Aussies reduced to Ashes by aggressive England

The history of the Great Australian Choke is getting bigger by the day. The fourth Ashes defeat in five series and a dismal seventh defeat in eight Tests leave Aussie cricket reputation in absolute tatters. How the mighty have fallen.

They have not been in this situation since Allan Border took over to reconstruct the side in the mid-80s. There were defeats yes, but never such humiliation on the trot like this. This will tell on their one performing international batsman, Michael Clarke.
The failure syndrome may have got to Clarke already if the story is true that he fell to a neat dummy set up by the foxy pro Andy Flower who signaled field changes that appeared to point to a short ball coming up next. That is when Stuart Broad bowled the peach of a ball that shaped away a shade after a hint of inward movement. The good work Clarke had done in resurrecting the challenge in the third Test with a brilliant 187 was undone in the crucial chase in Durham.
It is never an easy task to regroup when things start going downhill. Team India experienced this when it was on top of the Test heap two years ago. Not until the Aussies came to play on the strategic turners did India truly turn the corner. The signs of a beaten team were evident in India, perhaps from the moment the abrasive Arthur took the mickey out of Shane Watson and Co. for not doing their homework. That must rate as the worst man management decision in many years of sport.
To move Watson down the order in Chester-le-street was thought of as a stroke of genius. With David Warner switching to a more familiar role, Australia were extremely competitive. Accustomed to plumping his right foot down the pitch and acting aggressively like a T20 opener in the Test arena, Watson had become a bunny to the fast bowlers who often beat him as he brought his bat across his front pad. By giving him a chance to play a more humble role in the middle order, Clarke had established greater order in the batting.
The inexplicable collapse when within sight of victory rates as poorly as the record of the South Africans in the limited-overs arena. The old image of the gung-ho Aussie who could stare down the opposition bowlers and win the psychological war almost every time has been hit for six. The Aussie batsmen are the ones ready to go down without a fight now, so much that the “house of cards” and other terms that the media used to reserve for those losing to Australia are being used to describe the team from Down Under.
The demise of the Aussie conquerors has helped the image of the game in a quirky way. The baggy green guys are clearly not as chirpy on the field. Their chipper comments, which Steve Waugh famously justified as sporting psychology to seek “mental degradation of opponents”, are either not hard anymore or they are being said in a whisper these days. Those nasty run-ins that used to feature matches in which the “Ugly Aussie” was a competitor were hardly seen in the current Ashes.
The last two Tests were not without their moments. In fact, the best of Test cricket was seen in them, particularly in Durham where fortunes swayed like the proverbial pendulum until Broad settled the issue with a Bob Willis kind of hostile spell that scythed through the opposition.
Had the rain relented and Australia won the third Test this would have been much more of a series, ironic considering it was believed Australia would be the one to escape with a draw offered by notorious English weather. Now, Australia are to be consigned to fifth on the table if they won’t win at The Oval. That is not necessarily good for Test cricket. Neither was their total dominance in the Nineties and early Noughties.

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