BBC BLOGS - Tom Fordyce
« Previous | Main | Next »

Where do Australia go next?

Post categories:

Tom Fordyce | 12:40 UK time, Thursday, 9 December 2010

Melbourne, Victoria

They have just lost a Test by an innings and 71 runs. For the first time in two decades, they have failed to win a single one of their last five Tests. Four opposition batsmen have an average in the series of more than 100. So do four of their own bowlers. They are also taking a fearful pummelling from public and pundits alike.

So, with the third Test only a week away and needing to win at least two of the remaining three Tests to regain the Ashes, how can Australia bounce back from here?

There are issues over selection, tactics, the team's attitude and the captaincy of Ricky Ponting, let alone a toothless bowling attack and struggling top order. By contrast, England will head to Western Australia off the back of their most impressive overseas victory in memory, full of runs and wickets and bursting with confidence.

"It's going to be tough, no two ways about it," former Ashes-winning skipper Mark Taylor told the BBC. "There are plenty of questions and about a thousand answers to each question."


"The first thing they need to do is find a replacement for the injured Simon Katich. I daresay that will be Phil Hughes," says Taylor. "He can play and he's back in some sort of form. But it's in the bowling that they're really struggling. To me, Doug Bollinger doesn't look quite fit. He struggled in Adelaide and I think Ben Hilfenhaus will have to come back in. Ryan Harris will be retained because he bowled OK.

"The people around the team have to sit down and say, righto, what's our best team for Perth, let's pick it and go from there. I'd like to see some young players coming through."

Australia's chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch is due to announce his squad on Friday. Spinner Xavier Doherty is the man most likely to be dropped, with the axe also hanging over Marcus North, Peter Siddle and Bollinger.

Could Mitchell Johnson earn a recall?Could Mitchell Johnson earn a recall? Photo: Getty Images

There are even rumours that Mitchell Johnson, discarded after a pummelling in the first Test at the Gabba, might be called back in.

Steve Waugh was a young all-rounder in the last Australian team to lose an Ashes series at home. He then starred in eight consecutive series wins, the last two as captain.

"I don't know what the selectors are going to do because they have chopped and changed probably too much in the last 12 months," he says.

"You just look at the bowling. They've got through so many bowlers: Clint McKay, Peter George, then we've got Hilfenhaus and Johnson. Where do you go if you've just discarded these guys? Nathan Hauritz , do you bring him back now?

"I was totally against Hughes being dropped at the time. I think it was a short-sighted decision and I think it's proven so if he gets picked right now. He's got that fire in the belly and you can see something in his eyes."

Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell averaged more than 40 in Tests against England and led his side in four Ashes series.

"What happens if they bring Johnson back in and he goes for plenty in his first three overs?" he asked me. "You're then stuck with a bloke who the captain doesn't want to turn to and who could be a liability. He needs to go off and get some wickets in Shield cricket before they even think about it."


Should Australia opt for a policy of all-out attack? In the two games so far, they have taken only 17 wickets, 10 of which came on the very first day.

"What I would like to see from Australia is tactics that are a bit more conservative," says Taylor, who scored 2,496 runs in five winning Ashes campaigns from 1989 to 1999.

"England have flourished because their tactics have been pretty simple - bowl line and length and set your field accordingly. At stages in Adelaide, Australia had three men on the hook shot or three men on the drive. It is very hard for bowlers to bowl to that. Be consistent in your plans and at times be boring.

"Australia don't have the cattle at the moment. What Ricky Ponting has to do in the field is remain as positive as he can. And be a bit more relaxed. There's been a lot of talk from Ricky about being fit and how every day is the biggest day of your life. Well, it's a game of cricket and I think Australian teams play their best when they're relaxed."


With the exception of the first day in Brisbane, the Australian players have looked a shadow of their aggressive, self-confident selves.

"It's almost like the shoe is on the other foot, we've reversed roles," says Waugh. "I'd like to see us have a bit more spring in our step. I know it's hard when you are not taking wickets but someone has got to lift the team in that situation."

"They've got to find some sort of aggro for their attack," believes Taylor. "Johnson's been out of form - there's no doubt about that - but by not having him in the side they've lost that bit of aggro that's always been part of Australia's way of playing. They've either got to bring him back or find someone who can do that kind of job."

Chappell, an expert summariser for Test Match Special, disagrees. "Aggro doesn't get you wickets. It's no good having a bloke who's just going to shout his mouth off. You need batsmen who can score runs and bowlers who can take wickets.

"You don't get self-belief from great speeches, otherwise Winston Churchill would have been the best cricket captain England could ever have had. You get it from playing well and winning matches. Ponting can't just conjure it up from somewhere for his players."


What of captain Ricky Ponting, who scored only nine runs across two innings in Adelaide and faces the dismal prospect of becoming only the second Australian captain in history to lose three Ashes series?

"He is in a really tricky position," says former England skipper Michael Vaughan, now a summariser for Test Match Special. "His bowling unit is not what it was and you can see a captain just trying to prove to everyone that he should be the captain.

"He is trying to come up with a masterstroke in a tactical way. He is changing his field regularly and changing his bowlers regularly. He is not really sticking with a plan for a period of time to allow it to develop.

Michael Vaughan says Ponting should stay as captainMichael Vaughan says Ponting should stay as captain. Photo: Getty Images

"He is under a huge amount of pressure but Ricky Ponting has to stay as captain for Australia to get back into this series and he has to go to Perth and score runs. So far in this series, he has scored an unbeaten 51 in the second innings in Brisbane, failed in the first innings (10) and failed twice in Adelaide.

