Live scores
Live Commentary
South Africa
| South Africa 1st Inn 8/266

Don’t give up on Ashes – England are very beatable

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

 , , , ,

114 Have your say

    Michael Clarke's performance was bad, but was it bad enough to cancel his citizenship? (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

    Related coverage

    I’m at a loss to understand why the recently named Australian Ashes squad has been written off as the worst ever.

    Don’t forget England’s not too crash hot either, with their one-eyed scribes already trumpeting retention of the Ashes.

    Utter bollocks.

    Last month England, minus offie Graeme Swann and medium pacer Tim Bresnan, both recovering from surgery, played a three-Test series against the Kiwis in New Zealand.

    The vast majority of the England heavies were there – skipper Alastair Cook, in-form newcomer Nick Compton, grandson of the legendary Denis Compton, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Steve Finn, and Monty Panesar.

    It was to be a walk in the park for England, ranked two in the world, against the Kiwis ranked a lowly eighth, with only minnows Bangladesh below them.

    Like hell it was a doddle, England was lucky not to be beaten 2-1, with New Zealand in command in both the first and third Tests at Dunedin and Eden Park.

    The series was squared away with three draws, but look at these stats:

    England lost 45 wickets for 1572 – average per wicket – 34.93

    New Zealand lost 37 wickets for 1560 – average per wicket – 42.16.

    You could have named your own odds pre-series that New Zealand bats would average higher than England.

    Even the individual averages among the top six England batsmen saw some of the tall poppies chopped:

    Cook and Bell both averaged just 38, Pietersen 28.33 – all three vital to England’s chances of victory.

    Having had trouble with an ordinary Kiwi attack, they’ll have their hands really full with James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, and Ryan Harris, with a bit of Shane Watson thrown in to earn his keep.

    So don’t write off the baggy greens yet, not by a long shot.

    There’s enormous potential in these Australian batsmen, once they get their heads down and bat for long periods. That’s why Ed Cowan is so invaluable: he values his wicket.

    He will never have the crowd on their feet with scintillating strokeplay, but he will settle an innings and do the right thing by his team by holding up one end.

    If David Warner, Chris Rogers, and Phil Hughes ever set the English fields alight together, Michael Clarke will be declaring in excess of 600. That will win more Test matches than it will lose.

    And there’s no reason why that cannot be achieved.

    I have one reservation, other than the obvious brittleness of the Australian batting in recent times.

    There are far too many left-handers, and England bowlers love facing the ‘mollydookers’.

    Warner, Cowan, Rogers, Hughes, Usman Khawaja, and Matt Wade are all recognised batsmen. And you can add Starc and Pattinson, two lower order lefties to the tally – both can bat.

    That makes eight of the top 12 batsmen in the squad lefties, leaving only Watson, Clarke, Brad Haddin, and James Faulkner as right-handers.

    Not a good mix.

    Obviously all the lefties won’t be in the Australian side at the same time, but they are on tour, where anything can, and probably will, happen over five Tests.

    So we are in for a fascinating Ashes series.

    Shades of 1989 when “another” worst Australian team left our shores under Allan Border?

    The baggy greens hammered England 4-zip in a six-Test series.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (114)

    • Roar Guru

      April 28th 2013 @ 6:26am
      Rob na Champassak said | April 28th 2013 @ 6:26am | ! Report

      Ah, but England will be playing at home where they are invincible or some such nonsense, David.

      Everyone knows that every English batsmen averages over 50 when playing at home, regardless of how much evidence that gets produced to the contrary. Their spinners turn the ball like it is a knight on a chess board, and their pace bowlers get the ball to swing like a cheap yo-yo.

      South Africa’s tour of England last year never actually occurred, in spite of what a few misguided individuals would have you believe. But even if it had occurred, it would be completely inconceivable that Australia could produce a performance anything like what the Saffas were capable of. Australia’s players are all uniquely terrible at their jobs and have absolutely no capability of winning any match anywhere.

      England 5-0. In spite of the fact that that has never happened in an Ashes series, I still think that this is an entirely reasonable prediction.

