England are a greatly overrated Test team

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    England take on Pakistan in the third Test. (AAP Image/Dave Hun

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    Amid the frenzied analysis and criticism of the Australian Ashes squad, England’s shortcomings have largely been overlooked.

    Predictions of back-to-back Ashes cakewalks for the Poms have been made by pundits apparently oblivious to the changes in the Test cricket landscape the past two-and-a-half years.

    England is a budding superpower no more. Since their 3-1 domination of Australia in the 2010-11 season, they have not produced performances to match their hype.

    Instead, they have gone backwards.

    Such an assessment is not a knee-jerk reaction to their recent travails against New Zealand who, while clearly on the rise, remain an ordinary side with a lack of star power.

    Rather, it is a reflection of the fact England have won just six of their 19 Tests since the start of 2012. The only member of the side to have shown improvement is wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who has piled up runs and maintained his tidy glovework.

    England’s fielding, which was superb in the last Ashes, has declined in standard considerably. Dropped catches proved particularly costly in their lost home series against South Africa last English summer.

    Most significantly, both their batting and bowling units have struggled for consistency and relied on too few too often.

    When future generations look back at the scorecards of the 2010-11 Ashes they will likely fixate on the batting exploits of Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen, who all churned out huge volumes of runs.

    But make no mistake, the key to England’s ascendency was not its batting but its pace attack. James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan confounded the Australian batsmen with their relentless accuracy and the movement they gained through the air and off the pitch.

    It is easy to forget Australia were on top heading into the fourth Test of that series in Melbourne, having just thrashed England by 267 runs at the WACA to level the contest at 1-1.

    The entire country was behind Aussie openers Shane Watson and Phillip Hughes as they strode to the middle of the MCG at the start of the Boxing Day Test. The Aussie camp was brimming with confidence.

    Little more than three hours later, the Ashes were all but lost after Australia collapsed to be all out for 98. England’s aforementioned pace trio had brutalised its opponents, delivering a psychological blow from which the Aussies could not recover.

    In its final four innings of that series, Australia was dismissed for an average score of 229 as they suffered consecutive innings defeats. The Poms again proved the theory bowlers win Test matches, not batsmen.

    But the England pace brigade has since been battered and bruised.

    Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan have had significant injury problems, and Anderson’s effectiveness has been blunted by the lack of support he has received from his fellow quicks.

    Tremlett’s last Test was 17 months ago, while Bresnan recently returned from elbow surgery he hoped would improve his dreadful Test form, which had seen him collect 16 wickets at the inflated average of 55 since the start of 2012.

    The other two pacemen likely to feature prominently in the Ashes, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn, have put forward indifferent performances in the past 18 months.

    Broad has snared 52 wickets at an average of 32 in that time and Finn 30 wickets at 34. Those are ordinary returns.

    Broad’s form has been up and down like an elevator. Cook can never be confident of what he will get when he brings on the experienced quick.

    Likewise for Finn, who continues to be far too expensive. His career economy rate in Tests of 3.63 runs per over is outrageously high and makes Mitch Johnson (3.35 rpo) appear frugal by comparison.

    The beanpole speedster’s profligacy makes it difficult for his bowling partner to build pressure and draw a false stroke from the batsmen.

    It was for this reason he was dumped from the England side after the third Test of the last Ashes series, despite being their leading wicket taker to that point.

    Anderson has been hampered by such inconsistency among his pace colleagues. Despite bowling well, the wily veteran has not reaped great rewards over the past 18 months because he has too often been a lone ranger.

    His return of 58 wickets at 31 during that time is solid at best. In the last Ashes, Anderson regularly earned wickets by enticing ill-conceived, aggressive shots from batsmen who had become frustrated by the manner in which the English attack had dried up the flow of runs.

    Since that series, opposition batsmen have too often been happy to block out his overs without risk, safe in the knowledge they would receive ample opportunities to score at the other end.

    Graeme Swann has been Anderson’s most reliable partner. The off-spinner offers few bad balls or poor spells and can shackle the run rate.

    However, Swann has a dismal record against Australia. In 10 Ashes Tests he has taken just 29 wickets at an average 40. In both the 2009 and 2010-11 Ashes series he bowled accurately but without penetration.

