I was considering just making a post about this in the AUS/SA thread or even the road to the 2013 Ashes thread, but I feel this problem is significant and grave enough to deserve a thread of its own. You will have to forgive me for a lack of statistics; I'm not great with statsguru. But I think you all know what I am talking about.
Our top order sucks, or at best is terribly inconsistent. Top order collapses are a part of cricket no doubt, but when being 3/50 or so happens in EVERY innings we have a serious problem on our hands, especially if we want to win back the Ashes. Despite our disgraceful performances by the top 3 (intermingled with the occasional century by one of them), Clarke and Hussey are dominating at 5/6, and our tail is one of the strongest in world cricket.
Lets go through the batsmen in question;
David Warner: Has a lot of talent, bowls handy offspin and is a very good fielder. Occasionally belts lightning-fast hundreds, but lacks a good defensive technique and often gets out doing stupid things.
Ed Cowan: Made the team after piling on runs for Tasmania and Aus A. Scored a classy ton on a plat pitch in Brisbane. Apart from 3 50s hasn't done much else.
Shane Watson: World-class alrounder, vice captain, integral part of the team. Has a knack of consistently piling on 50 then getting out.
Ricky Ponting: Amazing against India, reasonably inconsistent since. Retired now, needs to be replaced for Sri Lanka series.
Michael Clarke: God-like form. Has scored bazillions of runs.
Michael Hussey: Second-best batsman behind Clarke over the past year. Likely (but no certainty) to retire after our next home summer.
Possible replacements (in very rough pecking order)
What the **** do we do?