For a summer that promised so much, it is becoming crystal clear that this Ashes series will likely deliver a one sided contest. The first test was hailed as a riveting contest but in fact it was a long winded draw that only witnessed 2 wickets fall on the final two days. Hardly what Test cricket needs in Australia. Today was a continuation of the first test.
Before the English team arrived in Australia, much talk was narrowed in on how balanced the two rivals were and only the critical and defining moments will divide these two middle of the road teams. A test match and two days of play later, the series is promising to be a tedious and one sided contest. The English batsman are confident and are in super touch. If Cook continues his rich vein of form he may maintain his heavenly average above the 100 mark. Furthermore, their bowling attack is settled and organised, a feature to a touring English side that hasn’t been seen for decades. The English are even outplaying the Aussies in the field. Haddin’s and Hussey’s forgettable drop catches indicate that Australia can hardly boast their once superiority in the field. The most pessimistic Australian supporter can be forgiven to think that the Aussies can’t bat, can’t bowl and certainly cannot field.
The English are the obvious dominant team but they are no world beaters. Cook is in fine touch but his runs in the last few innings may inflate observers’ opinions of him. He is no more competent and assured than a Simon Katich. Jonathan Trott is a more appealing batsman to watch but he has his deficiencies as well. The Australian bowling attack have failed to test Trott’s game outside the off-stump. He looked the most vulnerable on the full out-swinging delivery. Instead, the Australians felt obliged to attack his leg stump.
The Australian bowlers lack penetration and Ponting lacks imagination. The blame for Australia’s depressive state should not be shouldered by Ponting alone. His middle order batsman aren’t supporting him and therefore creating overwhelming pressure on him to perform. Furthermore, his bowlers lack discipline and when they occasionally get it right, the fielders let them down. Peter Siddle, Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris can’t be questioned for effort. In searing 40 degree heat, the three pace bowlers toiled honestly without support in the field. Whether the pitch is a road or the Australians were “unlucky”, the simple fact remains: Australia is no longer the pace-setters in world cricket. They are ranked number five in the world. And are more importantly, performing like a 5th ranked side.