West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 3rd day April 25, 2012

Two exceptions prove the rule

If any two of Australia's squad could be said to have offered the least to the team's progress in the Caribbean, it was Ed Cowan and Ricky Ponting. Until the third day in Dominica
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One by one, day by day, all of Australia's cricketers have contributed something of value to this series. Batsmen and bowlers, tyros and senior pros, whether in form or out of it, every chosen player has offered at least one performance of worth.

The individual efforts of Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Nathan Lyon and Matthew Wade have shone brightest, but they have had supporting interludes from the rest. David Warner has provided runs and as notably, wickets. The captain Michael Clarke has led the team artfully and caught soundly while also contributing several handy scores. Even the likes of James Pattinson contributed critical runs in Trinidad, while Michael Beer bowled tidily at Queen's Park Oval. His replacement Mitchell Starc made pesky lower order runs then claimed the enormously valuable wicket of Shivnarine Chanderpaul. The sturdy, if not storming, performance of the whole has been sufficiently fuelled by the sum of its bit-part players.

If any two members of the touring party could be said to have offered the least to the team's progress in the Caribbean, it was Ed Cowan and Ricky Ponting. But on the third day in Dominica, it was their turn to put a partnership together, and in doing so stretch the match beyond West Indies' last, despairing efforts to drag it back into home hands. There was little that was thrilling or even memorable about the way that Cowan and Ponting built Australia's second innings lead at Windsor Park. Yet it was significant that their efforts meant that all members of the touring party will now be entitled to return home with the thought that they had contributed meaningfully to the team's success, in a series that has proved to be more keenly fought than many impartial observers had expected.

Cowan began his day by providing something less tangible than runs, in the form of an address to the Australian team about Anzac Day, as they huddled near the boundary to commemorate those their nation has lost in war. As befits a diarist, columnist and avid reader, Cowan's words were well chosen and thoughtful, underlining the literate contribution he is making to the culture of the team's dressing room. He delivered them while nursing a tender wrist, struck while he fielded at short leg during West Indies' first innings. Cowan has also made himself decidedly useful at short leg, following an assortment of specialists in the position including David Boon, Justin Langer and in more recent years Simon Katich - five catches for the series have Cowan second only to keeper Wade.

Of course moving orations and smart catches do not make an opening batsman. Cowan's struggles for major scores in this series have left the question open as to whether or not he will make it in Test cricket via the avenue by which he must perform, as a top-order batsman blunting the new ball and going on to hefty totals. In Trinidad he admitted to struggles in adapting his Australia-centric game to the slower, lower surfaces of the West Indies, and in the first innings at Windsor Park a lapse in judgement had him lbw to Ravi Rampaul for a disconsolate single. A sore wrist had Cowan icing up in his hotel room at the end of the second day, knowing a substantial score was needed to shore up his place, but more importantly ensure Australia would build a lead to shut the hosts out of the Test.

In his search for these runs he would be soon accompanied by Ponting, after Warner and Shane Watson were both out cheaply. Ponting has looked in better touch during this series than Cowan, but through a conspiracy of poor luck, poor pitches and some fine bowling by Kemar Roach he had only once previously passed 23 - 41 in the second innings in Port-of-Spain. Together they battled away against a West Indian bowling attack that refused to flag under a hot sun, though the fielders seemed a little less capable of stopping everything that skimmed in their vicinity, several boundaries beating dives less sprightly than they had been earlier in the series.

They had plenty of good fortune. Cowan might have been run out immediately before lunch after haring down the pitch in search of a non-existent run after Watson pushed a delivery to midwicket, and grope outside off stump numerous times as Shane Shillingford gained appreciable turn. Ponting was a skerrick of inside edge away from falling lbw to another Shillingford offbreak, and later pushed Narsingh Deonarine's first ball firmly to short leg, who could not clasp a most testing chance. Critically these moments did not affect the focus of the batsmen, who continued on their blue-collar task of building the lead until it had advanced to 278.

Both Cowan and Ponting would fall by the close, the former cutting at Deonarine and offering a sharp catch to Darren Sammy at slip, the latter leaving his bat above water when ducking Roach's bouncer and offering a periscope catch. Their scores, 55 and 57, will doubtless feel like opportunities missed, and will be unlikely to change the minds of those who think that either Ponting is ripe for retirement or that Cowan's station is as a trophy-winning opening batsman for his state rather than his country.

