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Beware a wounded Australia

Oliver Brett | 11:50 UK time, Monday, 10 November 2008

Quell your excitement, England fans. Australia's 2-0 defeat to India, their first Test series reverse since the 2005 Ashes, will have many cricket enthusiasts on these shores salivating over what might come to pass next summer.

In case you needed reminding, England and Australia resume rivalries in the next Ashes series in less than eight months time.

However it would be foolish to draw too much from Ricky Ponting's surrender of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. There may even be one or two long-term positives to emerge for the Aussies once they have had time to reflect on their failure in India.

Many of us remember only too well how Australia recovered so well from the 2001 defeat in India under Steve Waugh's uncompromising captaincy. They battered England in that summer's Ashes, winning the series 4-1.

That said, Waugh is nearly five years into his retirement and Ponting has not convinced many of the game's leading judges that he is a brilliant captain.

Ricky Ponting had a tough series

Much like Michael Vaughan and Duncan Fletcher did three and a half years ago, India have got under Ponting's skin, and he has not enjoyed the experience.

As early as the first Test in Bangalore, he was making noises about Australia being the only team playing a positive brand of cricket. He re-iterated the point on at least one further occasion but he was a man in denial - most of the time India were batting at a faster rate.

For one brief moment in the final Test in Nagpur, at tea on day four, his team held an advantage. But he panicked about having to up the over rate and turned to his most ineffective bowlers - Michael Hussey and Cameron White. The momentum immediately switched, decisively, to the home side.

Aside from Ponting's erratic captaincy, there will have to be some serious questions asked within the Aussie camp. How could such a talented batting side, playing on flat wickets, end up with just two batsmen (Hussey and Simon Katich) averaging at least 40?

How could a bowler like Brett Lee - albeit in the worst kind of conditions for him and battling a virus in the final Test - take just eight wickets at an average of 61.62?

And yet, there were positives for the tourists. Hussey and Katich certainly emerged well. And Shane Watson - importantly staying fit enough to play in an entire Test series - will be a genuine contender to bat at number six in the Ashes and operate as a fourth seamer.

In Jason Krejza, Australia have found someone with vast potential - though it is doubtful that a spinner with his limited international experience will be a match-winner in English conditions.

With several critical series still to be played, it is not possible to predict who will start the next Ashes series as favourites, which is exactly how it should be for those of us perpetually in thrall to the uncertainty of Test cricket.

England's own Test series in India in December - a criminally-short two-match rubber - will not necessarily be the strongest guideline. That's because the skills required to win in the subcontinent are so different to those needed in places like Headingley and Edgbaston.

Instead, Australia's home series against South Africa at Christmas - the team which triumphed in England last summer - will be the first major pointer to Ashes supremacy.

Sir Ian Botham, the most reluctant fence-sitter in the realm of cricket, said last week England would win the Ashes easily. But another former multiple Ashes-winner, from the opposite camp, has a more phlegmatic view.

This was Justin Langer, talking to my colleague Tom Fordyce the other day: "It's a crucial time for both teams. The lead-up to the Ashes is going to be fascinating. England had a brilliant run-up in 2005 - they learned how to win and they were confident. It was the same for us; when we won 5-0 [in 2006-07] we'd won everything since the Ashes defeat. We didn't lose a Test.

"Ricky needs to use the next eight months to build a new team and build its confidence. It's a new era. Matty, Ricky and Brett are the last of the old team.You have to build up the camaraderie and faith in each other's abilities."

Botham's confidence is based on the absence of two of the prime tormentors of England teams in series past. Without Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, Australia are not as potent a bowling force, and there is no escaping that.

The India reverse is the first indication of how tough life can be without McGrath, Warne and Adam Gilchrist. But tough situations have frequently seen Australia produce the kind of powerful response that can crush other sides who deign to stand in their way.

England's best bet is to ignore any developments from Down Under and win as many of their Tests and one-day internationals against India and West Indies between now and next summer as they can.

If all goes according to plan, it is possible that England could start the Ashes as favourites. But would that be such a good thing?

And it's also worth remembering that England's Test record since Peter Moores started coaching them after the 2007 World Cup is not the greatest, featuring series losses to India, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    "But tough situations have frequently seen Australia produce the kind of powerful response that can crush other sides who deign to stand in their way."....maybe, but who was in that powerful team? Warne, McGrath,Gilchrist, Langer? Don't think negatively, Australia are down so let's keep kicking them(figuratively), they would do exactly the same to any other team. You can't replace genius cricketers with also rans and expect to keep winning. Australia now know how it feels to be everyone else. I hope they're satisfied.

  • Comment number 2.

    There are a few parts of the game that Australia and Ponting havnt needed for a long time and it is starting to show, especially in this series. These are - a) realising that they may lose - as in the past they always approach the situation in the way that if all players play to the best of their ability they should come out on top or at least save a match that most teams would find a hopeless situation. This may not be the case now ( time will tell )so they will need ponting to up his game when it comes to captaincy, and b) they havnt needed that extra skill or hunger to raise their game to beat the best team (by a mile) in the world. There are only a handful of teams to beat the best in the world in the last 10 - 15 years and Australia isnt one of them, so this may need a change of culture and Ponting possibly should be the fall guy.
    That being said New Zealand at home could be just the tonic to regroup and regain confidence in the team and Ponting. The bowling attack has not been great in India however when Australia come over here to England, they need not worry too much as our team can always be relied upon to get themselves out against any attack.

  • Comment number 3.

    Australia have lost these big name legends and may well be in decline.

    But the point is: are England good enough to beat them?

    Our openers Strauss and Cook have struggled for form. Our No.3 Vaughan struggled for form, gave up the captaincy and was dropped.

    Our middle order is held together by Pietersen. Bell has a poor record against the Australians. Flintoff has ongoing question marks about his fitness and form with the bat.

    We haven't solved the wicketkeeper issue and don't have a confident, established performer in that position.

    Our bowling attack lacks a top class spinner. Panesar has fielded and batted poorly, now he's struggling with the ball.

    Since 2005 our bowling attack has struggled with injuries and form.

    And yet people think we will beat the Australians comfortably. What planet are you on?

  • Comment number 4.

    I’m not too sure we can read too heavily in to the series defeat. I think Australia were under-done from the moment the arrived in India, they didn’t even play well in the tour matches.

    I also don’t think that there is any “changing of the guard” until we’re defeated in Australia like we did to the Windies in the mid 90’s.

  • Comment number 5.

    What we have now is a level playing field in the Ashes. Both sides have their fair share of key men, nearly men and new faces.

