We’ve spent the morning reading obituaries of Australian cricket. An England innings victory in Australia is a monumental thing, but it’s not suddenly become the norm.
Australia do tend to pick themselves back up again. It’s generally just a matter of how soon. One of the wisest things Special Correspondent Dad ever said to us was the following:
“Never write off the Aussies. They’re never down for long.”
He’s right. The Australian selectors are doing everything in their power to make life difficult for their players, but for how long can they keep this up? There are still enough good players in Australia to make a Test team.
In terms of openers, Simon Katich is a more reliable batsman than Phillip Hughes, but if Hughes starts scoring at a decent lick, England’s bowlers could get a bit wobbly and it might all start feeling a bit 1990s.
We said that Phillip Hughes might turn out to be a massive disappointment before the last Ashes, but despite that being the case, we don’t think much of the black and white argument that he was ‘found out’. Let’s see, eh?
Australia’s middle order actually looks okay bar Marcus North, so drop him. All the talk is of Usman Khawaja and Callum Ferguson, but as an Englishman the player we’d least like to see would be David Hussey (first-class average 55.18). Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Hussey, Haddin on a flat Aussie pitch with the sun out? No thanks.
This is Australia’s biggest weakness at the minute, but it’s also true that there’s enormous room for improvement. They’re picking the wrong players and the right players who do get picked are playing badly. England might never again see a bowling attack as chock-full of shod as the one from the second Test.
Doug Bollinger took a wicket, but being as he created cracking footholes for Graeme Swann, he was probably responsible for more Australian wickets and therefore represented a net loss. Drop him and replace him with no-one and Australia have already improved their team.
Xavier Doherty enjoyed his raffle prize of two Test match appearances. Nathan Hauritz would improve the bowling. Steve Smith would improve the batting without affecting the bowling. Again, Australia can’t help but improve their team.
Peter Siddle’s taken no wickets since his hat trick, but let’s be fair to Peter Siddle – he did take a hat trick. If someone else in the side bothered taking the odd wicket, then maybe he wouldn’t spend his whole time bowling to well-set batsmen.
There is no way Ben Hilfenhaus isn’t coming back. He didn’t bowl all that well in the first Test when every player was crapping themselves with nerves. He’ll be better in Perth.
One way or another, Australia could be quite a lot better in the third Test. Everyone should stop talking balls about England being ‘unstoppable’.
Australia aren’t the team they were, but if they accept that themselves, stop looking for players who manifestly don’t exist and start working with what they do have, they’re still potentially an excellent Test cricket team.