But in forming a stand on a surface that is growing ever more challenging, on a day that called for grafting over galloping, Cowan and Ponting added important runs to an ensemble effort that has blocked the West Indies at every turn. In assessing how the Australian batsmen in particular have fared in the Caribbean, it is worth noting that of the top seven only Ponting, with 146, has failed to reach 150 runs for the series. Among the hosts, only the endlessly adhesive Chanderpaul has passed that mark. While West Indies have shown much improved purpose under Darren Sammy and Ottis Gibson, they are still a long way behind the collective will of the visitors. The sense of team that is growing in the Australian dressing room will only be bolstered by the fact that all have now added vitally in the Caribbean.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • hyclass on April 28, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    @Meety and @zenboomerang...the point is simple. If players publicly excuse mediocrity,they must have done so privately first.They must have the blessing of their team,their coach and CA. They wouldn't dare do so otherwise.It is indicative of the sub-standard principles of that group and the promotion and acceptance of mediocrity.Its only been in practice since Hilditch and Sutherland took over.It is specious to reason that because the pre 2006 side were champions that they didnt need to excuse their performance. It was BECAUSE they didnt do it ever,that they succeeded.It was Ponting who identified that players needed to ave over 50 at state level for long periods before being selected,when he debuted.The dilution of standards is behind this malaise.Shifting the deck chairs at CA,removing the power of state boards and failing to adequately promote traditional cricket while throwing everything into 20/20,hardly constitutes an in principle shift. Accountability is as absent as ever.

  • zenboomerang on April 28, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    @hyclass... Agree with much you say & people bringing up our boom decade are completely missing the point... Except for the mid-80's, Oz has always had a reasonable batting squad & sometimes v.g. batters... Leaving out the Indian series, our top-middle order have regularly had collapses over the last 5 years with a lone batsman standing up & the bowlers having to do the batsmans job... Still, I wouldn't single out CA policies as they have gone through a major shake-up in the last 6 months with many changes implemented & will take 2-3 years to see what they are achieving - unless you mean previous policy & selection panels?...

  • Meety on April 26, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    @hyclass - been a while. Whilst I have in the past agreed with most of what you say, (& argued fairly what I didn't agree with), I'd like to point out, that the playing group up to 2006, contained some of the all time greats. So I think it would be fair to say - there HAD to be a higher standard expected. Anyways, I'd be interested to know (genuinely)what your starting XI would of been for this test series?

  • Sadiqahmed on April 26, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    West Indies need to clean out it's politics and get top players back in the game. The present three top batsmen failed to click so many times that one wonders how they were selected and that too as batsmen number 1, 2, 3. It's ridiculous that tail enders bat better than the top 3. All the good work done by bowlers have been undone by batsmen with the only exception of Chanderpaul. Surely the great Windies can body of at least 2-3 other reliable batsmen who would click. For one thing the great Chris Gayle must be brought back in the team and then I am sure there are a couple of other batsmen who will perform better than the present top trio. if they really can't find more test barsment than it might be better to play Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russel. Between the three of them they can add more runs than the present failed trio. It is sad to see WestIndies lose 2 nil to the Aussies at home ground. Sadiq Ahmef

  • eyballfallenout on April 26, 2012, 16:45 GMT

    Boy oh boy have any of you even watched this series, Aus have played well and would be 2 nil up if not for rain, They are well in front in this test. You play to the conditions, scoring rate is fine and plenty of time to win this match. I don't know any team in the world or even past that could score at 4 an over on these wickets.

  • hyclass on April 26, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    Another article that has cropped up in the last few years advocating mediocrity. This team is mediocre. The idea that its ok to perform poorly because of long term personal records, foreign pitches, or the possibility that someone else might do something on the day is the message that it sends. Its called Test cricket for a reason. Its supposed to represent the best playing the best. No-one viewing this could perceive that fact. It would never have happened during the period leading up to 2006, when a different administration and group of players would not have tolerated it. The in principle excusing of sub standard thinking equals similar outcomes and has no place in the national set-up. Long before the absurd India series in Australia, I blogged here that India had neither the bowlers,batting form or history to support them winning anything in Australia.They were resoundingly thrashed in England.They were a spent force,not a validation of this Australian side or any CA policies.

