AT LEAST one Australia could have been happy after the catastrophic defeat in the fifth and final Ashes Test – but even that didn’t happen.
Ricky Ponting, forced to stand down due to an injury, would have been happy that the team had not done better under Michael Clarke than under him – but then any happiness would have been washed away when the chairman of selectors, Andrew Hilditch, refused to say whether Ponting would be captain again when Australia resumes Test cricket in August.
Poor Ponting will have to keep biting his nails and spitting on his hands and rubbing them together for the next seven or eight months.
At the end of a series in which Australia was humiliated, becoming only the second team to lose three Tests by an innings at home, Hilditch said he had done a good job. You’d have to wonder what would have happened had he done a bad job.
Maybe if Australia had lost all five Tests, Hilditch would have been a mite more modest and said that he had done an average job. One never knows with such an unassuming gentleman.
The coach, Tim Nielsen, backed players like Phillip Hughes (who lacks even the semblance of technique and insists ‘but that’s how I play”). Steven Smith (who spent the last morning of the series making cow-shots against England) and Michael Beer Australia’s future looks bright, especially given that Nielsen has had his contract renewed until 2013.
Nielsen still said he had done all he could, but did not specify whether it was all he could to destroy the team or to make them able to win Test matches.
The selectors, who have been clearly unmasked as a bunch of jokers, also said they had done a good job. Australia needs a couple more series like this and it could well end up in a battle for ninth place in the ICC rankings with Bangladesh.
Three innings victories in a Test series down the years:
1928 – England 3 home innings wins in a row v West Indies
1931 – Australia 3 home innings wins in a row v West Indies
1931 – Australia 3 home innings wins in 5 tests v South Africa
1936 – Australia 3 away innings wins in 5 tests v South Africa
1947-8 – Australia 3 home innings wins in 4 tests v India
1957 – England 3 home innings wins in a row v West Indies
1958 – England 3 home innings wins in 5 tests v New Zealand
1959 – England 3 home innings wins in 5 tests v India
1994 – India 3 home innings wins in a row v Sri Lanka
2007 – Sri Lanka 3 home innings wins in a row v Bangladesh
2010-11 – England 3 away innings wins in 5 tests v Australia