"I really feel he has to concentrate solely on scoring as many runs as possible. The only way, I believe, Australia will get a big score is if Ricky Ponting contributes with the bat."

There have been comments in some Australian newspapers that Ponting might have to step down as captain, both to focus on his own batting and freshen the side up.

"I think it would be the wrong move," says Vaughan. "I think he is an extremely good leader. Tactically, I think we can all question him but this bowling unit will take some captaining. I think in terms of drainage on the mind, he is probably getting drained more with this unit than he ever has before because they all need captaining.

"I think he is actually playing OK. He is making one error and getting out but that happens in cricket. If he continues to move his feet like he has done, I am pretty sure he will get a score. But England know if they get him cheaply at Perth, the Australia team will definitely wobble once again because the leader is so important."


The pitch at the WACA is traditionally a fast, bouncy wicket, although the pitch that England played on in their warm-up game in Perth was slower and lower.

Can an Australian attack that has shipped more than 1,100 runs in breaking England's last five partnerships take the 20 wickets it needs to win a game on a track like that?

"I don't see how Australia can come back into this series unless they produce a green wicket in Perth that has plenty of bounce and allows the likes of Siddle, Johnson, Harris and Hilfenhaus something to bowl on," says Vaughan. "If they think they are going to try to beat us on flat wickets with a bit of spin, that is just going to play into the hands of England and Graeme Swann. They have to get some life into the pitches.

"England lost a game last year at The Wanderers in Johannesburg when Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn twice bowled us out cheaply. That is the way I would play against England. But this England batting order is playing well and it wouldn't surprise me if they scored runs on anything at the moment."


"The immediate future for Australia as I see it is pretty bleak," laments Chappell. "Those of us who remember the mid-1980s will recognise it but I think a lot of other people are going to have to get used to the idea that Australia might be in a slump for a while yet."

"Our people aren't used to this," admits Taylor. "We're used to being impregnable. There's no doubt that you can't stay at the top forever, whatever you do. We probably fell off the perch two years ago. I just hope it's not a cycle that takes us 30 years to get right because there's been too much time, money and effort invested."


Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I understand that certain Australians are attempting to encourage Shane Warne back in to the team. Please remind them that they do have an alternative experienced leggie. If Shane doesn't fancy it why not give Richie a try. Benaud I mean.

  • Comment number 2.

    If Australia come out and flying and manage to finangle a Third Test win then bang, all the column inches of hand-ringing angst from the Aussie journos are turned over. The negativity has been deafening but possibly a little premature yet. Some make it sound that England merely have to turn up to the next Test to be gifted an automatic hundred runs and five wickets off the Aussie first innings.

    It's not so much pessimism about England's chances as simple Ashes history! You don't just overcome that overnight.

    That's why we really need to keep the foot on the gas and push to get the victory here, 2-0 up with two to play and clinching the Ashes. It came too close to disaster in the 2009 Ashes, don't risk that kind of thing again with a draw or (gulp) a loss...

  • Comment number 3.

    There's no doubt that England are well on top in this Series and have the momentum. BUT there are still 3 Tests to play and without Broad I can see England struggling to bowl the Aussie's out twice in another match.

    England have gone behind, at Home, in their last two victorious Ashes series only to come back and win, so take nothing for granted and I would expect a much sterner examination in the three remaining tests.

  • Comment number 4.

    When were England behind in 2009?

  • Comment number 5.

    I still feel England will win the crunch moments. They look tough, mean, focussed, disiplined and hungry. Australia look broken. One more win from three Tests and it's game over.

  • Comment number 6.

    I know I'm paranoid but that doesn't mean that the're not all out to get me.
    Test series can change in a flash; remember Headingley against the Aussies in 2009 when we were in complete disarray only to go on and win at the Oval.
    The Aussies do have a strong batting line-up and one day it will fire. If it's at Perth then it will be fascinating to see whether the new found English confidence will continue unabated. We've had one collapse in the tour already and misfiring Aussie bowlers (whoever they pick) can still threaten given the right conditions.
    I'm thrilled by the England team's brilliant performance but I'm equally aware that the series is still very much alive and kicking.

  • Comment number 7.

    That match at the Wanderers? England lost by an innings and 74 runs to draw the series against South Africa. They'd won the second Test by an innings and 98 runs, with the other two drawn.

    If you have a green wicket, it only takes a couple of your bowlers to bowl very well and a couple of your batsmen to bat well, and you have a chance.

  • Comment number 8.

    260 was a poor return, but I think they answered their critics well enough in the second innings.

    The team isn't taking anything for granted, but I simply don't agree with spectators and the media having to downplay 2 of the best England performances we've ever seen overseas. I'm all for this "getting stuck into Australia talking up our own chances" lark.

    The performances have been no fluke so far, England have been getting better and better since Ashes '09, and are where they are through a whole team performing, not just one or two individuals, as was the case on past tours (over relying on Pietersen, Strauss and Flintoff)

    And Australia aren't as bad, they have been making some poor decisions though. They are 2 players away from having a top class team - a spinner and a replacement for North. Their existing bowlers won't get wickets on flat decks, but who does, with any degree of consistency?

  • Comment number 9.

    Make Papa Shango chairman of selectors for Australia and they'll never lose again.

  • Comment number 10.

    Aren't those posters who post that England lost early games in recent series and then came back,suggesting that Australia can do the same,clutching at straws and not comparing like with like?

  • Comment number 11.