      • April 28th 2013 @ 5:19pm
        dasilva said | April 28th 2013 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

        Well I would say that England have the best home record of every test nation
        Last series against all test nation in the world at home
        England is 8 wins and 1 lost to South Africa (Who are the best away side in the world). No other side has this fomidable record not even India who are accused of being home track bullies

        England are deservedly favourite.

      • April 29th 2013 @ 8:54am
        Happy Hooker said | April 29th 2013 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        Sure England are beatable.

        Just not by us.

        • April 29th 2013 @ 6:42pm
          brother mouzone said | April 29th 2013 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

          ha ha +1

      • April 30th 2013 @ 8:21pm
        Damngoodoval said | April 30th 2013 @ 8:21pm | ! Report

        Always good to see some stereotype supporting chippiness Rob of brumby country!

        Ps didn’t Oz actually lose to NZ at home? England recently won in india. How did oz get on there?

      • May 1st 2013 @ 10:57am
        Brendon said | May 1st 2013 @ 10:57am | ! Report

        Your spinners turn the ball like a nkight……Slight exageration

        Our bowlers swing the ball like a Yo-Yo……cheap yo-yo’s tend to break, just like your batting order against quality pace.

        5-0 tell him he’s dreaming, Patto’s going to eat your top order like a bacon sarnie mate…..Yum Yum

        • May 1st 2013 @ 11:42am
          Disco said | May 1st 2013 @ 11:42am | ! Report

          Imaginative dream you had last night.

    • April 28th 2013 @ 7:04am
      Harry said | April 28th 2013 @ 7:04am | ! Report

      To be fair I don’t think anyone is saying it will be 5-0 to England and there has been as much written in Australia as there has been in England about this being the worst ever Australian team. The one-eyed reporting goes both ways, I’ll never forget the last time England toured Australia. Pre the series you’d have been hard pressed to find anyone in Australia, particularly the press, that gave England a chance, despite all the evidence at that time.

      Personally I think it’ll be a closely matched series. England aren’t as good as they were and Australia have some very good players. I think England will shade it in England and it could go either way in Australia.

      • April 28th 2013 @ 11:51am
        peter said | April 28th 2013 @ 11:51am | ! Report

        Harry a lot of people were saying that England would win. Among the circle of people I know the general consensus was that England would win 2-0 or 3-1. The final result was far more lopsided because of the manner of victories.

        As far as one sided press look at the English press (particularly former captains such as Ian Botham, and Micheal Vaughan) and the way they refer to Australians as “convicts” and crow at how poor the Australian team performance has been ( as if we are oblivious to this fact) whilst talking up there own chances.

        Let us see what happens come July it will be close but England deserve favouritism as they are a settled and well performing team whereas Australia are struggling but there appears to be greater things ahead.

        • April 28th 2013 @ 2:46pm
          Harry said | April 28th 2013 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

          That’s often the case though with the press on both sides being bullish. I’d imagine if you spoke to most England supporters none would be predicting 5-0 to England. Despite England winning the last 2 Ashes series, most England supporters have very long memories and will always be nervous when England are playing Australia. I’m a neutral coming from NZ, I just love cricket and the history behind the Ashes.

    • April 28th 2013 @ 7:09am
      FTR said | April 28th 2013 @ 7:09am | ! Report

      You read too much into the New Zealand versus England series. The England players are big-match performers. The likes of Pietersen, Broad, Anderson and Swann love having all eyes on them in a marquee series. They love to strut about under the spotlight. It’s in the smaller series against the minnows when no one is watching that they tend to struggle. Look at their performances in the UAE against Pakistan and in New Zealand – rubbish. Then look at them in the Ashes and against India – superb.

      All the Big Time Performers are on the England side. The Aussies seem to crumble mentally in the Ashes because it means so much to them, whereas the English grow a foot taller under the pressure.

      The English will win this one between the ears.

