total disgrace to cricket. For generations, Australian cricketers cynically and calculating never walked. If you don't like your own medicine hard cheese. Everyone else knows where the Ashes are staying.

  • Jason83 on August 23, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    i really to feel that england have been luck this series. If there had been no rain Australia would have one def one test. Also if Broad have had walked they would have won the first test. That automatically two tests to Australia. And if Australia had have shown at least 10% fight in the last test that could have been different too. I just hope English supporters have the courage to admit that they have far from dominated this series.

  • sbansban on August 23, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    Alastair laboriously Cooked up just twenty five runs but Joe struck Root for 184 deliveries before falling prey to Lyon. Jonathan kept playing dot balls on the Trott and with Bell likely to take a toll on Aussie bowlers again Prior to Australia being put on the Matt and the tail wagging on the Broad shoulders of Stuart followed by Graeme and company's customary Swann song, Australia will need to face the Starc reality of the consequences of Bird flying home. Roger that!

  • BRUTALANALYST on August 23, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    3-0 up and batting like this ? I can't deal with it I want Carberry opening what's with thise defensive batting I thought Cook was going for 4-0 day 2 and looks like hes playing for a draw !

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 23, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    If ever there was a game to drive the fans away it was this. Ir does not matter how slow the pitch. There is no excuse for such a likeless performance,. From before the toss England have not considered the fans or the whole entertainment business. The Australians must be laughing. England are throwing all their advantages to the wind in this disgustoing cynical farce.

  • hhillbumper on August 23, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    just watched half an hour of the test match.Just been painting a wall and sat down for a break.Went back to paint my wall and found the paint drying to have a similar quality of Englands batting. God help me I have started to cheer Australia as England seemed to have slipped into a collective coma.Has anyone told them that scoring runs helps you to win matches.

  • ben.p. on August 23, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    One little-observed detail recently is Cook's productivity when opening with Nick Compton, who made more than a handful of runs himself. Apart from the home series against New Zealand earlier this season, which was won anyway, it looked like one of the most solid opening partnerships England have enjoyed in recent, ( and not-so-recent ), history. Perhaps Cook is unsettled facing the new ball with what may be the young pretender to his crown? Whichever way you look at it, this new arrangement isn't really working, but I very much doubt whether Messrs. Miller and Flower will have the courage to admit their mistake.

  • on August 23, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    wonder why everyone is moaning...you haven't been long time cricket fans then. We're beating the Aussies without playing the best we can. we used to get trounced about every game in the 90s... If the Aussies are so great, let them do everything to get one win in the series! they used to get at least two

  • hhillbumper on August 23, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    they should drop cook and bring in Ballance.Drop swann and bring in Rashid.Drop Anderson for sidebottom. They should make Illy captain. Cool we will have the most destructive team ever. Meanwhile in the real world England have played poorly and beaten Australia 3-0. What happens if England play to their ability and if Cook starts batting with his normal skill. As for his captaincy it is a bit stale and you wonder if Swann would be a bit more adventurous.This team reminds me of the early 90s south africa. disciplined a bit dull and a bit pious.Mind you beats the old days when we collapsed every two seconds.

  • Shan156 on August 23, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    People who criticize Eng's go-slow approach should also remember that faced with a first innings score of 492, Eng. have only 5 batsmen (3 of them out of form), an out of form wicket keeper and a rookie budding all-rounder. If the Aussies are good enough as their fans have been claiming all series despite their team trailing 0-3, let them take the initiative and try to force the win.

  • coldcoffee123 on August 23, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    England won the Ashes by fluke. They had no plans while batting or fielding, no sense of urgency while batting. Their performance, batting especially, has tapered off since the first Test. They loiter around at 1-2.5 rpo. They just wake up and show up on the field. No wonder SA nailed them by an innings and 12 runs at Oval last year. Believe it or not, it is the Aussie performances that I remember of this Ashes tour. Ryan Harris, Agar, Smith, Lyon... I do not remember anything special Eng has done, except Bell. Had Aus showed some more discipline while batting, they could have been 3-1 up. I see England losing 3-0 in Australia.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 23, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    I have to admit that I'm rather disappointed with England's mindset for this game. I haven't actually watched or followed play much today, so others can correct me if I'm wrong and actually the bowling's just been awesome and/or batting conditions tricky; but the moment Watson got his ton on Day 1 and Kerrigan failed to impress, I just saw England's spark die out and thought from that moment on they've been playing for the draw since. I think pretty much any other international cricket team would be out there at least TRYING to chase down Aus. target and making a game of this. England, however, seem intent on weighing anchor and letting the other ships sail past or sink trying.

