At this point I have to get a gripe off my chest. The continued selection of Stuart Broad. Broad is now in his 18th Test, and is seen as a promising young pace prospect who is handy with the bat. However, his bowling average is close to 40 and he has one five wicket haul, which are not the stats of a wicket taking bowler. His pace is reasonable at around 140kph, but he is a hit-the-deck type of bowler who does not ever swing it, seldom looks threatening, and also doesn't bowl consistently enough to build pressure, going at almost 5 (!) runs an over so far in this innings.
The worst thing about it is his amazing apparent immunity to criticism in the press. They cut him a lot of slack, perhaps because he's seen as such a promising youngster, vulnerable of temperament, and his dad was a fine player for England. This is utter nonsense. England need to select the best 4 bowlers for taking 20 Australian wickets regardless of anything else, and Broad is not one of these. The Ashes is certainly not the place for unnecessarily carrying youngsters. With Flintoff a similar style of hit-the-deck bowler, more penetrative than Broad but still with only 2 five wicket hauls himself after 75 Tests, England really needed to select another gun bowler who can swing it.
Ryan Sidebottom along with Steyn was easily one of the most successful swing bowlers in the world last year before becoming injured, and I cannot understand why he has not been drafted straight back into the team. Graham Onions was similarly successful at the start of the summer and he would have also been a superior option to Broad. If England really wanted to ruffle Australia with a bang-it-in bowler, an in-form Steve Harmison would have been the more positive attacking way to go. But Broad with his long blonde hair would seem to be the next great white hope of the selectors regardless of his present ability, so I guess team England are going to have to bowl the Aussies out without their best attack.
And don't get me started on one-pace Monty.. :)