      • April 28th 2013 @ 8:09am
        Nudge said | April 28th 2013 @ 8:09am | ! Report

        Yeah the english lifted big time last year when they took on South Africa for number 1 in world in a huge series. They were pathetic and belted in 3 tests losing 2.0. Least the Aussies took it to South Africa dominating in 2 of the 3 tests

        • April 29th 2013 @ 7:44am
          FTR said | April 29th 2013 @ 7:44am | ! Report

          You forget that England-v-SA took place during the London Olympics when most eyes were elsewhere and the poor English players felt like they were performing after the Lord Mayor’s show.

          • April 29th 2013 @ 10:09am
            jameswm said | April 29th 2013 @ 10:09am | ! Report

            If Anderson’s a big match performer, why is his record in previous Ashes series so poor?

          • May 1st 2013 @ 11:21am
            Brendon said | May 1st 2013 @ 11:21am | ! Report

            That is the most ridiculous excuse I’ve ever heard, since when in the last 20 years have England been big game performers? and when is a test match series against the number 1 team in the world not a big occasion, regardless of who’s watching? Pretty poor attitude on the teams behalf if that was in fact the case.

            Are you suggesting that a champion team would devalue any series? Funny how when Australia and the West Indies were dominating you didn’t just see them rocking up when they wanted to, or for the “big occasion”

            Broad, big match performer? Which game are you referring to? Scrabble? Twister perhaps, from what I’ve seen he’s got an attitude problem, skillful yes, hardly a bowler to make batsmen tremble though with his fearful 31+ average……oooh shaking in my boots (That’s what Clarkey would be saying I think)

            Swann averages about 40 against us in the Ashes, wake me up when he performs will you, I’ve missed it up until now.

            Sounds like a potential weakness to me, they already have the Aussies beat so no need to try, complacency is something that can kill a team and the Poms are naturals at being complacent.

            • May 2nd 2013 @ 5:05am
              nickyc said | May 2nd 2013 @ 5:05am | ! Report

              I guess you were dozing during The Oval test in 2009 when Swann picked up 8 wkts to help bowl the Poms to victory. You must also have been sleeping during the Adelaide test in 2010/11 when he took 7 wkts including a 5 for to secure another win. These were the only two pitches to offer a semblance of help to the spinners in the last two series and on both occasions he stepped up. Perhaps you need to pay more attention in class!

              • May 2nd 2013 @ 2:23pm
                Brendon said | May 2nd 2013 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

                stepped up, what he got a few wickets in two tests, Adelaide was a raging turner, any spinner worthy of a place on an international list would have got wickets on that one bowling last.

                So he had one decent test against us in how many? Hmmm, you’re not convincing me

            • May 2nd 2013 @ 5:58pm
              James said | May 2nd 2013 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

              problem with looking at the stats of the english against australians is that if you are bowling against the australian batsmen of 5-10 years ago or batting against the australian bowlers ofcourse you will for the most part have horrid stats in the same way that any group of players who were not west indian during the 70s and 80s will have horrid stats when playing against them. stats only tell part of the story.

        • April 30th 2013 @ 4:30am
          nickyc said | April 30th 2013 @ 4:30am | ! Report


          “They were pathetic and belted in three tests” – an interesting rewriting of history! Sure SA thrashed Eng in the first test and deservedly won the series, but there was nothing between the two sides in the remaining two tests.

          2nd Test – SA 419 & 258-9d
          Eng 425 & 130-4 chasing 253 to win
          Match drawn

          3rd Test SA 309 & 351
          Eng 315 & 294
          SA won by 51 runs (At 282-7 Eng looked like they might even win and draw the series

          The result maintained the status with neither side seemly able to beat the other in a series on home soil over the past four series.

    • Columnist

      April 28th 2013 @ 7:34am
      David Lord said | April 28th 2013 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      FTR, there are two critical decisions to be made after the two warm-up games against Somerset and Worcestershire. both four-dayers – what to do with Chris Rogers and Shane Watson? As it sits today Rogers MUST play in the first Test at Trent Bridge, Watson maybe. The two warm-up games will help to make those decisions and which fast bowling combination starts the series – three out of Siddle, Pattinson, Bird, Starc, Faulkner, and Harris. Bottom line, Australia must win the first Test, or at least draw.

