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  • ASHES: What happened to Australian batsmen? | Business Spectator
    runs in four innings 81 of them in the first innings at Trent Bridge and averages 32 65 in 26 Tests Usman Khawaja has scored 113 runs in six innings this summer In nine Tests he averages 25 13 Ed Cowan played only in Trent Bridge where he was unwell but scores of 0 and 14 in his 18th Test reduced his average to 31 28 Steve Smith has appeared in all four Tests batting eight times for 197 runs which brings down his average to 29 52 in 11 Tests The only player from this generation who has established his place is David Warner when he behaves himself He averages 38 41 in 21 Tests This is evidence of an acute generation problem New faces were rare in the great teams led by Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting but if they had been required the selectors could have chosen from a group of batsmen of real class Remember Matthew Elliott Stuart Law Michael Bevan and Phil Jaques Between them they played in only 42 Tests Mike Hussey had to wait until he was 30 to win a place averaging 51 22 in 75 Tests thereafter The only survivor of that talented generation is Chris Rogers who won a permanent place only this summer Darren Lehmann said yesterday that only Rogers and Michael Clarke were sure of their place in the fifth Test at The Oval beginning on 21 August This stance is being a bit hard on Warner surely But Lehmann made it clear that careers are on the line We ve got to find blokes who will learn If they don t learn we ll find blokes that will One problem is that some of those blokes would rather be earning big bucks in the IPL and the Big Bash than forging a career in four day Shield cricket The IPL makes remarkably generous contribution to their bank balances but it does not develop the kind of mental strength that England exhibited when they took Australia s last nine wickets in one session of the fourth day of this Test It may be no coincidence that very few English players are to be found in the IPL Kevin Pietersen is a valuable commodity but his contract with the English Cricket Board insists that he return to play Tests even if they conflict with the end of the IPL season He does not like it but concludes that his reputation depends on his performances in Tests England is a cohesive outfit now and they expect to win even when their top order batsmen are performing no better than the Australians Consistency had been provided by Ian Bell often partnered by Pietersen When he was coached by Australia s national selector John Inverarity at Warwickshire Bell was a frustrated batsman selected for the Ashes in 2005 but rarely at his best in games against Big Beasts like Warne and McGrath Inverarity claimed this was the consequence of an endemic weakness that Bell seemed incapable of correcting He declined to say just what it was Whatever it was three hundreds in four Tests suggest that Bell has identified it and eradicated it Without his elegance in attack and security in defence Australia could conceivably have won a couple of the four Tests Lehmann also let it be known yesterday that Ryan Harris might be rested at The Oval His bones are a lot older than his 33 years and having established himself as the leader of the bowling group it is not worth the risking in a meaningless match The bowlers who have performed manfully are not part of the problem Mitchell Starc would be an adequate replacement for Harris The spinner Nathan Lyon has won the respect of the English batsmen the selection of Ashton Agar in his place in the first two Tests now seems eccentric Agar s 98 in his debut Test innings was one of the most satisfying dramatic episodes of the summer but he has still to learn to bowl As for the English they too have begun to look forward to the Ashes Part Two starting in November Coach Andy Flower admits that England have not played their best cricket this summer and that the Australian series will be a bigger challenge Hope so Stephen Fay is a former editor of Wisden and author of books about the Bank of England and the collapse of Barings Print this page More from Stephen Fay 09 Jan Britain will be poorer for Scotland the brave 10 Dec Can Carney restore the BoE to its former glory 06 Nov An enigma wrapped in a puzzle wrapped in gold 07 Oct Letter from a worried London 27 Aug ASHES Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory Related articles 27 Aug ASHES Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory 26 Aug ASHES A final fireworks display 25 Aug ASHES A tale of two captains 24 Aug ASHES England running out of steam 23 Aug ASHES Australia sets the stage for next meeting More from Business Spectator Technology Adapt or die Commercial The Future of Energy Family Business Alan Kohler s Family Business China China Spectator Please log in or register to post comments Comments on this article Comments Policy Michael Russell Wed 2013 08 14 11 56 I stayed up to watch Australia bat Eventually at about 1 30am I went to sleep with at 1 111 I thought it was looking pretty good Then I woke up to find out we were all out for a bit over 200 What on earth happened I was shocked Surely we can do better than this I can t stand being beaten so frequently by England Come on Australia let s significantly improve our batting Ian Wed 2013 08 14 13 30 In my opinion the fundamental problem is that CA has not invested sufficiently in the Sheffield Shield or perhaps defended it and the step up to Test cricket is now

