Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Life for an Australian cricket fan has been far from easy for the last five years. The ‘golden era’ of the Waugh brothers, Ricky Ponting and consistently thrashing the English every two years is a distant memory. The ongoing Ashes series has brought home to roost the fears of the Baggy Greens faithful that not only are they no longer the best Test side in the world, but that they are seemingly now just also runs on the international stage.

The standard of cricket for this Ashes series has been far from brilliant, with England cruising into a comfortable 3-0 lead despite having been far from their best. The fact Alastair Cook’s men have been, for the most part, so untroubled in retaining the urn must be the biggest cause for concern for Australia.

The current tour of England, coupled with the whitewash in India, has marked a new low for a generation of fans who grew up expecting Australia to win every match they played. The off field antics and reported dressing room politics have done little to ease the concerns of those Down Under that a lot of work needs to be done before Australia can get back to somewhere near their best.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin’s admittance that England deserves to be 3-0 up will have been a bitter pill to swallow for those inside and outside the Aussie changing room. However, Haddin says there is still a belief within the squad that they can avoid the biggest series defeat since losing 5-1 at home in a best-of-six series in the 1978/79.

That is more than likely just bravado from a group of Australian players who have had their pride hurt by this year’s event and know the sporting odds is pointing menacingly towards a 4-0 thrashing. They’ll surely return home with their tails between their legs at the end of this summer but in Coach Darren Lehmann they have someone who will instil that fighting spirit which was synonymous with Australia for so long but has been missing for a while.

The Aussies will begrudgingly accept, for short period of time, a team low on quality as long as they fight. Australia has shown that at times in this series but not often enough. If they are to rebuild what once made them the powerhouse of world cricket they must dig their heels in and make a stand against England in the return Ashes series this winter.

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