Border reckons momentum has swung

Australia

Former captain Allan Border has insisted Australia have gained enough momentum from the rain-affected draw in the third Test to turn the tables on England across the remainder of the Ashes series.

Former captain Allan Border has insisted Australia have gained enough momentum from the rain-affected draw in the third Test to turn the tables on England across the remainder of the Ashes series.

The Aussies challenged in the first Test at Trent Bridge, but ultimately slipped to a 14-run defeat, later sinking to a humiliating 347-run loss in the second fixture at Lord's. Monday's damp ending to Old Trafford's stalemate, however, stifled a fine performance from the tourists.

Largely outgunned by host seamer James Anderson and spinner Graeme Swann in previous weeks, the batsman orchestrated a fighting performance. Captain Michael Clarke scored a big century, while opener Chris Rogers, middle-order batsman Steven Smith, all-rounder Mitchell Starc and wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin enjoyed complementary half-tons.

The string of telling contributions made for an impressive final total of 527 for seven declared, after which the English were dismissed for an insufficient 368 in the wake of seamer Peter Siddle's four-for. A second Australian declaration followed, and three key English wickets, before the inclement weather had the final say.

Former Australia captain Allan Border thinks England appear worried and vulnerable as Australia are trying to fight back in the tournament.

The rain-affected third Test at Old Trafford washed away the tourists' hope of regaining the famous urn as the game ended in a draw and gave England and unassailable 2-0 lead with only two more matches to play. However, after losing the first two Tests on a trot, Australia's performance at Manchester was certainly noteworthy with their batting firing convincingly, in contrast to England's.

"What a difference two weeks can make. In the space of 14 days, my perception and gut feel about this Australian side has changed. England have retained the Ashes and well done to them, but the performance of this largely inexperienced Australian team has filled me with confidence," said Border.

"The Poms were playing catch-up cricket from day one, going slow with over rates and doing everything they could to negate our chances of winning. At the end of the day rain saved England – it's as simple as that. The way this side is going over the next few months, look out. Australia have the momentum.

"Old Trafford proved England are vulnerable. Australia have broken the spell Anderson and Swann had over them, playing Alastair Cook's two go-to men with more assurance. The confidence in the group has grown and the boys can sense they're back in the contest."

Border, too, insisted the otherwise dominant presence of the left-handed Cook and right-handers Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen has endured a poor patch recently. Cook and Trott have managed a mere 145 and 122 runs in six innings respectively.

"England has some good cricketers, but what this kind of performance does is put doubts in their minds. Cook, Trott and Pietersen don't look as insurmountable as they once did. I reckon we've turned a corner," added Border.

The fourth – and penultimate – Test will get underway at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street, Durham on Friday.

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