    It all makes for a close run series. Poorer for the loss of the plethora of star names but creating greater interest through uncertainty.

    So more likely that the best team will win as they will have to all pull their combined weight rather than look to the cricketign gods!

    Ponting v Pietersen will be an interesting joust indeed. Who can get the best out of their troops?

  • Comment number 6.

    There is no getting away from the fact that Aussi are significantly weaker without McGrath, Warne and Gilchrist - these would be classed as legendry performers in any era. Full credit to India however as they got under the skin of the Aussies and by batting first and building up commanding totals, they were able to put pressure on their batting line up. England did this in 2005 and it shows that batting under pressure from the match situation is far more difficult and as invariably been England's achilees heel.

    Should this give the England side cause for hope, well of cause so. I agree with the article in that the Aus v S.Africa becomes an even more interesting series, and I don't think Aus will have it all their own way, could be tight. It's a shame that the India v England series is only a 2 match affair, another example of the ineptitude of the organiers of Test Cricket and the trend to the money associated with 1 day, 20/20, IPL, ICL ... I hope England can play positively, not be afraid to play 2 spinners and show the resillience to compete against a very strong Indian side. I think it will come down to our batsmen being able to read and play spin bowling confidently but I fear that our players just don't have the technique and patience to do this

    So England v Aus, where do we stand. Lets not kid ourselves, when the going got tough against S.Africa in the summer we came out second best in all departments. Whilst the last test was encouraging, it was pretty much a dead rubber, so questions still need answering particularly at test level. If however England can go well against India & do the business twice against the Windies (see comments above re organisation of test cricket !) then England can go into the series against Aus with the belief that they can win. Will all of this happen, somehow I doubt it, but we mustn't think that Aussie are invincible, far from it, especially without the greats that have recently retired.

    Michael Hussey by the way is a serious player and fine competitor, I haven't seen a weakness yet










  • Comment number 7.

    I think before thinking about a series 8 months or a year down the line, England need to worry about the fearless Indian Juggernaut coming their way.

    The article seems to downplay India's achievement by stating that skills needed in the subcontinent are different that those needed in places like SA and england. I think if you are a good cricketer you will be able to adapt and play well in any condition, which is why australia have done so well over the years.

    If england continue to wear the attitude of only looking at the ashes and australia as prime competition, they will never be bale to beat everyone in between.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm sorry to say but English are really pathetic in a funny sought of way.

    England have no life or role in cricket. All they do at the end of an Ashes series is they bend over and wait for another Ashes.

    India has succeeded in one year to reduce the game of cricket to a well choreographed ballet in their own backyard (see English desperation for one million dollars as Exibhit A.).

    The current India-Australia series was a huge flop. Below standard performance by cricketers disinterested to win. Watch out: Ponting, Lee, Clarke or Symo are more likely to get excited by 20/20 than the Ashes.

    Please wake up, losers.

    Aussies don't care as much as you think about the Ashes. The may as well win the Ashes but it doesn't pay as well as a 20/20 game. So they don't seem to care really.

  • Comment number 9.

    Winning is everything in top level sport. Do you honestly think that Ponting is unconcerned about his teams prospects in the 2009 Ashes series? Does he want to go down in Australian cricket history as the man who lost the Ashes twice? You better believe it, the ACB will be very nervous at the moment and having a serious inquiry into what went wrong in India. But we know the answer to that don't we? Yawn.....Warne/McGrath/Langer etc etc etc.

  • Comment number 10.

    Who are you, Kash?? The Ashes means EVERYTHING to the Aussie players and public.

    We play hard and fair against each other and don't go off crying to our boards when things don't go our way on the field.

    I can't wait for next year!!

  • Comment number 11.

    I agree with the earlier posters: we should be weary of a beaten Aussie side which contains Warne and McGrath, but not one without them? This Australian side is heading the same way as the West Indies did after Courtney and Curtly hung up their boots. England should have nothing to be afraid of last summer apart from the weather.

  • Comment number 12.

    England will lose the Ashes.

    This is not because Australia are a particularly strong side right now. They aren't half the team they were in 2005.

    But England have lost home series to India and South Africa in successive summers, and barely scraped a victory against an inexperienced NZ side this year.

    If we can't match India in English conditions (and we were comprehensively outplayed in 2 out of 3 Tests) what hope do we have against Australia?

    Our only hope this that KP can turn this team of talented losers (aside from the above, we've also lost away series in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia since the 2005 Ashes) into a team of winners.

    The last 4 years have seen England play some awful Test cricket, considering the talent they have had at their disposal.

    It's high time they started performing.

  • Comment number 13.

    You musn't also forget these pitches were tailor made for the Indian spinners. If they (the Aussies) had a Warne or MacGill it might have been so different.

    I agree. The series did not live up to billing, perhaps because a lot of cricket in India is very attritional.

  • Comment number 14.

    Well now that the series in India is over...it is all Ashes talk....i am at a loss as to why the English fans and Sir Ian thinks England will win over Australia easily. In a cheeky way the first seeds of doubt or the first punch is being thrown by the media and good ol Botham.
    On retrospection England team will know that they really need to work hard to win the Ashes back.
    Openers - India got the initial advantage from sehwag and gambhir.both of these guys are attacking players and we all know how quickly they score and demoralise the attack. Strauss and Cook are a long way off this.
    Vaughan -i would say is struggling.
    Pietersen/Bell/Collingwood/Shah - Can they make consitent big scores with similar impact to what Sachin/laxman/Ganguly did. On paper they can but on field it has not happened yet.
    Freddie - Can he be fit ? Could he be back to Ashes 2005 form.Aus will have Symmonds back and Watson has improved greatly as a cricketer.
    Lee/Clarke/Johnson will come back.Lee and Clarke had an off series.It needs to be see if Harmison/Anderson/Sidebottom can get reverse/conventional swing which will challenge the Aussies.In 2005 it was Jones/Hoggie/Freddie who used this to dangerous effect.
    Krjeza will grow and it needs to be seen if Monty can be back.This India tour will be make or break for Monty.
    So all in all England are a long long way off from an easy Ashes win.They can start to believe that Aussies are beatable but that belief will need to backed up with solid performances.May be they can take a leaf out of Indian book and start to get under the Aussie skin and practice... winning tosses...,slow down the Aussie overrate ...etc..!!

  • Comment number 15.

    You can talk all you like about "Beware a wounded Australia" and to some extent I agree with that. Even the poorer Australian sides that I can remember (1977, 1985, 1989) have still been very competitive. Take Border's side of 1989 - they weren't actually that good - they just had a very powerful batting line up and won that series through basically Terry Alderman bowling straight!

