The Ashes Natter: Has Australia addressed its most glaring weakness?

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 08:06:43 AM. In the first edition of The Ashes Natter, our writers look at the changes to the Australian Test team over the past 12 months and wonder if its greatest weakness is still to be addressed.
Photo: Despite personnel changes, Australia's middle order remains as fragile as ever. (Reuters: Adnan Abidi) The men's Ashes is nearly upon us, and there are a host of issues bedevilling the Australian and English teams in the lead-up to the oldest rivalry in world cricket. In Part One of our Ashes Natter, Grandstand bloggers and cricketing tragics Dean Bilton and James Maasdorp cast their stern gaze on how things could pan out for Ashes hosts and tourists alike. And despite several major reshuffles in the Australian batting line-up, we're still seeing the same problems in the middle order emerging. DEAN: So I guess this "era" that we're in now, if you can call it that yet, started in Hobart last year, right? When Australia got rinsed so badly the selectors ripped the whole thing up and started again? JAMES: What a seismic day that was. I don't think we've ever seen so much interest in the Sheffield Shield since that fateful Test (full disclosure in the interests of section 44: I'm South African by birth) — but in the year since we've seen a complete overhaul of the Australian Test team. We really threw the baby out with the bath water in some ways, because while it has seen some players with real potential emerge from the fold (Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw, most prominently), we still have the same weakness that the Proteas exploited so well in 2016. That is, our middle order collapses still happen with bemusing regularity. Photo: Matt Renshaw (L) and Peter...Read more
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