Monday, July 22, 2013

Australia Rooted

For a long suffering fan of English cricket and Scottish football, sustained success is a harsh reality to deal with. Even after the stark - the close fought result due to a lack of England batting application - deficiencies of this Australian team were laid bare at Trent Bridge, we barely dared to dream of this kind of vast superiority at Lords.

The press has been mired over the past two days with articles regarding everyone's disappointment and disenchantment at the lack of a 'real contest'. What tosh, we have been being served by Australia since Allan Border took a grip on their team, enjoy it and revel in it.

The signs that were prevalent in Nottingham became glaringly obvious at Lords, Australia can't bat. Whilst the remainder of this series looks a forgone conclusion, the outcome of the return series down under will depend on whether England can resolve their own batting schizophrenia.

One can look at things in one of two ways. The lack of form of Cook, Trott, Pietersen and Prior as well as the uncertainty over Bairstow (Root is now a shoe in) could be taken as a huge cause for concern. Alternatively flip it on its' head and say that England are thrashing Australia without even playing well as yet.

For Australia, things are at the lowest ebb and so in some ways it cannot get any worse or can it? So many stories are emanating from their camp regarding internal dysfunction that some simply have to be true, Darren Lehmann was trumpeted as the saviour but there is no discernible affect on their results.

Ashton Ager has proven a false dawn (so far), Shane Watson simply gets out, Clarke has the weight of the world on his shoulders and Harris had dubious fitness. Only Peter Siddle would be a decent bet to break into the England side.

With the Gabba, WACA, SCG et all to come, England badly need to ram home a message to Australia that home advantage will not overcome the obvious gulf in class between the sides. The irony is that Cook, Trott and KP who were all so dominant in Australia are the ones not firing yet and there is the rub.

England must establish whether their batting is in a slump or in an irreversible decline. Dale Steyn and South Africa showed up their batting horribly last Summer and an English Ashes thrashing followed by a home side comeback down under would be hugely unpalatable. England are required to win both series to establish a new order.

The next two tests will shape the future but in the meantime, England fans should revel in unadulterated glory and Australian fans should show true concern. The reality is with these back to back Ashes series, there is still a lot of cricket to be played - No Nonsense.