    Swann is, however, flattered by the Ashes record of his spin partner Monty Panesar, whose 11 wickets against Australia have cost him 45 runs apiece.

    Australia’s weakness against spin is often misunderstood and misrepresented. After they were crushed 4-0 in India this year, many commentators and fans were quick to reinforce the stereotype that Australian batsmen wilt at the mere mention of spin.

    But the Aussies’ woes against spin largely have been limited to matches played on dusty wickets in the subcontinent and the West Indies, where drastically uneven bounce more so than exaggerated turn has been their downfall.

    On the firmer surfaces found in Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand, Australia’s batsmen have in fact prospered against spin.

    Spinners of the quality of Rangana Herath, Daniel Vettori and Ravi Ashwin have all found the going tough away from home against Australia in the past two years.

    That is not to suggest Swann won’t cause headaches for Australia, as he is a world-class bowler capable of turning a match in the space of an over. But claims Australia’s batsmen will meekly fold once Swann takes the ball are fanciful.

    Similarly outlandish are predictions that England’s batsmen will murder the Aussie attack in a repeat of their heroics in 2010-11. The gap between the quality of England’s batting and Australia’s bowling has narrowed greatly since that series.

    Peter Siddle is a vastly improved bowler, as evidenced by his return of 76 wickets at an average of 26 since the last Ashes.

    James Pattinson has been a huge addition to the Aussie attack and is comfortably the best young quick in Test cricket, having overtaken Siddle as his country’s most incisive bowler.

    Ryan Harris is a world-class opening bowler when fit, while Jackson Bird and Mitchell Starc have been very impressive in their limited appearances at Test level.

    The final element of Australia’s frontline attack, Nathan Lyon, is one of the most maligned players in Test cricket. But his deficiencies are frequently overplayed and his career record is solid if unspectacular.

    Lyon’s role in the Ashes will not be to make regular breakthroughs but rather to hold up one end while Australia’s intimidating pace battery goes for the throat.

    Almost equal to the improvement in Australia’s bowling ha been the decline of the English batting.

    The Poms lost two cool-headed veterans in former skipper Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood and are yet to find an adequate replacement for either.

    Nick Compton, who has taken Strauss’ opening role, struck two valuable tons against New Zealand but has been worryingly boom-or-bust for England’s liking.

    The man who would perhaps take Compton’s spot at the top of the order should his inconsistency continue is Joe Root, who himself is still trying to find his feet at Test level.

    Root made an impressive Test debut in India in December before faltering in his following three Tests against some quality swing bowling in New Zealand, where he averaged just 18.

    The 22-year-old strokemaker was admirably composed on a difficult pitch in the recently completed Test at Lord’s against England. However, his position in the side is far from cemented and he is yet to experience the kind of scrutiny and pressure which accompanies the Ashes.

    Ian Bell’s position in the side is also uncertain thanks to his erratic performances since the start of last year. His 825 Test runs at 34 in that time do not represent the kind of form which will leave the Aussie bowlers sleep-deprived.

    Ian Trott likewise has not been at his best the past 18 months, with his average of 41 in that period well down on his career mark of 50.

    With two rookies trying to prove themselves at Test level and two old heads significantly down on form, England have been prone to horrendous collapses. Such capitulations saw them come perilously close to losing their three-Test series in New Zealand and were again evident in their most recent outing.

    Cook, Pietersen and Prior are shouldering the burden of such failures. This trio of champions manhandled the Australian bowlers in the past series. Their battle with the Aussies aggressive pace unit will decide the outcome of the Ashes.

    Pundits predicting England will have little trouble in winning both of the upcoming Ashes battles are clearly viewing the contest through the prism of two series – England’s victorious campaigns in Australia in 2010-11 and in India late last year.

    But, in reality, neither series has great bearing on the forthcoming Ashes battles.

    England’s historic 2-1 win in India was a marvellous effort which contrasted starkly with Australia’s subsequent 4-0 pounding in the same country.

    The Ashes contests will, however, be played in vastly different conditions in which Australia will be far more comfortable.

    As for the 2010-11 series, both Australia and England are now almost unrecognisable from the outfits which took to the field two-and-a-half years ago.