    I don't believe England should start to doubt their obvious superiority just because we walloped them. I find this attitude all too often. England should go for the kill now. This is the most important test, and we should not be even thinking about taking feet off pedals. The replacement bowler should be so minded.
    Apart from that, one look at the Australian team's attitude should convince. Tired, fed up, in pain. And their captain's look of disdain at every bit of poor play says as much about him as his own lack of focus and fitness. They seem to have taken winning for granted so long, that they've lost the ability to fight back.
    So come on lads, and finish it.

  • Comment number 12.


    Not sure the Aussies are only two players away from being a good team. They have potentially a very good middle order of Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Watson (I know he's doing OK as a make-shift opener, but would be better suited to #6) and Haddin, but with Katich injured they have a big hole at the top of the order. Maybe Hughes is the answer, but he got a bit of a working over in England last time, and it remains to be seen whether he can recover. Remember it isn't that many years ago that the Aussies were in a position of picking 2 openers from the 3 of Slater, Hayden and Langer.

    Obviously, the spin bowling is the biggest weakness at the moment - they seem to have given everyone and their uncle a go since Warne and MacGill retired, and have yet to find someone of real test class.

    Howeever, for me the biggest issue has been with the seam bowling - can anyone say they expected us to go to Aus and find an entirely toothless pace attack? So far they've tried 5 main bowlers, of who only Siddle has had one good innings (followed by 2 awful ones). Otherwise Harris performed OK in the last match but Bollinger, Hilfenhaus and Johnson all appear to be out of form or simply not good enough. Is Mitchell Johnson the Australian equivalent of Harmison - varies (to nick a quote from 606 referring to Devon Malcolm) between unplayable and unbowlable?

    OK, we are very unlikely to be faced with such a poor and poorly performing Aussie side next match, and I at least expect them to get some serious runs on the board, but we were miles ahead in the last game and that surely must be good for confidence.

    I do hope Australia sort out their selection problems (there are few enough really competetive opponents in Test matches now, and as fans we can't afford the Aussies to go the way of the West Indies), but I wouldn't mind if they can wait until we've won the next 2 tests and so have guaranteed the series win.

  • Comment number 13.

    Concerned. Despite the nightmare the Australian team currently find themselves in I expect a little bit of a thriller in Perth. There's another big score in that Aussie batting line up - Watson, Clarke, Hussey amd Haddin have all got scores in the series so far and I expect a back lash performance from Ponting. Combine that with the loss of Broad and the fact Anderson will have spent approx 60 hours of the week prior to the Perth test travelling and the Aussie batsman could find themselves in run bonanza dream land.

  • Comment number 14.

    Well, I said two cos they were causing England some problems on the last tour. Hilfenhaus bowled excellently, but will never be a threat on lifeless wickets.

    Siddle, I've only seen him against England, and maybe he is never going to be international standard, so perhaps someone new can come in here, although Harris looked the most likely in the last test.

    Johnson has the wickets, he just seems to have lost his way . I believe that's a confidence issue. Remember Plunkett and Harmison bowling over after over of wides (back in '07 or '08 if I remember). Very similar to what's happening with Johnson

  • Comment number 15.

    I agree that England need to go for the victory in Perth and put this one to bed. It's there for the taking and if anyone had suggested that I'd be able to think that coming in to just the 3rd test, I'd have laughed !

    And here's one for even the pessimists out there, whatever the results in the next 2 games, England will have either retained the ashes or have a chance to retain the ashes come the start of the 5th Test. So as an England supporter, there'll be guaranteed interest the whole way through the series (especially if we do pull off a 4-0 victory !)

  • Comment number 16.

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

  • Comment number 17.

    People are commenting on how bad Australia are but they're only being made to look that way by the brilliance of England's attack.

    England are playing well enough to be winning against any team, the problem is that Australia are shooting themselves in the foot and turning a tough, gritty 450 scoreline into a 600+.

    Australians (and rightly so in my opinion) are less worried about the scoreline but more about the total capitulation and are being saved by Hussey - the man who was to be dropped.

    The Aussies will come out fighting and England know that but fight can only take you so far...

  • Comment number 18.

    The 12-year-old stationary bike rider is acting like he is a grown-up.

  • Comment number 19.

    The Australian team is proof that if you don't breed the next generation gently into the side whilst you've still got a team of legends (as an English supporter you have to admit that's what it was for 10 years) you will inevitably come a cropper when the oldies retire.

    Myopia. Pure and simple.

  • Comment number 20.


    comment 1 - I think the toss and the first session will be crucal, if Australia get off to a flyer, you may be right. Alternatively, if England excel, brittle Aussie confidence may shatter

    comment 2 - It would make for an intriguing series if Australia were at the top of their game. Johnson and Ponting are test class, they have underperformed, much like Cook and Pietersen pre series. Just as well that England showed faith and kept playing KP and Cook.

    comment 3 - I would be happy if our performance at Adelaide was an indication of the level at which England now play. Who know's if we have peaked, it is obvious that Australia have underperformed and need to improve. As I said in a post yesterday, we can all have a view on England's performance. The only fact of note is that England lead the series 1-0. Anything else is subjective conjecture.

  • Comment number 21.

    Interesting question about whether Johnson will get a recall - he has no form at present. if he performs badly again then this could be a yo-yo selection. Not what Aus need to re-build a team.

    I presume getting Shane Warne back must be wild speculation, or even possibly just a joke rather than anything genuine. He just hasn't bowled for so long- no prep for a test against form players however good u used to be! Then again , would he be worse than Doherty, has he been keeping a hand in in case of such desperation?