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/8/14/ashes/ashes-what-happened-australian-batsmen (2014-01-13)
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  • ASHES: A salt rub for Australia's wounds | Business Spectator
    to a catastrophic middle order collapse in which four wickets fell for 11 runs The four tail enders hung around long enough to take the innings into the extra half hour permitted when a game is on the brink of a result With the light failing the umpires dictated that Alastair Cook bowl his spinners Neither could break the last wicket partnership between Siddle and Jackson Bird unless the sun shone again It did so just in time for Broad to return and dismiss Siddle Broad had taken 6 for 50 in the innings and 11 for 121 in the match He said the wicket suited his bowling The understatement was masterful He was the man of the match The crucial moment in the day had come after tea taken when Australia were 120 for 2 and Cook finally accepted that the pairing of Anderson and Swann his leading bowlers in the series so far were providing Warner and Clarke with a flow of easy runs It seemed obvious that Broad should be given the ball despite a disappointing first spell Instead Cook brought on Bresnan a journeyman among seam bowlers But this strange decision seemed inspired when Bresnan took Warner s wicket Warner had batted well enough with Rogers to confirm his place as the opening batsman in place of Shane Watson He scored quickly and hit decisively to the square boundaries His rehabilitation for his indiscretions earlier in the tour which led to his banishment to South Africa during the first two Tests now seems complete By trial and error Australia has discovered an opening partnership strong enough to survive the Ashes part two in Australia The rest of the batsmen were spooked however Smith dragged the ball onto his stumps for two Watson batting at No 6 was lbw playing across the line just as he had been so regularly when he was the opening batsman Haddin was the victim of a narrow lbw decision These middle order failures began in Trent Bridge and were repeated at Lord s They were overcome at Old Trafford but the second innings in Durham proved that they were only hibernating Australia have lost the Ashes because promising young batsmen such as Khawaja Hughes and Cowan appear incapable of the transition from first class to Test cricket England had increased the pressure on Australia s batsmen in the first 90 minutes of day four when they added 96 runs to their overnight total of 234 for 5 Bell went early to a corker from Harris and Prior was out next ball edging the ball onto his wicket from his elbow But Bresnan who survived an lbw decision on review when he was just 12 biffed his way to 45 runs with six boundaries By the time he was out the score was past 300 To score 299 to win would have been to achieve one of Australia s top 10 second innings run chases yet for 48 overs it had not

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/8/13/ashes/ashes-salt-rub-australias-wounds (2014-01-13)
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  • ASHES: Australia's senior attack | Business Spectator
    five Australian batsmen for a meagre 48 runs Harris who had taken 3 for 37 in his 10 over spell had already scored five boundaries in a rapid 28 which accounted for most of Australia s slim lead Rogers having added only nine runs to his overnight 101 And it was almost entirely due to the old men that Australia was able to anticipate a famous victory The story did not develop quite as Harris must have hoped With three down Ian Bell joined Kevin Pietersen Scoring was not easy against a concentrated attack on pitch that did not give the bowlers the same help as England s had received the previous day but both kept their heads down and added a formidable 106 runs to the total Pietersen s uncharacteristic innings ended on 44 when Rogers who else dashed in from cover to catch a leading edge But Ian Bell was still unperturbed He has tormented Australia s bowlers in this Ashes series A hundred in the second innings at Trent Bridge established a winning lead a second hundred at Lord s contributed to a challenging first innings 361 his third hundred in Durham reached just before the close dug England out of a deep hole He put on another 66 runs with Jonny Bairstow who was caught behind Brad Haddin at 35 the third of the influential trio of old men taking his third catch of the innings At the close the match was finely balanced England on 234 for 5 led by 202 The pitch is becoming less predictable and a target of 250 is regarded as a hard ask at Durham s Riverside ground This is already an engrossing game and it is likely to become more so Relying so heavily on three men who are considered to be within a year of retirement shows how hard the transition from one generation of Test cricketers to the next can be Before this Ashes series