The Trent Bridge fiasco has brought back bad memories for former captain Ricky Ponting, who reckons he knows where the Australian batsmen went wrong.
A Ponting-led Australia fell for 47 in the second innings when losing the first Test against South Africa in Cape Town in 2011, one of the team’s few collapses comparable to the 60 by Michael Clarke’s men in Nottingham on Thursday.
“I have seen it happen before but it was a pretty remarkable morning,” said Ponting.
Australia’s most prolific Test run-scorer, Ponting believed Australia’s struggling batsmen were not prepared to bat defensively enough in the conditions and were shown up by Mitchell Johnson.
“You can be positive in defence, show intent by leaving the ball or playing a forward or backward defence,” Ponting told Sky Sports UK.
“It doesn’t have to be standing up and trying to whack it through the covers.
“Mitchell Johnson probably left the ball better than the top-order players.
He was prepared to guts it out. But at that stage they were seven down.”
Ponting rued Australia’s batting profligacy.
“For the second consecutive game not one of the batsmen put their hand up and ensured they get the job done for their team,” he said.
“When they lose one or two wickets they’re getting skittled quite quickly.”
Fellow ex-captain Allan Border – the country’s second highest Test run-scorer – felt it came down to technique.
“There is a lack of technique against the moving ball, and when the conditions are offered for the bowlers, either the turning ball or the seaming swinging ball, we really struggle and we go hard at the ball,” Border told Fox Sports News.
“On Australian pitches we get away with it, but as soon as we travel, sometimes we see performances like today.”
He said he couldn’t think of a worse day in Australian cricket, given the magnitude of the occasion with the Ashes series on the line.
“You do have some crazy moments in this game but the performance in that first session, I think I’m still in shock,” he said.
“Some of the shot selection from the Aussie boys you’ve got to question, no soft hands, looks like there’s just no idea how to play on an English-style wicket.”
Skipper Clarke has come in for considerable criticism throughout a disappointing Ashes campaign, and the 34-year-old earned only 10 runs at Trent Bridge, following scores of 38 and 4 in Cardiff, 7 and 32no at Lord’s and 10 and 3 at Edgbaston.
He has been defiant in insisting he has no immediate plans to retire from Test cricket.
Border said it was premature to call for his head.
“I think he deserves to go out on his terms at the moment, but obviously it’s a performance-based game and just because you’re captain, you’re not there forever.”