  • Comment number 22.

    Subjective conjecture. Found in comments here. Who'd have papa shango'd it?

  • Comment number 23.

    Papa Shango comes on again.
    Always giving such negative feedback about England.
    Perhaps he's working on a theory?
    Always knock England as a reverse curse.

    Surely there is no other explanation?
    Highly entertaining for the rest of us though.
    According to him we're rubbish.
    Never expect Collingwood,Finn or Swann to deliver.
    Get a grip man,they have all contributed to the successful start.
    Obviously you don't agree.

    Knocking them as you do with random statements is pointless.
    Naturally the posters on here think you talk nonsense.
    Of course I agree with them.
    We all have a good laugh at your posts though.
    So do carry on.

    Facts and figures you casually bandy about.
    Usually incorrectly as well.
    Can't believe you genuinely think like that.
    Knockers on here think you are a WUM

    And I have to say I agree with them.
    Lacking any decent knowledge of sport in general.
    Less said by you the better.

  • Comment number 24.


    and that's a FACT

  • Comment number 25.

    Apart from Broad's replacement, I think to tinker with our line-up would be madness.

    It appears that Hughes will get the nod to open with Watson for Aus, in which case I think we should play Tremlett. He nailed Hughes twice in the England 2nd Xi v Australia 'A' match and would be a real handful on what is promised to be a reasonably bouncy Perth track.

    I can't see Doherty getting another chance for Aus after his mauling at Adelaide, and I think Aus definitely need someone with a degree of experience, so I presume Hauritz will make a return, whether Punter likes that ot not. And to avoid wholesale change, I believe North will escape the guillotine. Again.

    But then again, as Australia appear to be emulating the England of the mid-90s, perhaps they'll have a wholesale clearout and half a dozen new faces in the lineup announced tomorrow. But frankly, I doubt it.

  • Comment number 26.

    The second test bore about as much resemblance to a competitive sporting contest as a WWF wrestling bout. Now wrestling is an entertainment that can only appeal to dull witted 10 year olds with predictable contests and plot lines aimed at the intellectually incapable.
    The recent Ashes however have rarely been predictable and I am sure that Aussies will fight hard to get back into the contest. The first two days of the Perth test are absolutely critical. If England are on top at the end of day two then I can’t see anyway back all winter for the Aussies.
    You have to assume that the Aussie Selectors are not completely dim witted and will realise what the rest of the sane world could see and that Doherty is not test class or even close to test class. If the Australia A match was aimed at pitting the two next spinners against each other than O’Keefe will come in and not Smith. I believe Smith lacks one vital component for a leg spinner in that he doesn’t spin the ball. He has all the variations but if none of them actually turn the ball then it is a bit pointless. O’Keefe will also bolster the lower order as he is a more than useful slogger.
    North might just stay in the team purely to avoid too many changes. I also think he might make a 100 as that’s the way cricket sometimes works.
    It is assumed that Hughes will come in for Katich (I have previously suggested that it might be Marsh – if it is remember you heard it here first folks). Hughes will bring something different to the team nonwithstanding his well documented weakness to the short ball. In that respect I can’t help worrying that we will miss Broad as he is by far our best bowler for “roughing up” an opposing batsman.
    As for the pace bowlers – absolutely no idea. Rolf (fitness allowing) will surely take 1 spot. As for the others perm any 2 from any tallish Aussie male aged 18 – 32.
    So number of changes for next test ? Minimum of 2 and potentially 4 or 5. Could be an Aussie version of Trent Bridge 1993 (bonus point for anyone naming 4 England debutants from this match).

  • Comment number 27.

    Graham Thorpe, Mark Lathwell, Martin McCague, and Mark Ilott

    well, at least Thorpe went on to prove his pedigree

  • Comment number 28.

    Solarfederation – well done. Now I hope there was no cheating and using the power of the internet.
    What about the Essex Exocet ? Unlucky with injuries. Had an excellent spat with Robert Croft though in semi final of NatWest.

  • Comment number 29.

    Martin McCague, the Ulsterman Australian who ended up playing for England. I recall the press down under giving him a very hard time.

    Other Aussie converts? I recall Alan Mullally was raised down under and chose to play for the mother nation.

  • Comment number 30.

    Andrew Symonds ?

  • Comment number 31.

    I have to say if Perth turns out to be another batsmens track then i can't see anything other than an england win. However Australia are wounded and this is when we'll see if they have the quality to compete in this ashes series.

    On a selection note I am a strong believer that tremlett should be selected in place of Broad but i can see the selectors picking Tim Bresnan. Not sure if Bresnan is a good enough bowler to be part of a 4 man attack thou so im hoping that Tremlett gets his chance.

    Also for those of you believing that collingwood should be dropped the only answer i can find to please you would be dropping colly for bresnan and having tremlett in for Broad. Not sure Bresnan is a good enough batsman for the number 7 role though as I'm also uncertain on Prior batting at 6.

  • Comment number 32.

    It's ours to loose. If Australia win the series from here then it will be because England's screwed up in a big way. I'm not saying it's going to be easy but we should bring it home with a series win. Australia are in pieces and having to deal with a situation that no playing Australian has ever had to deal with (being Average).

    England have got at least 1 more victory in this series, and that will be enough but I will be disappointed is we don't go home with 3 wins because the ashes is just the start of it, if we are going to be taken seriously we need to act like champions and totally nail it.

  • Comment number 33.

    Andrew Symonds? Now you're returning to your WWF analogy!

