It was an end of empire sorta day today in Leeds. Pakistan beat Australia for the first time in 15 years, and if you think about it, that was probably a breach of the last of the records laid down in the immortal era of Aussie dominance. In the last couple of months, they've lost a best of five one-day series to England after three games, lost two T20s to Pakistan and drawn a Test series with a side whose new captain quit after one match.
There will be blood, most likely Marcus North's, although England would be delighted if they retained him. Slots in the Australian batting order used to be once in a generation things. More people were abducted by aliens than got one of those six spaces. Now the stasis is broken.
The old way would have been like-for-like, maybe Usman Kawaja for North. But maybe the time has come for a more daring reshuffle. There is an opportunity for them to shift Michael Clarke to three before he becomes Test captain, allow Punter to adopt the late-era Border/Waugh role a little further from the early gunfire and perhaps get Watson out of the stop-gap opener role to something more suitable in the middle order.
There should be a little succession planning, too. An unsuccessful Ashes with a barely-changed order could see a cull involving Katich, Ponting and Hussey, who are all nearer 40 than 30. Plugging those holes all at once might take years.
John Buchanan was fond of Sun-Tzu. One of the old warlord's faves was, 'always do what your enemy would want least'. So which would England want least? This:
With Haddin at seven and Smith at eight, the latter would beat England.
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