    There can be no argument the Aussies are a rejuvenated, combative outfit. England, contrastingly, are weary and vulnerable.

    Forget the predictions of an Ashes drubbing by England. The Poms have plenty to worry about.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (185)

    • May 21st 2013 @ 5:15am
      MervUK said | May 21st 2013 @ 5:15am | ! Report

      Don’t be ridiculous, rejuvenated and combative? You have just been mauled by India, who were/are poor. We played poorly in the first test in India and then beat them comfortably. You are also in a mess behind the scenes and have no consistency in selection, partly because your top order are shocking in all conditions, barring Michael clarke. You should concentrate on your own shortcomings and inprove them rather than clinging to hope that eng will underperform. Indeed the English fast bowling unit hasn’t been as good as it could have been over the last year, but as you said this is due to injuries- broads lacerated heel, and Bresnan and swans elbows have been evident since before South Africa last year, and this is why the management have opted to resolve these injuries before the ashes. Swann is the best spin bowler in the world and will take your lefties to the cleaners!

      • May 21st 2013 @ 9:51am
        TommyPom said | May 21st 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        Here ! Here !

        • May 21st 2013 @ 3:20pm
          Grover said | May 21st 2013 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

          Sorry, it’s one of my pet peeves. The phrase is “hear, hear” as in “hear him, hear him”.

          • May 21st 2013 @ 4:33pm
            dubblebubble said | May 21st 2013 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

            I always thought it was ‘here here’ as in ‘same here”. Both are probably right nowadays due to the evolving nature of language.

            • Columnist

              May 21st 2013 @ 7:40pm
              Ronan O'Connell said | May 21st 2013 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

              Haha yeah “here here” actually seems more prevalent than the correct version.

              • May 29th 2013 @ 10:21pm
                Tom Callaghan said | May 29th 2013 @ 10:21pm | ! Report

                Ronan Mate.
                Has anyone ever told you that you look a bit like Bono?
                How did Australia’s one day tem do in English conditions against England’s third choice spinner Treadwell?
                Who is this Ian Trott that you mention?

      • May 21st 2013 @ 10:05am
        jameswm said | May 21st 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        You should put your house on England winning then, because Australia have absolutely no chance.

        • Columnist

          May 21st 2013 @ 10:43am
          Ronan O'Connell said | May 21st 2013 @ 10:43am | ! Report

          The point was that Australia are not the stale side they were the last Ashes. Since then they have had away series wins against Sri Lanka and the West Indies, drew against South Africa in SA, pushed SA to the brink in Oz, and hammered India and SL at home. All of those great results don’t suddenly get wiped because of the Indian debacle…the same way England’s win in India didn’t suddnely cure it of the malaise that had seen it smashed by Pakistan and routed at home by SA. People quickly forget that prior to the Indian series, Australia had a 12-3 win/loss record since the Ashes.

          • May 21st 2013 @ 10:56am
            Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 10:56am | ! Report

            I notice you chose to omit Australia’s drawn home series with New Zealand and downplay the home loss to South Africa which ended with a heavy thrashing in Perth. Also, Australia didn’t exactly play well in either South Africa or the West Indies.

            Yes, England lost to Pakistan but have since shown a big improvement when facing spin. As I allude to below, Australia is quite fortunate that it hasn’t had to play a Test series in UAE for quite some years, because if the Indian series is anything to go by, there isn’t the batting technique or application to remotely combat Hafeez and Rehman, let alone Ajmal.

            England’s victory in India was arguably a finer series-winning achievement than anything Australia has managed since probably the 2009 win in South Africa.

            Are Australia likely to be more competitive in England than they were in India? Yes, I suspect so. But I think there’s a gulf in class and experience between the sides, and that England will have to perform very poorly for the tourists to get a look in.

            Last time Australia went to England, pundits suggested Johnson, Hilfenhaus and Siddle would blow the English batsmen away, and that was coming off a series victory in South Africa – not an utterly embarrassing showing in India.

            • Columnist

              May 21st 2013 @ 11:28am
              Ronan O'Connell said | May 21st 2013 @ 11:28am | ! Report

              To be fair Disco I didn’t omit those series I was clearly just listing Australia’s good achievements since the last Ashes and then pointing out that those triumphs are not washed away by a bad series in India. England are still a better side than Australia. I never said otherwise. Why would disagree that England’s pace bowling is worse now than in 2010-11? Would you disagree than England’s batting is worse now than in 2010-11? Would you disagree that England’s fielding is worse now than in 2010-11? They are my three key arguments yet no one here is really addressing those.

              • May 21st 2013 @ 11:52am
                Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 11:52am | ! Report

                I would certainly agree with the fielding (perhaps Collingwood helped a lot in training???), and the bowling to some extent, but not necessarily the batting.

                With Anderson and Swann, it’s ‘as you were’ and they offer a great deal.

                Considering Broad barely played in the last Ashes series, I think that *if* he’s in form then he improves England’s bowling considerably.

                Finn has all the tools but something seems to have gone awry with his action. I think the loss of Tremlett (after his performances at the MCG and SCG) is somewhat significant, though I would had his style of bowling more suits bouncy pitches, say, in Australia and South Africa. In English conditions Bresnan and Onions are certainly good enough to threaten Australia’s extremely weak batting were they to be chosen.

                As for the batting, Strauss performed okay in the last Ashes but not as well as Cook, Trott, Bell or Pietersen, and his loss (and that of Collingwood’s) has been offset by the improvement in Prior’s batting and possibly by the emergence of Root and the Test experience gained by Compton, Bairstow and even Taylor.

            • May 21st 2013 @ 3:16pm
              zatoo77 said | May 21st 2013 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

              Hey you forgot a whole heap of performances by England too.
              A drawn series with Sri Lanka
              A 3 zip thumping by South Africa what was the improvement there
              Nil all draw to NZ again little evidence of improvement.

              • May 21st 2013 @ 5:03pm
                Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

                I haven’t forgotten anything. Which of my statements do you disagree with?

                And which 3-nil thumping by South Africa is that?

          • May 25th 2013 @ 11:32pm
            Harish said | May 25th 2013 @ 11:32pm | ! Report

            I would like to add, those two Indian teams which played Poms and Aus were not exactly same in many ways. For England so many things clicked into place. Eg. Panesar suddenly found his drift and started to trouble Indian batsmen. I don’t understand what happened because i think Indians are still the best players of spin. Another is Ashwin found his rythm back against Aus and along with Ravindra Jadeja who came in to the squad after the England’s tour wreck literal havock along with Bhuvaneshwar Kumar(again debut). So i don’t think Engand would have done much better against the latter team.

    • May 21st 2013 @ 5:21am
      Nick said | May 21st 2013 @ 5:21am | ! Report

      At least England managed not to lose a test at home against nz (thus far) remember Hobart?

      • Columnist

        May 21st 2013 @ 10:50am
        Ronan O'Connell said | May 21st 2013 @ 10:50am | ! Report

        Indeed. But England have played NZ in 4 consecutive Tests now and have had huge trouble in 3 of those games. The reality is NZ have made it tough for both the Ashes contestants at times.

        • May 21st 2013 @ 11:06am
          Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 11:06am | ! Report

          How would you rate the current NZ side as compared to the current Australian side?

          • Columnist

            May 21st 2013 @ 11:23am
            Ronan O'Connell said | May 21st 2013 @ 11:23am | ! Report

            The biggest difference is that Australia can actually win Tests and series. Including the 4-0 drubbing against India, Australia still have a 12-7 win/loss record since the last Ashes. Compare that to NZ win/loss record of 4-10 over that period. NZ are becoming far more competitive but they still lack that bit of class to get them over the line when the game is there to be won.

            • May 22nd 2013 @ 7:39am
              Nick said | May 22nd 2013 @ 7:39am | ! Report

              I’d say we’re missing more than a bit of class. 68 all out suggests we’re not sure with which end to hold the bat

              • Columnist

                May 22nd 2013 @ 1:30pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | May 22nd 2013 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

                Having even just one world class batsman can help you avoid days like that. Clarke has saved Australia a million times from 3 for not many.

