Saturday 23 November 2013 

Ashes Comment: Everything Going Australia's Way

David Warner
David Warner's first Ashes century, and comments afterwards, were two talking points from day three
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Unless bad weather wipes out a huge amount of the time remaining, Australia should wrap up victory in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane sometime in the next couple of days.

For the second day in a row, the home side completely dominated proceedings. Although England struck twice early on to give those going to bed in England hope of a fightback, by the time they awoke in the morning, the news was not good.

David Warner's first Ashes century and Michael Clarke's sixth gave Australia what is an almost unassailable lead. You could try to chase 561 hundreds of times and maybe come close once or twice. No team has scored more than 418 to win a Test.

Clarke has a fine record at the Gabba, and his fourth century in Brisbane, where he averages more than 100, came at the number four position where he surely now belongs. While his record at number five may be good, he used to come out to bat there behind Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn and latterly Michael Hussey.

With the greatest respect to Shane Watson, George Bailey and Usman Khawaja, Australia don't have that calibre of player any more so Clarke must bat in the position where he can take control of matches and build match-winning innings - just like he did today.

Warner and Clarke rightly took most of the headlines, but a few runs for Bailey will have helped him feel like he is settling into Test cricket and that man Mitchell Johnson scored a useful 39 too.

England's most successful bowler? Chris Tremlett, with three wickets, who is a man that not many would have selected to play in this match, preferring Boyd Rankin or Steven Finn.

It's been an interesting Test in that players who have gone into the match being criticised have turned in strong performances.

Stuart Broad has been England's outstanding player by some distance after copping a huge amount of stick in the press and in the stadium while Johnson has similarly answered his critics with runs and wickets.

Now the criticism is falling on Jonathan Trott. Warner said after play that he played a poor shot to get out and called him 'weak'.

Already, fans are calling for his head. But the options England have if they were to drop him aren't inspiring. Jonny Bairstow was dropped for poor form in the home Ashes series and neither Gary Ballance nor Ben Stokes have been particularly impressive in the tour so far.

England will hope that some of the other batsmen can take the heat off Trott by scoring big runs on day four. Even if they don't go on to win, they have to make Australia work as hard as they have ever had to do for each wicket.

This is where five-match series really deliver. This game may be all but gone, but England must ensure they go down fighting to ensure that they can take something, anything, to Adelaide.

© Cricket World 2013

 
 
Fixtures & Results

21st-25th November: 1st Test, Gabba, Brisbane
AUS 295 & 401-7d. beat ENG 136 & 179 by 381 runs
5th-9th December: 2nd Test, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
AUS 570-9d & 132-3d beat ENG 172 & 312 by 218 runs
13th-17th December: 3rd Test, WACA, Perth
AUS 385 & 369-8 d. beat ENG 251 & 353 by 150 runs
26th-30th December: 4th Test, MCG, Melbourne
AUS 204 & 231-2 beat ENG 255 & 179 by 8 wickets
3rd-7th January: 5th Test, SCG, Sydney
AUS 326 & 274 beat ENG 155 & 166 by 281 runs