    As for the 2009 Ashes, I think this 2-0 series win to India (and well done them!) tells us pretty much nothing about the Aussies other than they're human and I think we knew that in 2005.

    Australia lost in my opinion for 2 reasons:
    1) They lost the toss a lot and didn't therefore allow their powerful batting line up to put the Indians under pressure. That is the classic Australian way - bat first, make a huge score and then wheel away (worked best when Warne was around).
    2) Australia have no spinners. This new guy did pretty well on debut (brilliantly in fact) but he shouldn't be a force in English conditions.

    It's the Aussie bowling that's looking thinner and no surprise there when you take two champions like McGrath and Warne away - any team would struggle.

    Lee to me looks to have a technical problem - his right arm isn't coming from directly behind him like it used to.

    Mitchell Johnson's bowled pretty well but it's no great place for quicks in India - which makes Sharma's hauls all the more impressive.

    Watson surprised me - I've always thought he was rubbish or injured but he's stayed fit and bowled ok - but if they think he's a 3rd seamer I'd be surprised.

    Cameron White is the biggest problem for Australia. Blunt fact is he's not good enough - barely turns the ball and to me looks to be suspect temperamentally with bat and ball. He really blew it yesterday after tea when the pressure was on and I've seen him in countless ODIs and T20s when there's no pressure he'll slow a quick 50 in no time. Under pressure - say 7 an over from 20 overs to go - he'll be out easily.

    But the key to next summer's ashes is likely to lie in Australia's quick bowling strength. I quite liked the look of Pete Siddle - not a great action but good pace and accuracy.

    The ultimate decider I think is Stuart Clark. He may not be Glenn McGrath (doesn't have quite the same nip) but he might be another Terry Alderman. I think England now are far stronger than England 1989 but remember Alderman also had 43 series wickets in 1981 against a far stronger England team.

    If there's anyone we need to beware of it's Clark. He's does not look much - he's tall - can bowl a quick ball but is very accurate.

  • Comment number 16.

    ref AUSSIEINDUBS
    I agree Australia need to be beaten at home to confirm or not the demise of the all powerful aussie dominance, This makes the SA series after xmas very interesting.
    If they get thumped, the Ashes will be a very nervous affair

  • Comment number 17.

    I think the word "great" is being overused here. There have only ever been a few "great" cricketers. Dhoni is not one of them, yet.

  • Comment number 18.

    I wish we could have had a sweepstake on how long it would take the first BBC journalist to say that Australia are still great and that England have no real chance.

    Nothing like talking up the national side, eh guys?

  • Comment number 19.

    Maybe the Aussies should be wary of a wounded England. Our boys know they are better than they have been in recent times and want to prove it.

  • Comment number 20.

    We also lost 5-0 in Australia so if that is not enough motivation then nothing will be. We can win the Ashes back.

  • Comment number 21.

    like any true pom i thoroughly enjoyed the aussies getting drubbed. nice one india. i have always felt the main difference between our respective teams, other than the aussies being being slightly better in most areas (and having far more self-belief, of course), could be stated simply in 2 words: "shane" and "warne". without his guileful greatness all the contests of recent years would have been very much closer.

    i was also intrigued to see ponting bowling his innocuous second-stringers to up the over rate. what is more important: poor li'l rick getting a 1-match ban or Aus levelling the series? clearly he considers it was the former

    i'm looking forward to a far more open contest for the world n° 1 ranking now, rather than the 1-horse race we;ve been having for the past 30 odd years.

    and we haven't even got round to talking about sri lanka yet.....

  • Comment number 22.

    Test Cricket gains something from this result.

    In India, the success might rekindle some interest in the longer form of the game.

    It has kick started the backwards and forwards of opinion and comment regarding the Ashes and focussed attention on the series in the run up.

    None of that can be bad.

  • Comment number 23.

    I seriously doubt we'll win with Moores in charge unless the Aussies implode. Moores is a second rate test coach, who was brought in more for his 1 day ability (great decison, base the coach on a form of the game in decline!) With Fletcher in charge we'd never do 7 1days in india and only 2 tests, its pathetic! It's time for the ECB and the pundits to realise that when England viewed 1 days as warmup for the tests and played as such (ie practising without care for the result, therefor loosing many) we were comfotably the 2nd best test team in the world. But from the second we won the 2005 ashes people were banging on about doing the same in 1 days, stupid, stupid mistake!

  • Comment number 24.

    The England Lions could beat this Australian team. I would honestly not be surprised if the Kiwis managed to get a draw in their upcoming home series against the Baggy Greens. England will be asking a lot of questions next summer, particularly the bowlers, and I think the Aussies will be crushed 5-0 (would be 4-0 if Old Trafford still got a test!).

  • Comment number 25.

    I recently read that Sir Ian Botham stated that the Ashes would be won by England' comfortably' .... as Australia don't have any bowlers.!?
    Well, he may be right, but England's trouble is they do not have enough quality batsmen who can be counted on to put plenty of runs on the board.
    Australia may have lost to a very good India side, but they at least scored quite a lot of runs chasing and I think sad to say will on their own wickets have too much bite for England.
    Hope I'm wrong..!

  • Comment number 26.

    "Kash79 wrote:

    I'm sorry to say but English are really pathetic in a funny sought of way. England have no life or role in cricket."

    Ridiculous comment, guess you're trying to provoke a reaction? If someone from England said that about India you would probably be up in arms about their "arrogance".

    I do not support England, but if you actually speak to an Aussie you'll see how much the Ashes means to them (see Aussieindubs comment above), and to suggest that the home of cricket has "no role in cricket" is just silly. If you prefer 20/20, fine, many of us don't, and let's see how popular 20/20 is in a few years when the novelty has worn off.

    I think the Aussie loss is great for test cricket as we're going to have some open series between the top teams. I agree that the loss of Warne is a major factor, can't wait for the SA / AUS series... should be very interesting.

  • Comment number 27.

    Saffavescent:

    What made you wrongly assume I'm from India?

    Case rested.

    I just witnessed Punter throw a match to avoid a ban and rest assured Gilly and Roy will be the first ones on plane for the second IPL after bitching about Indian cricket.

    I'm just sayin cricket is a backseat sp-ort downunder. And English rather than focus on every series, they just lay lame duck from Ashes to Ashes.

  • Comment number 28.

    Cricket is Australia's national sport, not a back-seat one.

    And, I'd happily not play India anymore and put up with their whinging when things go against them. We could play the Poms, the Saffas and the Windies exclusively...

  • Comment number 29.