        • May 21st 2013 @ 11:13am
          James said | May 21st 2013 @ 11:13am | ! Report

          england are not as all conquering as they threatened to be right after the last ashes but the gulf between australia and england is still quite large. they are superior in every aspect of the game except potentially bowling where they are equal. but that bowling equlaity is predicated on the australian bowlers bowling to their potential and england bowling as they have been. so england are not as awesome as i hoped they would be but still very much superior to australia. and the way nz have been playing in those 4 tests any country would be having problems with them. nz are actually quite good now.

          • May 21st 2013 @ 11:19am
            Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 11:19am | ! Report

            Well said.

            As well, I don’t think England are overrated; the way South Africa’s classy batsmen utterly dominated last summer’s series gave the locals a rude shock.

            • Columnist

              May 21st 2013 @ 11:44am
              Ronan O'Connell said | May 21st 2013 @ 11:44am | ! Report

              I would argue they are over rated in the context of people claiming they will dominate Australia as easily as they did last Ashes. Because England are not the side they were then yet many people seem to think they haven’t declined whatsoever since their peak in 2010 and 2011.

              • May 21st 2013 @ 12:00pm
                Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

                England are playing at home this time, so there is reason to think they’ll be more comfortably in these Tests than they were down under; I think the point is Australia needs to drastically improve in order to avoid a heavy loss.

                Also, in your article I got the impression you were suggesting that England didn’t dominate the last Ashes.

                England have declined, yet still have much the same group of experienced players (Strauss and Collingwood aside). Australia has arguably declined from a lower starting point.

              • May 21st 2013 @ 1:02pm
                Nudge said | May 21st 2013 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

                Your making good common sense to me ronan. If you had no idea about cricket and took out the 2 series in India going by the stats of the teams in past 2 years particularly the 2 South African series you would put Australia about 1.40 favourites. Got to love a deep thinker. Great article

              • May 21st 2013 @ 1:22pm
                Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

                Well, taking out the two series in India would be very convenient, wouldn’t it?

                And what about we take out the past two Ashes series also?

                Alas, like touring India, Ashes series are part of Test cricket.

          • May 21st 2013 @ 12:51pm
            Nudge said | May 21st 2013 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

            Yeah real good the kiwis. Didn’t they get bowled out by South Africa twice for 60. And now the poms

            • May 21st 2013 @ 3:13pm
              Nudge said | May 21st 2013 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

              Well mate comparing Indian wickets to English wickets its like chalk and cheese. Compare th 2 teams in past 18 months away from sub continent. So what I’m saying conditions similar to what we will see in the ashes not 80 overs of spin in the day. I think you’ll find aus have played 10 tests for 7 wins one loss poms 7 tests for 1 win.

    • May 21st 2013 @ 5:29am
      Wardy said | May 21st 2013 @ 5:29am | ! Report

      Sorry this is just drivel …

      • May 21st 2013 @ 12:48pm
        Lancey5times said | May 21st 2013 @ 12:48pm | ! Report


    • May 21st 2013 @ 5:29am
      Wardy said | May 21st 2013 @ 5:29am | ! Report

      Sorry this is just drivel …

    • May 21st 2013 @ 5:45am
      Nudge said | May 21st 2013 @ 5:45am | ! Report

      Merv uk you say we are a mess behind the scenes but yet you have a player in your team who gave out information to South Africa about how to get out your previous captain. That is the biggest disgrace I have ever heard and if that happened in Aussie land no matter what sport they would never be let with in 100 km’s of that team again. I would be astounded if there isn’t some friction in that dressing room when that cat walks in. As for the article absolutely summed up perfectly. England talk themselves up so much people start to believe. I’m been saying for a while now England are highly overrated and 1 bad series in India now leaves us underrated. The series will go down to the wire

      • May 21st 2013 @ 5:56am
        Wardy said | May 21st 2013 @ 5:56am | ! Report

        No it won’t mate

        • May 21st 2013 @ 7:54am
          Jayden said | May 21st 2013 @ 7:54am | ! Report

          Why wont it? Im curious to see your reasoning.

        • Roar Guru

          May 21st 2013 @ 10:06am
          nick richardson said | May 21st 2013 @ 10:06am | ! Report

          Wardy mate wouldn’t be so sure. Look at what the New Zealand pace attack did to England at Lord’s. They kept them to the lowest Lord’s score since 2005. Imagine what the Aussie pace brigade could do. Two 50’s in two innings, not the makings of a so called world beating team.

