Aussies wail over fragile batting in Ashes
Australian media on Thursday bemoaned another brittle top-order batting display in undermining the good work from the bowlers on a topsy-turvy opening day of the Ashes series against England.
Michael Clarke’s team bowled England out for a seemingly meagre 215 only to relinquish their grip to be 75 for four after the first day’s play at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge ground on Wednesday.
Australian hopes have not been high of Ashes success going into the series, but the country’s cricket writers said what could have been a positive start to the series was squandered by poor batting.
“Another fragile batting performance by Australia has destroyed the good work of its bowlers on the opening day of the first Test,” The Sydney Daily Telegraph’s Malcolm Conn said.
He added that skipper Clarke must move back to number five in the batting and stay there after his duck at number four.
“Clarke is simply too valuable to be exposed against the new ball as he was on day one. The only world-class player in Australia’s fragile line-up should be batting where he has dominated the world these past few years,” he said.
The Australian newspaper’s Gideon Haigh said Australia’s tail could yet get their team past England’s total, but it would have to “dare to be dull”.
“Australia actually have a tail that could take some budging here, and it will assuredly not be amputated as easily as England’s,” Haigh wrote.
“But they, and everyone else here, will need to take a deep breath, and dare to be dull.”
The Sydney Morning Herald’s Chloe Saltau praised fast bowler Peter Siddle’s inspirational five-wicket haul in England’s first innings but said by the end of an epic first day Australia’s batsmen were in a familiar position -- “on the ropes”.
“England’s scoreline was arguably as big a surprise as the debut of (Australia) teen spinner Ashton Agar; this strong English team had not been bowled out so cheaply at home since 2009, when it was rolled for 102 by Australia at Headingley,” Saltau said.
“Not so surprising given recent form was Australia’s batting response.”
Elsewhere, the Melbourne Age’s Greg Baum said the batting on both sides underlined how contemporary Test cricket was strongly influenced by the shorter forms of the game, such as Twenty20.
He said if 14 wickets fell in a day during an English county game it “would trigger a report to the ECB about the pitch”.
“This day, it was the batsmen who should have been on report,” he said.
“Conditioned by short forms [of the game], contemporary batsmen are not technically or temperamentally suited to toughing it out on days like this.
“The pitch was challenging, but not the ogre they made it look,” he added.
“It is not a new theory, but it every year becomes more apparent. It makes for more entertaining cricket than graft and grind, and that is what attracts the premium now, and so few complain any more about the fecklessness.”