Australians falter on the eve of the Ashes

The Indian cricket team defeated a disspirited and fragile looking Australian outfit.

Ricky Ponting’s men failed to fire a shot on the last day of the second Test. Ponting continued to show little confidence in Nathan Hauritz’s offspin floaters. Mitchell Johnson continued to be inconsistent and at the best of times dreadfully wayward. While the reliable Ben Hilfenhouse continued to plug along patiently in testing Indian conditions.

In the build up to the Ashes, the Australians’ look disorganised on the field and off it.

The Australian selectors continue to select a battling Marcus North instead of a promising youngster. He has kept his spot despite a meager return of form. The lack of forsight by the selectors is stunning. The New Zealand tour at the start of the year should have been seen as an opportunity for a youngster to be groomed and ready to tackle the old foe. Instead, Ponting must contend with North’s extreme inconsistencies. North crafted a fine century in the first innings but then failed in the second. North is a liablity rather than a weapon.

The transition of the Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist era to today’s Australian team has been with no surprise difficult. But the length of time has been a surprise. The Australian selectors are reluctant to back youth and instead they continue to back the aging servants in Mike Hussey and North.

Hussey’s situation is a perculiar one. He has been in battling form for nearly 3 years now. His application at the crease and in the field is admirable and first rate. Yet, even his centuries and fifties he has scored in the last couple of years have been from sheer determination rather than form or class. Hussey can thank the Pakistan team for firming his position in the national team. His match winning century at the Sydney Test has been publicised as a “Hussey-esk” performance. Coming to Australia’s rescue in their hour of need. The reality is quiet the opposite. He was dropped five times in that test and all of them were straight forward club level catches.

The positives for the Australians is Shane Watson’s and Simon Katich’s reliable and conistent form at the top of the order. While, Ponting is beginning to find some lovely touch at number three. Ponting’s three 70’s in the Indian series was courageous and inspiring but was second to the “Little Master”.

Sadly, that has been Australia’s nagging problem since the dominant Warne era. They continue to come second to their rivals despite Ponting’s gritty leadership from the top.

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