The Reuters global sports blog
Doctor’s orders mean changes for Australia but belief is key
Did somebody call for a doctor? A psychiatrist more like! A serious amount of surgery is needed on the Australian cricket team to help them turn around their fortunes in the third Ashes test starting on Thursday.
Australia could make five changes for the Perth test as they shuffle their pack in an attempt to find the magic combination to take 20 English wickets and take advantage of the “Freemantle Doctor” (the term given to the breeze that blows across the WACA ground which can be a useful asset to any bowling attack).
Australia have fallen into the same trap that felled England teams in the past. Lessons haven’t been learnt. Chopping and changing personnel does not guarantee results, as was proved by Australia’s performance in the second test defeat in Adelaide, which was even worse than the final 3 days in Brisbane in the drawn first match.
Belief is the key. England have it. Australia don’t. Since the retirement of their “greats”, Australia no longer face a cowering England side who believe they’re inferior in every department, they’re now confronted with a team that think they know, rightly or wrongly, that they are better than Australia.
For Australia to wrestle back the initiative in this test series, the players need to convince themselves that they can match England pound-for-pound, which judging by the last eight days of test cricket doesn’t look the case but is in fact closer to the truth.
These sides are closely matched. But while England are a team on the rise, Australia are re-grouping and heading in the opposite direction searching in vain for a new path to glory.
Has Ricky Ponting got what it takes to turn his side’s fortunes around?
For a blog on Australia’s dwindling crowd support, click on http://blogs.reuters.com/sport/2010/12/15/where-have-all-the-australian-ashes-fans-gone/
PHOTO: Australia’s Ricky Ponting listens to a question at a news conference after the final day of the second Ashes cricket test against England in Adelaide December 7, 2010. England won the second Ashes test by an innings and 71 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series after dismissing Australia’s last six batsmen cheaply in the first session on Tuesday. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas