The Ashes: Australia’s Shane Watson dreads another landslide defeat to England

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Cricket Australia’s marketing motto for this Ashes has been “History will be made.” It’s a slogan that will weigh heavily on the conscious of this Australian team who know they will be remembered for their hiding in this series.

“Going into this Ashes series I thought there were going to be defining moments in our careers, and we have been on the wrong side unfortunately,” said Shane Watson.
“It feels very disappointing no doubt. As a team we were trying to regroup after Melbourne and we still had a lot left to play for in this game but unfortunately we’ve been totally outplayed. There’s no doubt we’ve let ourselves down in the way that we’ve played but the English have played extremely well in the last two games.
“The way they’ve bowled in the conditions, they’ve made the most of them whether it’s swinging or seaming in the first innings or going reverse and turning. They have been really outstanding and when they’ve batted they’ve made the most of nice batting conditions. The results have panned out are exactly how they should have done unfortunately.”
Watson was the Australian stooge last week in Melbourne, the man shoved in front of the cameras when they stared at an innings defeat at the end of the third day of the Boxing Day Test. He spoke with honesty that day admitted the Ashes had been surrendered. At the SCG he was equally frank about his team’s failings, including his own culpability in being involved in three run outs, and how England’s dominance has been a major surprise.
“It’s not good is it?” he said. “To be honest, it’s actually a horrendous situation to be involved in three run outs now and something I’ve got to work on, no doubt. It is hard enough at the top of the order as it is let alone with run outs, so it’s something I’ve got to sort out myself because it’s going to keep happening (otherwise).

“With the history of the Ashes and the way it has panned out, with us playing here in our conditions and knowing those conditions so well, it [the result] has surprised me. But the way they’ve played, how complete a team they are and the way they’ve continually stood up, is impressive and it is unfortunate the Australian team hasn’t done that.
“That’s one of the big things we need to be able to do and a lot of that comes down to execution and concentration. You have to execute your shots to eliminate your chance of getting out. It’s also concentrating for long periods of time as well but it’s not just the batting side of things, it’s finding ways to be able to get wickets on flatter wickets as well and that’s something we haven’t been able to do either.”
Four years ago the SCG was awash with Australian sentiment and pride as the great era of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath ended with the final Ashes Test in Sydney and 5-0 result.
That several of members of the England team have recovered from that defeat to be here now reversing roles provides some solace for players such as Watson who have future Ashes series ahead of them.
But the worry is performances in this series, apart from the victory in Perth, have not helped Cricket Australia’s long-running battle with Australian Rules football for public recognition, sponsors and grabbing athletic young talent. Four years ago the ECB commissioned the Schofield Report to investigate their Ashes humiliation and Cricket Australia are expected to launch their own investigation into the errors that have caused this defeat.
“This is nowhere near the heights it was four years ago and there’s no doubt with our performances we’ve showed over the last little while we’ve got to turn it around,” Watson added.
“There’s no doubt there’ll be an inquest into what’s happened. We’ve got to do everything we can do to turn it around, because like I said after Melbourne, we don’t want to be losing the support we’ve had for such a long time with the Australian fans. We’ve got to play so much better to keep the faith.”
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This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.

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