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Reasons to be cheerful

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Tom Fordyce | 07:18 UK time, Sunday, 19 December 2010

Perth, Western Australia

Beaten in an hour over four days. Thrashed by 267 runs. Failing to bat for 100 overs in their two innings combined.

There are plenty of reasons to feel miserable after England's feeble capitulation in the third Test. I could keep typing until the bottom of the page - having Australia at 69-5 on the first day and yet somehow managing to lose; a middle order that contributed just 54 runs between them in this match; Mitchell Johnson transformed from laughing-stock to living legend.

I could, but I won't. What's the point in wallowing in the misery and horrors of it all? It's over. Let it go.

Instead, let us face the future with a spring in our step. Here, courtesy of English stars past and present, are reasons to be cheerful - three apiece.

I'll open out with mine; you finish off with yours. Before we know it we'll be wreathed in beatific smiles and skipping gaily towards the MCG on Boxing Day like members of some happy cricketing cult.

1. Winning the Ashes in a nail-biting finale, having heroically fought off the slings and arrows and battled through varied tragedies en route, will be far more satisfying than winning them at a canter having come up against only token resistance. By losing here at the Waca - which has always happened, and probably always will - England have only made the final victory all the sweeter. Think of an Ashes victory down under as the partner of your dreams. If she/he acquiesced upon your first phone call, you'd only take them for granted. By emerging with them in your arms after a long, tempestuous courtship, you will cherish them for the rest of your days.

2. Last time England won the Ashes, they did so with victory at Melbourne. I know it's more well-known fact than omen or forecast, but it's something.

3. Ashes joy follows disaster with this England team as surely as the wise paparazzo follows Shane Warne. After the Nightmare of Cardiff, the Triumph of Lord's; after the Hammering at Headingley, the Ovation at the Oval. There's only one thing that can follow from the Whacking at the Waca - the Marvellousity of Melbourne. We'll polish up the name at a later point.

Michael Vaughan: former Ashes-winning England captain, TMS expert summariser

1. At least five of the Australian players aren't in any kind of form. Phillip Hughes, Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith. And you would think all five of them will still be in the team for the fourth Test in Melbourne.

2. Chris Tremlett bowled very well coming back into the team. He made the breakthroughs on the first morning and then took five wickets in the second innings.

3. Ian Bell has been batting beautifully. Personally I'd think about moving him up the order, because at the moment I've nicknamed him "The Shepherd" [because he has to shepherd the tail].

Chris Tremlett

Michael Vaughan notes Chris Tremlett's arrival as an England positive (AFP)

Alec Stewart: 133 Tests for England, BBC Radio 5 live pundit

1. We aren't playing another Test match at the Waca for four years. England haven't dealt with this pitch well, but that doesn't matter now until 2015.

2. We haven't lost the Ashes at the Waca on this tour. Normally we do. Four years ago it was all over by this stage, and eight years ago it was too. The Ashes are still alive.

3. There's no way Steve Smith should be batting at number six. At Test level he's a number eight at best. The fact that he didn't bowl a single over means they picked him as a batsman but he's not good enough to bat there. So England have one less top-class batsman to worry about.

Simon Hughes: former Middlesex fast bowler, Test Match Special analyst

1. Australia have never had such a bad opening pair. I think they are more vulnerable at the top of the order than since their current chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch and Graeme Wood were opening in the 1985 Ashes series in England.

2. Michael Clarke is in the worst form I've ever seen. He often wears sunglasses on the back of his head, but he'd probably bat better if he wore them at the front. To be honest, he might even bat better if he took his stance with his back to the bowler, let alone his sunglasses.

3. Australia do not have a spinner. Their current pick is their worst bowler since Murray Bennett.

Stuart Broad, England fast bowler

1. Chris Tremlett did really well here. He took eight wickets in the match in his first game back, and that's an excellent return.

2. England's catching has been amazing over the course of the series. That brings wickets and lifts everyone's mood.

3. It might be 1-1, but that scoreline allows us to retain the Ashes. And anyway - the lads are playing good cricket, and they believe we can win over here.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Quite an uplifting piece after the abject misery I was feeling earlier.

    I couldn't believe the difference between the England of Adelaide, and that which I watched with horror at Perth.

    England have taken their collective batting-eye off the ball. Let's hope their focus returns for the Boxing Day Test.

  • Comment number 2.

    Oh well, that's alright then. I don't know what I was getting upset about.

    Let's look at it another way: On today's evidence all Australia do is bowl a consistently good line & length and they will win the last 2 tests. A bit simplistic I know but our batting was lamentable.

  • Comment number 3.

    This really did cheer me up!

    1. We're surprised to lose. We haven't had a competitive side in Australia since we last won the Ashes there and we are the better side. They're celebrating a win with a lap of honour, how times have changed. We mustn't beat ourselves up about one loss, it happens.

    2. We have better individuals than them, a composite XI on form would perhaps be...


    6-5 to the England!

    3. The events of Perth might as well define 'papering over the cracks'. The Aussies are still so low on confidence, their upturn in fortunes is one bad day away from being meaningless. They have one awful opener, an out-of-form/under pressure skipper, a less than superb number 6, no spinner and two below average seamers.

    Which camp would you rather be in? It has to be England. We never do it the easy way, this will serve as a wake-up call. 3-1 to Strauss' men.

    On a side-note, same XI for the next test please. The idea of switching to five bowlers on the back of one defeat, as suggested by Aggers in his column, smacks of desperation. Consistency breeds confidence, Colly is great for the team and will find runs, perhaps swap him with Bell though.

  • Comment number 4.

    Don't panic! There is still a lot of cricket to be played in this series and the MCG could offer up a treat of a match with a very unpredictable pitch.

    Where England should change is the batting line up. Bell at 5 with Morgan brought in at 6 in place of Collingwood who is badly out of form. I like Colly with his fielding and off-cutters but we need runs. With only a four man bowling unit they desperately neeed time to rest between innings which they just didn't get at Perth.

    Also, all four bowlers must come to the party. Swann was anonymous at Perth on a wicket notorious for its lack of help for the spinners - look at Warne's figures there. Perhaps with hindsight they should have gone with a four man pace attack with Bresnan.

  • Comment number 5.

    Why do you think that England are the better side Tom?

    From what I saw and heard and read, this England team capitulated so meekly, the difference between the last game and this was starkly evident, yet there was not much difference between this side and that...........and to Aggers and you Tom, you cannot blame the pitch for the defeat.

    If they are as good as you say they are, they should at least have put up more of a fight.

    Frankly, as I said after the first day, when everyone was crowing about how this Aussie side will be swept away, England will do well to be wary.........that they did not, or would not, shows just how bad a side they really are.

    My prediction form the beginning of this series, 3-1 Australia!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    I don't see any reason to change the team, Colly has been hopeless with the bat but I think his allround effort and presence is worth a lot to the team.

    Interested to see KP included in the composite team above and Cook for that matter. When the Aussies were tossing up soft deliveries these guys were making hay. The rest of the series has been a disaster especially for KP. We need these batsmen to stand up when the going gets tough.

  • Comment number 7.

    Why doesn't any of this surprise me? I'm in the US, the only real coverage of the sries I've seen was during the first test while in the UK, but I knew that the rubbish I was reading on here about how doninant we were was exactly that, total rubbish. The nonsense about feeling sorry for the Aussies during the first day, get a life. They are better than that, we may be better than them, but please get a grip on reality. we may win this series, and I really hope we do, but please report with a degree of balance beacause what I've seen so far is garbage.

  • Comment number 8.

    and apologies for the spelling, it's been a long day.

  • Comment number 9.

    The east coast is wet (flooded in fact) due to the La Nina effect in the Pacific Ocean, making rain-shortened tests more likely than in preceding years. By all means England should try to win the next one outright, but if it does end up being a draw, then they shouldn't speed proceedings along in the final test by stocking up on bowlers. Two draws in a row would suit them just fine.

  • Comment number 10.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm trying to be positive. It doesn't come naturally to me though. I need help from an impressive cricketing performance. By England, that is.

    I preferred it when pundits, both armchair and professional, were telling me that this Australian team doesn't look like taking twenty wickets in a match.

  • Comment number 12.

    Two draws would retain the Ashes , true.
    But I'd still be setting sights a bit higher - this match was a disaster for England , but if this series were a boxing match scored on points England would still be a bit ahead, while Australia having survived an 8 count have just won the latest round convincingly. Need to regroup for the next round.
    I agree no change to the team shape - with all the weather around southern Australia it is doubtful the 4 bowlers will be stretched by overwork - the danger is one or other of the last two matches may be ruined by rain and England must be sure they don't have another batting collapse in the other one!
    I still fancy England 2-1.
    But it won't be as easy as some silly people were predicting after Adelaide.

  • Comment number 13.

    Swann's performance very disappointing and hard now to see him picking up "BBC Sports Personality" this evening. I don't think he'll even be in the top 3.

    The Ashes? ... hard to call.

  • Comment number 14.

    Have you guys ever considered the fact that we have been horrible and yet the series is 1-1 after three tests? And in the first test we were the only team that had a chance of winning after the first innings. I agree that we are not great but I think you get carried away with your own ability. Confidence is a wonderful thing and maybe, and it is only a maybe, we are turning a corner as far as form is concerned. Sitting in a rain-drenched Melbourne as I speak. And if one of the two best batsmen of our generation finally gets in and makes some runs and reminds all of us how good he is, then maybe some old ghosts will come back to haunt you. I'm hoping anyway.

  • Comment number 15.

    England were horrible in this match after the first day...surely they cant be that bad again! and this is exactly what the English players should be thinking...
    the only way for the Aussies to regain the Ashes will be if England themselves dont want to win it and continue playing this bad..
    cos in all honesty, this is the best that this Australian side can play

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm an Aussie so I'm supposed to be happy about this win, but I am also a conspiracy theorist and I don't trust big time, corporate sport and all the betting that goes on...and all the money that flows through the commercial media. Had England won in Perth, Channel 9 and Cricket Australia stood to lose millions.
    They would have much preferred a live series to attract a big crowd to Melbourne, the biggest stadium. Could this be one reason why a lopsided series is now an even and poised contest that anyone can win? Hmmmmmmm?

  • Comment number 17.

    Like you Tom, I'm remaining positive and hoping that this dismal performance is a mere aberration.

    Let's be honest who really thought it would be easy - it never is when England win a major series. But hopefully as at The Oval in 2009,England will bounce back after a heavy defeat and get the win they need to retain the Ashes.

    It's not as if the Aussies don't still have problems. Hughes doesn't look the answer as opener and Ponting and Clarke are in dreadful form. Smith isn't a number six and surely they won't be able to play four quicks at Melbourne and Sydney.

    England's concerns would seem to be less. As you say stick Bell in at five with Colly to six to shepherd the tail on pitches that should suit him better. Prior needs to start scoring some runs - Siddle really does appear to have his number and for all Finn's wickets he is going to end up being sponsored by Prada at this rate given how expensive he is. But are Shahzad or Bresnan really the answer?

    It's all shaping up to be another fantastic series.

    Here are our marks out of ten for each side and our observations of a brief days play:

    Day 4 (or should that be England's batting?) dissected: Harris burst speeds England's demise

    England marks out of 10

    Australia marks out of 10

  • Comment number 18.

    Post 1 I agree. I think England felt they only had to turn up and win. Day 1 merely reinforced that.

    At the end of day 1 I magine 95% of us thought that isn't a test winning first innings. England will bat all day tomorrow to get to 350 and the Aussies will be back in by lunch on day 3 at least a hundred behind.

    I know I did!

    Let us face facts the Aussies aren't going to want to lose on home soil without a fight.

    The kidology with Johnson was naiive and stupid. Leave the man to stew in his own juices and let Ponting worry about his batting and the team. Don't and I repeat this in capitals DON'T have a cheap shot at a wounded Aussie. It just doesn't work.

    If I was Andy Flower I would tell them these things happen. Let us put it behind us. Lets get off to Melbourne have a couple of days in the nets relax and wake up Boxing Day feeling like a Jack Russell terrior who has just spied the fridge door open.

    Two draws and we keep the Ashes. Lets just remember that.

  • Comment number 19.

    "England were horrible in this match after the first day...surely they cant be that bad again! and this is exactly what the English players should be thinking..."

    That's what I thought when they came out to bat the 2nd time. Surely they can't be as bad as the first innings I thought. Surely they've learnt from their mistakes, I thought. Obviously not!

    I think Tom is right, just forget it and move on. I think what the English batsmen need to regain is their level of concentration. Gooch spoke of this regarding Cook's superb innings at the 'Gabba, but it seemed that none of the top order were really focussed on the task in hand. They get that back and they should bat much, much better at the MCG.

    And they also need to figure out a way to get Hussey out. He has made more than half of Australia's runs so far.

  • Comment number 20.

    Ok, so it is 1:1.
    But there is still a long way to go and the Aussies have to get one more win to get ashes back
    may still be beyond them.

    Katich is out, his replacement Hughes looks suspect. Watson keeps making 40s and 50s and getting out - not enough in tests. Ponting is out of form and now a bruised/broken finger. Clarke out of form

    So all the pressure on Hussey (with support from Watson & Haddin)
    sooner or later he is going to fail and where will the Aussies be then?

    Steve smith was brought in as batsmen and perhaps bowl a few overs of
    leg spin well, he is rubbish as a batsman, definitely not a number 6
    and his leggies are just well below what’s required.

    They played 4 frontline pace men of which Johnson had one incredible spell and Ryan
    Harris took 9 in the match Hilffenhous was just ok and Siddle looks poor - has been all series since he took a hat trick!

    Now, MCG will not be the same conditions as WACA historically, MCG will favour a spinner towards the end the Aussies simply do not have a spinner so what will the Aussies do?

    So, there are lots and lots of issues with the Aussies.

    Another issue is that England is suspect on bouncy pitches - this is not the first time they
    collapsed on a bouncy strip.

    In 2009, they played on a bouncy Headingly pitch and lost to the Aussies last year, they played on a bouncy Centurion park strip and lost to SA.

    WACA, which over the last decade had become flat, was purposely spiced up to bundle England
    (nearly backfired - if not for Hussey, England may well have won - so even the Aussies are vulnerable)

    More news:

    There is talk of the Aussies preparing two strips for MCG match - one normal, one
    with more grass and though it will be impossible for MCG to get the bounce as at WACA,
    they will think about using the strip with more grass.

    The Aussies have no choice really they only have pacemen so they have to get either seaming conditions or bouncy conditions. If they get just a flat pitch, then we'll be back to Brisbane & Adelaide
    and 500 + for 1 declared scenarios

    Finally, as we saw from ashes 2009, England went to Headingley 1-nil up
    and then collapso-ed twice and lost is this the same this time at WACA?
    i.e they have got rid of their collapso for this series?

    As an England supporter, I hope so!!

  • Comment number 21.

    This was the ground Australia were most likely to win at. This was the type of pitch England were always going to struggle most on.

    Don't panic. Don't make knee-jerk changes. Think back to Headingly last year when we were thrashed and all the calls for Key and Ramprakash. The selectors stayed cool and we won the Ashes.

  • Comment number 22.

    Bile, vomit and anger. It galls but Mickey Arthur saw this coming a mile away. An absolute shocker. Humiliating. Pinch, scratch, kick, bite. Bladder n'bowels, why can't he keep his conk out of Aussie cricket. Gutted, filleted, the End of Days. Ashes, dust, ruin. And Chelsea-United is off. It's so cold.

  • Comment number 23.

    #22. Thinks...where are my 'Howzat' dice? We're going to do Perth properly! ;-)

  • Comment number 24.

    Rumour going round the circuit is the groundstaff at the MCG have ditched the pitch they were preparing and now preparing a different pitch that is faster/greener wicket like the one we've just lost on at the WACA.

    Its all about the key moments and we lost them in this game - 69/5 to 269 and oz second innings 30 odd for 3 to over 300 all out.

    We need to find a way to get Hussey out, he is the key to their batting, but you would bet on Ponting coming good at some point.

    Bell to no.5, hopefully be able to bat with top order for longer and get big partnerships.

    Swann will get a pitch to bowl on, probably the SCG, and Australia don't have a spinner. Fancy us to lose at MCG but win at SCG to retain the ashes.

  • Comment number 25.

    On the one hand, the thought of England wrapping up the series in Perth would have been great in one sense, however the great thing about 2005 and 2009 was the fact that both series went down to the wire and produced tension and drama.
    2006/7 was dull as a spectacle and this series was in danger of becoming the same.

    Imagine the scene at Melbourne, Oz have to push for the win, England still have the ace card of retaining in the event of a drawn series.

    I think the Oz pace attack will win it,I don't think their batsmen will win it for them, or the English batsmen will stand up when it matters and win it......a lot depends on the pitches.

    Shazad for Finn?....Bell up to 5?......Morgan for Colly?....Is Colly part of the furniture?

    Oz going with the same line-up.

    Difficult to call......that's what makes it great.

  • Comment number 26.

    "cos in all honesty, this is the best that this Australian side can play"
    really? I don't think so. Only 5 or 6 of the Aussie players actually turned up to play this match and yet they still comfortably thrashed England. Do you really believe that Ricky Ponting cant do better than he has? Or even Clarke for that matter? England have already played the best they can and unlike Australia, don't have the mental toughness to come back from such a capitulation and humiliation. The fact that they are already talking up the MCG and SCG as favouring England smacks of desparation.

  • Comment number 27.

    Yes, same eleven as perth should be good especially collingwood who has made a whopping 62 runs in these ashes tests so far,and the respectable bowling figures of 68 for 1.

  • Comment number 28.

    Well, as some people pointed out at the time, letting Australia recover on the first day and post a decent total was where this Test was lost. And in the second innings, just when there was an opening to limit Australia to a reasonable lead, the same thing happened again.

    Steve Finn looks tired and may need a rest. And, despite his apparently minimal contribution to the first two Tests, it is obvious that we missed Stuart Broad a lot. The back-up bowling is very inexperienced (Finn, 11 Tests; Tremlett, 4 Tests; Shazad, 1 Test; Bresnan, 5 Tests).

    However, the side doesn't become bad overnight. It has had three very bad days at the office. Reality check. Wake up call. And finish the job at Melbourne now that the Australians believe that it was all a bad dream and that they have no fundamental problems.

  • Comment number 29.

    Yes also remember how we bounced back after skittles against Oz at headingly in 2009 and Pakistan at Trent Bridge this year. This is not 1992, we have a spine. Also think of Cardiff, Centurion and Newlands. Some more hopeful thoughts and fan footage of Onions' last stand here:

    Reborn at Melbourne...?

  • Comment number 30.

    Too many players who believed their own publicity and decided to lord it over the Aussies before the job was even half done. Our two SA imports especially guilty (less than 50 between them) - Pietersen in particular with his typically infantile remarks to Johnson.

  • Comment number 31.

    We have batted 5 time in this test series.

    The first effort was awful
    The second effort was massive (only a couple of batsmen did well though)
    The third effort was better
    The fourth was woeful
    The fifth was the worst

    For all the abject bowling display of the Aussies in the second test, they have done pretty well in the others.

    For all the comments about the Aussies openers, we don't exactly have a solid batting line up ourselves who still struggling with certain pitches, combined with a bowling attack that tends to revert to using hope to win.

    These two teams are more equal than we all got carried away with after the second test suggests. We no longer favour balanced journalism so everything is either simply amazing, or simply awful.

    I for one think we have two balanced sides, both with some huge frailties waiting to be exploited. Cricket is a game for collective efforts, in which one person can make the difference.

    Right now Finn is being carried, Collingwood is being carried, Bell still can't shake the monika of being a chocker, and we do not have a tail.

    The Aussies ain't much better.

    Can't wait for the fourth test, great contest, fairly average sides capable of amazingness every now and again.

  • Comment number 32.

    Whilst I am NEVER surprised to see Australia fighting back (always to be expected) I am ALWAYS surprised at the the sheer level of euphoria and ecstasy exhibited by England supporters every time we win a Test or do well. I listened to interviews with members of the Barmy Army after Day 1 and whilst alcohol obviously plays it's part you sometimes wonder if they are the same supporters who have watched England get humiliated time after time down under?

    I do appreciate that it is in the nature of supporters and fans (derived from the word fanatic of course) to make the most of victories and to forget the losses (it seems it is part of our human genetic makeup to do this otherwise we'd get too depressed and give up) but this just to leads to extremes of silliness in both the opinions of the experts and the lay people who comment for payment or for pleasure. In 2005 we only won by 2 runs and in 2009 it could have gone either way as well even though Australia were not as strong as they wrre in 2007 and 2005. In summary:

    - England were NEVER as good as so many people have made them out to be and still continue to do so if the posts and blogs I've read are anything to go by.

    - Australia were NEVER as bad as so many people have made them out to be. They are fighters, competitors and on home territory and if they are as bad as people say they are then how bad does that make England now?

    I made it clear that I would be happy with a drawn series to retain The Ashes and if both of the next Tests get drawn I'll be very satisfied. I would have preferred England to have won this Test and therefore not have to lose more sleep (pun intended) over the outcome but this was never going to happen except in some supporters fantasies. Get a grip - this is The Ashes and it is being played in Australia. Why would anyone think it would result in a spectacular England series win? We only won 2-1 in 2005 and in 2009 on our home soil so why not be satisfied with a 2-2 draw that retains The Ashes when playing away?

    My main concern with what has happened is that this will have knocked the confidence of the England players for six and we all know how important confidence is at this level of competition. I still think Strauss and Co. have the mental strength to get around this huge set-back but I would not be surprised if it goes down to the wire again as per usual.

    A reality check like this is always difficult to deal with but ingnoring it does not mean it will go away. England were poor and Australia we simply better than us for most sessions and we should have expected this.

    Regards, Joe.

  • Comment number 33.

    How come all this optimism? We have just been thrashed by the worst Australian team in a generation. It only has 2 world class players - Ponting and Clarke, neither of whom have shown any form yet we have been comprehensively outplayed.
    A number of their players (Harris, Hughes, Smith, Siddle) are not even test class. When England have sent sub standard teams to play Australia the Australians don't give us any semblance of a positive result yet we contrive to lose to massively. Given the circumstances this is one of the most dispiriting results in English test cricket for 30 years.

  • Comment number 34.

    I agree with the tone of the post - it happened, forget it and move on. Perth is a freak track and played to Johnson's limited talent. The good news is that he is now undroppable for the remainder of the series and will surely return to being rank bat fodder. Agree with promotion of Bell and I would put him ahead of Pietersen on technical correctness being most likely to halt a rout if Australia break through the top order. True I don't like Pietersen - when he's good he's good but get some quick wickets down and he's a momentum builder for the opposition. Morgan for Collingwood is justified but I wouldn't let him anywhere near the top 6. Bowling changes - you must be joking, on the remaining more normal tracks what we have is good enough and will be enough to win.

  • Comment number 35.

    I believe in momentum in Ashes cricket. England had momentum at the start of this last test and held it until the afternoon when they let Aussies score an extra 70 runs which cost the match. After that every session went Aussies way. England did not just lose this test they were completely annihilated more so than Australia were at Adelaide. Aussies will carry the momentum into the next test and they could win it on the first day as it is likely to be a very green surface. Which will leave Sydney where Englands hopes will rest with Swann and Panesar and Bell who with Cook looks like he can bat. Frankly Ashes are returning Down Under now

  • Comment number 36.

    Eoin Morgan has had one, brief innings all tour. He scored, I believe, 6. More than half of all his Test runs come in a single innings: not exactly great arguments for selecting him.

    Even in 1978/79 Australia managed a big win in the middle of one of the biggest Ashes routs of all time!

    The three of the last four summers England have had one dreadful Test when the momentum looked to be with them in each series. Against India it cost us the series. Against Australia it let them back in. And against Pakistan it left the final Test live when the series should have finished 4-0. Over the last 6 years this has been standard issue. It is the wake-up call that the side needs.

    Australia continue to have far more problems overall. Hardly any of their batsmen is in form. The attack is totally unbalanced and their entire strategy depends on a single card. Mitch Johnson has had one good Test: maybe he'll follow it up in Melbourne, but how many Australian fans really expect him to? Here, he was allowed to get some cheap runs and build up his fragile confidence but, like Steve Harmison, that confidence may last only as long as the next disaster.

  • Comment number 37.

    As much as it pains me to do it, I think Papa has a point on the Collingwood scenario. I really feel he should be rested and Morgan given a chance to bat at 6 with Bell rising to number 5. I know Colly is one of our outstanding fielders but if you compare the damage recovery Hussey has completed at number 5 compared to the runs Colly hasnt scored Morgan is the only real alternative. Unless they Promote Bell to 5 and Colly down to 6. Whatever happens there is no way Colly should be above Bell. Another point is that maybe Trott moving down the order and KP moving to no. 3 and Bell at 4 (where he has scored runs numerous times). I dont see why KP cant do a similar job to what Kallis does for SA at no 3. I know I will probably be ridiculed for the above but so be it lol. Anyway lets forget the Wacca, and move forward with renewed optimism for Melbourne. Hussey has to fail at some stage in this series and when he does i think it will be terminal to the Aussies wining back the treasured Urn! PS I dont believe all this talk about momentum, eg Headingley onto The Oval in 2009 and Lords onto Edgebaston in 2005.

  • Comment number 38.

    Just got home, didn't really want to check the result, but it was hardly going to be a big surprise.

    I think whatever we do regarding selection - 5 man bowling attack vs Collingwood, Bell Collingwood swap etc, it would probably be worthwhile looking at some other lessons from this match:

    If you are going to sledge the Ozzies you'd better make it stick, they invented it and even in a squad as weak as theirs, as soon as their talisman payer starts firing they can all line up behind him and have a snipe (just like kids in the playground hiding behind the class bully). England don't have the culture of loutish cricket history to call on and it distracts them, keep it shut and make the bat and ball do the talking, anyone notice much sledging from Aus in Brisbane and Adelaide? No, because they drop their heads pretty quick when under the pump, that's the only kind of mental disintegration England can apply.

    Definitely don't wind up Johnson, he feeds off it the same paranoia and anger that cripples his confidence can also stoke his fire when he's on form, ignore him, make it clear that England see him as fragile, don't get drawn into an exchange with him, he'll soon turn on himself.

    The only players worth pressurising are Ponting and Clarke, the Aus press are crucifying them, they are both staring at the captaincy and succession plan being taken away from them by their shocking form, they are open for winding up.

    Wives and girlfriends; Hi nice to see you, bye, time to have a 3 week bus trip round the sites of Oz. England are here to WIN the ashes, surely nothing less is good enough. The team need to remind themselves of that and get back into that all consuming focussed mindset, cricket and that's it, no distractions, or do they want to be like our feeble football team.

    Finally to the Barmy Army - surely you have televisions in your hotels - check out the Ricky Ponting ad for Swisse multivitamins, it's on in every break over here, the tag line as spoken by Punter himself is -" Tired, Stressed? You'll feel better on Swisse!" Surely a new chant from the army to old monkey face- "Tired, stressed? You'll feel better if you quit!"

    Come on England, "Keep calm and carry on!"

  • Comment number 39.

    Good article, but it was of course even worse than your first line reports. We were thrashed in an hour over THREE days, not four.

  • Comment number 40.

    Despite all the calculated up and downs of Australia not having a spinner, or Smith not being a decent number 6 batsman, or Clarke and Ponting out of form etc, there remains one simple fact.
    If Johnson bowls like he did in Perth at the MCG or Sydney or at both, England most probably will lose another test or both.
    The Ashes hinges on him. Johnson gets the ball to move - Ashes return to Australia. Johnson doesn't get the ball to move - Ashes remain in England.

  • Comment number 41.

    With regard to RoseSelavy's rather reckless statement that Johnson has limited talent. You are very much under estimating a bowler who will decide the Ashes. Johnson is a match winner and always will be, at any time on any track. Sometimes things may not go right for him, but on his day he is deadly. Dismiss him at your peril. Be warned. When he brings the ball back into the right hander he is almost unplayable.

    "34. At 10:35am on 19 Dec 2010, RoseSelavy wrote:

    I agree with the tone of the post - it happened, forget it and move on. Perth is a freak track and played to Johnson's limited talent. The good news is that he is now undroppable for the remainder of the series and will surely return to being rank bat fodder."

