Nothing to fear
David Lloyd says Australia's bowlers lack the quality to force an England collapse on the final day.
Last Updated: 28/11/10 10:32am
David Lloyd says Australia's bowlers lack the quality to force an England collapse on the final day in Brisbane.
The first Ashes Test is back in the balance after the tourists lost only one wicket on day four - Andrew Strauss for 110 - and wiped out a large first innings deficit before posting a lead of 88 going into the last day.
Alastair Cook was unbeaten on 132 and Jonathan Trott closed on 54 as the Australian bowlers toiled for little reward and England are now in a strong position to snatch a draw that looked unlikely when they resumed in the morning still trailing by 202.
Australia must hope for quick wickets on the final day, but Lloyd does not believe they have the class to remove the England batsmen on a flat pitch.
He told Sky Sports News: "It's a very, very good pitch, but it's just exposed Australia. There's nothing to fear for England.
"I've said it time and time again, it's like a long-playing record: Where's McGrath? Where's Warne? They're not out there.
"We do collapse every now and again for no apparent reason, but I don't think we can do it here.
"There's nobody to make us collapse. Australia have looked what they are, an ordinary attack, and England will probably come away with a draw here."
Australia's first-innings bowling hero Peter Siddle finished the day with figures of 0-67, with Ben Hilfenhaus 0-75, Mitchell Johnson 0-65 and spinner Xavier Doherty 0-52.
The statistics make worrying reading for the Australian selectors and Lloyd expects changes to the attack for the second Test in Adelaide.
And he singled out Johnson and Doherty as the weak links for the home side.
"They've got to change their attack," Lloyd continued.
"Mitchell Johnson is probably a very worthy man, but we've seen nothing. He just slings it down, it isn't moving in the air and it doesn't seem to have any pace.
"Peter Siddle bowled brilliantly, wonderfully well at the stumps in the first innings, but in the last 10 years the spinner has played 35 matches and takes his wickets at 48.
"I'm going to put my pads on!"
However, it was a good day for England and in particular for the opening duo of Strauss and Cook.
The England captain's century was a huge relief after he was removed for a duck by the third ball of the first innings and then survived an lbw shout on the first ball of the second innings - a call that was close enough to be reviewed, unsuccessfully, by Australian captain Ricky Ponting.
And Lloyd paid tribute to the character shown by Strauss and Cook to perform so well under pressure.
"He is a very strong character," Lloyd said of Strauss.
"I read something not long ago that he's bit of a 'jazzer'. Well, he isn't, he's shown great character after he was out for nought in the first innings and survived an lbw appeal off the first ball in the second innings.
"It was vintage Andrew Strauss. He's a far better player than people give him credit for.
"As for the vice-captain Alastair Cook, he's now got 14 centuries and he's only a kid, he's just a boy.
"He had a trough in form, which you can understand, but if you look at the stats then that word 'character' comes into it."