Ashes: Matthew Hoggard says Australia will be whitewashed if poor batting continues
Matthew Hoggard believes England will claim an Ashes whitewash if Australia's batting performances do not improve.
By Alex Williams
Last Updated: 01/08/13 10:01am
The hosts have won the first two contests of the series - at Trent Bridge and Lord's - and will retain the urn if they avoid defeat in the third Test at Old Trafford, which starts on Thursday.
And Hoggard, who was a member of England's Ashes-winning side eight years ago before himself being on the wrong end of a 5-0 scoreline against Australia in 2006-07, cannot see past an England win.
Although he believes the Australia bowling attack are capable of hurting England, Hoggard thinks failures with the bat could lead to the tourists losing all five Tests.
"I said at the start of the series, 'once you're capable of taking 20 wickets, you're capable of winning a Test match'. I predicted a 3-1 series win with a drawn Test match somewhere," Hoggard told Sky Sports.
"After watching Australia's batters and how they're playing at the moment, if the weather holds out I've got to say it's going to be 5-0."
England won a dramatic first Test by 14 runs after two separate tenth-wicket partnerships had threatened to derail their hopes, but cruised to a much more comfortable victory at Lord's.
Opener Joe Root, who was a fresh product of the Yorkshire academy when Hoggard left the county, was named man of the match at the home of cricket as he scored 180 in the second innings before taking the key wickets of Usman Khawaja and Michael Clarke.
"I still don't think England have played well," Hoggard added. "At Trent Bridge we scraped through. It was a fantastic game and Ashton Agar had a fantastic debut scoring 98 at No 11, it was sort of like reversing the batting order.
"At Lord's we were 30-3 [twice], so we haven't played to our best but we are still dominating a weak opposition.
"Joe Root has really impressed me as a fellow Yorkshireman. To have all the pressure and everything else of opening the batting against Australia - and their bowlers are not too shabby - to score 180 and then take two quick wickets as well, it was Rooty's game."
The highest first or second-wicket partnership England have produced so far in the series was the 51 put on by Root and Jonathan Trott in the opening innings at Trent Bridge and Hoggard would like to see some more runs at the top of the order.
He said: "Just being hyper-critical, I think the batters can start better. You're always likely to lose a wicket or two wickets with the new ball, but (I would like to see them) get over that new ball.
"Alastair Cook has been a fantastic leader, but we've seen Alastair Cook struggle. A big partnership in the top three wickets would be ideal to blunt their attack."
Matthew Hoggard will be conducting a free fan Q&A hosted by Bombardier at Bar Eight, Manchester on Thursday 1st August from 7pm with the Barmy Army after the days play at Old Trafford. Please follow us on Twitter @Bombardier_Beer for the latest updates.