The rain came, but too late to save Australia in Adelaide. They wouldn’t have deserved an escape after being out-played from first ball to last by an inspired England performance. After the efforts of James Anderson, Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen it was Graeme Swann’s turn to take centre stage with 5 for 91 on the final morning. But everywhere you looked for Australia there were problems, and in the Sydney Morning Herald Jamie Pandaram says it’s time to face up to some harsh truths.
Selection chairman Andrew Hilditch and his off-siders Greg Chappell, David Boon and Jamie Cox must have greater faith than Mother Teresa if they think the same band of players who have been tried can beat England twice this summer. The middle order has its performers – Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke – but Marcus North and Ponting are pale comparisons of their best form. North does not look out of touch when he bats, but continually manages to fall short of big and important innings when they are most needed. Steve Smith is a young and capable replacement who thrives on pressure, a logical replacement.
In the same paper, Peter Roebuck is fulsome in his praise of England but says there’s still hope for Australia if that act quickly.
Let’s give the victors their due. If England is the fourth best side in the world as the rankings insist, then the top three must be playing well. For 10 days the Poms have resembled a well-oiled machine. Their intensity has been unflagging, their fitness superb, their catching sharp, their batting powerful and their bowling incisive.
It may sound like a slightly more tongue-in-cheek view, but Peter Fitzsimons suggestion of a recall for Shane Warne is one made by quite a few Australians.
Who ya gonna call? Not Ghostbusters. Why not Shane Warne? Oh, do stop carrying on. Yes, yes, I know he’s 41. I know he’s caused more ugly tabloid headlines than Paris Hilton. I know he hasn’t bowled a ball in anger since April. I know all that. Don’t lecture me. I didn’t write the book on criticising Warne, but I intend to. None of that is important right now. What is important is to save the Ashes and beat England.
Over in the Australian, Malcolm Conn, who is never afraid of a bit of Pommie bashing, thinks Australia have sunk as low as the 1980s before Allan Border started the rebuilding job.
The last time Australia lost four Tests out of five without a victory was 26 years ago, when the once mighty West Indies hammered Australia in six successive Tests during 1984 which led to the tearful resignation of skipper Kim Hughes. The Australians had been gutted by the retirement of a number of senior players including Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh in the summer of 1982-1983.
Back in the SMH, Richard Hinds doesn’t pull any punches in his assessment of Australia’s performance.
Australia, of course, should not be disappointed by their dismal performance in Adelaide against an abundantly talented English line-up. They should be chastened, humiliated and utterly sick to the stomach