Poor batting, not absence of spin cost Australia the Ashes: Hilditch

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Melbourne, Aug 25 (ANI): Chairman of Australian selectors, Andrew Hilditch, has rejected criticism for not playing spinner Nathan Hauritz in the fifth Ashes Test, and said that Australia lost the Test because they got 160 in the first innings.

Hilditch admitted that his panel was "gutted" by Australia's 2-1 Ashes loss to England.

He said the Australian team's failure to prevail in big moments ultimately derailed its Ashes campaign, but did not expect players or selectors' heads to roll as a result.

The national selectors - Hilditch, David Boon, Merv Hughes and Jamie Cox - were under fire, with a host of former players saying they had erred in choosing an all-pace attack for The Oval.

But Hilditch said it was simply a matter of misreading the pitch. "We read it as a wicket that was looking like a road, which was the assessment of everybody," he said.

"We thought it was a wicket that would suit the four fast bowlers that played at Headingley and it was a reluctance to change a winning side from the fourth Test. It would be an over simplification to say that is the reason we lost the Test. We lost the Test because we got 160 in the first innings," The Herald Sun quoted him, as saying.

"Obviously the selector on duty has a big role in assessing wicket conditions, but in the end we all communicate and made the decision. Jamie Cox was the selector on duty but everybody misread the wicket - captain and coach included. That just happens from time to time," Hilditch added.

Ponting agreed that "we probably got that wrong. Not before the game, we thought we were picking the right attack for the conditions that we saw. But in hindsight, a specialist spinner would have been pretty handy out there."

Spin legend Shane Warne said that "everyone should be under the microscope" and that "someone would have to take the rap" for Hauritz not playing at The Oval.

"To win a Test match you've got to take 20 wickets and Hauritz would have made a difference on this wicket. England wouldn't have made 330 in the first innings," he added.

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell said the selectors needed to remember to "pick a team for five days, not just the first one." (ANI)

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