Something strange is happening in Australia. Following on from the un-Australian drubbing at the hands of the Indian’s (let’s face it, even we gave them a stiffer contest), the Canary Yellows have capitulated to a series defeat at the hands of South Africa and are staring down the barrel of being white-washed in their own back yards.

Granted, the Saffas have been very good, and have turned two situations that they would have certainly lost two years ago into victories. How were they able to do that though? How can any Autralian side – even without Warne and McGrath – concede 400+ runs in the last innings of a test at the WACCA? Since when have debutants been allowed to play the kind of nerveless innings JP Duminey did to help steer his side home, and then the kind of sensational innings JP Duminey did to set up the Melbourne win? Since when have the Aussies allowed tail-enders to build substantial innings of the sort Dale Steyn did?

We all knew the Canary Yellows would suffer once their big guns had gone, but no-one could have suggested they’d decline so rapidly. Without his bankers, Ponting’s captaincy looks ponderous and ineffective, and his bowlers have been unable to drive home crucial adantages they have created. Add to that the fact that Punter would kill to have a spinner even as good as Paul Harris in his side, not to mention the problems at the top of the order, and you have a side in serious decline.

The 2005 Ashes were contested by the first and second best test sides in the world. It is entirely likely that the 2009 Ashes will be contested by third and fourth.

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