  • Comment number 42.

    #38 Spot on Matt. The wags arrive and suddenly the eye is taken off the ball. Coincidence? The exception was tremlett who obviously had something to prove and boy did he.

    Only change, Morgan for collingwood anyone?

  • Comment number 43.

    I really don't think we need to be disheartened in the slightest and the first two tests of this series are the reason for that. The Waca as a previous article on BBC Sport noted favours the players who play semi regularly there due to the unique peculiarities of the wicket and the wind conditions, so local knowledge is vital.

    The odds are that most of the Australian team have played there considerably more that the English team and as a result have a better idea of what the wicket will do. Noted in this article is that England as a team won't play there for another four years, so maybe this test should always be regarded as a draw at best is a good thing and a loss is more likely?

  • Comment number 44.

    Ok, so to lose after the euphoria of Adelaide is very dishearting but come on but for an inspired bowling spell from Johnson on his home turf and Mike Hussey clubbing another 160 odd runs it could have been so different.
    England were one good days batting away from likely success after reaching 78 for 0 on day 2. I was always wary about the crowing of winning the Ashes before Xmas and the win in Perth and its in the bag talk so lets save this for after we have won the urn.
    Finn concerns me as he haemorages too many runs but he is young and inexperienced and playing tough games on overseas tours can only improve his game. Tremlett has done really well but I think all the quicks are a bit too fond of the short stuff. It should be the exception rather than the rule. Broad is also guilty of this when he gets a strop on.
    Bell and Collingwood need switching round for although Colly is struggling he is worth a place for his catching. So Nil Desperandum lads, I still think we are a better side than the convicts but any Australian side is no pushover in their own back yard. England would do well to remember this.

  • Comment number 45.

    It's sure set for a ding-dong battle.......I reckon the only shame is we'll have to wait another 3/4 years for the next Ashes series.
    I suppose that's what makes it special, but I could watch the Ashes every year given the choice.

  • Comment number 46.

    Back to the England of old, spineless.

  • Comment number 47.

    Every side can have an off game and the WACA is the usual place to have one in Oz. No need to panic and make big changes but.... What will it take to bat Bell at 4 (or 5). He is totally wasted at 6. He has been the best England bat by a mile in this series (credit to Cook but he is not in the same class) and he has not had the time or partners remaining to either accumulate runs or bat without thinking about running out of partners. Lets keep the same side but bat Bell at 4, Pietersen at 5 (better place for a slogger) and Collingwood at 6. If this does not happen it will just be a continuation of the appalling treatment of Bell over the years led by Mr Vaughan (now calling for his promotion) who forced Bell down the order to enable his own return to the no 3 slot when he was totally out of touch.

  • Comment number 48.

    I am glad there is some optimism.

    As an Englishman who has lived in Brisbane since 2003, I have been waiting for an Ashes, played here, where England would be competitive. I certainly feel optimistic that the squad and attitude we have allows us to be as such.

    After the great Brisbane escape, with a pitch that surprised most Aussie commentators (should've been more like the WACA) we were riding high on the Adelaide win. In reality Perth was never going to be easy.

    The match stats tell their own story.

    The three highest scoring batsmen - Hussey (WA), Watson (originally Qld) and Johnson (now WA, originally Qld) all learned their trade on the quick bouncy pitches of WA or Qld.

    The highest wicket takers Johnson (see above) and Harris (Qld) also learned and ply their trade on similar pitches. The MCG and SCG are very different.

    Watson and Hughes opening - not exactly rock solid. Ponting and Clarke, need I say more. Mr Cricket and Haddin are two of the biggest concerns. Smith is no batting all rounder. Johnson can bat when he's not throwing his toys out of the pram, and Harris - Hilfenhaus are a true tail - Perth wasn't a true reflection of their averages.

    With the pitches a little slower in Melbourne and Sydney, and most likely the same Aussie XI, we're in for a shout of at least 1 out of 2.

    The earlier innings we saw from Strauss, Cook, Trott and Pietersen should buoy the spirits that at least we have a top order. I don't think the same could be said of the Aussies.

    Between Brisbane's 2nd innings and the end of Adelaide the Aussie bowlers couldn't buy wickets. I think the result points more to the wicket (purple patches from Johnson and Harris aside) than a change in the ability of the Australian quicks.

  • Comment number 49.

    Swann was poor in this game, showed no imagination whatsoever when asked to do a job.

  • Comment number 50.

    i think this these pundits are very harsh on steve smith. i will tell you why in thier "expert" style.

    1. he outscored trott, pietersen, collingwood, prior and got about the same as cook. alright he didnt do amazing but if he outscores or equals 5 of the oppositions top 7 every game then were laughing.

    2. he didnt bowl because englands batting was so average. the same reason why watson didnt bowl. the four quicks were easily good enough. with siddle, or though being supposedly out of form, had a economy of around 2.

    3. smith took some brilliant slip catches through the game.

  • Comment number 51.

    We have been playing well, especially our bowling attack BUT, WACA pitch or not, our batting fell apart in the face of swing, pace and bounce. Even in Adelaide with its flat pitch our top batsmen gave chances off mediocre bowling which were dropped by a pretty ragged fielding diplay by the foe (catches, runouts etc). This Aussie side may be finding form - if they bring it with them to Melbourne then I'd guess that this is going to expose some quite radical batting weaknesses. It's all to play for and England are far from sure to retain or win this series.

  • Comment number 52.

    We can all analyse to death the last test or the series as a whole, but what it all boils down to is who is the better team over all, as over a 5 test series this side will usually prevail. The answer - England, job done !!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    Its good toread so many level headed posts putting the WACA test in perspective.
    Basically, Australia won it because the groundsman prepared a pitch that the mecurial Johnson was able to perform on.
    Haven't we seen this before? Isn't it likely that he will again subside into a shambolic figure at MCG? Won't sin be more important there and wont that favour Swann?
    It is reminiscent of 2009.The sports pages showed a cerubic beaming Ponting after Australia levelled the series and all the talk was of momentum going with Australia;we know what happened next!
    England to win this series 2-1 or to draw it.

  • Comment number 54.

    Bad preparation for the match, poor batting against some excellent bowling from Australia who deliberately played WACA players in their team, wrong batting order, poor bowling by Swann and too much pressure on Finn who is not up to leading the attack yet, bad fielding choices by Strauss who allowed Aussies to score 70 more runs on the first day which cost the match and overall too surfeit of hubris.
    Boycott called it correctly on the first day. Not surprising as he knows more about the game along with Botham and his nemesis Ian Chappell than anyone else.
    Prediction - Melbourne Aussies edge it on a green top as they win the toss and put us in. Sydney - down to the wire with our fate in the hands of Swann and Bell.

  • Comment number 55.

    Coincidence that the arrival of the WAGS coincided with lackluster display at MCG & abject performance at the WACA...umm I don't think so. The lack of quality in the England squad will mean that the ashes will be lost 2-1.

  • Comment number 56.

    a sensible comment from shango! i wouldn't drop collingwood for morgan, but i can certainly see their is an argument for it. Blaming Swann is ridiculous - it wasn't a wicket for a spinner and our bowlers didn't do all that bad - got them out for 2 reasonable scores, it all went wrong with being unable to play johnson. Lets hope he has 2 more shockers!

