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Dire straits

That sums up the Australian cricket team this series - it is simply a mediocre side and no matter who they bring in, it is highly unlikely to change it. Is Twenty20 cricket to blame? Have other sports stolen cricket's thunder by snapping up the promising young players, who are often gifted at more than one sport? Is it a backlash against an overly cocky Australian team since Ponting took the helm? Or is it simply a regression to the mean after a superstar-studded golden era, now we have to return to a more 'normal' set of cricketers, with no match-winners amongst them?

Things don't look good for either side to be honest. 11 wickets each over five full days on a pitch which usually has plenty of life in it doesn't augur well for the bowlers of either nation. Let's hope there's some life in the remaining pitches of the series because we all slag off the lifeless pitches on the subcontinent which lead to huge scores. The crowd on the final day showed what they thought of that. Over 1350 runs scored, 22 wickets in total, almost two double-centuries (235 and 195) and scoring rates only just above three - it won't bring the crowds in and without a few sporting declarations, we could be seeing a few draws - usually unthinkable on Aussie soil without severe weather interruptions.

England took the points in this Test, I doubt there's a need to change to their XI. Australians will be up in arms declaring that half the team need to be replaced but would it really make any difference?

North failed with the bat but I don't see the point in changing any of the batsmen when it wasn't their fault the team couldn't turn the screws and kill off England from a commanding position. And he held his own as a bowler. His offies will be useful turning away from the left-handed openers throughout the series.

Michael Clarke - is he fit or not? You have to question it after he dropped an absolute sitter in the slips on the final day. Backing up again on Friday might be a problem if he is feeling it, but the selectors haven't called up a backup batsman (yet).

Where do you start with Mitchell Johnson? No runs, no wickets, a dropped catch and never threatened on what was once his home ground. My only concern if he is dropped is that the tail becomes very weak, but sacrificing 20 runs in order to take wickets may be a necessary evil.

Hilfenhaus is a great tandem bowler, tying down one end and putting the batsmen under pressure. With no support at the other end, he becomes a risk. This was only his second Test on home soil, his better results are in the swing-friendly conditions abroad.

Doherty didn't do a lot wrong, but didn't really threaten either. But he ain't Robinson Crusoe there.

Ricky Ponting let out some frustration at the end spanking a 50 off 40-odd balls but his mediocre captaincy shone through again. You can't blame him for everything though, when his bowlers aren't delivering, then there isn't really a great deal you can do. How on earth do you set a field to Johnson? It could go anywhere....

Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris have been added to the squad to give selectors a few choices. Will they improve the squad? Are the selectors just desperately rolling the dice if they making sweeping changes?

England's bowlers aren't that great either, but they are in the position of not having to chase the game. The pressure is on Australia to win at least two Tests to reclaim the Ashes, but where are they going to find 20 wickets from on at least two occasions??

The draw price is currently 2.18 on Betfair, incredibly short for a Test in Australia, even at the Adelaide Oval, but you can't argue it's not a true indication of the series. If anything, a lay of Australia at 3.65 looks tempting.

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