    Not too worried about the ashes tour, as long as you keep the mints off the field. We'll have symonds back, hayden will have his fitness back, bracken will be fit, tait could be back in the fold.

    We have a lot of cricket to play between now and then, we should build a good team spirit in that time.

    See you in eight months, GOOD LUCK!

  • Comment number 30.

    The indian tour is currently the most difficult away tour for us, you need a proper preparation if you want to win.

    Symonds and bracken would have made a difference, and shaun taits bowling action would definitely have gotten reverse swing. Also Brad Hodges technique is designed for the indian conditions and i think he would have done well over there.

    It's THE sport in india and they have a team who can only win at home really. And there is huge money in cricket in india, so there is definately a case of an overinflated opinion of themselves. They will lose their 4 best batsmen over the next 3 or so years. There will be a lot of fresh meat to devour on or next tour over there,

  • Comment number 31.

    Dear KeyserSoze666,

    This sounds a bit like that age old Aussie sport..."clutching at straws".

    Hayden is old and getting older. Symonds is a good player ( if you can keep him out of a fishing boat). Braken and Tait will never be McGrath and Shane Warne has RETIRED. You're papering over seismic cracks with these comments and in denial.

    You might have a chance in the Ashes but it will be competitive for sure. It's time to accept a harsh reality, your once all conquering team is no more.

  • Comment number 32.

    I think the wrong question is being asked here. This Indian win leads me to think, not about how England will do against Australia in the next Ashes, but about how we'll cope with India in the forthcoming tour!

  • Comment number 33.

    Good win for India, as for the Aussies, might be the end of an era.

  • Comment number 34.

    comment13#
    The pitches were prepared for spinners is false.You are not a good spectator of cricket;see that in mohali aussies were defeated by pace(reverse swing) and in Nagpur by Indian field settings in the first innings.Please note than Aussies are not good players of swing bowling.Also Indians were offensive like australians in all aspects.

  • Comment number 35.

    This thread is hilarious!

    all this talk about england and australia and the ashes! India just thrashed the aussies, and England are in for a drubbing next ! dont understand how people from england and australia continue to discount and disregard India as an achiever both at home and abroad.

    By the looks of it, the only team in world cricket that is playing tight, effective cricket, is India.

  • Comment number 36.

    Australia is most likely a winner in the 2009 Ashes - Irresepective of India defeat

    The quality of England's batting is not the same as India's - Maybe England has a better pace attack than India - but its overall attack is less potent than India's

  • Comment number 37.

    England can win by swing bowling!

  • Comment number 38.

    Don't get too carried away! Australia will be favourites for the Ashes 2009 for 3 very good reasons: they will be rated higher as a team, they will be rated higher as a collection of individuals and they have a phenomenal record against England.

    It is true that the enormous boots left in the Aussie dressing room by Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist have not been filled and the current Aussie side is beatable, as shown in India, but Pietersen's England have a long way to go if they want to be the best Test team in the world.

    Bear in mind also that if England lose in India the Ashes is perhaps only a silver medal play off at best; maybe even a bronze medal playoff if S'Africa can win down under.

  • Comment number 39.

    Bear in mind also that if England lose in India the Ashes is perhaps only a silver medal play off at best; maybe even a bronze medal playoff if S'Africa can win down under.

    ------------------------------------

    how do u mean??

  • Comment number 40.

    i dont know why england think they are on the same level as SA, IND and AUS, they are probably more on the level of west indies, a there or thereabouts team

    can you not see it???

    who is englands most proflific batsmen?????

    england have one and we know who he is

    most teams have 3/4

    who is englands prolific bowler???????

    "the guy who come back just for the money"

    you're all rounder is im afraid too fat to even make a impact in any game unless he's playing against a school boys 11.

  • Comment number 41.

    your not you're

    my bad

  • Comment number 42.

    #35: "the only team in world cricket that is playing tight, effective cricket, is India."

    Perhaps you're forgetting the last series against SA, who won in SA and were ahead in India until India came back to draw by gambling on a disintegrating pitch (later judged unfit for test cricket by the ICC)...

    I congratulate India on their win, I was supporting them, but given that SA have since beaten England in England I don't think you can say India are the only team playing effective cricket (speaking of tests here, not one-dayers)

  • Comment number 43.

    @ #35 - we're not discoounting India's series win, it's just that the Ashes is one of the biggest contests in world sport, not just cricket.

    The crowds will be bigger than 2,000 in the UK next year...

  • Comment number 44.

    We have the artillery to compete in the forthcoming Ashes, but probably not win. The main problem is that England's mediocre batting line up will let the Aussies get away with their bits and pieces bowling attack i.e Watson, White, Kresja. Also English conditions will play into Aussie hands, Stuart Clark, Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson will look more dangerous in the ideal swinging conditions in England.
    The problem for England is that there is a lack of batting competition, Bopara is unestablished, Shah is frail in this format, and in all honesty the best candidates are out of contention, I.e Rob Key and Mark Ramprakash(Albeit short term)
    Englands line up (injury permitting) should be..

    Cook
    Vaughan
    Bell
    Pietersen (c)
    Collingwood
    Flintoff
    Prior
    Broad
    Anderson
    Harmison
    Panesar

  • Comment number 45.

    #27 Kash79, apologies, assumed it was someone with English as a second language, and most of the 'England are pathetic' comments seem to come from India these days.

  • Comment number 46.

    RobM (#15): England beat Australia 3-0 in 1977 and 3-1 in 1985. The Australians were NOT terribly competitative. Of course, in 1977, the Packer arrair was going on under the surface and in 1985 the rebel tour to South Africa. In the 1985 series the England batting utterly overwhelmed Australia, making 400+ scores at will except in the 2nd Test (the won that England lost). In 1977 the England bowling attack was far too potent for Australia's batting.

    The 1989 series, well, yes that was another story. England were grateful to escape with "only" a 4-0 defeat. However, it was to an Australian side that had already turned the corner playing against one of the worst England teams of all time.

  • Comment number 47.

    It does get a little tiresome hearing Indian fans consistently talk about what a poor side England are. The last two England tours to India, from much-weakened England teams have been very close affairs with India hanging on for a 1-0 win in the former and struggling to a 1-1 draw in the latter. In both series they won the 1st Test against underprepared opponents (England's fault) and then had much the worse of the rest of the series. In fact, since 2000 the England-India series have all been very close and none has been won by more than a single Test either way.

  • Comment number 48.

    Panesar struggling with the ball? Hey Subterranean, where were you earlier this year when he was England's leading wicket-taker against the Saffers? Why this anti-Panesar crusade that often reveals itself amongst England fans. He is by far our best spinner at the moment and hopefully he will exceed expectations in the sub-continent later this year. Go Monty...