  • dmat on August 23, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    I must say that I've been disappointed with Cook's captaincy and his batting. He has been negative all series and lacks any attacking flair. England have only lost the toss twice and both times they started playing for a draw before they got in to bat. With captains like Cook, test cricket will die.

  • 5wombats on August 23, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    An article which overdoes it, somewhat. David; ease off on Cook mate. His amazing efforts in India and before that in Australia show what a fine player he is. When a player has played at those heights it seems that anything short of those heights appears as a disappointment. Cook is captaining his side to an emphatic home Ashes series win the like of which we haven't seen for decades - so how about cutting him some slack....

  • 5wombats on August 23, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    An article which overdoes it, somewhat. David; ease off on Cook mate. His amazing efforts in India and before that in Australia show what a fine player he is. When a player has played at those heights it seems that anything short of those heights appears as a disappointment. Cook is captaining his side to an emphatic home Ashes series win the like of which we haven't seen for decades - so how about cutting him some slack....

  • dmat on August 23, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    I must say that I've been disappointed with Cook's captaincy and his batting. He has been negative all series and lacks any attacking flair. England have only lost the toss twice and both times they started playing for a draw before they got in to bat. With captains like Cook, test cricket will die.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 23, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    I have to admit that I'm rather disappointed with England's mindset for this game. I haven't actually watched or followed play much today, so others can correct me if I'm wrong and actually the bowling's just been awesome and/or batting conditions tricky; but the moment Watson got his ton on Day 1 and Kerrigan failed to impress, I just saw England's spark die out and thought from that moment on they've been playing for the draw since. I think pretty much any other international cricket team would be out there at least TRYING to chase down Aus. target and making a game of this. England, however, seem intent on weighing anchor and letting the other ships sail past or sink trying.

  • coldcoffee123 on August 23, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    England won the Ashes by fluke. They had no plans while batting or fielding, no sense of urgency while batting. Their performance, batting especially, has tapered off since the first Test. They loiter around at 1-2.5 rpo. They just wake up and show up on the field. No wonder SA nailed them by an innings and 12 runs at Oval last year. Believe it or not, it is the Aussie performances that I remember of this Ashes tour. Ryan Harris, Agar, Smith, Lyon... I do not remember anything special Eng has done, except Bell. Had Aus showed some more discipline while batting, they could have been 3-1 up. I see England losing 3-0 in Australia.

  • Shan156 on August 23, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    People who criticize Eng's go-slow approach should also remember that faced with a first innings score of 492, Eng. have only 5 batsmen (3 of them out of form), an out of form wicket keeper and a rookie budding all-rounder. If the Aussies are good enough as their fans have been claiming all series despite their team trailing 0-3, let them take the initiative and try to force the win.

  • hhillbumper on August 23, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    they should drop cook and bring in Ballance.Drop swann and bring in Rashid.Drop Anderson for sidebottom. They should make Illy captain. Cool we will have the most destructive team ever. Meanwhile in the real world England have played poorly and beaten Australia 3-0. What happens if England play to their ability and if Cook starts batting with his normal skill. As for his captaincy it is a bit stale and you wonder if Swann would be a bit more adventurous.This team reminds me of the early 90s south africa. disciplined a bit dull and a bit pious.Mind you beats the old days when we collapsed every two seconds.

  • on August 23, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    wonder why everyone is moaning...you haven't been long time cricket fans then. We're beating the Aussies without playing the best we can. we used to get trounced about every game in the 90s... If the Aussies are so great, let them do everything to get one win in the series! they used to get at least two

  • ben.p. on August 23, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    One little-observed detail recently is Cook's productivity when opening with Nick Compton, who made more than a handful of runs himself. Apart from the home series against New Zealand earlier this season, which was won anyway, it looked like one of the most solid opening partnerships England have enjoyed in recent, ( and not-so-recent ), history. Perhaps Cook is unsettled facing the new ball with what may be the young pretender to his crown? Whichever way you look at it, this new arrangement isn't really working, but I very much doubt whether Messrs. Miller and Flower will have the courage to admit their mistake.

  • hhillbumper on August 23, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    just watched half an hour of the test match.Just been painting a wall and sat down for a break.Went back to paint my wall and found the paint drying to have a similar quality of Englands batting. God help me I have started to cheer Australia as England seemed to have slipped into a collective coma.Has anyone told them that scoring runs helps you to win matches.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 23, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    If ever there was a game to drive the fans away it was this. Ir does not matter how slow the pitch. There is no excuse for such a likeless performance,. From before the toss England have not considered the fans or the whole entertainment business. The Australians must be laughing. England are throwing all their advantages to the wind in this disgustoing cynical farce.