  • Comment number 57.

    Somebody mentioned it yesterday on one of the blogs on here, and I'll repeat it, but its peculiar how this perfomance coincides with the arrival of the wives and girlfriends. If that trully has contributed to the drop in intensity on the field then it definitely needs looking at. It does'nt need sweeping under the carpet, it needs looking at. We're there to win the Ashes, not for a holiday.

  • Comment number 58.

    I said it yesterday and I'll say it agin.

    Its all about application, our batters didn't apply themselves to the situation and showed complete contempt for the conditions, bowlers.

    On the first day we had them choked round the neck and released our grip through pure arrogance.

    Pietersen isn't the answer, he's just a show pony. 1 in 10 innings comes off its hardly the answer.

  • Comment number 59.

    Aussie bowlers swinging better than ours on the day. Batsmen needed to retain the concentration and discipline exhibited in previous test, but found wanting in the face of abovementioned. Bell should move up. No batsmen can succeed against swinging ball so bowlers need to match aussie bowlers in that respect to seek parity. Melbourne critical for momentum going into Sydney. Spin coming in now - some advantage there. Homework must be done - each aussie, including Hussey, has a weakness. Homework is the difference - as both sides too even to split. Egos to be left aside, thinkers to clitch it.

  • Comment number 60.

    Hi Tom, very refreshing to see a British journalist talking about positives and "reasons to be cheerful" instead of the usual pathetic British attitude of jumping on the teams back after one poor performance. Fair enough if they go on to lose the ashes, but everyone has a poor test once in a while.

    Haha papa shango I feel sorry for you. You might be right about Collingwood's place in the team being under threat but you've spoken so much rubbish on these blogs that you no longer have any credibility at all!

  • Comment number 61.

    I'm obviously disappointed with the overall performance in this Test but really we have only been beaten by 3-4 players, 2 of whih play their cricket at the WACA. Even though the MCG groundsmen will try to prepare a wicket like Perth it will not be the same.

    I've been saying for some time that Bell should be batting No5 and it looks like it will happen at the MCG. Even though he didn't make any in the 2nd innings I hope he will be able to make his 1st ton against the Aussies shortly.

    I'm leaning the way of Aggers regarding selection. It's regretable but I would think about bringing Bresnan in for Collingwood, playing Prior at No6. Certainly, if we go 2-1 down I after the MCG it is a must. However if the MCG wicket looks as though it will not be as helpful to Swann I would bring in Bresnan as the 4th seamer and play Australia "like-for-like".

    Who's up for bowling short at Punter with a short leg in place and a man back on the hook?! Mind the finger!

  • Comment number 62.

    Oh dear, England. Where hath your triumphalism gone now?

  • Comment number 63.

    I love all the excuses here. Typically English.

    South Africa won at the WACA (note the way it is written!!! - Tom Fordyce you are ignorant!) by running down 414 in 08/09 with six wickets to spare.

    Good sides win at the WACA. Yours is not.

  • Comment number 64.

    Does this defeat have anything to do with WAGS ?

  • Comment number 65.

    "2. Last time England won the Ashes, they did so with victory at Melbourne."

    Surely last time England won the Ashes was in England? Last year at The Oval?

    Last time England won the ashes in Australia... must have been about early 1980s when no Australians were playing for Australia, they were all playing for Packer. Prehistoric. I vaguely remember England winning at Melbourne once in the 1990s? About our only test vistory that decade?

  • Comment number 66.

    62. At 12:48pm on 19 Dec 2010, Einveldi wrote:
    Oh dear, England. Where hath your triumphalism gone now?

    Hopefully not to the same place as Ponting, Hughes and Clarkes batting form, because that looks like it's completely disappeared !!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    #65 - When England last won the Ashes in Australia it was the 1986-87 series and we did indeed win it at the MCG (going 2 up with 1 to play). Before the series we had been written off (Can't bat, can't bowl, can't field) but somehow managed to beat an Aussie team in transition. This was after Packer cricket but possibly some Aussies were banned for touring SA at the time.

  • Comment number 68.

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

  • Comment number 69.

    16. At 09:08am on 19 Dec 2010, mikabendigo wrote:
    I'm an Aussie so I'm supposed to be happy about this win, but I am also a conspiracy theorist and I don't trust big time, corporate sport and all the betting that goes on...and all the money that flows through the commercial media. Had England won in Perth, Channel 9 and Cricket Australia stood to lose millions.
    They would have much preferred a live series to attract a big crowd to Melbourne, the biggest stadium. Could this be one reason why a lopsided series is now an even and poised contest that anyone can win? Hmmmmmmm?


    A pommie here and there may be something in what you write. From going into the Test with at least 4 batsmen having scored big centuries in the series to date England's batting performace was absolutely terrible - and it was a good batting pitch as the Aussies showed and they ARe in bad form.

    If the touring side were Pakistan the front and back pages of newspapers would feature match fixing allegations....

  • Comment number 70.

    # 63 - I think what South Africa managed at Perth was one of the greatest run chases of all time; Australia had outplayed them for most of the Test but SA pulled it out of the bag.

    It's not an excuse though, we should have batted better. However at least South Africa are used to playing on pitches like the WACA (Trott & Pietersen should have been immense!).

  • Comment number 71.

    Can't figure why anyone thinks we need an extra bowler when it's the batting that let England down?

  • Comment number 72.

    If they lose in Melb then it!s all over. in fact a good comment at 4 was that if your batsmen let you down then 4 bowlers is not enough as they did not have a rest. Surely the team picked for Perth was wrong. An allrounder, Bresnan should have replaced Broad, and Tremlett should have come in as the extra paceman replacing Swanny who would be wanting on this pitch. yes we can talk with hindsight now but the match was lost when the aussies were let off at 69/5 and got to 268. An extra paceman might just have helped here. Colly needs to go anyway as he cant bat and is lucky most of the time to not get an edge as he is nowhere near the ball. The fact is that the selectors know the batting is weak and hence the plan to stick with 4 bowlers. If the batting fails again then aussies will sail home winning the ashes. Finally the batting was disgraceful and Pietersen looked like he could not care less. He looks flashy on a pleasant wicket ahen there is no pressure but he has never done anything when the going gets tough and seems to think he is the one and only as shown by his Lamborghini stunt. Warny must be laughing all the way back to Liz in London!

  • Comment number 73.

    Typical over-reaction from so many fair-weather fans. We win and we're amazing, we lose and suddenly we're terrible. Weren't people saying the same about Australia after Adelaide? They've shown you can turn things around, albeit at the ground they always win at and with favourable conditions. As several have mentioned we took a pasting at Headingley in 2009 yet still won the series. Momentum is over-rated. Every ground is different so it's like starting from scratch at each match.

    The bright side is the Ashes are usually lost by this point in a series in Australia. Even a loss in the next match means a win at spin-friendly Sydney will retain the Ashes. I would have loved a 3-0 or 4-0 scoreline to England but that's not going to happen. I'll happily take a drawn series and retaining the Ashes. Looking at the weather on the east coast of Australia there may not be a lot of cricket in the next couple of weeks anyway.