  • Comment number 49.

    C'mon England!!!

    India has done half the work, now please complete the trashing with an emphatic Ashes win :-)

    No prizes for guessing who I'll be supporting during the Ashes :-))

  • Comment number 50.

    AussieInDubs wrote:

    Who are you, Kash?? The Ashes means EVERYTHING to the Aussie players and public.

    We play hard and fair against each other and don't go off crying to our boards when things don't go our way on the field.

    I can't wait for next year!!

    :-)) No you don't .. you just keep whinging and whinging for decades!

  • Comment number 51.

    #3- Our openers Strauss and Cook have struggled for form.

    Cook struggled all the way to an average of 47 in his last series...

  • Comment number 52.

    test matches in india are a joke.
    garbage wickets, and lots of empty seats atleast in the ashes your gonna get something called an atmosphere home or abroud.

  • Comment number 53.

    Wonder if the ACB are keeping an eye on the Aussies who are plying their trade in the County Championship. Any Aussies in England having a great 2009 could well end up in the Ashes squad.

    Wouldn't be surprising if the Aussies don't even play a full time spinner as Michael Clarke can do an adequate job for a couple of spells. South Africa won the test match in England without the need of a decent spinner.

  • Comment number 54.

    The Aussies were totally outplayed over the course of the Indian series and their bowling attack shown up as pedestrian. It's their biggest test hammering since the Windies beat them in Oz in 88/89 and that says everything. This writer's point about 'beware a wounded Aussie' is tenuous at best.
    Eng were facing the best Oz team arguably in the history of the game in 2005 and beat them. Eng were without their inspirational captain and their best bowlers weren't fit for the tour in Oz 18 months later when Eng still had to contend with Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist et al. Sure, they were all wounded and they came back hungrier than ever. All those greats have now gone and England under KP are a team on the up while this Oz side is in terminal decline.
    As long as England can get their best XI on the field next summer I think they should start favourites. The Aussie fans need to get used to losing series and learn to be a bit more magnanimous in defeat.

  • Comment number 55.

    Never under estimate the Assuies they hate us more than they ever let on, but we shouldnt even be thinking about that.
    Next up is the Indians come on England

  • Comment number 56.

    Wow! Is it not too soon to get excited about, especially from an English perspective? India and Australia are ahead of the pack and are playing a different level of cricket. Perhaps only South Africa can challenge these two at the moment.

    It should not matter to England, against either of these two teams they should get vanquished. I believe that's what we shall see in the coming two test matches.

  • Comment number 57.

    England supporters need a reality check.

    Mr T says forget 2005 you sentimental fools!

    What happened down under ?Or didn't happen ? Was it a dream ?

    The Aussie test machine will eat you alive KP. another 5-0 as Mcgrath would say !
    Symo will be the man of the series.

    You 'll lose in India as well 7-0 in the ODIs and 2-0 in the tests.

    P.S dont forget to get merlin out for Krejza.

  • Comment number 58.

    It used to be only Aussie supporters who were arrogant, now the Indian#s seem to think their the men.

    Guys before you get too big for your boots, how about you calm down and have a bit of humility. You don't want to create a reputation for yourselves that you might not live up to.

  • Comment number 59.

    #56 gobechara - "perhaps only South Africa" can challenge India and Aus?

    Seems you've forgotten the results of the last home/away series between India and SA.

  • Comment number 60.

    "52. At 9:19pm on 10 Nov 2008, mufc0808 wrote:

    test matches in india are a joke.
    garbage wickets, and lots of empty seats atleast in the ashes your gonna get something called an atmosphere home or abroud."

    :-) Why? because you can't play on those wickets?!. What happened to skill and adaptability?

    True champions should be able to play and win on any wicket.

  • Comment number 61.

    "India and Australia are on a different level."


    I think you'll find its some of the Indian supporters who are on a different planet if they believe that.


    India might be tough to beat at home, but away from home there a very ordinary side. Certainly they arn't about to dominate world cricket like Australia have done for so long. India simply arn't good enough away from their own back yard.


    Australia are now also a very average team compared with the team we've become accustomed to after losing so many great players at once. It clearly shows and right now is the time to be playing them. Perhaps in 5 or 10 years time they might be back to being that team again, but it will take time. Lets not forget that Hayden, Hussey, Ponting, Lee and Clark are all the wrong side of 30 themselves, so yet more rebuilding is going to be needed before long.

  • Comment number 62.

    61. wilko187
    >>India might be tough to beat at home, but away from home there a very ordinary side

    I agree India is not as strong as they are in home. We lost to Sri Lanka and another moral defeat to SA.

    But we are the one who continously challenge the aussies. Out of last eight defeat Aus had, 6 of them are from India. We beat them badly when Warne, McGrawth anf Gilly at thier best.

    India is the only team to win in Australia against them post 2000, twice.

    We are then who stopped continout victory streak of Aus, twice.

    We are not compitive enough to beat SL/SA, but we are too good for England. 2007 India in England will speak the rest.

  • Comment number 63.

    54. At 9:28pm on 10 Nov 2008, johnnyrant wrote:

    "... It's their biggest test hammering since the Windies beat them in Oz in 88/89 and that says everything..."

    So by that rationle a hearty thrashing every 20 years or so makes Australia an incapable team and Engalnd a shoe in for the Ashes, and why not the #1 Test spot while your at it?


    "... The Aussie fans need to get used to losing series and learn to be a bit more magnanimous in defeat..."

    What, like England fans...?

    All this talk of the Aussies falling apart is quite unwarranted. Ricky Ponting aheres to the rules of the game and is lambsted from all quarters! Can you imagine the repurcussions of Australia throttling the Indians on day 4 and then going on to win by that match with what many would have called ' unsportsmanlike' behaviour, ie: not bowling the required overs and therefore not playing in the spirit of the game? It took a lot of courage for Punter to make that call and I think that everyone is missing the point. Yes Australia probably would have won had tactics not been altered but the games reputation would have been further tarnished. And then we would've had everyone whinging about how the Aussies will go to any lengths to win. He did the right thing in accordance with the spirit of the game and he shouldn't be criticsised for such, and this by no means makes him a poor captain.

    Which brings me to my next point: how can someone who has led a team for over 4 years now be criticsised as a poor captain when he has only lost 2 Test Series' in that time, and overall lost only 6 matches therin? Some people (from both sides of the fence...) need to pull their heads in and think a little bit before waxing lyrical about something (and someone...) they no nothing about. Seems some people just want to see their name up in lights...