  • Comment number 34.

    papa_shango I'm about to have a flutter on the next test match, on the whole you seem to get everything totally wrong, if you would be so kind as to give me your predictions i will bet the opposite way and clean up. Also I feel I have to congratulate you on knowing so little about cricket and football, are there any other sports that you know nothing about.

    On a more serious note, i think England have played amazingly and Australia awful, if we drop our standard slightly and they improve, the next few tests will be a lot closer. I'd still put England as favourite but the series is far from over.

  • Comment number 35.

    The Aussies need to learn from England's past. I recall back in the eighties and nineties that the English team went through a period of picking and discarding players far too quickly when we were losing.

    The problem with that approach is twofold:

    1. It gives the opposition a big boost
    2. It places the players *coming in* to the side under huge pressure, as they've seen the consequences of not cutting it really quickly.

    It's always intersting to think what would have happened to players of the past if they'd not been given enough time: Shane Warne's my favourite example: after 2 tests he'd taken one wicket and gone for 228 runs. Admittedly, his economy was Ok at 3.35, but it shows players need time to step up.

    So Doherty should get another game. **Please** Australia - pick him again :-)

  • Comment number 36.

    Very talented chap Symonds but someone who liked to party hard off the field. Is he still in the doghouse with the selectors? Don't recall he got much of a sniff with the test squad but was a regular with the ODI team.

    Blimey, could he be a leftfield recall for the Aussies????

  • Comment number 37.

    Andrew Symonds was indeed a very talented Brummie ... Not quite the youngster the Aussies are looking for, personally I think Steve O'Keefe is a better shout. Can't see Johnson coming back in again until he's regained some confidence by knocking a few first class wickets over.

  • Comment number 38.

    It is interesting that just a couple of weeks ago Siddle took 6 for 54 and now he is one of ones at risk of being dropped.

  • Comment number 39.

    #24 jacksofbuxton

    I thought; blimey! free verse on 606? Wot next? Closer reading shows a crafty one passed by the moderator. Nice one! As far as papashango goes, whilst agreeing with nothing he says, his posts do light up the debate. Let's not take it all too seriously...... or perhaps (pace Bill Shankly); It's not a matter of life and death, it's more serious than that. You'd certainly think so to read some of the posts here

  • Comment number 40.

    sorry, I meant #23 of course

  • Comment number 41.

    Maybe I'm being overly positive, but I just can't see the Aussies winning a test here. Unless England have a monumental collapse like they did against the Windies when bowled out for 51 recently. That was just one of those days and I don't see this team repeating anything like that. Even if bowled out for a below par score in 1 innings you expect them to dominate in the 2nd innings. The Oz bowlers really don't seem to be up to much. The batting is a different matter. They will click at some stage, there's too much talent in that line-up not too. However, the key to winning test matches is taking 20 wickets. If you don't do that the best you can hope to do is draw.

  • Comment number 42.

    Surely the last thing Australia will want to do right now is produce a green top to try and get a result? Arguably England have better bowlers for such conditions and Australia are struggling to get runs on flat wickets. England will probably happily take their chances on winning a low scoring game on green top. Producing a result wicket is one thing, but Australia lose the next one and England bring the Ashes back with them. I'm sure Strauss will be happy with those odds.

  • Comment number 43.

    41... you're are totally right, I said earlier, the bottom line is that this England team have nothing to fear and should concentrate on their own game which I think they have been doing all along. It's ours too loose, although it would not be the first time we have screwed up I just can't see us messing this up that badly. Lets face it we have a better team for once. The Australian Players, Selectors, public and press are starting to realise that it ain't that easy when you don't have the best players in the world. One day the Ozzy's will be number one again and it will be business as usual but not today! So i'm just going to sit back and enjoy the moment and try not to be too smug.

  • Comment number 44.

    There is nothing Australia can do now unless they change the captain. England are well planned, disciplined and most importantly have good morale. This Australian team cannot win as Ponting is completely exhausted in all terms and leading a side which is only scared. They chased out Hayden, Symonds, Gilchrist too early for transition to happen. Suddenly you have same agressive strategies and attitude only with fragile young tacticians. If Warne come backs then it reduce some pressure on Ponting in terms of setting the field and stratgies. They can also recall Symonds and throw Clarke out as he was behind the fall of Austrialian cricket by creating insecurities in dressing room. But I strongly enjoying that England is finally dominating ashes as I felt for them over years. They have worked real hard and deserve respect now..

  • Comment number 45.

    I don't see why we should, by way of this blog, help sort out their problems. They're all big boys now, and do you think they would offer advice if we were in the same situation? No of course not. Let's just stuff them in all the remaining tests. People have been calling for Warne to come out of retirement!!! Desperate or what?

    I love this game, and I love watching the Ozzies squinny even more.

  • Comment number 46.

    #23 - A splendid effort. FACT.

  • Comment number 47.