  • Jasper78 on April 26, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    I can't believe Cowan's excuses. The guy even lumps himself in with Ponting's 13000+ runs as protection for low scoring and in his case very slow scoring. We have to look further for an opener and can't settle for this. I have been watching the game not reading the scoreboard when i wake up and was stunned to see how he could just not hit the ball when we were chasing runs in first test. He was himself frustrated with his inability to make contact. Holding was right when he said you don't need fieldsmen when Cowan is batting. Where Ponting was left stranded by Watson and got another one that ran along the deck, what is Ed's excuse ? Lets give Khawaja's silky skills another go....

  • zenboomerang on April 26, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    @trumpoz... Please look at the records - Ponting, Clarke, Hussey have all played Test cricket in West Indies before this series :) ... If they aren't the strength of our team, who are?... I also think its rubbish that the lower order have easier conditions - often it is the opposite with the game in the balance with runs needed to get on top of the opposition... Maybe some over enthusism from the bowlers being the main problem for Oz, but thats about it...

  • trumpoz on April 26, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    @zenboomerang - the pitches are definately not at fault - pitches are pitches and there are very few that really should be criticised. The batsmens inability to adjust to foreign conditions is what causes this (coupled with good WI bowling). ODI's are a completely different game and mindset - and Ponting (I think) was the only member of the top 6 to have played test cricket in WI before this. The bowlers making runs makes sense.... they don't have the pressure on them that the batsmen do, the opposition slightly slacken off and they make runs. It can happen to all teams, even the great Aus teams of the Waugh/McGrath/Warne era were guilty of it. It shows a lack of ability to play out each innings/game by the WI team which has ultimately cost them the series. It is one of the big differences between the lower and higher ranking sides.

  • popcorn on April 26, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Excellent article.The Australian Team is now a well -oiled machine wherein EVERYONE contributes.

  • hyclass on April 28, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    @Meety and @zenboomerang...the point is simple. If players publicly excuse mediocrity,they must have done so privately first.They must have the blessing of their team,their coach and CA. They wouldn't dare do so otherwise.It is indicative of the sub-standard principles of that group and the promotion and acceptance of mediocrity.Its only been in practice since Hilditch and Sutherland took over.It is specious to reason that because the pre 2006 side were champions that they didnt need to excuse their performance. It was BECAUSE they didnt do it ever,that they succeeded.It was Ponting who identified that players needed to ave over 50 at state level for long periods before being selected,when he debuted.The dilution of standards is behind this malaise.Shifting the deck chairs at CA,removing the power of state boards and failing to adequately promote traditional cricket while throwing everything into 20/20,hardly constitutes an in principle shift. Accountability is as absent as ever.

  • zenboomerang on April 28, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    @hyclass... Agree with much you say & people bringing up our boom decade are completely missing the point... Except for the mid-80's, Oz has always had a reasonable batting squad & sometimes v.g. batters... Leaving out the Indian series, our top-middle order have regularly had collapses over the last 5 years with a lone batsman standing up & the bowlers having to do the batsmans job... Still, I wouldn't single out CA policies as they have gone through a major shake-up in the last 6 months with many changes implemented & will take 2-3 years to see what they are achieving - unless you mean previous policy & selection panels?...

  • Meety on April 26, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    @hyclass - been a while. Whilst I have in the past agreed with most of what you say, (& argued fairly what I didn't agree with), I'd like to point out, that the playing group up to 2006, contained some of the all time greats. So I think it would be fair to say - there HAD to be a higher standard expected. Anyways, I'd be interested to know (genuinely)what your starting XI would of been for this test series?

  • Sadiqahmed on April 26, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    West Indies need to clean out it's politics and get top players back in the game. The present three top batsmen failed to click so many times that one wonders how they were selected and that too as batsmen number 1, 2, 3. It's ridiculous that tail enders bat better than the top 3. All the good work done by bowlers have been undone by batsmen with the only exception of Chanderpaul. Surely the great Windies can body of at least 2-3 other reliable batsmen who would click. For one thing the great Chris Gayle must be brought back in the team and then I am sure there are a couple of other batsmen who will perform better than the present top trio. if they really can't find more test barsment than it might be better to play Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russel. Between the three of them they can add more runs than the present failed trio. It is sad to see WestIndies lose 2 nil to the Aussies at home ground. Sadiq Ahmef

  • eyballfallenout on April 26, 2012, 16:45 GMT

    Boy oh boy have any of you even watched this series, Aus have played well and would be 2 nil up if not for rain, They are well in front in this test. You play to the conditions, scoring rate is fine and plenty of time to win this match. I don't know any team in the world or even past that could score at 4 an over on these wickets.