    And as for India... well lets just see if they can bring home the bacon consistently over an extended period when they play abroad- also another trait of a truly champion side.

    rockonbigdddy_whop_whop_uh_huh...///

  • Comment number 64.

    It completely annoys me how everything is about 'the ashes'. Cricket is a global game played at a world level by 9 countries - yet all the jornalists and cricketers do is judge ever series on how it relates to the Ashes - its arrogant beyond belief. Beating the Aussies in the 80's menat nothing as the West Indies were clearly the best team. England focus should be about being the best team - and that means this tour in India is essential in its own right - not just as an ashes warmer!

  • Comment number 65.

    There seems to be alot made of Australia not winnning in India...A country where we have only won once since about 1969...

    Yes it is true we are a weakened team with the loss of McGrath, Warne, Langer, Gilchrist etc etc and there have been comparisons made to the West Indies fade from grace when there seemingly neverending supply of world class speedsters dried up.
    But there is something Australia possess that the West Indies have never had....and that is arguably the best 1st class competition in the world with it's only competition being county cricket where the majority of our blokes get to play in anyway.

    As a result we will always be able to produce quality cricketers ready for test level when they are called upon (refer M Hussey, whose brother can't be far away from getting an opportuntiy either). Some take longer then others to blossom however their talent is undeniable.

    England should be focusing on themselves at the moment and try and work out why they lost home series against India and South Africa and do not appear to have any depth to call on. Or if they do the selecters continue to hide their heads where the sund don't shine as they did when picking the side for the last ashes series.

    Anyway best of luck lads, you might need it..
    Richo(Aus)

  • Comment number 66.

    Thanks for all the excellent comments and here are some of my responses:

    tonygreeg (18) - I don't think Australia are a "great" side anywhere, and I certainly don't think you can infer that from anything I've written. The issue is how good are England? Read Subterranean (comment 3) for a bleak assessment.

    laughing devil (23) I don't think 50-over cricket is in decline actually. Far from it. Globally, crowds for ODIs far exceed those for Test matches.

    belmons (32) and mawaqaa (35) You are right about India looking pretty good at the moment. I have been particularly impressed by the bowling. Do you think Dravid should be dropped, or would the loss of him and Ganguly at the same time be too much of a chasm to fill?

    garumchai (63) the point is that Ponting had put himself between a rock and a hard place by the lamentable bowling rate in the match up until that point, when his team needed to win the match at all costs. Bowling Hussey and co gave him the scope to limit his punishment from a ban to a fine - pretty cynical in two regards I think!

    mittheimp (64) I take the point. Maybe we do hype up the Ashes too much (and sometimes are disappointed when the cricket takes place). The 1981 and 2005 series, however, are arguably the best Test series ever played and you cannot deny the extraordinary history of the Ashes has a part to play.

  • Comment number 67.

    I'm sure England will be really warmed up for the ashes as it will be paining hard after a good kicking in the sub-continent :-)

    We will do our bit so that you can take the mickey out of the Aussies :-)

    C'mon England!!

  • Comment number 68.

    Well as far as the Ashes go, I really do think Australia will get the better of England next year even with the current side that toured India and the inclusion of Andrew Symonds. It wont be a whitewahs for sure and will be a hard fought series like the last Ashes in England, however I do think Australia will emerge winners.
    They have a stronger batting line - up than England and frankly speaking i think England dont realise the players they should have to counter the Aussies.
    I think Englands success will depend on 3 players next year and they are KP, Freddie and Colly. I do think Colly is under- estimated by the English. He is someone who is really determined and reminds me a lot of Steve Waugh the way he bats and can save matches for England. Freddie and KP are the match winners in the side and Colly is someone who can save the game.
    Anyway I think it will be a great series and cant wait for it to get started.

  • Comment number 69.

    'England should win the Ashes easily...' was the buzz-phrase in 1989, and again in 1993. On each occasion we were hammered, the first time through our insipid bowling attack, and in 1993 largely through more poor England bowling and Shane Warne.
    Be warned, the Aussies have the knack of pulling match-winners from nowhere. Stuart Clark, as already mentioned here, and Mitchell Johnson should not be underrated, neither should their new off-spinner. I know his figures were expensive against India, but HE TURNED THE BALL. HE BOWLED PEOPLE OUT.
    I'd have thought that Ian Botham of all people should have learnt not to make silly sweeping statements without at least seeing how England go in India.

  • Comment number 70.

    The English conditions will suit S. Clark perfectly. He will have a huge series. And I'd love to see us take along someone like Moises Heriques for the experience, I really rate him.

    Add to that the fact that the English tour is popular with the Aussies because of the common language and culture, the short distances and the good atmosphere and I think we can retain the Urn again.

  • Comment number 71.

    If Englan can beat India in Indian conditions, I am sure they can take the ashes.. Its too early to make too much noises about ashes at the moment.

  • Comment number 72.

    'I'd have thought that Ian Botham of all people should have learnt not to make silly sweeping statements without at least seeing how England go in India.'

    He's entitled to - the man did single handedly win one Ashes series.

  • Comment number 73.

    "If all goes according to plan, it is possible that England could start the Ashes as favourites."

    Mumbai 222-7
    England 50-8

    Plan B. then.

  • Comment number 74.

    England will get battered in India and the Aussies will batter them in the summer. Other than fleeting glimpses of genius from individuals this will not be a team performance that can win the Ashes. I have said it before KP is a great cricketer but an ordinary captain. You need better than ordinary to beat the Aussies. Thats just cold hard facts. We will keep on losing the 'big' games with KP.

  • Comment number 75.

    73. duckmachine - A very brief comment from you but it had me laughing out loud!

  • Comment number 76.

    garumchai - your reaction is typical of an Aussie fan. Treating it as a personal affront to suggest your team is anything other than 'great'.
    You need to re-read what I said. The fact it's the first time Oz has lost a test series by two matches since 88/89 is actually a huge compliment - it shows how dominant Oz have been since then.
    As an Eng cricket fan you learn how to be magnanimous and not take defeat too seriously. It's one of the reasons it's such an unconfined joy when the team pulls off something like the 2005 Ashes win.
    Domination on the cricket field is not the be all and end all for us but for Australia it apparently is, which adds to our enjoyment of victory. You suffer so much in defeat.
    I think the next few years could be quite a painful experience for you. Sure, Oz will always be a highly competitive team and are more than capable of winning next year's Ashes. If you re-read my post all I said was I believe Eng are entitled to start as marginal favourities (if the series was in Oz, Oz would be favourites).
    More than anything I hope it's as exciting as 2005.

