Michael Clarke would be a very lonely man as all leaders of any loosing campaign could be. He has his plate full with things he got to do to salvage something out of the Ashes 2013 venture. There are simply too many reasons to restrict the causes that has made Australia look very ordinary over last few seasons. Cook on the other hand and go on to the field do whatever he likes and result seem to fall in his lap, straight away very easily.
England are playing ruthless cricket for the moment. I thought a series will be a well fought one but what I see leaves me a bit bemused. Australia had set such benchmarks, leaving teams only to compete second, fitness of players, awesome batting line up where everyone had capability and record of turning the match on its head, scoring runs, taking catches, triggering collapses. The bowling was envy of all, a wizard of leg spin, three excellent front line bowlers, marginal decisions or the rub of the green was often with the baggy green corner.
All this has been repeated ad-nauseum. It is history. If Australian cricket continues in its current state,they will be getting framed in an image. An image of being Once a great team. Its something how West Indies were in last fifteen years, they just fell from the roof tops.
Poms enjoying the Ashes, batsman are queuing up to score and bowlers even part timers are queuing up to bowl and claim prized scalps. They have taken a 2-0 lead and look good to hold on to the Ashes. Australia have come back from a deficit of two games to win the ashes just once but for that too happen someone has to play a Bradmansque series or perhaps Bradman would have more clues.
England can claim lot of comfort from the fact the big three of Cook, Peitersen and Trott haven't really fired with the bat. But I guess for the moment its Bell, and the lower order thats firing on both sides. A striking feature that the best bats haven't dented this Ashes so far. Bell in the first test, Root in the second the fact that both these innings came while England were in a spot of bother would have made the England camp a very happy one.
Anderson and Swann meanwhile have made a run away start. Broad is a handful on English conditions. Anderson claimed a bag full of wickets at Trent bridge, Swann took 9 in the match to skittle Aus out for 128. He scored some good runs with Broad at the end when Aus tried cleaning up the tail. The hung on and scored at a brisk rate to balloon English total to 360 instead of a subtle 325.
Fans loving it when Australia keeps loosing it.
The cricket fans who very often hard done by Aussies coming from behind and winning impossible matches or stringing consistency which was beyond imagination. I mean we grew up knowing Australia would win, they were hard to even compete. But no such complains any more. Cricket fans in places other than Australia are having such a jolly good time. It such a relief that they got battered by England in England, than England beat them in Australia than Saffers did it twice while visiting Australia. Yes India got blanked out Four Nil. Dhoni would have enjoyed a chuckle when Australia toured India and India turned the tables. Spinners doing the damage. Even Bhuvnesh Kumar new to test matches enjoyed bowling to Aussie batsman on placid Indian pitches.
Its the snobbery and the sledging or the mental disintegration as suggested by Steve Waugh, now I am sure they wont have much to say about their current form and performance. There use to be a lot of lip and lot of swagger.
Aussies use to be the big bullies. When they were winning series after series the tongues kept wagging and the juggernaut kept rolling. England didn't win a sniff for better part of twenty years till 2005. When Flintoff lead the bull charge. India did win at home against the Aussies at home. But now it seems all quiet on the field front. Pattinson did it last series against Graeme Smith with Aus hosted Safs. It was all in a bad taste, you play and play fair and you win gracefully Aus at times didn't do it right, there have been so many infamous incidents, often including Indian players. I guess when the Aussies started getting paid same coin and with same intensity, they didn't like their own medicine very much. There were numerous occasion in which players from all over get very partisan treatment from the Aussie fans and media and often that fueled the lip players would get on the pitch even more. Aussies at home were unbeatable. I would wonder why, know I am beginning to wonder what it would have been to form unrelenting gaze under which key players from opposition were kept under the grind the time they stepped on Aussie shores.
All that now seems to thing of the past. Yes as a marquee contest of the Cricketing world Ashes perhaps rules the roost, Indian and Pa fans may contest that, but its crickets oldest rivalry a fact which cannot be contested. Aussies seems to have fallen rather quickly from their all conquering ways. Its now time for us fans to pile on the dismay for the Aussies as Cricket Australia sees humbler days. Its not only that Australia have fallen, other teams have equally done well. Saffers have done well away from home, England have done well too, Pakistan is only playing away from home. Dhoni would look to build on, starting in limited overs format abroad, advantage at home and perhaps if his bowlers come of age than a run away from home in tests.
Tough road ahead.
The rot in performances, I mean the enormity and the rapidity with Aussies have fallen perhaps reflect the board,an odd blip in a series may be understandable but capitulation of this magnitude, tell us more about how cricket Aus have abandoned the grass roots, premier Big Bash, a T20 is played in prime cricketing season, in front of sparse crowds. In last handful of seasons no Aussie batsman has stamped his authority Aussie batting looks fragile, bowling looks decent but its hard to finish the marathon with a limp.
Aussies should have corrected their course before the end of previous Ashes, they didn't They were too large to fail, I don't know how players of over 35 years will take the Aussie cricket forward. Aus will be better fared if they threw the newbies in the bout and plan a road to recovery. For the time being, team selection, batting order, intensity, performances, camaraderie within in the team are few minor issues Cricket Australia and people who are well wishers of Australian cricket team would like to consider.
England lead Australia by 2-0, three more tests to go.