All-rounder bows out as England on verge of winning Ashes series by reaching record 644 against toiling Australia.
|Watson, top right, is run out after Phillip Hughes stays in his ground on another bad day for Australia [GALLO/GETTY]|
Australia’s Shane Watson said the touring England side was one of the most complete in the game as the English marched ominously towards an Ashes series-clinching victory against the “totally outplayed” hosts.
England are three wickets away from a first series triumph in Australia in 24 years after day four of the fifth and final Test with Australia 2-1 down in the series and still trailing by 151 runs in Sydney.
“There’s no doubt we’ve let ourselves down in the way that we’ve played,” Watson, who was tamely run out on Thursday after blazing to 38 in the opening overs of the innings, told reporters.
“But there’s no doubt as well that the English have played extremely well.
“The last two games the way they’ve bowled, they’ve made the most of all conditions whether it’s seaming and swinging, or going reverse and turning.
|Day four scorecard|
Australia first innings 280
FoW: 1-98 2-99 3-165 4-181 5-226 6-380 7-487 8-589 9-609 10-644
Australia second innings
FoW: 1-46 2-52 3-117 4-124 5-161 6-171 7-171
“They’ve been outstanding the way they’ve bowled. When they’ve batted, they’ve made the most of nice batting conditions.
“Hats off to them. They’ve played unbelievably well. Unfortunately for us, we haven’t played up to our standard at all really.”
Watson, one of his team’s more consistent performers, was in the Australian side that lost two Tests in India before the Ashes series and the 29-year-old said the England side compared well with the top-ranked Test side.
“They’re very good,” the all-rounder said. “There’s no doubt, India in their conditions have got an unbelievably balanced team. But the way the English have played here in all facets has been very impressive.
“The way they’ve stood up, all of their players really, throughout this whole series has been very impressive. The Australian team unfortunately hasn’t done that.
“As a group we were trying to rebuild after Melbourne,” he added. “We still had so much to play for in this game. Unfortunately, we’ve been totally outplayed again.”
Australia lost by an innings in Adelaide and again last week in Melbourne and are face a third drubbing by a similar margin on Friday morning.
“It’s not great, is it?” Watson said. “In the end, we are doing our absolute best and it hasn’t been good enough. Losing so far by two innings is not good at all.
“It means we’ve been convincingly outplayed in two Test matches so far, and it’s not looking great for tomorrow as well.”
The tourists racked up a record 644 for a first-innings lead of 364 on Thursday before James Anderson, Tim Bresnan and Chris Tremlett wreaked havoc among the shell-shocked Australians and reduced them to 213 for seven in their second innings.
Australia, batting in what now looks a forlorn attempt to save themselves from the humiliation of a third innings defeat in the series, had Steve Smith (24) and Peter Siddle (17) at the crease at the close.