Australia selectors were confident that their young fast bowlers would lead the attack on England s batsmen Not so The two best bowlers have been Harris and Peter Siddle who is a mature 28 And they have been lucky to have Harris who has a record of injuries that suggests he is fortunate to be walking never mind bowling fast Only in April he suffered an Achilles tendon injury playing in India s IPL In the last Ashes series he broke a bone in his left ankle in the fourth Test having been Australia s best bowler in their solitary win at Perth He has played for some years with a chronic knee injury and incidentally needed surgery on his shoulder Apparently the reason he is a medical calamity is that he started playing professional cricket as a medium fast bowler who discovered fairly late in his career that he could take plenty of wickets by bowling faster skiddy deliveries He made his Test debut aged 30 and has been in and

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/8/12/ashes/ashes-australias-senior-attack (2014-01-13)
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  • ASHES: Rogers proves his mettle | Business Spectator
    middle and leg and he found room at last to sweep to the square leg boundary He is just 21 days short of his 36 th birthday and in only his fifth Test match he had become the second oldest player to make his first hundred for his country the first being in the 19 th century So far this had been a match saving innings Australia were 76 for 4 shortly after lunch on a wicket that was like an adventure playground for seam bowlers Deliveries moving late off a good length had accounted for four of the top order batsmen before Shane Watson coming in down the order at No 6 played a thoughtful and restrained innings Together they put on 129 of which Watson s share was 68 Since England had clearly been on top and must have expected to dismiss Australia cheaply for something under 150 Rogers has so far played a match saving innings But his stirring hundred means that Australia are only 16 runs behind England with five wickets standing Their nose is just in front and Rogers is capable of turning it into a match winning innings Rogers is one of the lost generation of fine Australian batsmen who could not find places in the legendary teams captained by Taylor Waugh and Ponting He played in only one Test in 2008 but like many of his contemporaries Rogers played his professional cricket in the Shield in the Australian summer and in English county cricket in the English season He had played for four different counties before ending up in his present job as captain of Middlesex He has recently reached 20 000 runs in first class cricket and has made 60 centuries He knows English conditions intimately That was one reason why Darren Lehmann chose him to open the innings when the squad contained other players who had been selected as Test openers but failed to make their case in the middle His experience was the essential quality of his debut hundred The wicket was faster than on the first day the clouds were lower for most of the day play ended prematurely because of bad light and the ball was moving extravagantly off the seam especially when Stuart Broad was bowling He took four of the five wickets to fall for 48 off 20 overs But Rogers exhibited a second crucial quality he was remarkably lucky during the torrid 21 overs before lunch after England s innings was terminated promptly with no addition to the overnight score of 238 His look was of fierce concentration eyes narrowed his lips highlighted by the white sun cream were pursed Under his helmet his expressions were revealing a grin when he played and missed pain when he flashed unwisely outside the off stump and a small nod of appreciation to Broad when he passed the bat three times in one over One astonishing over from Broad could become the subject of one of cricket s

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/8/11/ashes/ashes-rogers-proves-his-mettle (2014-01-13)
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  • ASHES: Australia strides towards redemption | Business Spectator
    on the pitch It played slowly and was not helpful to the spinner but it might speed up and the ball could begin to turn Whatever it does this was a promising start to Michael Clarke s effort to compensate for the failure to regain the Ashes by winning the last two Test and drawing the series England had started cautiously scoring only 57 runs for the loss of Joe Root before lunch After lunch they batted as if they had been fed an elixir Alastair Cook was batting like a man determined to redeem an undistinguished performance with the bat in three Tests by grinding out a hundred in the fourth Jonathan Trott showed no such inhibition He scored more freely than his admirers expect him to do until he tried to reach his 50 by casually turning Nathan Lyon for a single on the leg side But the shot was ill timed the ball took an edge onto the pad and bounced into the hands of Usman Khawaja at short leg Enter Kevin Pietersen at 107 for 2 a good place for him to start He astonished the crowd by striding down the wicket to the first ball he received from Lyon and tried to hit it over long on for six But