Australian angle: Australia's batsmen short on skill and composure

Peter Roebuck of the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age writes from The Oval

Australia's weakness against swing bowling has been brutally exposed and the Ashes seem destined to change hands for the third time in three series.

Certainly the pitch lasted as long as a celebrity marriage and two dreadful umpiring decisions did not help, but that is not enough to excuse a display that in equal measure lacked skill and composure. Teams have been in worse predicaments than Ricky Ponting's outfit and prevailed. Cows have jumped over the moon. And with the series goes top place in the rankings.

Plain and simple, the visitors were blown apart by the late movement unleashed by a lanky speedster prepared to attack the sticks. Stuart Broad was superb. He took the ball straight from the umpire's pocket after the rain break and immediately swung it. From the final day at Edgbaston, he has been his team's best cricketer. Since then he has relied on movement as opposed to huff and puff. Here it was his unusual combination of height and late swing that created problems. But he was not unplayable. And the pitch was a fifth-day stinker as opposed to a minefield.

Shaky techniques undid the tourists. A capable Test team might have expected to score 240 in these conditions. Instead the Australians suffered their worst Ashes collapse for fifty years. Most of the batsmen assisted in their own downfalls.

Australia's frailty against swing was also exploited in 2005. It has its origins in a desire to dominate from the outset. Modern batsmen are more adventurous than previous generations and less adept at erecting barricades. Most choose their shot early and commit to it completely, leaving themselves vulnerable to late swerve. Accordingly teams tend to score quickly and can be dismissed cheaply.

Apart from the technical errors, the touring batsmen also appeared transfixed by an under-prepared track. Clearly they were unable to put it in the back of their minds and focus on the next delivery. As a result they came face to face with impending disaster.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)