After going 2-0 down in the Ashes, all hopes of winning the series seem to be lost for the travelling Australian party.
However the tour could become an embarrassment if their key batsmen continue to flounder.
So far Australia’s top six batsmen have contributed 538 in four innings with nine managing to reach three figures. This has all too often placed pressure on the tail end to perform, which, to their credit they have done on multiple occasions with former Australian Test captain Alan Border stating: "I could honestly say the nine, 10 and jack [No 11 batsman] looked more competent than our one, two and three. If that was me in the top three I’d be embarrassed."
Perhaps the most concerning factor ahead of the third test at Old Trafford is the manner in which many of the Australian top order have got starts then failed to capitalise on them. Smith, Hughes, Clarke, Khawaja and Rogers have all made at least one 50 but failed to contribute a bigger score.
This failure from the top six has meant that the Australian team has failed to capitalise on what has at times been excellent bowling performances such as at Lords on Thursday.
Of all the top six Australian batsmen Shane Watson has been most disappointing. The all rounder divides opinion and has all too often been dismissed after promising openings to his innings. The 32-year-old has been out lbw in three of his four innings so far and is clearly being targeted as a candidate by the English bowlers. Watson has just two test 100's to his name and questions must now be asked about his suitability as an opener.
The baggy greens have a three day match against Sussex in which they have the chance to experiment with their line up. It would perhaps be more sensible to use the game as a chance to gain confidence and more importantly form in the top order.
If the Aussie batsmen fail to get some serious runs under their belt against Sussex then changes in the top six would be necessary. One thing that is certain is that if the problems in the Australians batting department are not rectified this ashes tour will not only end in defeat but embarrassment as well.
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