    For England, even though I've advocated keeping Collingwood up to now I think his time has run out and his lack of any score, let alone a big score means he has to go. I'd elevate Bell and Prior and bring in Bresnan to bat at 7. He can't bat any worse than Collingwood and he'll offer another option with the ball. Collingwood's contribution in the field can't be over-estimated though and I can't help but feel we would be lacking in that department if he was dropped. I also think Finn needs a rest. This pitch was supposedly made for him yet he went at nearly 6 an over and took only a couple of wickets. I'd bring in Shahzad at Melbourne where reverse swing may come in to it more. Morgan has no form and is unproven in Test cricket, I wouldn't consider him.

    For Australia, they have two batsmen in form. Of course Hussey, who has shown the top six on both sides how to concentrate, play the ball on it's merits and also to adapt to different conditions. Watson is the other one. I know he missed a ton again but I'd quite like to have the problem of being dismissed between 50 and 100 every innings. Ponting and Clarke are there for the taking. As for the bowlers it seems a bit of a lottery. Siddle has bowled one wicket taking spell, likewise Johnson and Harris. If Melbourne lacks any assistance for the bowlers who knows?

    My prediction - 2-1. We avoid a loss in Melbourne being saved by the rain on the final day, the doom-mongers have their day. All the usual "spineless", "typical England" comments come out then a win in the final test with Swann taking 7 wickets in the second innings. Ashes retained. Here's hoping anyway.

  • Comment number 74.

    It was predictable. The Australian fans now believe seriously again that their team is the greatest ever and that it will finish 5-0. So, they won't tackle the problems in the team and so, advantage England.

    This could be the defeat that seals the series victory.

  • Comment number 75.

    Having watched the 3rd Test it is frustrating to see the England slump to a heavy defeat. Frustrating given that they had 2 days to chase 391 which is more than enough time to chase that total down. The top order never looked settled at all at the crease and it annoys me watching Collingwood and Prior keep getting out so early!! Bell needs to come up the order. He can do what Hussey is doing for Aussies and that is come in and cement his place at the crease and get the team back in the match. Bring in Morgan and bring in Bresnan.

  • Comment number 76.

    I blame the WAGS

  • Comment number 77.

    How can a so called expert like Jonathan Agnew say the he still thinks England are the better side after being so comprehensively outplayed? I've lived in England for a number of years and one thing I've learnt is don't believe the hype about the England team. The same is true of their pathetic football team and look what they've achieved.

    Australia have the momentum now.

    Look a Mr flat-track bully Pietersen: undefeated double ton on an Adelaide featherbed, 0 & 3 on a proper pitch at Perth. Anderson gets less effective as the series goes on, Swann is being shown up as vastly overrated. And Collingwood? Any team with him in can't be all that good! Cook has been worked out. Prior is all mouth and no substance. Finn looked awful on a pitch that was tailor-made for him.

    England: over-hyped and overrated just like the football team.

  • Comment number 78.

    WAGs arrive, England lose. Coincidence? I think not.

  • Comment number 79.

    Bowler Tremlett gave a lion-hearted performance. Hats off to the taker of eight wickets. Best wishes to the two sides in the Boxing Day Test Match.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 80.

    Perhaps it's just me being glass-half-empty, but I regard the list of weak players in the Australia point as a negative as well as a positive.

    Yes, the likes of Hughes, Smith and most of their bowling attack are a joke. An amusing one too, given the quality of Australia's side over the years: such a contrast. But a side containing such mediocrity just gave our boys an absolute hiding. No two ways about it.

    If we can bat so dismally against an Australian side low on confidence after a hammering, I shudder to think how we'll fare now they scent blood.

    Worse still, if Ponting and/or Clarke gets it, we can expect them to rack up colossal totals. We appear incapable of dismissing Hussey short of three figures, so if he can find a partner or two then Australia will stand a great chance in all the remaining tests, especially as they've now exposed our fragile middle.

    I predict they'll win the last two tests and be utterly unbearable with their gloating.

    But the general tenor is right: all is not lost and thankfully not everyone is as pessimistic as me. The next test will be a great chance to show our resolve; show that this side really is different.

  • Comment number 81.

    Nice, positive blog, thanks.
    I would love to see England sticking with the same team and same batting line up throughout the entire series (replacements for injuries excepted, obviously) and just performing better than the Aussies as a team and tonking them.
    I'm not keen on the idea of chopping and changing personnel for each pitch, etc. I reckon we should just be true to ourselves and back ourselves to do the biz in each Test. After all, the conditions are the same for both teams. I appreciate the interesting debates to the contrary though.
    I'm thoroughly enjoying the contest so far and hope that we can show better quality from now on. With a few obvious exceptions from both sides it feels as though each Test has been dominated by player error rather than consistent, outstanding skill up to now.
    We are the better team as a unit. Let's go for 2-1 or 3-1, not just a series draw to retain The Urn. We can do it. Backing Colly as well to score some well needed runs to match his great fielding. Please.

  • Comment number 82.

    "Most of their bowling attack are a joke"? Knocked England over twice for pathetic scores. I'm laughing very heartily.....

  • Comment number 83.

    Please, please, please keep Collingwood in the team. It certainly will help Australia's cause.

  • Comment number 84.

    England put Australia in, had them 69-5 and lost heavily. Their morale must be rock bottom now....

    Loving it!

  • Comment number 85.

    The English fans make me laugh when you talk about Mitchell Johnson being a less than average bowler

    Mitchell Johnson 175 wickets in 40 tests (4.375 per test) at 29.01
    J Anderson 200 wickets in 55 tests (3.64 per test) at 31.77
    S Broad 99 wickets in 34 tests (2.91 per test) at 35.25
    F Flintoff 226 wickets in 79 tests (2.86 per test) at 32.78
    S Harmison 226 wickets in 63 tests (3.59 per test) at 31.82

    Mmmm - if Johnson is poor......

    He is always likely to go for a few runs although the above stats would tell the story that he goes for less than all of the abovementioned per wicket taken and takes more wickets per test.

    Underestimate him at your own peril.

  • Comment number 86.

    Listen to Agger's and Boycott's Podcast...what Boycott said is absolutely right....he said that England were poor and to have the Aussies at 68-5 in the first innings and then they go on to be 268 all out was a disaster. He goes on to say that it's a not a disgrace to lose but it's how England lose, I totally agree and my problem with the performence is that England lacked grit and tenacity...there was no fight.

    I also have an issue with England's inability to (sometimes) dismiss the tailenders...I always remember the game against the Kiwis in 1997 when their number 11 Danny Morrison (he held the world record for test ducks) managed to get 14 runs and the match ended in a draw. Fair enough this has no bearing on the current tests and Johnson and Siddle are better batsman than Morrison but I really feel that in the first innings England should have disposed of Johnson and Siddle for about 20-30 runs only, chasing a target of about 180-190 would have been more comfortable, would England have gone on to win (or draw)if the run chase had been lower?....who knows but it would have been slightly easier for them.

  • Comment number 87.

