Australia’s tailenders are outplaying the top order batsmen, says Allan Border

Image courtesy of: The Metro

Watson has been dismissed leg before in three out of his four Ashes innings

Former Australia captain Allan Border has announced that the top order batsmen ought to be ashamed of themselves as they have been completely outplayed by the tailenders in the first two Ashes Tests.

Border also expressed his concern at Australia’s recent 347-run thrashing at Lord’s, which handed them their sixth consecutive defeat, a feat which has not been accomplished since Kim Hughes was captain in 1984.

Writing about the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, Border said: “Our major concern right now is the performance of the top six. I could honestly say the nine, 10 and jack looked more competent than our one, two and three. If that was me in the top three I’d be embarrassed. We need to settle on our best 11 and stay with it. I’m a believer in the pick and stick method, so we need to find our best 11 suited to the conditions and stick with it.”

Border also noted that he failed to understand how a player of Shane Watson’s calibre failed to produce big scores at the Test level.

Watson is one of the most prolific ODI and Twenty20 players in the game today, but he has always struggled in the longest format, which is illustrated by his two centuries in 43 Test matches.

“We all know what a wonderful player Shane Watson is,” Border wrote. “He looks like a million bucks when he’s firing. What is worrying though is that he keeps getting out in the same fashion. Now who is to blame here? Is it Watson for not adapting? What about the coaches?

“In an era where we’ve got a thousand coaches and psychoanalysts and dieticians and sport scientists it defies belief that a player can be making the same mistakes. Whether it is a technical thing or a mental thing I don’t know.

“Is Shane not listening, or are people saying bad luck, you got a good one? We need to find out what the best is for Shane. Is it opening the batting? Or maybe batting at six and making him a genuine allrounder? Whatever it is we need to find out soon or Shane’s time will have come and gone and we won’t have seen the best of him. The buck stops with Shane and he needs to figure it quickly because it will be a real shame if he doesn’t fulfil his potential.”

Australia coach Darren Lehmann admitted to being worried about the number of times Watson has been dismissed leg before, but added that the all-rounder is fully aware of the technical errors he is making.

“We’ve talked about it many times,” Lehmann said. “I actually think it was a pretty good ball to be fair from Anderson. It nipped off a length and cut back.

“The first innings he played across his pad but this innings I thought he played pretty well. We would love him to make big runs as everyone would but he is just one of the top seven who has to do it.”

Watson stated that he was trying to combat the problem by taking a leg-stump guard, but Lehmann believes further modifications are needed if Watson is to beat his habit of getting out leg before once and for all.

“Particularly here at Lord’s with the slope and it coming back in, he made that adjustment, but that may be different at Old Trafford, it depends on where you are playing , they are going to target that,” Lehmann said. “We know that. We know we are going to bowl to their batters, they know how they are going bowl on our bowlers. We just have to make technical and tactical decisions – at the moment we are not coming up with the right ones and the right results.”

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