Congratulations to Australia, for the second Test match running they have done a number on England, and it’s now pretty much their Urn to lose.
The batting collapses of the last series seem to be behind them, and as Michael Clarke said in his post match interview, Australia are starting to see the rewards of the hard work they put in during the last Ashes series in England.
The Aussies built a platform in England, and a huge amount of praise has to go to Darren Lehmann for convincing a bunch of guys well used to losing, that they could win Test matches (and probably a series now) playing that brand of cricket.
Australia were very unlucky in England, and they could have been forgiven for letting their heads drops. But Lehmann, or Clarke, or a combination of both, have managed to convince the team that they will get their just rewards if they keep working hard.
Clarke also said that Australia are striving to be the number 1 team in the world again, nothing wrong with having ambition, but I can’t see it happening unless Australia can find two or three top players from somewhere. Even though they’re thrashing a hapless England, I don’t see this side toppling South Africa, or the emerging young Indian side any time soon.
I am also (in a way) happy for Mitchell Johnson’s return to form. He has taken a hell of a lot of stick over the last few years, and he took it all on the chin, never moaned, and he has now bounced back in style. International cricket is all the better with top class performers like Johnson, and he is currently a top class performer.
Johnson has also had a bit of luck. Apart from coming up against a batting line up showing not much fight, he got a huge stroke of fortune just before lunch on Day 2 at Brisbane.
When he started his spell just before lunch, he was spraying the ball a bit down the leg side. He admitted himself his confidence wasn’t great, so what a stroke of luck it was for him that Trott and Carberry didn’t manage to drag out the previous over for long enough to ensure that Johnson didn’t get the chance to bowl that last over before lunch, the one in which he got Trott’s wicket.
On such small margins matches can swing. If England had gone to lunch one down that day, and Johnson had sat there for 40 minutes contemplating his pre lunch rusty looking performance, who knows what may have happened post lunch, and there after?
As for England, where do I start? I don’t think much needs to be said, they are hopelessly out of form. Seem incapable of taking a half chances in the field, and are now starting to get the basics wrong.
I think they have let comments from Darren Lehmann effect them, he has bullied them in the media, and his team have bullied England on the field. If that wasn’t enough, England have also had plenty of barbs regularly thrown in by Shane Warne in his Telegraph column… and now Glenn McGrath is throwing his own in as well.
On top of been out fought, out thought, and out played by Australia, England have also been well and truly out manoeuvred by Cricket Australia with the scheduling. All in all it is turning out to be a bit of a disaster for England.
Complacency isn’t a word I would ever have associated with Andy Flower in the past, but it is certainly starting to look like England in particular have been guilty of this.
Who agreed to the schedule in the warm up matches? Who let the situation arise where England went into the series with no recognised Number 6, and no experienced back up in the batting? The latter are issues that have been going on for a while, and in fairness I don’t suppose they foreseen the Jonathan Trott situation, otherwise I doubt they would have taken him.
That said, I may be stupid, but I honestly don’t think Perth is going to be the procession to the Ashes that everyone is predicting.
Steven Finn will surely come back in with a point to prove, and I know Ben Stokes did little wrong, but Tim Bresnan surely can’t be left out again? England need some fight, and Bresnan will provide some backbone.
Obviously they are bowlers, and it’s the batsmen who are failing in the main. But apart from Bairstow and Ballance, what can England do? For me I’d more Prior up to 6, and bring Finn and Bresnan in for Monty (or dare I say Swann) and Stokes.
Perth could suit Finn, and Australia are due a failure with the bat. The question is whether England can put runs on the board, and put Australia under some pressure. And keep them in the field!!!
Australia are now a remarkably short price of 1.08 to win the series. Everyone seems to think all they have to do is turn up in Perth. Maybe that is all they will need to do?
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