    Well done to the Aussies for bouncing back after we put the pressure on them in their back yard. But no one should forget that England have been the laughing stock of cricket with their pathetic displays in the past record low scores and batting collapses. Unfortunately those memories dont go far and it just takes one event to trigger it and all the nightmares come flooding back! Still think we can win it but Englands mental state is fragile now and the Aussies will be mercyless, Will we stand and fight or collapse and fall?

  • Comment number 88.

    Well Tom, I admire your mindless optimism, in much the same way i enjoyed that of Lieutenant George in Blackadder. Unfortunately the England team is similarly in denial, judging by the pathetic excuses, the utter garbage spewing forth from the captain, coach and players in the wake of their defeat.

    What really sticks in the craw is not the reality of defeat (a fact of sporting life) but the manner of it, about which I and others have commented on this or previous blogs. If this England team was really serious about the job in hand then the fightback, indeed the preparations for the next test would have started this morning, with the Aussies made to scrap for every wicket. Instead we got capitulation, and further proof if any were needed that the points made by those criticising this performance are absolutely spot on. Unless the lily-livered Strauss and his flaky team wake up and smell the coffee, and start demonstrating qualities woefully absent in this test, then the Ashes are gone.

  • Comment number 89.

    Dont panic, true, but what if Australias top order decide to start playing like they should? Aggers went on about the wheel turning. Is it turning now?

  • Comment number 90.

    More self-indulgent debate and theorising after England's decimation at the hand of Australia - yes, Australia, the team.

    England may have claim to more players in form and playing well but all that counts for nothing when put against the sheer will and desire to win, toughness, sacrifice and guts, courage and resourcefulness of this Australian team.

    They came to win at Perth - much whooping, joy and derogatory comments when they were 5 down in the first dig but they fought on and made a fair score.
    Much less whooping, etc when England staggerd to a first innings deficit. Ah. the players in form, playing well. The batsmen in the main played irresponsibly and poorly. After Australia's second innings, it is quite fair to say that the bowlers were poor also, and betrayed by body language already conceding defeat.

    Look again at England's two scores in this match. And look again at Australia's second innings score.

    Let nobody underestimate what Australia will set themselves to do to England from here - plus England's old frailties have been ruthlessly exposed again, and that ineptness is always accompanied by self-doubt and more poor play.

    Many of the Aussie team are very good players - the team has been prematurely written off by almost all, but their sheer will to win, courage and rejuvenated skill coupled most importantly with an insatiable desire to thrash England from here and regain the Ashes will be more than enough to achieve that. Even with their "mostly ordinary" payers against England's top performers.

    As for the Captains, I seriously suggest that Strauss, not batting well and always a poor tactician as a skipper, is more at risk than his opposite number who by the way was almost single-handedly responsible for the make up of the team that triumphed in Perth. As Churchill might have said of Australia, ".....some chicken, some neck"!

  • Comment number 91.

    56. mothyproc wrote:
    'a sensible comment from shango!'

    Ha, I know I'll probably have to repeat this a lot in the near future but I'm not the same guy. As in I'm not saying I'm a changed man, I'm just not actually that 'papa shango'. He hijacked my username for the last few weeks and the one you all love to hate is posting under the username 'papa shango always right'

  • Comment number 92.

    I will stick with my initial prediction of a 2-1 England series victory. That means that the home team will have won once-- at the WACA.

    But what is troubling is the manner in which the England compliantly capitulated like a submissive mistress.

    I fully expect a strong response at the MCG. I would make only one change: Eoin for Paul.

    And please keep the WAGs in separate hotels. Impose a team curfew. Focus on discipline and victory; and please the WAGs after you have secured: Mission accomplished!

    Prediction: England to win convincingly at the MCG.

  • Comment number 93.

    Now we all have to look out on the Feast of Stephen!

    EW Swanton used to lace his cricket reports with Latin phrases. Not sure that it helped much, but just in case, here's one for now: Spartan nactus est, hanc exorna.

  • Comment number 94.

    closertofine - What self-indulgent debate? This is a British website where we're generally going to look at things from our own perspective. If you find that galling, well no-one's forcing you to post on here are they?!

    By the way, most of the derogatory comments on Australia's first two performances and wirting off of certain Aus players were coming from your OWN media so what's the point coming on here trying to act a smart ass?

    Oh and if you think Strauss is under more pressure than punter after yet another failure with the bat from Ricky then you want to get your head read!

  • Comment number 95.

    The term momentum is always bandied about during moments like this as though it actually means something, yet history tells us that it means very little.

    Didn't the Aussies have 'momentum' in 2005 after battering us at Lords, or in 2009, after humiliating us at Headingley??

    I think a more accurate term to be applied to this particular series would be complacency, as both sides have displayed this in abundance already.

    It seems to me that the Aussies got very complacent at Brisbane after day 1, and ended up drawing a test that in reality they should have won....Similarly, after day 1 in Perth, it seems England had really believed all the media talk about how poor this Aussie side is, and reality struck big time.

    In reality, this is a very close series, between 2 closely matched and not particularly fantastic sides....I thought 2-2 before it all started and I am not changing my mind now.

    England should not panic, even if we were to lose at Melbourne. This Aussie side is not suddenly an all-conquering one and I simply can't see them winning 3 on the trot, leaving England with at least 1 more big chance before this series is over.

    As for Melbourne, if rumours are true and we are to be confronted with another seamer-friendly track, with little help for spinners, I'd be tempted to drop Swann, along with an obviouly tiring Finn, and I'd fetch in Bresnan and Shaazad....Fight fire with fire!!

  • Comment number 96.

    comment #7

    I think your treatment of the bbc's coverage is rude and extremely uninformed. After admitting you have only been able follow the coverage of the first match, you are obviously unaware of the fact that we have simply destroyed the aussies in first two tests. We are playing against the weakest Australian team that I've seen in thirty years watching cricket and following the TMS team. If our form, and the australians bad form, had continued, we would have won the ashes by christmas. However, I don't believe you can blame the reporting media in particular TMS and co for the sudden inconsistency of the England side. I think they do probably the best job of any sports journalistic team and find them to be superbly insightful. You should perhaps spend more time actually following the cricket rather than criticising the media and revelling in our brief loss of form.

    We are, admittedly against a weak Australian side, by far the better team. Another performance like in the first two tests in either of the last matches and the ashes are ours.

  • Comment number 97.

    Typical English fans on here.

    When the World Cup bid was taking place, every tom dick and harry were saying "football's coming home"

    Then look what happened.

    After the 2nd test victory, every tom dick and harry on here were saying "Ashes is coming home before Xmas, Lets score 500+ at the WACA and punish the Aussies"

    Then look what happened

    You will never learn.....

  • Comment number 98.

    You pillory Smith as not a TEST batsman yet he scored more runs than any Englishman in the scond innings? I watched it in Perth yesterday and England were outplayed, outscored and mostly OUT!
    Could be different in Melbourne but in Perth the Barmy were muffled!

  • Comment number 99.

    Mr Chelsea?

    In the words of "The Who" R U ??????

    I know a Chelsea boy who died his blood coz it was red!

  • Comment number 100.

    FleetJack, tempus mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.

    People will never learn. You have to take the rough with the smooth and cope with it. We have heard all this so often before. Last summer we heard that England had thrown away a series against Pakistan that we actually won 3-1 in the end.


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