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Nasser Hussain
Cricket Expert & Columnist

The Ashes 2013: Nasser Hussain says England have edged Australia in the key moments

Darren Lehmann and Michael Clarke: Searching for solutions

Sky Sports expert Nasser Hussain says England's mastery of the key moments this Ashes is prompting Australia to try to rediscover their 'tough' edge of old.

The final Test appears destined for a draw after a rain-interrupted contest at the Oval. A second draw of the series would see England wrap up the series 3-0 ahead of the next Ashes series in Australia later this year.

"I think there is a little bit of looking forward and trying to get back to the hard tough Australia days of old."

Nasser Hussain

Hussain suggested Australia have not been blow away in this series as some said they would be, but that England have played the better cricket at the crucial times.

And he thinks this realisation is leading to a change in emphasis in the Australian, with coach Darren Lehman and captain Michael Clarke determined to bring back a harder edge to the team.

"Looking back at it, any close games in the last ten years, even to my era, with Australia, England have come out on top," he told Sky Sports. "We were absolutely hammered by them in my era.

"But if you look at it in this series, when it has got close, it has been England that has won those key sessions. I think Michael Clarke and Darren Lehman have said to their team with the selection of Faulkner etc, 'we are going to select some tough cricketers and win those key moments'.

"I think there is a little bit of looking forward and trying to get back to the hard tough Australia days of old."

England captain Alastair Cook has struggled to repeat his sparkling batting form of recent years, averaging just 27 in this series compared with his overall Test average of 48.08.

Cook questions

But Hussain is confident that Cook can rediscover his best form for the Test series Down Under, especially given his success in Australia last time when he scored 766 runs at 127.66.

"It is funny because Cook was having a similar series against Pakistan as he has had this time round before going down to Australia, and then he absolutely smashed them there," Hussain said.

"So I don't see any reason why he won't do it. The only difference is that they know where to bowl to him now. That is the issue with a ten Test series, which this is going to be, in as such as when you get a bowler on top of you, and they know how to bowl to you - and it works both ways with the way England have bowled to Watson and Clarke - once you get that it is very difficult to shake it off.

"I think everyone will be grateful for the couple of months off after today. But it will be the same batters, the same techniques and hopefully the same result as well."