  • Comment number 77.

    'I have said it before KP is a great cricketer but an ordinary captain. You need better than ordinary to beat the Aussies. Thats just cold hard facts. We will keep on losing the 'big' games with KP.'

    KP was one big reason we won the last Ashes in England. He was brilliant on occassion. Thats the only 'cold hard fact' I care about.

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    Wounded Australia is seriously bad news for England and an upcoming Ashes tour.We're pretty aweful,just look at todays humiliation on the one dayer in India.We're lacking a captain with any sort of vision,an inconsistent batting line up,bowling lacking real firepower.Add that up with a struggling Aussie team and it spells a total hammering for England in the Ashes. Now is the time to get Robert Key in as captain,to leave KP to try and do what he does best and bat,we could end up with an Ashes whitewash because I'm sure theres players back in Oz desperate to get in and even more rip England apart in an ashes series over here next Summer.A beaten Aussie team is even more worrying than a winning one because they will be after blood and it could well be Englasds.Ponting is a great captain,which currently we don't have and will more than likely prove it again next summer,and it could be a long one.Mind you it could rain enough to salvage a draw but unlikely enough to save the Ashes for us.

  • Comment number 80.

    I find it amazing that the Ashes still holds such importance for English and Aussie fans, even after largely one-sided series being played out over the last 20 years (with the exception of 2005 and to an extent 1997 when England took the lead).

    If the actual cricket played could match the hype, I'm sure Test cricket would be the biggest beneficiary of all.

    England seems to be too enamoured with the Ashes to the point of being disinterested in other test series.

    Australia, while no doubt wanting the Ashes just as badly, seems to give every series the respect it deserves.

    In short, England seem to be obsessed with the Ashes unlike Australia.

  • Comment number 81.

    Give Pointing a break! He's not lost a series on home soil (yet!?) The Summer in Oz will give a true indiaction of where Australia is at, especially against South Africa. Then we can start talking about the Ashes.
    The decline had to happen though, with all the champions retiring. But as an Aussie, I'm disappointed more hasn't been put into place to find the next batch of stars at home, in particular, the bowling.

  • Comment number 82.

    "I have said it before KP is a great cricketer but an ordinary captain."

    You'd said it *before*? Then you are, sir, a numpty.

    KP has Captained ONE Test, which he won. And 7 ODIs, of which he's won 4 and lost only one.

    This does not, of course, me he's a good Captain. It doesn't mean he's a bad Captain.

    What it means that no one, least of all you, has any clue about how good or bad a Captain he is, because it's too early to tell.

    Come back in a year. Your comment might be meaningful then.

  • Comment number 83.

    Anyone who draws any relevance from an Australian test series result in India in regards to their form everywhere else clearly has no understanding or knowledge of the recent history of the Australian cricket team.

    AUSTRALIA HAS WON 1 SERIES IN INDIA IN 38 YEARS (04/05)!!!!!!

    India has been the toughest place for us to tour by 5 country miles no matter how well we've been playing everywhere else in the world. So anyone who thinks that a serioes loss there means that England should automativcally start favourites in the Ashes, would have surely lost a lot of their hard earned on Ashes series bets over the last 20 years!!

    I'm definitely not saying that the Aussies are as good as they were 4-5 years ago, but don't underestimate the strength and depth of our domestic competiton, and how well most of our players go in the county chapionships on English soil.

    Until our 'decline' is demonstrated in any other enviroment besides India, I am supremely confident of another comfortable Aussie summer and Ashes series win next year.



  • Comment number 84.

    I don't think we can kid ourselves that the Aussies will be easy to defeat next year. England have now been bowled out for under 100 in 2 out of 3 games. I can't help thinking that the Aussies just don't do performances like that!
    I have a touch of Dehli belly thinking what might happen to the lads over the next few weeks with India in such cracking form.

  • Comment number 85.

    Australia r still the best team in the world. They lost to India because of Luck and gritty performance by India.
    They have a good few matched with NZ at home which the Autralians can win and wipe off the bad tour of India.
    As an Indian fan , i m looking forward to the Enland series.

  • Comment number 86.

    For far too long Australia have bullied and played mind games which gave them the edge and as a result they won more than they lost.

    Since last years Aus v Ind series and the sleding incidents Australia have gone quiet and with it lost the ability to compete with skill alone. In India they have found someone who could sledge better than them and not be intimidated as well as play on equal terms.

    Don't be fooled into thinking Australia are a spent force because they are not. They are just reinventing themselves and will come to beat teams with skill.

  • Comment number 87.

    66. At 04:40am on 11 Nov 2008, Oliver Brett - BBC Sport wrote:
    Thanks for all the excellent comments and here are some of my responses:...


    ...garumchai (63) the point is that Ponting had put himself between a rock and a hard place by the lamentable bowling rate in the match up until that point...

    > Fair enough mate, the over rate was pretty shabby, but its not all his fault. Cricket in India (as with most things in the sub-continent...) tends to be played out in rather relaxed manner. I guess I was just trying to point out that the Aussies aren't the ogres here. The entire system needs an overhaul as the Aussies aren't the only one guilty of bowling like they had one too many refers at the lunch break.

    ...when his team needed to win the match at all costs. Bowling Hussey and co gave him the scope to limit his punishment from a ban to a fine...

    > I still believe Punter was trying to keep within the rules of the game by bowling the right number of overs. He, and his team have copped a lot of flack over the years for supposedly bending the rules and making people cry etc so basically he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Hers's a Captain who is prepared to put the game on a pedestal and play within its spirit. He may not be as hard nosed as former Aussie Captains in his quest for victory but surely his efforts to reclaim a bit of pride for the game should not be criticised so roundly, after all the game is bigger than anyone player or team.

    ... - pretty cynical in two regards I think!...

    >And as for his decisions on day 4 being incredulous of human goodness, or indeed ostentatious in his contempt for ease and pleasure I find this line of reasoning difficult to follow. Sorry.


    76. At 09:58am on 11 Nov 2008, johnnyrant wrote:

    ...garumchai - your reaction is typical of an Aussie fan. Treating it as a personal affront to suggest your team is anything other than 'great'...

    >Mate, I don't care what you say about the Aussie cricket team, I know they're not that flash right right now but to honestly suggest that we (or anyone...) should take losing as a given is a bit lame.


    ...You need to re-read what I said. The fact it's the first time Oz has lost a test series by two matches since 88/89 is actually a huge compliment - it shows how dominant Oz have been since then...

    > Point taken, my bad, apologies.