  • hyclass on April 26, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    Another article that has cropped up in the last few years advocating mediocrity. This team is mediocre. The idea that its ok to perform poorly because of long term personal records, foreign pitches, or the possibility that someone else might do something on the day is the message that it sends. Its called Test cricket for a reason. Its supposed to represent the best playing the best. No-one viewing this could perceive that fact. It would never have happened during the period leading up to 2006, when a different administration and group of players would not have tolerated it. The in principle excusing of sub standard thinking equals similar outcomes and has no place in the national set-up. Long before the absurd India series in Australia, I blogged here that India had neither the bowlers,batting form or history to support them winning anything in Australia.They were resoundingly thrashed in England.They were a spent force,not a validation of this Australian side or any CA policies.

  • Jasper78 on April 26, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    I can't believe Cowan's excuses. The guy even lumps himself in with Ponting's 13000+ runs as protection for low scoring and in his case very slow scoring. We have to look further for an opener and can't settle for this. I have been watching the game not reading the scoreboard when i wake up and was stunned to see how he could just not hit the ball when we were chasing runs in first test. He was himself frustrated with his inability to make contact. Holding was right when he said you don't need fieldsmen when Cowan is batting. Where Ponting was left stranded by Watson and got another one that ran along the deck, what is Ed's excuse ? Lets give Khawaja's silky skills another go....

  • zenboomerang on April 26, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    @trumpoz... Please look at the records - Ponting, Clarke, Hussey have all played Test cricket in West Indies before this series :) ... If they aren't the strength of our team, who are?... I also think its rubbish that the lower order have easier conditions - often it is the opposite with the game in the balance with runs needed to get on top of the opposition... Maybe some over enthusism from the bowlers being the main problem for Oz, but thats about it...

  • trumpoz on April 26, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    @zenboomerang - the pitches are definately not at fault - pitches are pitches and there are very few that really should be criticised. The batsmens inability to adjust to foreign conditions is what causes this (coupled with good WI bowling). ODI's are a completely different game and mindset - and Ponting (I think) was the only member of the top 6 to have played test cricket in WI before this. The bowlers making runs makes sense.... they don't have the pressure on them that the batsmen do, the opposition slightly slacken off and they make runs. It can happen to all teams, even the great Aus teams of the Waugh/McGrath/Warne era were guilty of it. It shows a lack of ability to play out each innings/game by the WI team which has ultimately cost them the series. It is one of the big differences between the lower and higher ranking sides.

  • popcorn on April 26, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Excellent article.The Australian Team is now a well -oiled machine wherein EVERYONE contributes.

  • zenboomerang on April 26, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    I should have added the top 7 run averages this series: Warner 28, Cowan 25, Watson 32, Ponting 24, Clarke 31, Hussey 34*(n.o.), Wade 39 - besides Hussey who is still batting, the top 5 have all had a below average series... Looking into the next 1or2 years I'm really wanting to see some direction by the NSP for what has been Oz's weak link over the last 5 years, our batting skills - its long time now that the captain & selector Clarke stops blaming the bowlers (& propping up the batsmen) when it has consistently been the batters failing for Oz...

  • zenboomerang on April 26, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    @trumpoz :- "the batting isn't consistent ... with virtually none of the test playing team having played in the West Indies"... Umm, how about Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Watson (6xODI's before this tour)?... Agree about the inconsistency of the top 6, while Wade has the leading run rate for Oz & all the bowlers have made handy runs which in itself doesn't make sense - who's at fault?... The top 6 or the pitches?... Probably both & some good opposition bowling...

  • Paul_Rampley on April 26, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    mari2619, agree with you completely, Cowan is not good enough at this level and his running today was terrible. Also disagree with Brettig on how he is trying to build the case of Cowan as someone who contributes to to the dressing room, no one likes a spoiled private school kid and that's what Cowan is. But i would accept this from Brettig as Cowan is a fellow cricket info writer.

  • Meety on April 26, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    @dunger.bob - re: "...a once in a lifetime gathering of talent ..." throw in a useful keeper batsmen, think his name was Gilchurch! @George Kennedy - YES! Spot on regarding Cowan. Cowan has not got a very broad horizon when it comes to his cricketing travels, however, what he does have suggests to me, he could be very useful in England for us. It's a bit like India about 8 yrs ago when they played here in Oz. They had a couple of openers who weren't that great, but they occupied the crease (Chopra & Patel), long enough to take the edge of Oz's attack. This allowed the middle order to perform fairly well. I see this could be Cowan's go, average 30 to 35 in England but occupy the crease for a 100 balls per innings. @PBs09 - re: Hodge - he's retired, & his career coincided with a great Oz line up. In the end Hodge lost out to Hussey, but also had to contend with Lehman, Martyn, Symonds & Clarke, not to mention the Waugh brothers earlier.

  • trumpoz on April 26, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    Yeah, the batting isn't consistent, but to b honest the Aussies are playing in very foreign conditions, with virtually none of the test playing team having played in the West Indies. Full credit to W.I for causing the Aussies so much trouble in this series. I think the Cowan/Warner partnership is one to keep with. I agree with dropping Watson to 6, but playing Peter Forrest at 3 when Ponting/Hussey retires - the composure he showed in the One-Day series was excellent (if somewhat a little slow for one-day cricket) and would be excellent in the test arena.

  • Cool_Jeeves on April 26, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    RandyOZ, absolutely agree that Clarke must get to #3. In every other aspect he is a standout cricketer. Would not consider dropping Ponting against SA of all teams. Lyon has progressed well, and pace battery will be in full strength. England would have softened up the SAFs by then. So looking forward to a royal hammering of SA by OZ.

  • landl47 on April 26, 2012, 3:09 GMT

    Clarke is doing a fabulous job holding the side together. It just shows that a side which gives 100%, even this one which doesn't have the huge talent of previous Australian sides, is always competitive. You can never, ever count the Aussies out.

  • Mary_786 on April 26, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    Still not convinced on Cowan, he batted without pressure today as we already had a 150 lead when we started and his running between the wickets was terrible. Cowan won't survive as opener for too long, an average of 30 doesn't cut it at this level.

  • Buggsy on April 26, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    Spot on Randy. Just what on earth is Langer doing to justify his salary?

  • C--H on April 26, 2012, 2:07 GMT

    @RandyOZ: The last thing I'd do is axe Cowan after he's scored a 50. Sure, he doesn't score a lot, but he has only fallen quickly once for this entire series, and apart from that has always stayed in for a long time. Lack of runs is one thing, but he isn't getting out quickly. Watson is also fine where he is, and if anything, I would have swapped Clarke and Ponting, but that's about it.

  • Massive_Allan_Border_Fan on April 26, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    Good article. Cowan was given his chance because he had enjoyed a streak of good form in Sheffield Shield cricket rather than being seen as the next big thing. It would not be unreasonable to drop him back to first class cricket to try and regain this form. Klinger would be worth a try in his place, and Khawaja could also get another look-in at number 3 if Watto returned to opening bat. Phil Hughes unfortunately doesn't seem to cope with test cricket despite some occasional brilliance at this level.

  • bobagorof on April 26, 2012, 1:14 GMT

    150 is hardly a tough mark - over the 6 innings that each Australian batsman has faced, it's an average of 25. It's good to see that each player has contributed in some way, so that we're not just relying on the same one or two guys each time, but it also means that it will be tough to drop people who are underperforming. I'm a bit fan of Hussey's but he's had one score of note on tour and a bunch of 20s. After a good home summer, he and Ponting (the 2 old hands) would have been looking for greater consistency.

  • RJHB on April 26, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    RandyOZ, I agree Wason needs to be dropped down the order,perhaps even as far as 7. I don't care what his potential is any longer, he ain't 22, his record just isn't that of a top order batsmen, or atleast what it should be. Clarke needs to be left where he is because thats where he makes his runs, why stuff that up? I'm not sure about Cowan either but again,name his replacement??? Its not an interim team as much as still a team in transition but I take your point.

