While Australia’s bowlers, led by Peter Siddell and a Ryan Harris who managed to stay fit, were consistently dangerous and challenging, the batsmen were a major disappointment. Clarke managed a big innings of 187, but very few others impressed.
Usman Khawaja only managed 114 in six innings before he was dropped. Ed Cowan lasted just one game. Shane Watson scored 418 in 10 innings, including a century in the last Test, but Australia could not score runs when they really needed them.
The batting lineup became stronger as the tour wore on. David Warner had an astonishing tour. He was suspended after punching rival opener Root in a bar at the start, was banished to a tour in Zimbabwe, but returned quickly as Australia’s form collapsed on England’s seaming wickets, where reverse swing is commonplace. Warner introduced solidity to the batting, as did Chris Rogers.
England bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad have mastered the art of reverse swing, but will not find conditions as friendly on the hard, dry wickets in Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.
Broad is likely to face hostility on and off the field in Australia, whose coach Darren Lehmann described the England player’s refusal to walk after clearly edging a ball to slip as “blatant cheating” in a light-hearted radio interview.
Lehmann was fined about US$3,000 for the comments.
The Broad decision was just one of the glaring umpiring mistakes in the series.
England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke was angry that the umpires took the players off for bad light, spoiling a thrilling climax to the game.
“It’s totally unsatisfactory the way the game ended — the rules are clearly unacceptable and I expect ICC [International Cricket Council] chief executive David Richardson to change it at the next ICC chief executives’ meeting,” Clarke said.