Australia have work to do ahead of Ashes, says Ian Harvey
Ian Harvey says Australia have plenty to work on ahead of the Ashes after their whitewash in India.
Last Updated: 24/03/13 7:23pm
While England are not having it all their own way in New Zealand, their Ashes rivals are in a far worse state and lost by six wickets to MS Dhoni's men in Delhi on Sunday.
The tour of India - which has seen the Australian side struggle on the field and hit by controversy off it - has left question marks over their line-up for the first Ashes Test in July.
And former all-rounder Harvey fears time is running out for the Baggy Greens to address a growing list of problems in time for the Trent Bridge showdown with their old enemy.
"It's been a really tough six weeks for the Australian team and they've got a lot to work on between now and that first Test match of the Ashes," he told Sky Sports.
"The worrying thing for me is how they've gone through this series and not learned - especially as batsmen - from the mistakes they were making earlier in the tour.
"Yes, it's foreign and tough to go to India - but this is a worrying time for Australia."
While England are unlikely to produce the same trial by spin Australia have faced in India, Harvey was concerned by the way the tourists' top order succumbed to swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar in their second innings in Delhi.
The quick accounted for David Warner, Ed Cowan and Steve Smith and former England batsman Mark Ramprakash warned Australia will face a far more accomplished swing bowler in James Anderson this summer.
"Kumar bowled accurately and swings the ball a bit both ways but if you're an Australian batsman you've got to back yourself to be playing this quite comfortably, especially on these pitches," he said.
"Anderson and co will be looking at this and saying 'are these top order players really the real deal? Are they technically good enough to withstand the problems England will pose?'"
Harvey hopes stand-in skipper Shane Watson will move up the order to open the batting in the Ashes for Australia - "he averages over 40 opening, it's his best position and he can do a job there. Hopefully that's what he's thinking as well," - but Ramprakash feels the all-rounder, who has stated he would rather bat at four and not bowl, needs to improve his focus to deliver big scores against England.
"We know Watson is supremely talented and in this series he's shown glimpses of the shot-making ability he has - but he's lacked the tactical nous to adapt to conditions," he said.
"You also need concentration and application in Test cricket if you're going to score big runs like the Indian batsmen have done in this series and that's something he needs to improve on.
"If he's not going to bowl he has to get big hundreds in Test cricket."