    G'day Poms, was looking through your blog here, why so negative. As an Aussie I can't believe you guys. Lets face it you out played us in two tests now. Back in the day when tests had no time limit you'd still be batting in Brisbane. Lets face it our attack is not what is used to be. We don't have a world class spinner you guys got a great one. The ball to get ponting shows he's a thinker not just a ripper and hope for the best. Andersons matured since the last time I saw him in the flesh in 2006. Finn looks like he knows what to do with the ball and Broad well just glad we're not gonna have 3 more tests with him bowling.
    I didn't rate cook much but we don't look like we know how to get the guy out. Bell looks dangerous, I wouldn't bet against Collingwood getting a score some time soon.
    Looking at us its been a long time since I saw a more sorry Green and gold side. Ponting looks like he's nearing retirement,Clark tries pulling balls from outside off, Hussey yikes and Katich we could have done without that injury. Our attack Johonson was mentioned up there, llok this guys as bad as Harmison was in 2006, I have no idea whats gone wrong but he can't move the ball in the air of off the wicket. Harris may be ok on a seamer, Siddle picked up the hat trick but seriously has he troubled any of your batsmen since. Doherty is not even test class, north not much better, its an embarrasment to admit that we don't have a better spinner than the poms but simply we don't.
    I am not one of those calling for Warnie to come back actually in my opinion we should drop the lot and get the youngersters in, we are gonna lose this series anyway may as well think about the nest one and getting some experience for the young guys.
    As 34 says we aren't the best in the world any more we'd struggle against a few sides now, he's right we are starting to realise why'd you think the grounds are empty. I was there on the final day in Bris, not to many other joined me though.
    All I can say is well done Poms you finally learned how to play cricket maybe the next few ashes series are gonna be a bit more competative for a change (don't start quoting 2005 and 2009 cause even blind squirrels find nuts every now and again) cause this ones like watching Audley Harrison fight David Haye.

  • Comment number 48.

    ~ Arthur 42

    Its an option and a calculated risk, turn it into a shoot out and a 3 day match with wickets falling all over the place and maybe we get lucky. Can't see it I'll be in Perth for the next one and its likely to be the hard bouncy wicket that it always is. We need to find some uns from someone wouldn't bet on it being Ponts though

  • Comment number 49.

    41 Papa Shango is monty's mum

    Unfortunately as an Aussie I gotta agree with ya, 3-0 to you is where I think its going no matter who we put on the field

  • Comment number 50.

    By the way who is this Papa Character??

  • Comment number 51.


    Enjoy it while it lasts, we spent a very long time showing you how to play this game.

  • Comment number 52.

    #50 - stick around, you'll find out...

  • Comment number 53.

    #52 ok, sounds like a plan, its not like I got anything great to do this morning

  • Comment number 54.

    #52 its old 34 deg C here may have to wait till the afternoon until going to the beach, not that I am trying to make you guys jealous. When I flew over from there it was predicting snow brrrr

  • Comment number 55.

    To slightly modify a Jack Nicholson line - "Think of a normal person, then take away reason and accountability." That's dear Papa! You'll see.

  • Comment number 56.

    No worries will sit back and watch the fun

  • Comment number 57.

    16. At 3:43pm on 09 Dec 2010, papa shango wrote:

    The Aussies are 1 session away from being back in the ashes. I fancy Johnson & Ponting to show their class in Perth & dominate. You can't have 2 players like that not perform again! We've peaked & Swann is likely to be found out. Cook is due some more bad form & with Collingwood in the side we're playing with 10.

    Jeeez is he being serious?

  • Comment number 58.

    Is he an Aussie?

  • Comment number 59.

    Graeme Swann uses Foamburst.

    So do I :)

    Michael Beer should play as Australia's spinner. I touted him before Shane Warne did.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Michael Beer.

  • Comment number 60.

    #58 - No in fact he claims 2 be an England supporter, not that many of us believe him. He also believes panasar is better than swann, that colly is useless and that Finn cant bowl. Click on his name to see some of his outragous claims. Sure to make even you Aussie fans chuckle. He's more positive bout England losing this than even the most optimistic Aussie lol.

  • Comment number 61.

    #58 - That was my take as well...

  • Comment number 62.

    Already did James gotta laugh Vettori is a good spinner the guy needs a seeing eye dog to find the wicket let alone bowl. We always used to say if he took a 5 for we won, had to be a seriously bad wicket for him to get wickets. Plus he has another thing not going for him he's from the land of sheep worriers. Mind you he did take 300 wickets but that was mostly bacuse there was noone else in there team who could bowl.
    Silver fern cricketers who could bowl surnames always end in H not V

  • Comment number 63.

    Oh please bring Monty back we need a laugh seriously watching that guy field was like watching my two year old eat, seriously messy

  • Comment number 64.

    While you on about that bring back Rampakash too we need an easy start, wouldn't mind Key either. Sorry not trying to bring you down to our level

  • Comment number 65.


    Welcome, Aussie. Papa Shango is worth extending your visa for.

    Can I ask: How vulnérable to thé short stuff is Phil Hughes in your opinion?

    I tend to agrée with VW (Vaughan & Waugh). Too much 'tactics' from Ponting and too much knee-jerk tinkering from selectors.

    Personally, I don't think he should've been dropped.

  • Comment number 66.

    #50, 65 Meant to add: Hughes should never have been dropped from Aus team.

  • Comment number 67.

    Mitch is an Australian version of Steve Harmison: lethal when it goes right, downright dangerous to the slips when it goes wrong. In his case his action is the problem, as it requires his point of release of the ball to be very accurate. Look at his ICC rating and he is still very high, but a couple more poor performances and that will drop soon enough. Right now his confidence is low and I can see myself almost praying that he is picked because he is more likely to be a freebie than a destroyer. Pick-drop-pick though is harking back to the worst days of England. Are the Australian selectors fickle enough to pick him without having taken some wickets?

