Ian Baker - Pressure mounting on Ponting
08 Dec 2010 - 09:46:17
Have you ever seen a worse Australia side than they one that were so comprehensively outplayed in Adelaide? I haven't.
Their bowlers were harmless, their batting atrocious and their fielding and body language woeful. Ricky Ponting's side are one with 101 questions and few answers.
Only Peter Siddle has stood up in the bowling aspect, with England relishing the prospect of his mates coming in to bowl. Xavier Doherty looks far from Test class and England simply love facing his leisurely left armers. Only Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin have convinced, with the pressure of the captaincy mounting on Ponting.
Simon Katich is out for the series, Marcus North and Doherty will surely be replaced along with a possible other two changes. No-one has a clue how to address their slide.
Some have suggested bringing back Shane Warne and an Australian newspaper found that 72% of readers agree with that idea. Even the great man himself has not ruled that out. But surely not even he can turn the tide.
England have played well but they have not been challenged against such poor opposition. Nevertheless it was great to see Kevin Pietersen's return to form and another ton for Alastair Cook. And Graeme Swann performed like we all knew he would after a first Test where he was far from his best.
The only threat for England would seemingly be complacency. The Ashes have looked easy for them so far but history suggests Australia will eventually perform at some stage.
With Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss at the helm there is no way I can see England's form dipping so dramatically. The loss of Stuart Broad is a bit of a blow and if paternity leave robs them of Jimmy Anderson, England could go into the WACA Test without the services of their two newball bowlers.
Problems, yes, but nowhere near as big as Ponting's. Just what does he do now? The answer is simple - there is not a lot he can do.
Unless England's standards dip extraordinarily over the next few weeks, the frozen motherland will remain in possession of the little urn.