he had had badly misjudged the pace of the wicket and was relieved to see the ball fall short of the fielder at mid on Shane Warne described the shot as reckless He might reasonably have said it was arrogant and dismissive It suggested that Pietersen believed the way to deal with Lyon was simply to batter him out of the attack He went on hitting boundaries scoring at nearly a run a ball until he had made 26 when Lyon bowled an arm ball which Pietersen intended to leave but it turned hardly at all and touched the edge of Pietersen s bat Brad Haddin took the catch and England were 149 for 3 But Cook was still there having scored the third slowest 50 of his career and was joined by Ian Bell who has scored more runs than anyone in the series so far It was time for rebuilding Jackson Bird was making his Ashes debut chosen instead of Mitchell Starc He looks like the young Steve Waugh and bowls fast medium on or just outside off stump His opening spell had been purposeful but not threatening In his second spell however he bowled a ball that dumbfounded Cook He had been leaving many of the balls he faced and shaped to do just that to a delivery from Bird that seemed destined to pass the off stump Except it nipped in off the seam from outside off to middle and off Cook was plumb lbw with playing a stroke a victim of a brilliant ball Bell could offer no such defence He drove loosely at Lyon s fourth ball after tea and his half hit off drive was well caught by

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/8/10/ashes/ashes-australia-strides-towards-redemption (2014-01-13)
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  • ASHES: A damp and disappointing end at Old Trafford | Business Spectator
    again on day five in Manchester the fine wind blown Lancashire rain set in and the third Test had to be abandoned as a draw at 4 39pm England has retained the Ashes three times in succession now But Australia leaves Old Trafford knowing that they played well enough to contemplate victory in the remaining Tests at Chester le Street and The Oval There was a moment when they could contemplate victory in Manchester At 12 46pm precisely Kevin Pietersen played forward to a ball just outside off stump from Peter Siddle He appeared to miss it but Brad Haddin thought not and the slips roared their appeal for caught behind When umpire Alan Hill gave him out Pietersen looked immensely aggrieved and called for a review The third umpire could see no hot spot but believed that he heard the noise of contact between bat and ball Out Pietersen said a few rude words about umpires and Australians and put on his most disgruntled face as he returned to the dressing room England were 35 for 3 By mid morning the weather had turned unpredictably fine and it looked as if the game might survive a full afternoon s play enough time to take seven more wickets Alastair Cook had gone lbw after a fruitless review Jonathan Trott his partner in many long second wicket stands was caught by Haddin during a penetrating spell of seam bowling by Ryan Harris With Pietersen gone too and Australia s bowlers working harder than at any time in the game there was only one possible winner But the morning weather proved to be a fluke While the sun shone on Old Trafford weather maps suggested that it was an island of good weather surrounded on all sides by persistent rain The rain closed in during lunch relented for just long enough for three balls to be bowled at 2pm and then the umbrellas went up again and stayed up until the game was called off The crowd was naturally thinner after four testing days cricket Like the Australia team they deserved better They had been a vocal shirt sleaved crowd quite unlike the audience at Lord s They delighted in choosing a player to mock and David Warner who had thrown a punch at England s young Joe Root earlier in the summer was their man He was not only booed when he went to bat but every time he fielded the ball He ought to take it as a compliment of a kind the player who caught Warner on the boundary in Australia s second innings was of course Joe Root For Australia the bad news was that England retained the Ashes for the fourth time in the five series since 2005 the annus mirabilis of English cricket But there was good news for Australia too The team played like a cohesive unit which was a bold response to the humiliation at Lord s Michael Clarke admitted after today s abandonment

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/8/6/ashes/ashes-damp-and-disappointing-end-old-trafford (2014-01-13)
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  • ASHES: A gloomy forecast for the visitors | Business Spectator
