Cricket Web - Ashes HQ: It doesn`t take an Einstein to figure it out......
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I can only point to South Africa's position last summer after three days of play. They'd just been made to follow on 400 runs short of England's first innings total. Their much-hyped attack had bowled horrendously and been plundered for runs for two straight days, and a hopeless batting collapse had seen them rolled for 200- which could have been much worse but for Ashwell Prince. Faced with batting out 7 sessions to win the match, England were massive favourites for the match and series.
South Africa eventually won the series at a canter. England won't comfortably beat Australia here, but it does show that you can't lose a five-match series in three and a half days. Every bit of pessimism, hopelessness and abuse of their team that England fans come up with this evening has been matched already by South African fans on the third evening at Lord's.
South Africa were clearly the superior side on natural talent at the start of that series. England had vastly overperformed in order to get into the position they did - batted really well on a flat deck then bowled actually quite brilliantly to knock the SAfricans over (along with one piece of luck when the only ball all match that misbehaved knocked-over SA's best batsman, Smith).
Here, Australia have underperformed and England have still come-out miles short. Australia are likely to get better; England might get better or might stay as bad (or even, heaven forbid, get worse). The only way things are going to be turned around is if England get better and Australia fail to, which is really rather unlikely, though, obviously, not impossible.
Alas perhaps ins some convoluted way picking Hauritz the Aussies caused England to forget just how much prep work their own attack needed, to dismiss a batting line up of Australia's calibre.
having sid that, if KP, Collingwood, Strauss and Co, actually knuckle down as well as Katich and co demonstrated they should, England actually pick 4/5 bowlers who can be talked of as finished articles and they perform this series could still at the very least be more competitive.
I'll take exception to the suggestion that Australia have underperformed, because i find it hard to conceive of a better all-round batting performance.
What I'm saying is that a poor start to the series for the underdog is generally disastrous; one for the favourite is not neccessarily a problem.
Me too, but the bowling of Johnson and Siddle was way below what can be expected of them for the rest of the series - or at worst, a good deal of the rest of it. Good batting is only half of the job, and even if Australia don't bat this well again for a while (quite likely), they might well still put in a better team performance.I'll take exception to the suggestion that Australia have underperformed, because i find it hard to conceive of a better all-round batting performance.
Trouble with England picking four-five finished-article bowlers is you can't pick something which is not available. The fact that Broad and MSP are in contention at all shows how thin England's resources are. The best hope is a wholly unknown quantity in Onions. There is also some hope for someone who has in the last year of lack of fitness become something of an unknown quantity in Sidebottom.having sid that, if KP, Collingwood, Strauss and Co, actually knuckle down as well as Katich and co demonstrated they should, England actually pick 4/5 bowlers who can be talked of as finished articles and they perform this series could still at the very least be more competitive.
As for knuckling-down and saving this game, it's possible, but while replying to 450 is far from a tea-party, batting for a day with eight wickets left and 250 behind is considerably more difficult again.
Phillip Hughes 1988-2014
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Equally England escaped at the last-ditch; South Africa played their way out of trouble. Nonetheless, England's escape was completely unexpected and in that way there was certainly similarity to the SA Lord's Test last summer.
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