Trust in experience
Australia must recall Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Hauritz for the third Ashes Test in Perth, says Ian Harvey.
Last Updated: 09/12/10 4:10pm
One quality you normally associate with Australian cricketers is their ability to fight when their backs are to the wall.
So far we simply haven't seen enough of that in this Ashes. You can put that down to England's consistent pressure but also Australia's inconsistency in selection.
Now they need to win two of the last three Tests to have a chance of regaining the urn, so if ever there was a time for spirit and experience it's now.
Australia - who are normally very good at sticking with players - made a bad mistake by dropping Mitchell Johnson for the second Test.
England made a massive statement in 2005 when they stuck by the same XI that lost the Lord's Test and their selectors reaped the dividends.
In fact, the only change England made in that series was enforced when Simon Jones broke down before the fifth Test.
Right now Australia's selectors need to get their house back in order and get the more experienced players back in; now's not the time to blood more youngsters.
Johnson, whose record in Australia remains good, should have been given a couple of Tests to prove himself and I'd give him another go next week. Wind him up and let him bowl as fast as he can on a Perth pitch that should make him feel right at home.
The time's also right to get Nathan Hauritz back in the XI.
No disrespect to Xavier Doherty but it's hard to see how you can have a bowler who is averaging over 50 in first-class cricket as your No 1 spinner.
The selectors won't admit it but they saw Kevin Pietersen struggling against left-arm spin and went with Xavier when Hauritz hadn't done a whole lot wrong.
They overlooked the fact that Pietersen is a world-class player - one of the best - who would put in the hard yards and work out a way to solve the problem.
For me Nathan is the better option because he's got the experience and is more likely to win Australia a Test than Xavier; I'd like to hope that in the same position he could have done what Graeme Swann did for England on the last day in Adelaide.
Steve Smith isn't quite ready to come in yet - he's bowling too many bad balls at the moment - and it's too tough an ask to throw Michael Beer in right now. His time will possibly come further down the line.
The most disappointing aspect about Australia's batting so far is that - unlike England - players aren't going on when they get themselves in.
If it wasn't for Mike Hussey, Australia would probably be 2-0 down by now. More of the guys have to start following his example, Marcus North in particular.
A lot is being said about North at the moment and he doesn't seem to be coping with the pressure from the media or the pressure he's putting himself under very well.
The question, though, is have Australia got anyone who can do a better job? Usman Khawaja is on the fringes of the squad but the big one for me is Cameron White. He'll be very disappointed not to have played a part so far.
He scored a hundred when he led Australia A against England last month and has performed well at international level; in fact he's probably one of the most consistent one-day players we've had; he's someone Australia can rely on, who can turn a game in a session.
A lot of players have come through the one-day game into the Test team - Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke to name but two - so let's give him a proper go.
Talking of Clarke, it's brilliant to see him back in form; there was a big fitness cloud hanging over him before the first Test but he battled through and showed plenty of fight in the second innings at Adelaide.
The crushing disappointment when he got out to Pietersen right on stumps on day four was clear for all to see but he'll come back stronger.
On the subject of comebacks, there have been plenty of headlines about Shane Warne this week.
I know that Shane still has plenty of fans who would love to see him playing Test cricket again but even if he was silly enough to do that it would only be for a couple of matches and then Australia would be back in the same boat.
I can't believe he's got the slightest interest in returning because he's enjoying his life so much at the moment, whether he's playing poker, working for Sky Sports or hosting his new chat show!
Of course, he's very flattered by all the calls for his return but he's sensible enough not to pull on the whites again.
For a long period of time Shane was one of three or four players who could win Australia a game. The sad fact for Australia is that's no longer the case.
When Ricky Ponting looks around the dressing room he won't see many players he can rely on to get him out of a crisis. The selectors have to give him some.