    ...As an Eng cricket fan you learn how to be magnanimous and not take defeat too seriously. It's one of the reasons it's such an unconfined joy when the team pulls off something like the 2005 Ashes win.
    Domination on the cricket field is not the be all and end all for us but for Australia it apparently is, which adds to our enjoyment of victory. You suffer so much in defeat...

    > Again point taken. Alas I am at a loss to understand the British attitude towards sport and competition. I've spent over a decade living in the UK and I was always amazed by the resignation of the general public that England would always lose. Perhaps its just a cultural nuance that eludes me at present.


    ...I think the next few years could be quite a painful experience for you...

    > I wouldn't have thought so, after all its only a game and I do have other things to occupy my time.

    ... Sure, Oz will always be a highly competitive team and are more than capable of winning next year's Ashes. If you re-read my post all I said was I believe Eng are entitled to start as marginal favourities (if the series was in Oz, Oz would be favourites).
    More than anything I hope it's as exciting as 2005...

    > I heartily agree. What we have now is a far more level playing field as it were with all the teams being in with a shout. Its great to see all the cricketing nations stepping up to the plate and having a blast.

    The 2005 Ashes series was unforgetable. I will never forget the fervour that overwhelmed England that Summer; I had complete strangers coming up to me at Reading Train Station and hugging me who were in raptures when the last test was going down to the wire, we all crammed into bars to get a glimpse of the latest score, anyone with a headset was listening to Radio 5 Live and giving a running commentary, people buzzed with anticipation and I loved every minute of it! The banter, the posturing, the pride and the passion we both shared for our respective nations and although we lost on that occasion it wasn't the end of the world. It never is. Its just a game. I will never forget that summer as one of the most memorable on record.

    We don't hate Poms, ( I'm actually a Pom myself, technically, having English Parents and a lengthy Angliscised heritage of which I am very proud...) we just like a good wind up every now and again and thats where we differ; we're from different parts of the planet and we see things from a different slant, not better or worse- just different.

    I too hope the 2009 series will be close fought, a'la Edgbaston '05! What odds for a drawn series...?

  • Comment number 88.

    Cuban cricket u mention that the tracks in India were spinner friendly and hence Australia lost. Howcome then Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan had 27 wickets between them. Guess they were bowling off spin. Besides who is the only overseas team to beat australia in perth in 2008 England I guess. But i still think that England should only play Australia, South Africa and NZ as other teams are meaningless. Why not have ashes twice a year and cancel the world cup for good?

  • Comment number 89.

    I think it is not right and fair to say that Australia surrendered Gavaskar-Border trophy. I think India have won/deserved it by thrashing a world champion and as a result of excellent leadership of Dhoni and the team work & contributions made by some of the best players in the world. India was also able to manage on (horrible sledging) and off the field (why Symonds made the comment about Harbhajan 2 days ago only) Australian spat. Australia always uses these tactics when they foresee their defeat. They are a good team and should focus on cricket, hard work and sportsmanship rather than depending on silly tactics. It seems that all these important things are ignored in your analysis.

  • Comment number 90.

    Just an observation about Ponting...

    He strongly criticised Lara when beating his team mates world record Test score - the 400 in Antigua - saying he was playing for himself and not the team- Aussies would never do that he claimed. Something that cricket fans in the Caribbean hotly disputed - Windies were trying to avoid a whitewash in that series.

    How does Ponting now justify his actions in being more concerned about avoiding a ban than winning a test match!

  • Comment number 91.

    Somebody commented that this tour could be make or break for Monty.
    I have to say I agree with this, whilst I think he has amazing potential, he is also left handed and has height on his side which all play in his favour. I don't think the people with the England coaching set up up have been giving him the right direction.
    Hence he lacks the variation he needs to be a truly great spinner.
    I really hope that whilst his team mates are playing the ODi's he has a few weeks with Bisham Bedi because he could learn so much from such an exquisite finger spinner of the ball.
    I also really want Monty to make me eat my words because his enthusiam and love of the game is tremendous and I would not like to see him disappear from the International scene.

  • Comment number 92.

    90. At 03:29am on 12 Nov 2008, mittheimp wrote:
    Just an observation about Ponting...

    He strongly criticised Lara when beating his team mates world record Test score - the 400 in Antigua - saying he was playing for himself and not the team- Aussies would never do that he claimed. Something that cricket fans in the Caribbean hotly disputed - Windies were trying to avoid a whitewash in that series.

    How does Ponting now justify his actions in being more concerned about avoiding a ban than winning a test match!

    > Well for starters he wasn't playing for himself. He was playing by the rules and now he's getting a pasting for it. When is everyone gonna get off this anti-ponting bandwagon? He was playing by the rules and nothing else. Get over it...

  • Comment number 93.

    England! A wounded England can challenge the wounded Aussies!!
    India will outplay England Sehwag,Yuvi Gambir will hit them out!

  • Comment number 94.




    Interesting Article Thanks

    It is said that when weak, wounded and cornered, that's exactly when an adversary is most dangerous.

    This was not so as Australia took the eye of the ball and dealt with relatively mundane tasks like improving over rates!!

    If Australia went for the kill and lead a spirited chase, whether they won or not, would send a shiver down the spines of SA and England supporters.

    The fact that Ponting took such a foolish way out and lost the series does give confidence to England for the Ashes and SA back to back series later this winter (or Australia summer)

    How Australia Ranked No 1 hammer or struggle to close NZ Ranked No 7 will give insight on how deep is the malaise

    Instead of waiting for Australia to decline, like India, England should raise their game and lay waiting

    It would be good if they established winning habits by challenging India and later WI. Petersen has started something interesting but needs the entire team to raise their game to follow through

    Good luck to all sides SA, England, India, Australia, New Zealand, and Pakistan - oddly Sri Lanka plays no Tests in this period but come the end of Ashes 2009, we should have a good idea of how the new Cricket pecking order looks like. Interesting times ahead and hopefully some exiting rather than attritional cricket will be played to entertain all of us.


  • Comment number 95.

    Nice piece Oliver.

    This Australian team is in a rebuilding process. They looked fit, young and a bit short on experience.

    Team India demonstrated Test match temperament throughout the series. Veeru, Gautam, Sachin, Saurav, Laxman, MSD, Anil, Zaheer and Bhajji made useful contributions with the bat.

    Indian bowlers are improving all the time. Bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad used to be a shrewd customer in his playing days. He is getting out the best from his youngmen.



    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 96.

    I would say cricket especially now with IND v AUS rivalry has been turned into big battle grounds.

    e.g. checkout this blog:

    http://popularsledging.blogspot.com/

 

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