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Ashes loss will end Oz dominance of world cricket

Published: Saturday, August 22, 2009, 12:10 [IST]
 
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Ashes loss will end Oz dominance

London: Should Australia lose the fifth and final Ashes Test being played at The Oval, it could signal the end the side"s domination of world cricket.

According to the Courier Mail, only something very special, or days of unforecast rain, can prevent Australia losing the fifth Test, the Ashes and ultimately tumbling as low as fourth on the official world Test rankings. Australia is already down to third on the one-day rankings.

Oval Test-Scorecard

A loss will leave Ricky Ponting, one of Australia's greatest players and most successful leaders, just the second captain in 132 years of Ashes history to lose two series in England.

The other was Australia's first touring captain, Billy Murdoch, well over 100 years ago.

Unwanted record beckons Ponting

It shapes as Australia's third series loss in five, which includes its first home Test series loss in 17 years last summer.

When Mark Taylor led his side to victory on the 1995 tour of the West Indies, it was considered the unofficial handing over of the world championship.

Australia was already halfway through winning eight successive Ashes series and three successive World Cups followed, the last two with undefeated campaigns.

The reality is stark. For all the great names to retire or drift away over the past two years, more will follow.

Brett Lee has 310 Test wickets but did not play a Test on tour and will be 33 when Australia next turns out in a Test.

Stuart Clark is already that age and on this tour has also been behind the new pace trio of Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus, the three leading wicket-takers in the series.

Most worrying is the continued collapse of Mike Hussey in the middle order. Another confused duck has reinforced his fourth poor series in a row.

That way he can get some runs and some confidence in the Sheffield Shield for Western Australia.

Phil Hughes is the most exciting of the 20-somethings coming through and he was dropped after two Tests, deemed not to have the technique to survive at Test level.

It may be that Phil Jaques can regain fitness after debilitating back problems and the form which saw him score three centuries in 11 Tests, freeing up Shane Watson to move down the order as a real all-rounder.

In the end it's not the big numbers that matter but the big moments that will count.

Fast bowler Stuart Broad has again highlighted that when this Australian side is bad, it is terrible.


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