Posted by: nestaquin | August 23, 2009

Ashes 2009: It’s All Over!

Australia, in a match where The Ashes and their tenuous hold on the ICC Mace was at stake, have failed so miserably that there must be changes to the squad both on and off the field when this long tour of the UK finishes after the upcoming ODI series.

Obviously, the match is still to conclude but only the most wildly optimistic of Australian supporters could conceive the BaggyGreens chasing down the mammoth total set by Andrew Strauss yesterday afternoon.

On the back of Stuart Broad’s exceptional spell on the second day and debutant Jonathon Trott’s mature batting with the tail on the third England have turned around this most inconsistent of series and will, barring a cricketing miracle or tropical cyclone, regain The Ashes today or tomorrow. Well done too. They deserve the urn after securing first innings leads in three of the five Tests.

The first change Australia have to make is to send Mike Hussey into superannuated IPL semi-retirement. He hasn’t played an innings of match winning or saving significance for several series now and hopefully, for Australian cricket’s sake, the selectors will bite the bullet and do what is required. His next innings in Test cricket will probably be his last unless he scores massively and Australia win or save the match. I’m not confident of either result.

Tim Nielsen’s position should also be under severe pressure. Apart from the last series in South Africa he has failed in every series and tournament of significance and it is time for Cricket Australia to find another role for him and allow one of the many Australians with international coaching experience a chance to lead and instruct the team.

Tom Moody would be a popular choice and it wouldn’t hurt to create semi-permanent positions for Steve Waugh, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne as the inexperienced Australian Test team needs all the assistance it can muster.

A shake-up of the selection panel would also be welcome although the strange non-selection of Nathan Hauritz can hardly be blamed for Australia’s paltry first innings total in this final Test.

Ponting’s position will also come under scrutiny although I think to place blame on him would be grossly unfair not least to England. He has captained reasonably well and this loss will burn more fiercely than any other during his long career. That may be bad news for our Indian readers who cherish Sachin Tendulkar’s many Test batting records.

It is now quite feasible, if form and body permit, that Ponting could continue until the next away Ashes series. He is an ambitious, focussed and proud individual and I doubt that he’ll choose to retire without one more attempt at captaining a winning touring Ashes team.

Hopefully, for cricket’s sake England will build on this win and contain the hubris that cost them any chance of future success after 2005. They have an even tougher series approaching against South Africa and when they arrive in Australia next they’ll need to be much better prepared than they were in 2006/07.

Although disappointed and somewhat shellshocked Australian cricket will learn from this defeat and ruthlessly prepare to regain the Urn. You can bet your last dollar on it!

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Responses

  1. I’m off soon to The Oval expecting to see Australia bat their way to 400 today. The question is how many men will be left standing to face the challenge of getting 146 more. I really don’t think this is over.

    I predicted a tight series between two well matched teams and so it has turned out even if Aus collapse today. It has been curiously devoid of really inspirational play and turned on individuals and sessions rather than slow build-ups to gain advantages. (The only Test I missed was the Aus win, so perhaps that’s unfair).

    For Aus, Siddle, Hilfy, Hauritz, North and Watson have all stepped forward; Katich, Punter, Clarke and Haddin have trodden water; and Hughes, Hussey, MJ and Clark have slid back.

    Of course, it may all change today!

  2. I was thinking the same about Tim Nielsen today. Border and Australia benefited immensely from having the wise counsel of an experience Bobby Simpson. Some test cricketer in their 50s or 60s with the street smarts Ponting sometimes lacks would be my choice. Exactly who I don’t know. But definitely not Greg Chappell.

  3. I feel a bit for Ponting. Regardless of what anyone might criticise in his captaincy, he’s always kept his focus on further success and righting past failures. I can’t help but note the way he will seen by history (and by the standard he set for himself) as a two time loser, whereas Flintoff, despite his gutless, drunken 5-0 capitulation, will be lionised as an Ashes super-hero.

    Pity we had no replacement for HUssey, and pity the bowlers didn’t know how to bowl to the tail.

    Well done England, but I can’t help but wonder why they don’t put in this kind of effort when there are no MBEs to be had and no advertising icons to create. Are you guys playing a sport, or creating a marketing image? (And congrats to Monty for being the decisive factor.)

    Thanks to everyone here for comments & analysis.

  4. Couple of points:
    Swann is only in his 12th test. He is a talent but has shown this series his bowling can be got at more easily than his batting.
    Chairman of selectors Hilditch should be second out the door behind Nielsen
    390 to go….

  5. With Clarke ready to take the reins and infuse some fresh thinking, I wonder why Australia should persist with Ponting as the captain, if Aus fail to win/draw this test.

    Making Punter play as a batsman will probably prolong his career and help him claim all those batting records that we Indians cherish :)

    • Not the Australian way to play on.

  6. if these two bat out the second session, the pressure will start to swing back to England.
    But I refuse to start believing yet.

  7. Horrible.

  8. Horrible…

  9. finally half way. 271 to go…

  10. Haddin seems to be playing in on the floor now. hope it lasts.
    A day which has been good to watch but alas a bit of a reflection of the series as a whole, poor running, dropped catches a careless stumping,
    probably go down as the almost series.

