dated November 11, 1953: Hassett Analyses Ashes Loss

Why did Australia lose the Ashes series in England? Losing captain Lindsay Hassett wrote: One thing that above all caused Australia to lose the "Ashes" was lack of solid batting. Five Test innings opened rich with promise of large totals but fizzled out. At Nottingham in the first innings we were 3 for 237, and declined to 249 all out. In the Second Test, from 2 for 225, we were all out for 331. At Old Trafford in the first innings we were 3 for 221, and all out for 318. In the Fourth Test our first three wickets put on 168 - yet we were dismissed for 266. Not once on these occasions was the wicket responsible for the collapse. To these must be added our 123 all out in the second innings at Nottingham when our batting collapsed against an inspired Alec Bedser bowling on a wicket enlivened by rain, and in a very heavy atmosphere. And, of course, thee was our failure at the Oval in the last and fatal Test Match when Jim Laker and Tony Lock spun us out on a dry wicket for 162. This instability in batting is due as much to faults in the mind of the player, as in his technique. In Australian batsmen, it may be due to the long run of fairly easy successes they have enjoyed. If our batting is to play its proper part, more concentration and determination must be shown. Bowling strengths also favoured England slightly. The figures of Bedser and Lindwall were almost equally great, but the supporting English bowlers, on their home grounds and on wickets more suitable to their style, were more damaging than our supporting cast. Laker, Lock and Johnny Wardle collected between them 30 wickets at an average of 24 runs each - figures which our bowlers could not match. If the Tests had been played on fast wickets I am sure the story would have been reversed. On slow wickets taking spin the English batsmen are more proficient than the Australians.

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