Blogs & Opinion


Mike Atherton:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

Ashes: England still need one last push says Mike Atherton

Mike Atherton - Michael Atherton Posted 13th July 2013 view comments

A strong wagging tail may still provide some late jitters for England in the first Test's finale, says Mike Atherton.

The tourists suffered a huge wobble after tea on the fourth day at Trent Bridge and still need 137 runs to snatch what would be a miraculous victory with only four wickets remaining.

But with the stubborn Brad Haddin (11 not out) and debutant Ashton Agar - promoted to number eight after his first-innings 98 - still at the crease, skipper Michael Clarke remains upbeat on their chances.

Atherton agrees Alastair Cook's men should not be too complacent and told Sky Sports: "A captain will always puts a positive spin on it but Haddin is an excellent cricketer and he's someone you would want in this situation.

Getting another 140 runs will take them a long time on Sunday and I don't see them getting it without losing four wickets

Michael Holding
Quotes of the week

"Agar is a fine player and there are more expectations on him now so that changes the dynamics, but the Australian tail have all got runs. England are obviously very strong favourites but the Aussies do all bat and there is room to be optimistic.

"It's not done yet and Haddin is a tough cricketer. The pitch hasn't got much pace, you can't score quickly and it's difficult to rattle that scoreboard along."

Set a target of 311 to seal victory in the opening Ashes Test, Australia looked comfortable earlier in the day, only to suffer a collapse in the last session with Graeme Swann finally producing the goods with the ball, alongside paceman Stuart Broad.

Australia have only once successfully chased more than 250 to win in England (1948) and there may well be a few surprises in store for the sell-out crowd on the final day.

"Graeme Swann disappointed today until he got his first wicket in his 22nd over," Atherton added. "Maybe it was the pressure of the occasion and being expected to perform on a wearing wicket. But when he struck he looked dangerous and he'll be dangerous on Sunday."

Michael Holding has the greatest respect for the Australian batsmen but agreed the damage had already been done and the prospects looked bleak for Clarke's battling team.

"Australia are in a completely different situation than their last innings," the West Indian legend said. "You can play a natural innings at the start of a match when you're thinking that your bowlers can get you back in the match even if you get out.

"But there's now the extra pressure of knowing that this is it - it's now or never - and the batsmen won't feel as free. They are looking a little cagey.

"Getting another 140 runs will take them a long time on Sunday and I don't see them getting it without losing four wickets."

Watch the final day's play from 10am on Sky Sports Ashes HD, the Ashes Events Centre - available via the Sky Sports App - or with a NOW TV day pass.

back to top

Other Cricket Experts:

Latest Posts in Cricket:

Latest News RSS feeds

Raina shines as India win

A century from Suresh Raina and four wickets for Ravindra Jadeja helped India thrash England by 133 runs in Cardiff.

South Africa duo stun Aussies

Centuries from Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers helped South Africa chase down Australia’s 327-7 with ease in Harare.

Dhoni delighted with ODI win

Mahendra Singh Dhoni felt a change of format helped India find some form - and heaped praise on centurion Suresh Raina.

Morgan: Recipe for success

Eoin Morgan believes England's busy one-day schedule provides the perfect platform for World Cup success.

England v India ODI preview

England and India will try again to get their ODI series under way in Cardiff on Wednesday after Monday's washout.

Features

Cricket Podcast

Cricket Podcast

Nasser Hussain discusses the One Day Series between England and India and the World Cup.

Sir Ian Botham: England to win ODI series against India with Hales and Moeen to shine

Sir Ian Botham: England to win ODI series against India with Hales and Moeen to shine

Sir Ian Botham is backing Alex Hales to make a huge impact in England's five-match ODI series with India, starting at Bristol on Monday.

Sky Tickets: Royal London Cup offer!

Sky Tickets: Royal London Cup offer!

Sky tickets have a fantastic offer ahead of this summer’s Royal London One Day Cup Final.