  • Draconarius on April 26, 2012, 0:53 GMT

    Great article. The constant criticism levelled at the lads by the public is becoming ridiculous, especially when -- as said here -- the team is, in fact, performing well. Not all at once, but in the last two series every member (save the former number 3) has contributed. What more do people want?

  • PBs09 on April 26, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    You know you're irrelevant when your catches are highlighted as the only meaningful contribution you provide to the side. Also, could someone explain why Brad Hodge's never been given an extended run at the test level?

  • Wefinishthis on April 26, 2012, 0:34 GMT

    When 2 of your top 3 batsmen average in the low-mid 30's and the other in the 40's, then your 4th is an ageing batsman on the decline who has also been averaging in line with that for the past few years, it's really no surprise at all to see so many top order collapses exposing the middle order, we just need to get used to it. I'd be happy with Clarke at 4, and Watson/Hussey at 5/6. Cowan definitely needs to go, he is obviously struggling at this level and couldn't even perfom against a woeful Indian side on his home pitches. None of this would have been a problem had the selectors taken my advice since D Hussey and C Rogers would have been in the team at least 2 years ago.

  • on April 26, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    The pitches that the Australians are playing on in the West Indies are completely unlike anything that Ed Cowan would have played on in Australia. He has made a name for himself first surviving, then flourishing on the seaming greentop that is Bellerive, in conditions akin to those seen in England. With an Ashes campaign scarcely more than a year away it seems foolhardy to throw him on the scrapheap without an obvious replacement evident. In a lineup which is failing more often than succeeding yet continuing to score enough runs for the true stars of this Australian cricket incarnation; the bowlers; to win the game, recognising the importance of stability is important. Ed Cowan is a mature, intelligent influence within the team and well worth sticking with.

  • dunger.bob on April 26, 2012, 0:23 GMT

    @ RandyOz : I agree that we have to get the batting straightened out, but I'd just like to say that it is far, far, .. far easier to say than to do. The only way to have a truly hot-shot batting line-up is to stuff it full of top class batsmen and I just don't think we have too many in the wings. I don't think you can teach, train or coach a second tier batsmen how to go the extra step and become one of the elite. .... I reckon they will bring David Hussey in when Ricky retires. Not because they necessarily want to. More because they pretty much have to. They were hoping Shaun Marsh was the answer because there is no-one else knocking the door down but thats not going to work, ever. ... one thing this has done for me is to raise my appreciation of just how powerful that Hayden/Langer led batting side was and how lucky we were to have them at the same time as McGrath and Warne. .. a once in a lifetime gathering of talent not likely to be matched any time soon in Australia.

  • on April 26, 2012, 0:15 GMT

    I agree JJdn, I'm not certain about the 2 openers but I do not want to change them, Cowan keeps seeing off the new ball so I'd rather stick with him, thinking that the scores will come with more experience, Warner has won us some games so I want to give him an extended run as well.

    We've had some tumbles of wickets but have avoided the full blown collapses lately so that's good. These aren't easy wickets to bat on. It's easy to say drop everyone but who do you replace them with? Ponting survived his long slump because the runs weren't being made in Shield cricket to demand his place.

    We've not lost a series since Clarke took over the captaincy so they're clearly doing a few things well, even if some of the losses have been quite outlandish!

  • on April 26, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    Drop Warner and Ponting, replace with Forrest and D. Hussey. Problem solved.

  • chicko1983 on April 26, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    RandyOZ we have been batting well given the conditions. As the report highlights, all Aussie batsmen have scored 147 runs + yet the Windies only have Chanderpaul to have reached that mark. I dont think you can reasonably expect 500 run scores in every innings on all types of pitches. Another series win coming up for the Aussies and Clarkey. Well done.

  • JJDn on April 25, 2012, 23:54 GMT

    The batting isn't consistent. But I'll stick with Watson at the top 3. Not sure about Cowan and warner yet. And will never understand how come David Hussey never got his chance at test level. My question is who is going to replace pointing eventually

  • Meety on April 25, 2012, 23:15 GMT

    Good & pretty accurate piece. Just another day & a bit & you can have a well earned rest (or bludge in the IPL).

