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Simon Hughes on the Ashes - 2nd Test, Adelaide

5th Test, Sydney
3rd Test, Perth
1st Test, Brisbane

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear

December 16, 2006

England collapsed to Shane Warne on the last day © Getty Images

England landed in Perth yesterday still reeling from the shock of losing the second Test. In his press conference Duncan Fletcher was still trying to fathom the reasons and Ricky Ponting confessed to being slightly baffled at how Australia had done it.

Actually the explanation is quite simple. On a fifth day pitch Shane Warne is capable of minor miracles. He imposes a sort of hypnosis on batsmen that renders them almost strokeless. Perth is a fly blown town, and Warne is like a blue bottle that just keeps buzzing in your ear and up your nose and won't go away. (some of his appeals even sound like a bluebottle.)

There is a very powerful flyspray in Australia called Raid, and England need to borrow that psychology to turn the situation around. It doesn't mean spraying shots everywhere, but it does mean swatting some of his less dangerous deliveries and not letting him dictate to the batsmen. Kevin Pietersen had the right idea in that second innings, but it was too early in his innings to try the sweep. He should have just waited a few balls. When he was out the Aussies knew they could win.

Two nil down is a desperate position to be in, but there are still flaws in the Aussies line up. The opening batting isn't that convincing, and neither is the opening bowling. England have to focus on two main things: getting Ricky Ponting out (remember he was dropped on 35 in his first innings 100) and also the quiet assassin Michael Hussey, and being a little more positive with the bat. It won't be easy.

Boss winning man of the match - Paul Collingwood tried his socks off in both innings to make England's first double century in Australia for 70 years and took a brilliant pressure catch during Australia's run chase. He didn't deserve to be on the losing side. Neither did Matthew Hoggard whose 7 wickets on that track were a triumph.

© Hugo Boss

BOSS man of match and/or BOSS moment on the match text will appear here

Simon Hughes is a former Middlesex, Durham and England fast bowler who now works as a sports journalist for The Daily Telegraph and Channel 5, and is Boss's representative at the World Cup in the Caribbean.

He is well known for his work as "The Analyst" on Channel 4's cricket coverage (from 1999, where he spent matches in a VT trailer, watching replays and drawing viewers' attention to particular details.) And it is this talent for spotting detail that makes him perfect as Boss' man at the World Cup.
More on Simon Hughes | Cricinfo profile

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