FIVE QUESTIONS CONFRONTING AUSTRALIA AFTER TERRIBLE DAY AT TRENT BRIDGE
1. HOW DO THEY PICK THEMSELVES UP FOR DAY TWO?
Michael Clarke insisted after play it’s not over, noting the Australian way was to not give up. It would take a career-best effort with bat and ball from a handful of players to achieve victory from here. It’s hard to imagine how the players will be in the right frame of mind to deliver such performances.
2. IS CLARKE’S TIME AS CAPTAIN COMING TO AN END?
Clarke scored 10 but failed to steady the ship. He defended his dismissal – an aggressive stroke that created a regulation catch at first slip for Alastair Cook. He deserves a lot of credit for fronting up to the press, but needs to score runs in the three remaining Test innings he has on tour.
3. DID THE SQUAD MENTALLY PREPARE FOR THE CHALLENGE OF FACING ENGLAND IN ENGLAND?
There’s a good reason England are on the brink of their fourth home Ashes win in a row. Local conditions are incredibly hard to master, especially in an era when players often opt for IPL contracts instead of county stints. Pundits tipped the tourists would win in a canter. Steve Smith observed in April that he couldn’t see England coming close.
4. DID SELECTORS PANIC BY PUNTING MITCH MARSH?
The allrounder’s two dismissals at Edgbaston were among Australia’s worse. But he was promoted to the XI at the expense of Shane Watson for good reason. The change may have paid off if Australia bowled first and ran through England, but as it stands Australia could do with another bowler.
5. WHAT NEXT AFTER THIS SERIES?
There’s already been a few batons passed on this tour. Ryan Harris retired, while Shane Watson and Brad Haddin are likely to have limited opportunities in the future. The Test side next faces a tour of Bangladesh in October, how different will the XI look? Usman Khawaja, currently captaining Australia A, could be among the batsmen drafted in.