Many have not been able to answer the question over how Australia can be rolled for 136 at Edgbaston and 60 at Trent Bridge while the POMs pile on the runs.
It all comes down to Australian batsmen adopting a foreign tactic in unfamiliar conditions, and its ramifications were severe.
Chris Rogers, Australia’s most prolific run scorer on English soil has played 135 matches, scored 11, 631 runs and averages 54.35 in County Cricket. Rogers has played enough English cricket to know how to bat back in his crease, wait on the ball and play its movement very late.
The rest of the Australian team, bar Adam Voges who has also played his fair share of County cricket, does not.
Australian batsmen decided to alter their natural style of play and attempt to adopt Rogers technique on typical green English wickets. They we’re caught out and the Ashes was over as soon as it started.
This new tactic enabled the English bowlers to keep their length full, and allowed the ball more movement in the air and seam off the pitch.
If the Australian batsmen had come out of their crease and met the ball further down the track, they would’ve played the English seamers on a half volley length. The English attack would’ve been blunted and Australia spared terrible embarrassment.
Furthermore, of the 114 balls bowled by England in Australia’s 60 run drubbing, only eight were on the stumps. This leaves Australia with two options on moving English wickets; play naturally and bat out of your crease, or leave the ball alone.
Nasser Hussein summarised the Australians footwork issues perfectly when Steve Smith was caught out facing Stuart Broad at Edgbaston.
“It’s amazing how conditions affect the game of cricket. Steven Smith, when it’s not moving around, looks a wonderful number three but when it’s nipping around look at the position he gets himself in. (He) turned into an ‘S’ and that ‘S’ is for Stuart,” said Nasser Hussein.
Ricky Ponting also picked up on the Australian batsmen allowing the English to dictate play and keep a pitched up length.
“It’s one thing we’ve been talking about through the series is, the defence games of batsmen from both teams. I mean we’ve watched nearly ten overs this morning and England’s bowlers have bowled very full,” He said at Trent Bridge.
With Australia playing on a flatter pitch at the Oval and showing the style of play that saw them roll England 5-0 last series, it leaves the us with the age-old saying; ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’