Australia captain Michael Clarke and England counterpart Alastair Cook have played more than 200 Tests between them, but both are perplexed by the shifting nature of this season’s Ashes series.
England won the first Test in Cardiff by 169 runs, only for Australia to bounce back with a mammoth 405-run victory in the second Test at Lord’s. Then England responded with an eight-wicket win inside three days in the third Test at Birmingham’s Edgbaston ground last week.
As a result, England take a 2-1 lead into the fourth Test of a five-match series at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge ground, starting on Thursday.
‘I can’t explain that – it’s a rollercoaster ride,’ Clarke said. ‘We played some not so great cricket at Cardiff and Edgbaston and then, at Lord’s, we were outstanding.
‘We have seen that from both teams. I don’t know the reason.’
Cook perhaps got closest to an explanation by observing how a team that had taken an early advantage in a match had retained a strong position until the end of the game.
‘When both sides got on top, they’ve been pretty ruthless at staying on top and not allowing the other side to come back.’
Cook, whose side will look to break a seven-Test streak of alternating wins and losses by recording their first back-to-back victories of 2015, added: ‘I’ve seen a shift from one side to the other side taking the lead, but I haven’t seen it shift back and forward in three games like this. Hopefully, that can stop.’
No side since Australia were inspired by batting great Don Bradman back in 1936/37 have come from 2-1 down to win the Ashes, with Bradman’s side 2-0 down at one stage.
But Clarke said his team could record a landmark achievement of their own this Ashes.
‘We showed that at Lord’s,’ he said. ‘We can take confidence that we bounced back after Cardiff… we’ve got to have the same attitude now.’ – AFP
PIETERSEN QUESTIONS LYTH’S PEDIGREE
Under-pressure England opening batsman Adam Lyth is on the verge of a ‘big score’, according to Alastair Cook, but the captain’s confidence is not shared by Kevin Pietersen.
‘He [Lyth] hasn’t scored the runs he would have liked but in the last game his method looked a lot more solid, even if he didn’t get the runs,’ Cook said.
‘But I do believe there is a big score around the corner.’
Left-handed Yorkshireman Lyth’s top score in six innings during the Ashes series is 37 and on three occasions he has failed to reach double figures.
Outspoken former England skipper Pietersen, who averaged 47 in 104 Tests, expressed his doubts that Lyth has the quality to make the grade as a Test opener.
‘Like several others before him, Adam Lyth is finding out the difference between Test cricket and County cricket,’ he said in his role as ambassador for betting firm Paddy Power.
‘It’s a huge step up and you don’t get as many loose deliveries. He needs to be busier at the crease – occupy it more and look like he owns it and belongs there.
‘At the moment, it looks like he’s there to defend. It looks like he could get out on every single ball. That’s no way to be at the top of the order.’ – Reuters