    I know that this will sound odd, but I just wonder if the selectors will give D'Oh one more game to prove himself, more because there is a lack of real options that are demostrably better. Hauritz did not have a happy time in 2009 (not aided by that horrific injury, but his pre-series form in 2009 made D'Oh look like Murali) and his selection would neither frighten England nor continue the "attack KP with Slow Left Arm" theme). Smith is probably not Test class as a spinner either and O'Keefe would be a massive punt (although it is a good, historical Australian name - anyone remember Kerry O'Keefe and Greg Chapple playing for Somerset??) who may turn out to be just as out of his depth [what do the selectors do if they pick him and he is not up to standard???].

    Again, if Hughes is picked to open you can guarantee that Tremlett will take the new ball with instructions somewhere on the lines of Norman Gifford's famous "if that lanky so and so gets one more ball in his own half, this is the last game that you will ever play for Worcestershire" (the bowler in question soon moved to Gloucestershire and was unlucky never to get even an ODI cap through his career). It looks like the Australians are committed to Hughes and maybe the selectors will feel that with no Fred or Harmison in the England attack, there will be no one to unsettle him much and he will be as lethal with the bat as he was for Middlesex in 2009. If he comes in though you know how England will attack him.

    So, all in all, I just wonder if we will really see four changes, or maybe just a couple. Too many changes would smack of desperation and indecisiveness and the Australians have rarely been guilty of that. Change the side too much and you will simply end up destabilising it further, which would be very un-Australian.

  • Comment number 68.

    Yeah we ditched too many class acts to soon, Hayden, Gilchrist etc. We never replaced them its been coming for a while I just never realised that Swann could bowl that well, that topsinners gonna fool a few better players than we got at the moment.
    Hughes is ok didn't do to bad in Perth recently second top score for NSW. I suppose it depends on whos bowling the short stuff Brooker

  • Comment number 69.

    I'd be guessing Finns got the low down on him playing for the same county. We are gonna miss Katich big style

  • Comment number 70.

    The thing with Hughes that may make it worth the risk is that England do not have a bowler who can regularly get it over 90mph and be accurate at the same time (Finn can top 90 at his very fastest, early in a spell, but his top pace lasts for only 2-3 overs and his accuracy is still not 100% - too many 4-balls). Unless the pitch is pacey, Hughes may just fancy a diet of short balls at 85mph. It's an interesting one...

  • Comment number 71.

    Star, I'd be changing it now we can't get worse and the younger guys are gonna get to see the standard they need to achieve next time. O'keefe's not a bad call, someone up there mentioned Warnie had a mare on debut yeah but Warnie turned the ball Doherty just about managed it. We'll be back just gonna take some time

  • Comment number 72.

    ianexpatoz, one line of thought would be "this series is lost, let's give some youngesters some experience". You throw in the towell, but secretly hope that adding two or three hungry young players will not just build for the future, but may just change your fortunes. It is an interesting thought (it's how Atherton and Hussain started).

  • Comment number 73.

    Was discussing it with mates last night, 8 of us not one person was thinking we could actually turn this around with the players currently selected. I was arguing for young guys, a couple were all for preparing green tops and just hoping to get lucky in the fall of wickets and conditions.
    Whats the answer it ain't up to me we gotta do something rather than let it drag out to the enevitable conclusion

  • Comment number 74.

    Being from NSW I wouldnt mind Henriques and Khawaja given a chance

  • Comment number 75.

    As much as I am loving that the Australians are already giving this up as a bad cause i do believe that their pessimism is a lil bit soon.(not that us english dnt do the same AKA Papa shango)

    I agree that you dont look like getting 10 wickets in a match, however your selectors picked Doherty for god knows what reason which meant that our batsmen never had to worry about any pressure. If you can find a bowler to just stop leaking runs at one end I have seen england get out trying to rush things because the run rates been slowed.

    This series is definately Englands to lose but we are well famed for ridiculous batting collapses for no reason whatsoever. That said if your selectors keep picking players that arent even good 1st class players you will not have a chance.

    A little bit of optimism for our Aussie cousins.

    P.S dont be so negative, at least its sunny and warm over there lol.

  • Comment number 76.

    Far be it for me to comfort the enemy, but one thing that you learn on here is that people jump to premature conclusions time and again. A week ago, after the first Test, a lot of people were saying that they could not see how England would ever take 20 wickets. And when the squad was selected they were saying not only would the bowlers not take wickets, but that none of the batsmen would get runs: a running theme was that the side was rent-a-collapse in batting and toothless in bowling (mind you, a lot of Australian fans seriously believed it and ignored the deficiencies in their own side, hence the nasty shock to the system that they have received starting half way though Day 3 of the 2st Test).

    I kept telling people that things might look very different next day, let alone the next week and was generally proved right.

    It's hip right now to think that the series is over, but that is dangerous. Last summer Pakistan looked bankers to lose the series 4-0 and then suddenly won the 3rd Test as if from nowhere and the series was live going into the last match (at least, until the News of the World stepped in). Fortunes change and a lucky toss or an inspired spell can change things. Even in 1978 Australia came back and won a Test and won it big in the middle of the series. Up to now, winning the toss and batting has been a losing strategy. I'm not willing to stake my life on Perth being a walkover for England because it may just take one awful session to lose a match and let Australia back into the series.

  • Comment number 77.

    Sorry, I mean "half way through Day 3 of the 1st Test"!

  • Comment number 78.

    Ty James come on over for a cold one, theres a VB with your name on it. I am trying not to be negative honestly but its not easy. I know what you guys must have felt like back in the 90's. As for giving up theres three more tests to go we shall see but not expecting the urn to return to these shores this time but in 2013 you better get ready for the backlash

  • Comment number 79.

    wheres is this Shango character?

  • Comment number 80.

