Australian chief selector Rod Marsh claims complacency led to his team's Ashes loss against England
Australia’s chairman of selectors Rodney Marsh believes the manner of his team’s victory over England at Lord’s as the decisive factor for Australia’s Ashes failure, ESPNCricinfo reports. The 67-year-old believes that the 405 run victory in the second Test had led to overconfidence that resulted in the eventual 3-2 series loss.
After a sizable first Test defeat at Cardiff, the Australian team answered their critics and detractors by demolishing England in the second Test at Lord’s; their first victory at the historic venue since 2005. With such a decisive victory and the series back level at 1-1, the favourites coming into the series were expected to kick on in the following two contests. Instead, it was England that ran over the Aussies at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge.
Marsh, speaking after his delivery of the 2015 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture, reflected upon the reasons why England were able to regain the urn after Australia had won the previous Ashes campaign DownUnder destroying their arch-rivals 5-0.
"When we left Lord's I thought 'we will win the Ashes' because we'd played that badly at Cardiff, we played that well here, then we were just going to win," Marsh said. "If that's complacency, then yes we were complacent. But I think we all thought we'd broken their back at Lord's with such an emphatic victory. Geez we were wrong. We were that wrong!"
Marsh’s view was however contradicted by England skipper Alastair Cook, who was also present among the discussion panel. The 30-year-old claimed that his side were convinced right after the first Test that he was going to end up on the winning side.
“When we left Cardiff we knew these guys were beatable, and that was the big difference,” Cook said. “We'd done it once, it was just whether we could do it consistently. But I know we could win the Ashes because we'd just beaten them, and we could put Australia under pressure in our conditions.”
"Everyone looked at each other at the end of that game, we had a few drinks in the dressing room at Cardiff, and that was the most important message I could get across to the guys. We've proven we can do it once if you can do it once you can do it three times. They clearly ignored everything I said and we got hammered at Lord's three days later, but at the end of the summer we proved it."
Cook admitted, however, that it was not the case at the start of the Ashes.
"Australia came as firm favourites, but as a player and as a team you need to have a bit of substance in your belief. You turn up to Cardiff and you look at the Australians and like we always do we probably build up the opposition in our own minds a bit. Australia beat West Indies more convincingly than we did, they had an outstanding run of games. In my mind I thought we could win if we played to our absolute potential.”