          • May 21st 2013 @ 10:40am
            Pope Paul VII said | May 21st 2013 @ 10:40am | ! Report

            I’m imagining that even if our boys get England for 200, they will get Australia for 150.

            • Columnist

              May 21st 2013 @ 11:10am
              Ronan O'Connell said | May 21st 2013 @ 11:10am | ! Report

              It will be very interesting to see whether England offers up any pitches as lively as the Lords deck. Given fast bowling is Australia’s one great strength I highly doubt it.

              • May 21st 2013 @ 11:16am
                Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 11:16am | ! Report

                As opposed to Australia’s inestimable ability to play the swinging ball and thus avoid regular batting collapses?

              • May 21st 2013 @ 1:36pm
                jameswm said | May 21st 2013 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

                Disco a lively deck is a great leveller. All it would take is a session of Warner, or a big knock from Hughes or Clarke, to turn the match Australia’s way.

                England hardly did well against NZ’s attack on that deck.

              • Roar Guru

                May 21st 2013 @ 1:39pm
                nick richardson said | May 21st 2013 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

                Yes they struggled

              • May 21st 2013 @ 2:22pm
                Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

                And you expect that to occur, Jameswm? After all, most Roarers were tipping Australia’s batsmen to destroy India’s seamers, and look how that panned out.

              • May 21st 2013 @ 2:26pm
                Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

                Hughes has been made to look silly against swing and spin – in England, Australia and India. That he (and also Watson) are even in the tour squad speaks volumes about the strength of Australia’s batting.

              • Columnist

                May 25th 2013 @ 12:09pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | May 25th 2013 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

                I have to agree with you there Disco. It will be a shock if Hughes or Watto average 40+ with the bat in England.

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

            Imagine what the NZ seam attack could do to Australia at Hobart?!

            The Aussie pace attack that has achieved what of note, exactly?

            NZ has a collection of seamers who can stay injury-free, swing the ball in most conditions and bowl consistent line and length. That’s a pretty handy thing to have, and speed isn’t everything.

            • Roar Guru

              May 21st 2013 @ 1:53pm
              nick richardson said | May 21st 2013 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

              Disco the pace attack in Hobart was less experienced and smaller than the pace attack on the way to England. Pattinson and Starc have got more experience and Bird is in the team along with Harris. Pace isn’t everything but there is no replacement for a 150km/h bouncer straight to the ribs.

              • May 21st 2013 @ 2:21pm
                Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

                I can’t disagree with that. Yet for all their potential, Australia’s pace attack hasn’t yet produced much against strong opposition – that takes discipline in the form of line, length and skill that the likes of which the combination Southee, Boult and Wagner have shown in four successive Tests now.

                There’s no guarantee Siddle or Harris will provide that, let alone Pattinson, Starc, Bird or Faulkner.

              • May 21st 2013 @ 2:59pm
                Jayden said | May 21st 2013 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

                We were all over SA until Pattinson broke down last year and Siddle was rotated

                We were fhe better bowling side, our batting let us down.

              • May 21st 2013 @ 3:10pm
                Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

                Ifs and maybes… Basically, for a variety of reasons – including lack of durability, selectorial inconsistency, tiredness perhaps, blind faith in Ponting, Lyon and Johnson, succumbing to a stronger opponent – Australia couldn’t maintain a sufficient level to win a Test in what was a home series. By Perth, South Africa’s bowlers finally got their act together, especially Steyn.

      • May 21st 2013 @ 10:04am
        Disco said | May 21st 2013 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        One bad series in India? The side has won five of its last 21 Tests against England and South Africa. Australia underrated? Lucky to have not played Pakistan in the UAE more like.

        • Columnist

          May 21st 2013 @ 7:43pm
          Ronan O'Connell said | May 21st 2013 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

          Facing Ajmal on dustbowls is no fun for anyone!

    • Roar Rookie

      May 21st 2013 @ 8:15am
      josh said | May 21st 2013 @ 8:15am | ! Report

      Did this mean to have a HA icon?

      England just bowled out NZ for 68. I’d say a drubbing of NZ will give England, who are a confidence side a massive boost before the Ashes.

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