    Star was gonna say that serious do you think who ever wins the toss is gonna bat this time. Its gonna be nope thanks all the same but you can have a go first

  • Comment number 81.

    The situation for Australia isn't hopeless. They are one down and three to play.

    There are still good players in the Australian side Watson, Ponting, Hussey are more than capable. The problem seems to be zero confidence in the bowling. I would suggest they back their bowlers and say 'this is the best we have got' and we had England in trouble on day one of the First Test, there is no reason why we can't do it again.

  • Comment number 82.

    Hope your right Star :-) about the sencond bit oh and thats seriously up there

  • Comment number 83.

    Incidentally, picking D'Oh was reasoned. However, it was an example of "superstar reasoning".

    Selector 1: "Who is England's best player?"

    Selector 2: "That's easy: KP. The rest wouldn't get into Bondi Seconds."

    Selector 3: "Well, that makes it easy. We pick a side to play KP and forget about the other 10. What kind of bowling doesn't he like?"

    Selector 1: "Slow left arm. Any slow left armer would get him."

    Selector 2: "That's settled then. We pick a slow left armer and win the series without breaking sweat."

    Selector 3: "I know a likely guy. He's another Peter Taylor."


  • Comment number 84.

    I think Phil Hughes will struggle if he comes in. In England he did have shortcomings against the short ball. In England it generally comes on a lot slower (Cardiff was a super slow track). In Aus it tends to come on as quick as it leaves the hand and while the pitches are generally flat they are also quicker than in England (bar Old Trafford and the Oval).

  • Comment number 85.

    Aussies are in complete dissaray, good news. We can't get too complacent, especially with Ponting sure to knock in at least a ton at the WACA. Think they'll go with this line up


    Can't drop siddle after his hat trick, maybe hilfenhaus for johnson.

    Hope Tremlett gets his chance for England

  • Comment number 86.

    I was supprised when he was included in the test squad his list A records ok averages 28 but best figures are 4 for 18. He's not so good in first class but did ok against Sri Lanka in a ODI.
    I think our selectors knew what was coming btw.

  • Comment number 87.

    #75. At 9:23pm on 09 Dec 2010, jamesxfm wrote:
    I agree that you dont look like getting 10 wickets in a match

    Was this a typo? perhaps not!!!

    ianexpatoz - a refreshingly honest aussie, good on ya mate!

    One comment about the last test. At some point in the future, KP may go thru a period where he struggles for form and gets out to a left arm spinner a few times. Then the commentators will quote how many times that's happened, which will of course include his dismissal to Doherty. Stat don't lie - FACT

  • Comment number 88.

    "Lies, damn lies and averages", eh IPSMm??

    Well, D'Oh did managed to do what he was selected for: he got KP! :-D

  • Comment number 89.

    Hilly for sure he will swing it in the afternoon there Khawaja at 6 is interesting he got a double hundred for NSW

  • Comment number 90.

    Ok Star agreed he got KP we'd have liked that to be 227 runs sooner than it came

  • Comment number 91.

    Rumors abounding that Shame Warne could make a comeback. In addition to that, I think Don Bradman should be given the nod. Yes, he'll be a bit stiff, but he should prove harder to get out than half our current top order.

  • Comment number 92.

    the australians should welcome back shaun tait - he is very fast and deserves another chance

  • Comment number 93.

    Yeah of course you'd have preferred it 227 runs earlier, but maybe he's found the right way to bowl at him now.

    Surely it needs testing. ;)

  • Comment number 94.

    All righties get out to left arm spinners but then I got a cure for that ban all left armers. Theres a local evening league here one of the pub teams has an Indian left armer he got me 4 times last year and twice already this, you'd think I'd have learned by now I can therefore sypmpathise with KP

  • Comment number 95.

    If Khawaja comes in the England line will be something on the lines of "you haven't found a South African, so you're picking Pakistanis instead." It will be a heaven-sent opportunity for the England fans and press to throw back a favourite taunt :-).

    Mind you, it would be an interesting selection and politically a good one because of the fame that the Australian side has of being severely challenged in the racial integration department.

    As Peter Roebuck has pointed out, England have got a great deal of use out of the fact that the UK is a melting pot for many races, creeds and colours (with two of the captains since 2000 being from the immigrant community - one is easy... how many people remember the second?)

  • Comment number 96.

    yeah right pond give you guys another 500 ish start, we are gonna fall for that one not!

  • Comment number 97.

    Who was the player who made the famous comment on seeing a teammate going for a huge number of runs in a spell: "thou's got 'im in two minds now - he dunno whether t' hit thee fer four or six!!!"

    I'm sure it was a Yorkshireman, but who was he talking about? Anyone remember??? Sounds like what one of two of the side might have said to D'Oh...

  • Comment number 98.

    Frankly, I'm none too fussed about Australia's problems. I'm glad to hear they've got plenty, but "tough, Aussie, tough." I'm interested in their TEAM for Perth, when they finally get round to picking one, but let 'em worry in isolation.

    We must certainly go for the jugular in Perth. Is there any doubt? - All due respect to great bats, like Ponting, but we want him and the other 10 on the ground bereft of ideas, runs & hope. "Ashes by Christmas," should be our quiet resolve.

    From all I've seen & heard, Strauss seems focussed on the job in hand. "We haven't come here to make up the numbers," he said a short while back. That's so right! Of course, being Strauss, he left it at that. Others might have added, "We're here to kick ass!"

  • Comment number 99.

    hussain, is cook welsh?

  • Comment number 100.

    Pieterson obviously is afrikans


Page 1 of 3

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.