SYDNEY: Former captain Allan Border yesterday took aim at Australia’s hapless batting during the Ashes series, saying the top order should be embarrassed while telling Shane Watson to sort himself out.
Border, known as ‘Captain Grumpy’ during his playing days, said the team needed to stand up and be counted if they are to turn around the five Test series, which England are leading 2-0.
Australia lost the second Test at Lord’s on Sunday by a massive 347 runs, putting them on a six-Test losing streak, their worst run in 30 years.
“Our major concern right now is the performance of the top six,” said Border, who played 156 Test matches for Australia, captaining the side 93 times as it rebuilt in the mid-1980s, laying the foundations for a long period of dominance.
“Watching, I could honestly say the nine, 10 and jack looked more competent than our one, two and three.
“If that was me in the top three, I’d be embarrassed.”
While Usman Khawaja managed to knock 54 in the second-innings coming in as number three at Lord’s, Chris Rogers and Watson again failed to fire and Border suggested Watson was living on borrowed time.
“We all know what a wonderful player Shane Watson is. He looks like a million bucks when he’s firing,” he said in a comment piece to Cricket Australia subscribers.
“What is worrying though is that he keeps getting out in the same fashion. Now who is to blame here? Is it Watson for not adapting? What about the coaches?”
But Border also cautioned selectors against constantly chopping and changing the side, saying he was a believer in the pick and stick method.
“So we need to find our best 11 that’s suited to the conditions and stick with it.”
He suggested Nathan Lyon would need to replace Ashton Agar for the third Test at Old Trafford and thinks Matthew Wade could replace Steve Smith as a batsman.
Pattinson out of remainder of Ashes
Australia bowler James Pattinson is out of the remainder of the Ashes series owing to a stress fracture in his back, confirmed Cricket Australia.
Pattinson was diagnosed with a lower back problem after the tourists’ defeat in the second Test at Lord’s and he will now return home after the third Test at Old Trafford.
“James Pattinson reported some hip and back soreness on the final day of the second Ashes Test,” said team doctor Peter Brukner.
“We had some scans done today [Monday] in London that have identified an early stage low back stress fracture.
“Unfortunately he will not take any further part in this Test series and will commence a rehabilitation program with the aim to have him back for the Australian summer.”