December 20, 2013 by dixwah
What? So that’s it. Three Tests and Australia has the Ashes again? I feel dirty. Another solid, simple win over an underperforming opponent.
I’ll start with Australia. The game was over at halftime. England’s 251 was 134 short of England’s total, and from there it was Australia’s game.
Australia’s top order has been reasonably shaky in first-innings of each Test – 6/132 at the ‘Gabba, 4/174 in Adelaide and 5/143 in Perth. Evenly poised or possibly even in England’s favour.
Brad Haddin has stepped up each time. With a weak Test player in front of him (sorry George), Haddin’s scores of 94, 118 and 55 put Australia’s bowlers in front. The bowling kept them there.
Australia’s bowling has been excellent. All 5 – yes, even Watson – have been too good. But England’s batting has also been on the slippery slope.
During the last Ashes I probably (if I didn’t I should have) commented on the weakness of Australia’s first innings in setting up victories. This then places too much pressure on the bowling unit to swing the momentum. How the tide has turned.
England’s 353 in the second innings at the WACA was their highest score in 22 Test innings. That includes the whole last Ashes. How the hell did they win 3-nil over there? We were worse.
While their batting is declining, they were still right in the series. Then come the dropped catches. Haddin in Adelaide. More at the ‘Gabba. The good Australian sides used to dominate on the back of second chances. Viva la drop!
Now for the third seamer. Tremlett took wickets in Brisbane but was undercooked, Bresnan lacked grunt, and Stokes is a work in progress. Compare this to Australia, where even though Peter Siddle looks like he’s seen a ghost, he still works within the frame and has somehow returned 11 wickets at 22.
England have been good front runners for a while now. Mainly by their own mistakes, they lost the momentum in each Test.
Cook has missed out, with a couple of bad shots and some rip snorters. KP has done nothing, Prior’s been terrible. It wasn’t all that much better in England, but Bell hasn’t saved them this time.
Their tail has been disgraceful. Broad, Swann and Anderson can all do a job, but their batting in the first two Tests – with rain coming – was ghastly and stupid.
Man up England. That’s the call for Melbourne and Sydney. It is no good now for Cook to bat for 7 sessions and Pietersen to blast tons. The series is done. But there’s nothing else.
On the positive side, and while Shane Watson’s hundred was impressive, kudos to Ben Stokes. 22 year-old, the big guns went missing, and he smashed them in Perth. That was something. Well played.
I personally don’t think 5-nil will happen. From memory Australia was in a similar position about 12 years ago and got dusted in Sydney by Mark Butcher. The Steve Waugh final ball Test. Did you know we got dicked in that? Anyway, i think the records of England’s players is too good to deny runs in Sydney. Problem? They’ll likely be 4-nil down at that point.