  • RandyOZ on April 25, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    Sick to death of these collapses. We are definitely still playing an interim team. We need to start sorting out our line up for South Africa and the next Ashes. That includes, but is not limited to, dropping Watto to 6, axing Cowan and Clarke moving up to 3.

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  • RandyOZ on April 25, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    Sick to death of these collapses. We are definitely still playing an interim team. We need to start sorting out our line up for South Africa and the next Ashes. That includes, but is not limited to, dropping Watto to 6, axing Cowan and Clarke moving up to 3.

  • Meety on April 25, 2012, 23:15 GMT

    Good & pretty accurate piece. Just another day & a bit & you can have a well earned rest (or bludge in the IPL).

  • JJDn on April 25, 2012, 23:54 GMT

    The batting isn't consistent. But I'll stick with Watson at the top 3. Not sure about Cowan and warner yet. And will never understand how come David Hussey never got his chance at test level. My question is who is going to replace pointing eventually

  • chicko1983 on April 26, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    RandyOZ we have been batting well given the conditions. As the report highlights, all Aussie batsmen have scored 147 runs + yet the Windies only have Chanderpaul to have reached that mark. I dont think you can reasonably expect 500 run scores in every innings on all types of pitches. Another series win coming up for the Aussies and Clarkey. Well done.

  • on April 26, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    Drop Warner and Ponting, replace with Forrest and D. Hussey. Problem solved.

  • on April 26, 2012, 0:15 GMT

    I agree JJdn, I'm not certain about the 2 openers but I do not want to change them, Cowan keeps seeing off the new ball so I'd rather stick with him, thinking that the scores will come with more experience, Warner has won us some games so I want to give him an extended run as well.

    We've had some tumbles of wickets but have avoided the full blown collapses lately so that's good. These aren't easy wickets to bat on. It's easy to say drop everyone but who do you replace them with? Ponting survived his long slump because the runs weren't being made in Shield cricket to demand his place.

    We've not lost a series since Clarke took over the captaincy so they're clearly doing a few things well, even if some of the losses have been quite outlandish!

  • dunger.bob on April 26, 2012, 0:23 GMT

    @ RandyOz : I agree that we have to get the batting straightened out, but I'd just like to say that it is far, far, .. far easier to say than to do. The only way to have a truly hot-shot batting line-up is to stuff it full of top class batsmen and I just don't think we have too many in the wings. I don't think you can teach, train or coach a second tier batsmen how to go the extra step and become one of the elite. .... I reckon they will bring David Hussey in when Ricky retires. Not because they necessarily want to. More because they pretty much have to. They were hoping Shaun Marsh was the answer because there is no-one else knocking the door down but thats not going to work, ever. ... one thing this has done for me is to raise my appreciation of just how powerful that Hayden/Langer led batting side was and how lucky we were to have them at the same time as McGrath and Warne. .. a once in a lifetime gathering of talent not likely to be matched any time soon in Australia.

  • on April 26, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    The pitches that the Australians are playing on in the West Indies are completely unlike anything that Ed Cowan would have played on in Australia. He has made a name for himself first surviving, then flourishing on the seaming greentop that is Bellerive, in conditions akin to those seen in England. With an Ashes campaign scarcely more than a year away it seems foolhardy to throw him on the scrapheap without an obvious replacement evident. In a lineup which is failing more often than succeeding yet continuing to score enough runs for the true stars of this Australian cricket incarnation; the bowlers; to win the game, recognising the importance of stability is important. Ed Cowan is a mature, intelligent influence within the team and well worth sticking with.

  • Wefinishthis on April 26, 2012, 0:34 GMT

    When 2 of your top 3 batsmen average in the low-mid 30's and the other in the 40's, then your 4th is an ageing batsman on the decline who has also been averaging in line with that for the past few years, it's really no surprise at all to see so many top order collapses exposing the middle order, we just need to get used to it. I'd be happy with Clarke at 4, and Watson/Hussey at 5/6. Cowan definitely needs to go, he is obviously struggling at this level and couldn't even perfom against a woeful Indian side on his home pitches. None of this would have been a problem had the selectors taken my advice since D Hussey and C Rogers would have been in the team at least 2 years ago.

  • PBs09 on April 26, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    You know you're irrelevant when your catches are highlighted as the only meaningful contribution you provide to the side. Also, could someone explain why Brad Hodge's never been given an extended run at the test level?