England have retained the Ashes, but Australia were the better side at Old Trafford, thanks primarily to a brilliant century from Michael Clarke. Greg Baum writing for the Age assesses Australia's performance and links their chances of squaring the series to the Australian captain's form.
Michael Clarke is Australia's Moses, leading the Israelites into battle against the Amalekites. For as long as Moses held his staff in the air, his tribe prevailed, but when fatigue caused him to lower his arms, the tide turned. Clarke's staff is his bat.
To put it another way, Clarke has made 10 Test centuries as captain, the rest of the batting a total of 16 centuries under his captaincy. In the team as it stands, only Warner has made a Test century for Clarke. Moses at least had help, Aaron and Hur each holding up an arm. Clarke is being left to hold up Australia singlehandedly, moreover with a crook back.
They say you don't change a winning combination, but Simon Hughes, in the Telegraph advocates the case of Graham Onions as the Ashes caravan moves to his home turf at Chester-le-Street.
Anderson's exceptional skill and versatility is indisputable and the pitch was benign, but there was a slight sameness to England's seam attack. Their pitch maps are practically photocopies of each other. Onions is different. He bowls from closer to the stumps and on a fuller length. He preys on batsmen who plant their feet and work straight balls to leg, and Australia have several of those. Hawk-Eye could be working overtime.