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Burning questions

Thursday, December 19, 2013

PERTH - Former coach Mickey Arthur says Australia still face a series of burning questions about the make-up of their side despite completing a comprehensive Ashes triumph over England.

Australia reclaimed the Ashes on Tuesday after securing a 150-run win in the third Test at the WACA Ground, giving the home side an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.

England were comprehensively outplayed in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, and Australia will rise from fifth to third in the Test rankings if they can secure a 5-0 series sweep.

But Arthur, who was sensationally sacked as Australia's coach on the eve of the previous Ashes series in England, said the team's ageing stars remained a concern.

"My worry for the Australians going forward is the holes that we tried to fill during my time, like the keeping role, are still going to be there," Arthur told the BBC.

"It's an old team now. (Chris) Rogers is 36, so who is that next opening batsman?

"Is George Bailey good enough? Where does (Shane) Watson bat? Who is the next keeper? Brad Haddin is 36 now, so is it Matthew Wade.

"Ryan Harris has probably only got one season maximum left in him.

"Peter Siddle is now getting to the wrong side of 30. Mitchell Johnson is 32.

"So Australia are going to face all those same things I went through in my time and tried to fast-track.

"They are going to face them in the next year or so."

Arthur admits the "death knell" for his time as coach of Australia came during their 4-0 series loss to India, where the suspension of four players for failing to complete a self-assessment exercise dominated headlines.

And despite his axing from the top job, Arthur said he'd taken a lot of joy from watching Australia dominate this series.

He said the team's success in Australia could be traced back to the planning that went into the 3-0 series loss in England earlier this year.