Allan Border heaps praise on Australia for fightback in 3rd Ashes Test

Allan Border expressed his delight over Australia’s vastly improved performance © Getty Images

Aug 6, 2013

Former captain Allan Border has compared the current Australian side to the one which he led in the 1986-87 series, saying they have drawn their ‘own line in the sand moment’ and there is no doubt that Australia would have won the third Test at Old Trafford.

England retained the Ashes in the shortest possible time after Australia’s hopes of win on the final day were dashed by persistent rains, at the Old Trafford on Monday.

Border expressed his delight over Australia’s vastly improved performance after a crushing loss in second Ashes Test to putting England under pressure on all four days of the drawn third Test

Border wrote in a column for subscribers of the Cricket Australia (CA) website: “What a difference two weeks can make. In the space of 14 days, my perception and gut-feel about this Australian side has changed.”

He added, “There’s no doubt we were going to win the third Test before the rain arrived. We dominated England from day one to day five at Old Trafford.  All we needed was clear skies and a few more hours. England has retained the Ashes and well done to them, but the performance of this largely inexperienced Australian team has filled me with confidence.”

“Like in ’86-87, this Australian side has drawn their own line in the sand. After copping a hammering at Lord’s, the team grew a leg in this Test. They showed real fight and England are worried. The Poms were playing catch-up cricket from day one, going slow with over rates and doing everything they could to negate our chances of winning. At the end of the day rain saved England — it’s a simple as that,” Border added.

Border expressed confidence that the current side will improve in the coming months.

He said, “The way this side is going over the next few months, look out. Australia has the momentum. Old Trafford proved England is vulnerable. Australia has broken the spell Anderson and Swann had over them, playing Cook’s two go-to men with more assurance. The confidence in the group has grown and the boys can sense they’re back in the contest. England has some good cricketers, but what this kind of performance does is put doubts in their minds. Cook, Trott and Pietersen don’t look as insurmountable as they once did. I reckon we’ve turned a corner.”

Border praised left-handed batsman David Warner, who faced lot of flak from the fans and also wrote about the Australian batting order.

“David Warner was fantastic. The way he handled the crowd and the good-natured banter thrown his way was that of a maturing man,” he said.

Border expressed, “It might just be a gut feel, but I liked the look of the batting order in the second innings. The left-handers at the top of the order followed by the right-handers countered Swann’s influence early on. I’d still like to see Michael Clarke bat at No. 4. Warner is a natural opener and can change a game in the blink of an eye.  I’ve got a growing respect for where we’re at with our cricket team. At the moment it just feels right.”
The former Australian captain said Michael Clarke must bat at No 4 spot.

“After making 187 in the first innings, Michael Clarke is up there in the top echelon of cricketers Australia has produced. He has to bat at four in my opinion. He can really dictate terms from that spot and Australia can look to build the line-up around him. That’s why the order was so good in the second innings. There’s no reason Watson can’t come in at five and bowl more. Having the all-rounder in the middle-order really balances the team.  When England come to Australia this summer on wickets that will suit us, they’d better watch out. The pendulum is definitely swinging,” he said.

Border concluded, “Australia will look to keep the momentum rolling over the last two Tests. Manchester was as good as it gets. We declared twice and had England on the ropes. Only weather stopped Australia delivering the knockout blow. In just over a 100 days’ time, our home Ashes series starts and I wouldn’t be surprised if we do really well in these last two games and continue to show that fight before the next series.”