Ashes 2013-14: Three talking points as Clarke & Warner notch centuries
Ashes 2013-14: Three talking points as David Warner and Michael Clarke hand Australia a 537-run lead on day three
Australia put the foot down as England attack suffers
Compared to England’s go slow approach, Australia were able to hammer tourists around the Gabba, showing just how good a pitch it is. David Warner has four hundreds in the Australian domestic season and Michael Clarke came into this match averaging over 100 at Brisbane. Both dominated the bowling and allowed the hosts to declare on day three, giving them over two days to bowl at England with bad weather expected. England’s premier bowlers suffered, too. Combined figures in the match for James Anderson and Graeme Swann read: 97.1 overs, 355 runs, four wickets. This shouldn’t be a huge worry as neither did well last time at Brisbane but between them took 13-304 at Adelaide in a big England win. However, there are signs that Australia are starting to get on top of both bowlers. Anderson could not find top form after his heroics at Trent Bridge in the first Test of last summer, and Swann averages 48 in Australia. So far Stuart Broad has risen to the task, but with Chris Tremlett down on pace (although enjoying success against Steve Smith), England will be desperate for a resurgence by their premier bowlers in the second Test.
Trott in crisis
It almost seems incredible to think Jonathan Trott’s place might be under threat, but he looks a walking wicket at the moment, especially when Mitchell Johnson comes on to bowl. He said before the series started that he had ironed out his technical flaws, but watching him struggle again, it doesn’t appear so. Having nearly been caught on the hook, he then flicked Johnson to Nathan Lyon at Deep Square Leg for nine. On the positive side for him, there is no ready-made replacement and he has another week to try and overcome what he’s had three months to prepare for. He only has to look at Clarke, who has a perceived weakness against the short-ball but scored a century here, to see how quickly form can turn around. And we should not forget just how good a player Trott has been. Still, there is only so long you can keep getting exposed before the selectors have to start thinking what four months ago would have been the unthinkable.
The Impossible Job
It says a lot for England’s current batting state that they lost more second-innings wickets here in 7.1 overs than they did three years ago in 152. The one constant is Alastair Cook, who will need to bat for a day and a half and hope the weather helps out. How England could do with Paul Collingwood aka Brigadier Block, who relished these occasions with an even-shortened back-lift and a great capacity to leave the ball. He helped save matches at The Oval, Cardiff, Centurion and Cape Town, scoring 150 runs in 583 balls over 851 minutes (14 hours and 11 minutes). The spirit of Collingwood needs to be revived.