      • April 28th 2013 @ 2:53pm
        Praveen said | April 28th 2013 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

        Khawaja is also a must for the first test, it’s time to bring the classy leftie in

      • April 29th 2013 @ 7:46am
        FTR said | April 29th 2013 @ 7:46am | ! Report

        Include them both. Rogers and Watson MUST play if Australia wants to win.

    • April 28th 2013 @ 8:35am
      Colin N said | April 28th 2013 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      There’s some quality bowlers in the Australian team – providing they can stay fit. But I would be concerned by the fact that there are too many questions about what the actual line-up will be, whereas England, providing Pieterson and Swann are available, have a pretty settled line-up.

      Also, how many left-handed batters will play? Four? I could see Swann having a field day.

      • Columnist

        April 28th 2013 @ 8:45am
        David Lord said | April 28th 2013 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        Colin N, the key to an Australian success rests entirely on the top half of the batting order. This summer only Clarke fired, scoring 1178 at 84.14, the rest unacceptable – Warner 683 at 37,94, Cowan 629 at 34.94, Hughes 380 at 29.93, and Watson 252 at 22.91. Fix those stats up and we have an Ashes series to look forward to.

        • April 28th 2013 @ 9:08am
          Colin N said | April 28th 2013 @ 9:08am | ! Report

          Well yes, but can they? That’s the issue. Are they good enough? It’s not like these guys are inexperienced cricketers who have been picked on talent and could prove to be world class, these are players who have been there and, with the exception of Clarke, not done it.

          In regards to the article, England are beatable (we have far too many lapses) but they will have to put in one hell of an effort to do so.

          Even so, people are right – on paper it is one of the worst squads to face England.

        • April 28th 2013 @ 11:06pm
          Richard said | April 28th 2013 @ 11:06pm | ! Report

          And Colin do you really think they are going to fix those stats up in England! If the ball starts moving we will be scythed down like a bunch of pathetic pansies. Our only response will be to swing ever more wildly in frustration.

          There is always hope, hope that Silk might step up and Faulkner, the tail end will keep saving save our blushes. But as for the rest of the batters bar Clarke. They will do more to lower our colors than raise them.

          • May 1st 2013 @ 11:24am
            Brendon said | May 1st 2013 @ 11:24am | ! Report

            The same could be said when the poms top order starts facing 145kmh bouncers that move, we all know how much the unwashed ones love it when people bowl at their head.

            • May 2nd 2013 @ 4:03am
              nickyc said | May 2nd 2013 @ 4:03am | ! Report

              If the Aussie bowlers are anything like the last two great hopes they sent to the UK, ie. Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson then the Poms will be spending most of their time smashing them all round England.

              • May 2nd 2013 @ 6:43am
                Bearfax said | May 2nd 2013 @ 6:43am | ! Report

                Enjoy your smug mantra whilst you are able Nickyc. those burnt offerings could well be finding another home by years end.

              • May 2nd 2013 @ 2:29pm
                Brendon said | May 2nd 2013 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

                You should be scared, these lads are a whole different class

            • May 2nd 2013 @ 8:13am
              nickyc said | May 2nd 2013 @ 8:13am | ! Report


              Good to hear a bit of Aussie arrogance again, but then that’s why everyone loves to beat you! As for smugness I haven’t made a single prediction about the destination of the Ashes. I’ve put forward a few fact based comments to counter some of the wilder claims made by one individual on this thread. In any event, I apologise if this offends you.

              • May 2nd 2013 @ 11:21am
                Bearfax said | May 2nd 2013 @ 11:21am | ! Report

                Hey Nick I’m far from being offended. Just getting in on the fun. And my ‘smug’ remark was made with a taunting gleam in my eye I assure you. I was merely giving a Pom what a Pom always needs….a good thrashing…and I think Australia has done that once or twice in the past. I mean its nature’s way Nick. Australia and England love the game of cricket and we love playing each other. And we also love it that most of the time we win as it should be.

    • April 28th 2013 @ 8:54am
      Matt said | April 28th 2013 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      They had a bad series, averaging “just 38”.

      Gosh, if some of our guys could average “just 38” we’re in for a chance!

    , , , ,