    was hoping for The idea was to give the team enough time to bowl England out a second time He was robbed of two hours of cricket when play was abandoned at 5 38pm and the forecast for the fifth day on Monday promises to take away even more Australia s dominance was achieved in spite of tactical manoeuvres by England s captain Alastair Cook to slow down play and speed up the decision about the light Malcolm Knox s recent book about Test cricket late in the 19 th century was titled Never a Gentleman s Game England s behaviour yesterday confirmed that it still isn t The clouds had been high in the sky when play began but they became lower and darker when Australia commenced their second innings 30 minutes before lunch Shortly after lunch the floodlights were switched on but the light diminished slowly through the afternoon A short light shower meant tea was taken early but no time was lost then England s fielders began to question the umpires about the quality of the light soon after play restarted at 4pm Decisions about bad light now rest solely with the umpires but players talk to them and they talk back Tony Hill said later that he was having difficulty seeing the ball from square leg and his colleague Marais Erasmus asked Cook whether he intended to bowl Graeme Swann This a coded message which means the light is bad and we can continue playing only if you keep bowling the spinner Cook responded by instantly giving the ball to one of his fast bowlers Stuart Broad that was the pretext for the stoppage of play England s objective was to cut into the time available for Australia to bowl them out and they had done so In other sports this might be described as ungentlemanly conduct Cook is not unique of course other cricket captains would probably argue that if you can get away with it you d be daft not to do it The ruthless quality of cricket s professionalism never ceases to surprise people who do not follow the game closely But the hasty exit from the field of play was part of a pattern that had been established on it The length of the conversations between Cook and his bowlers and the regularity with which field placings were altered made it clear that England were determined to slow the game down They did so despite the fact that 15 of the 36 overs in Australia s second innings were bowled by England spinner This normally speeds up the over rate Swann slowed it down England bowled 12 2 overs an hour in the second innings as opposed to 13 5 in Australia s first Australia managed 14 England had performed two indecent acts of gamesmanship This is a pity because this absorbing Test has been great sporting drama The stakes are high Australia must win to prevent England retaining the Ashes If

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/8/5/ashes/ashes-gloomy-forecast-visitors (2014-01-13)
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  • ASHES: The Mancunian mystery tour | Business Spectator
    and Monday If it does a draw might provide the story with an anti climax England s objective on day three was to make Australia bat again by scoring the 328 runs required to avoid being asked to follow on At the close England were 294 for 7 still 34 runs shy Consequently we do not know if England can escape the follow on if they do not we do not know whether Michael Clarke will ask them to bat again If England do reach their target we do not know how many runs Clarke and the coach Darren Lehmann think will be sufficient to prevent England making a dash for victory in the fourth innings or how long they think they need to bowl England out a second time If it rains they have no idea how much time will be lost The script has that many imponderables When England had scored 277 for 5 after 110 overs it looked more predictable But one of cricket s greatest charms is its unpredictability Jonny Bairstow and Kevin Pietersen had put on 52 together Both were playing cautiously until Clarke asked Mitchell Starc who had bowled ineffectually from the Statham End to switch to the Pavilion end Starc drew Bairstow forward and he edged a catch to first slip where Shane Watson took a good catch off his bootstraps Three runs later Starc beat Pietersen s defensive prod The umpire signalled out the batsman asked for a review which confirmed the decision Pietersen had played with the panache and technique for which his is so feared by Australian teams He had a thigh injury that might have kept him out of this game but insisted he was fit enough and appeared to have solved England s follow on problem with his 23 rd hundred for England At 280 for 7 it was back again Matt Prior and Stuart Broad played the day out with great caution six of the last seven overs were maidens There would certainly have been less uncertainty about the ending if Clarke had listened more closely to Shane Watson who does not like to be asked to bowl but did so formidably well when Pietersen was facing him Pietersen with vigorous assistance from Ian Bell had already battered Nathan Lyon out of the attack hitting sixes to long on and long off Bell added a third and the pair of them looked like avoiding the follow on all by themselves Pietersen was on 62 when he took a long pace down the pitch and missed the ball Watson appealed with customary conviction but Umpire Hill said not out Any umpire of his years would not give a man out lbw when he had taken such a long stride down the wicket Watson s instant reaction was to ask for a review He had so unsuccessfully at Trent Bridge with dire consequences Australia had no reviews left when they need them most Clarke looked mildly amused as they

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/8/4/ashes/ashes-mancunian-mystery-tour (2014-01-13)
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