Cricket: 'They can only blame themselves'

By Nick Hoult at Lord's

Legends lose plot with current Aussie crop after collapse

Australia's Chris Rogers was trapped lbw by Graeme Swann after a delivery the English spinner called the "worst piece of cricket in test history". AP
Australia's Chris Rogers was trapped lbw by Graeme Swann after a delivery the English spinner called the "worst piece of cricket in test history". AP

Australian cricket legends have laid into the current test squad after their Lord's meltdown, described as outrageous and unacceptable.

Poor stroke play was combined with another series of howlers using the decision review system and Australia's miserable day was encapsulated by Chris Rogers' lbw dismissal to a Graeme Swann full toss which the batsman failed to review and would have been overturned by Hawk-Eye. Swann afterwards described it as the "worst piece of cricket in test history" but the comedy of errors infuriated fast-bowling great Glenn McGrath and former master of spin Shane Warne.

Both have addressed the team this week but they did not hold back in their public criticism.

"The situation of the match is horrendous for Australia," McGrath said. "The shot selection from Australian batsmen has been pretty poor and they can only blame themselves for the position they are in on a good batting wicket. To be bowled out for 128 at this level is unacceptable. If they can really fight and pull something out of the hat and somehow get a draw it would be incredible.

"The cricketers themselves have to put their hands up. There are some fine cricketers there. Now they have to go out there and do the business."

Warne was equally critical. "Everything they have tried has gone wrong and it has been very disappointing," he said.

"It just shows a lack of fight and match awareness of what needed to happen. The use of DRS was useless. It is important they try to stand together. It is a real test of character for these guys representing Australia."

Australia's coach accepted his players have to start learning from their errors and criticised Rogers for requesting the review of Shane Watson's lbw dismissal.

"It was a bad day," Darren Lehmann said. "We did not bat well full stop. The referrals could have been better. Rogers got it wrong. He told Shane to take it. He should then have used one on himself but probably didn't want to after wasting one. As long as they learn from it, that is the main thing.

"We have got the bowling side of it right in terms of referrals but the batsmen have got to get it right. The key thing for us is making more runs. Simple. The top order failed again and we need to make sure we are learning from our mistakes. From the first innings in Notts to here we have shown glimpses but we have to show more. It was more one-day batting than test match batting today."

Lehmann cuts the happy figure in public playing up to his nickname of Shrek, but he is also known for straight talking and admitted to giving the team a lecture after play.

"It is disappointing as a coach but we are always trying to learn. We are not shying away from that issue. We have to improve our batting over periods of time and bat a lot more than 55 overs. We believe the plans are right, it is just shot selection that was poor. Eight out of the 10 [dismissals] were self-inflicted."

Swann confessed that England goad opposition batsmen into gambling on a review, a form of sledging that is more likely to work against a team as inexperienced as Australia's. Rogers is 35 but new to test cricket. His advice to Watson was poor for a player with 15 years in first-class cricket. It was also ill-timed for his opening partner as it appeared to prove the selfishness Mickey Arthur accused him of in leaked court documents.

Rogers then decided not to review his own lbw which Hawkeye proved would have missed leg stump. Phil Hughes also reviewed his caught behind, instantly appealing the decision but audio evidence confirmed the decision of the on-field umpire.

"It happens quite a lot. You say go on go on do it. It is a double bluff, like a game of poker," said Swann. "I'm glad Chris Rogers didn't do it."

Swann's five for 44 put him on the honours board for the second time, and in years to come the figures will hide the freakish dismissal of Rogers which started it all.

"I am not sure there has been a worse piece of cricket in test history and I am delighted to be at the centre of that. I am sure he is as embarrassed about it as I was. It is one of those things. It completely slipped out of my hand. It did well even to be going anywhere near the wickets."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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