    230 to go

  11. Well played England, and thanks to everyone on here. It’s been most enjoyable, despite the result.

  12. Ah…bollocks.
    I’m very surprised by this result, but I wouldn’t actually be looking to swing the axe too much. Hussey is on thin ice, and I’m not sure about Nielsen, but otherwise their biggest sin is inexperience.
    I guess now they have two home series against WI and Pak to consolidate and hone. Hope they make good use of that time.
    Terrible series, average cricket from both sides, little inspiring, Aus Captain booed continuously (until the Oval apparently), very poor umpiring, just boring overall really. I guess post 2005 was always going to be an anticlimax.
    Very sad for Ponting he will carry this “second captain to lose twice” tag. Nonsense, just a factoid for the nerds. He’s a reasonable captain, a good leader and great batsman. His Ashes performance is determined by the broader context, not by his personal abilities. Would have been nice if he had scored more runs, but it wasn’t his fault MJ went walkabout. I hope he plays on as captain, or if not, just as a specialist batsman and churns them out for another 5 years. Who knows what the internal team dynamics are, but if Clarke is ready and Ponting is happy to be the Elder Batsman, could be a good time to change. If Ponting wants to.
    I guess the English will be over the moon about how great a spinner Swann is, what a champion Broad is etc. Good luck to them, their time in the sun I guess. Will they all get medals again? Will they be able to build on it this time?
    Although I thought we would cope with the English challenge, at least the emergence of Hilf, Siddle, Hauritz, and to some extent North, has been good to see. The rebuilding continues. Two steps forward, one step back.

    Kumar, Ponting may claim those records, but the respect from Australians for Indian batsmen will never disappear.

    • Punter did get two ovations today – I was part of them.

      I forecast 2-2 and, if Punter had thrown the ball to Hilfy for even one of the last 18 overs in Cardiff, that’s what it would have been. England needed a lot of luck and got it, but trying to win or even draw a series with bowling largely inexperienced in England was too much of a self-inflicted wound I feel.

      Not great cricket, but good drama.

  13. Oops, forgot Watson, good to see him do quite well as opener too.

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  15. Well played ENG, deserved the urn. As Ponting has noted today, they won the crucial moments and showed character to come back on several occasions. No need for any great shake up but l thought MJ and Huss (oval notwithstanding) were very costly. As much as people will be excited by it l don;t think Punters Captaincy was a major facor in the series, (it was in 05), inasmuch as Strauss also exerted minor influence. Always reads differently after the event though…. Anyway l’ll save any analysis for now, too disappointed by our series. Just give ENG a clap, shake hands with Toots and quietly leave the room (!).

    • Thanks Japal – handshake returned!

  16. well played, England.

    I had the excrutiating experience of having to endure this with only a small and rather tinny transistor , due to building fire breaks in the bush, both experiences of which I hope to never go through again in my entire life.

    But like McGrath, I have unbridled enthusiasm, I’ll be looking forward to seeing Englands Test Ashes crew at the Gabba in 2011. 5-0!!

    Makes for great cricket, ey?

    • Thanks Pepp. I hope the breaks do their vital job – I know it’s dangerous out there.

  17. That runout of Ponting really hurt. It was a dagger to my heart. And then Clarke’s. Tragedy. Well played England. If Ponting really does want to captain through 2013 I can see a Howard/Costello battle as Clarke has to cool his heels for four more years.

  18. I put it down to the lack of South Australians in the side.

    I knew we were in trouble as soon as Shaun Tait was snubbed for a central contract. I understand the error has been rectified but in my view the damage was done. Hell if we’re going to pick a firebrand fast bowler who can produce the odd pearler amongst a landfill of trash can we at least have one without the New Idea thing going on in the background.

    Callum Ferguson is another who should have had a spot in the touring party. He would have made runs and showed application when it counted (unlike others – see middle order).

    Graham Manou was a breath of fresh air behind the stumps when fortune gave him his chance. The numerous byes he would have saved may have made a difference but unfortunately old concrete hands was rushed back in for his slugging.

    So there you go, blame it on the coach, when clearly its the selectors and some protected species in the XI who are the real culprits.

    • l put it down to the lack of South Africans in our side (! just joking was too obvious to let go!). l would like to see Ferguson come in to the side for sure. l guess at Husseys expense regardless of this last innings. Play at 5? Huss did play well, but he is 34 and has looked ‘shot’ in this series. Bump Clarke to 4 and then its North or Watson at 6? North for mine to start with (l expect Hughes to be back at the top of the order) as Watson should be congratulated for his efforts but….not sure about the straighter ones…Anyway who knows but good to get Ferguson in there for a home summer, l like the look of the kid long term.

      • Maybe we can trade S Clark and M Hussey for Steyn and Duminy?

  19. Oh and well done to England btw. Smashed us when it counted at the Oval.

    • Thanks Lev – glad Punter and Clarke didn’t score as many as Hussey though!

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  21. Cant wait for the next ashes!!


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