Australian bowling looks ordinary

Published : Dec 16, 2010 00:00 IST

The usual needling tactics are missing from the Aussies which in itself is an indication of Australia not feeling too good about their chances in the Ashes.

The Ashes could not have come at a better time for England as the Aussies have been struggling in the Tests of late. Their defeat against India underlined the fact that the Australians were hard up for match-winning bowlers. They were counting on Mitchell Johnson a lot but his length was a trifle short to create the impact that Ponting was looking for in India and Johnson's poor form continued to haunt him and Ponting right till the first Test at Gabba.

The general consensus was that the Englishmen had a better chance this time even though they have flattered to deceive on earlier occasions in Australia. The consensus was due to the current lukewarm form of the Australians and the balance the England team have in their ranks. The stage was set for a high voltage drama and it was one series that was going to gain the attention of many cricket lovers across the world.

Peter Siddle riddled the Englishmen on the first day of the Test series with a superlative performance at the Gabba and his effort provided the boost that the Aussies desperately needed.

The Englishmen were made to work hard as the Aussies gained a healthy lead, and by the end of day three the result looked like heading only one way. But the England top order came out with purpose and all the three top order batsmen got their hundreds, thereby sending a strong message to Australia.

Alastair Cook and Trott batted with grit and piled on a record partnership to frustrate and also expose the Aussie attack. The Australians were kept on the field for close to two days and their bowlers ran out of ideas. Their inability to break the Cook-Trott partnership was an indication that the Aussies skipper Ponting had his share of woes.

With the Englishmen coming off with a moral victory at the Gabba, the Australians had to re-assess their bowling options if they nurtured ambitions of picking up twenty England wickets.

The Johnson factor was deliberated widely but in the end, the Aussie selectors were forced to leave out the left arm seamer. Whether his exclusion was going to alleviate the Aussies' issues was anybody's guess but the Australian batting line up came a cropper on the opening day of the Adelaide Test. With the bowling department out of sorts, lack of runs on the board was always going to be a problem.

The England batting once again piled on the misery and Alastair ensured that the Aussie goose was “Cooked” good and proper. But the talking point of the Adelaide Test will be the double century of Kevin Pieterson, who has backed up his pre-series words with deeds. The showman that he is, he made the best use of the batsmen friendly surface and notched up a double century to announce his return to form.

The Aussies are getting a dose of their medicine from England and it remains to be seen if Ponting can get things back on track. But going by the performance of the Aussies in the first two Tests, one gets the impression that their best days are behind them and the Nation that dominated international cricket for such a long time is likely to struggle in the next few years.

The main performers are getting longer in the tooth and the new crop of bowlers is not dangerous enough to give nightmares to batsmen. Besides, Ricky Ponting looks to be struggling personally and with the team going through a tough time, one wonders if Ponting has it in him to sustain the morale of the team and get the best out of the relatively new comers. Of course, Ponting has another three Tests against England to make amends, but he must be wondering from where his next big opportunity is coming from.

In as much as the Aussie supporters hail a successful captain, they are quick to denounce a losing captain, especially if the loss is against their arch-rival England.

The criticism has been coming thick and fast right after the loss against India and the current form of the Englishmen is looking ominous for Australia.

After the Adelaide Test, Ponting will have to sit and think hard to try and stem the domination of the Englishmen and then devise ways and means to turn the tables on them.

The Aussie skipper has a real tough task ahead of him and it will be interesting to see if the Australians can dig deep and muster enough fighting spirit to get back to their winning ways. The odds are very much in favour of England and with KP getting back to form, he will provide the extra time for the bowlers as he gets runs quickly even in Test cricket.

The usual needling tactics are missing from the Aussies which in itself is an indication of Australia not feeling too good about their chances in the Ashes.

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