Key moments crucial to Ashes fortunes: Waugh
With his departure from Australia's Ashes party imminent, Steve Waugh has provided his final take on the final three Tests in the UK
Sam Ferris in Leeds
20 August 2019, 08:56 AM AEST
Test legend Steve Waugh's time as a mentor with the Australian team has come to an end and the former captain leaves England confident Tim Paine's side can win the Ashes for the first time on opposition soil since 2001.
But if Australia are to snap the 18-year Ashes drought in Britain, Waugh says the visitors must identify key moments during the three remaining Tests and not let England back into the game as they did at Lord's.
Australia had England 2-30 with a lead of 38 in the evening session of day four when David Warner dropped Joe Denly on seven at first slip.
An over later Paine opted not to review an unsuccessful lbw appeal when Nathan Lyon pinned opener Rory Burns on 24. Ball tracking confirmed Burns would have been out had the Australians reviewed.
And three times in the space of four overs Ben Stokes could have been out; the first an edge that flew between Paine and Warner at first slip off Lyon when the left-hander was on two and the score 3-71; three balls later Warner dropped Stokes on six at 3-75; and in a carbon-copy of the Burns miss, Australia did not refer an lbw shout that would have been overturned if reviewed to give Stokes another reprieve on six with the total on 4-75.
Denly made 26, Burns 29, Stokes 115 and England declared on 5-258 to be safe of losing the match on the final day.
While Australia got out of Lord's holding their 1-0 lead it might have been a different story had they held their chances and reviewed those decisions.
If Paine's side are to be the first touring team since Waugh's charges in 2001 to win the Ashes on UK soil, the 168-Test veteran says Australia must not let those pivotal stages slip through their fingers.
"This is a series that’s going to be very close," Waugh, who has spent a month with the Australian squad, told The Unplayable Podcast. "They're evenly matched sides and we've seen that in two Test matches.
"It really depends on who wins the big moments. We had an opportunity on (the evening of day four) to really have a huge impact on this match but missed a couple of chances, a couple of referrals that didn’t go our way, we didn’t use our referrals then it could have been a different result.
"England will say the same in the first Test, they had a chance to put us away (at 8-122 on day one).
"It comes down to who is consistent and who wins the big moments.
"We're capable of doing that. I think we can win the series and England will probably say they think they can win the series.
"It's going to make for a great three Test matches."
England, despite not being able to clinch the series-leveling win, would have been elated with how they rebounded after the loss at Edgbaston.
Not only did they push Australia to the brink of defeat, debutant paceman Jofra Archer neutralised the tourists' run machine Steve Smith to the point where the world No.2 batsman is now in doubt for the third Test as he recovers from delayed concussion caused by a nasty blow to the back of the neck by an Archer bouncer.
While England may have the momentum, Paine said it is irrelevant and is pleased with where his side is after two Tests with a 1-0 advantage.
"We knew coming here the five-Test series would be tough and there is a reason an Australian team hasn't won over here for 18 years," Paine said after day five at Lord's.
"Having said that if you would have said we have we are 1-0 up after two Tests we would have taken that every day of the week.
"We are happy with the position we are in now.
"We were off the mark a little bit in this Test match particularly with our catching and decision reviews, we got a few of them wrong as well.
"But the pleasing thing is as a bowling group we created a whole lot of chances and we batted for 100 overs in our first innings and got a lot of overs into their bowlers, which is something we wanted to do and try to do each Test match.
"We think if we can do that we will get some return at the back end of the series.
"We look forward to getting to Headingley, the first hour again will be important as it has been here and at Edgbaston."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval