Ashes 2015: Michael Clarke's Test career could be over - Jim Maxwell

Michael Clarke
Australia have only won three of their past 18 Tests in England

Australia face a huge challenge to keep hold of the Ashes after their batting was exposed by some quality bowling from James Anderson and Steve Finn in England's eight-wicket victory at Edgbaston.

I am not sure what is going through the heads of some of Australia's batsmen at the moment. Their shot selection and decision-making has been really poor.

It's hard to put a finger on why that has occurred, but when the captain is in such appalling form it can't help.

There will have to be changes for Trent Bridge and I would expect Adam Voges to be dropped for Shaun Marsh after scoring only 73 runs in his five innings this series.

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As for captain Michael Clarke, goodness knows how the 34-year-old is going to get his touch back.

If you look at his numbers over the past two years, he has scored two hundreds in 28 innings but has not gone past 50 on any other occasion.

The more desperate he is to succeed, the more he seems to fail. His confidence has gone and unless he gets it back in the next two Test matches I would think his Test career is over.

It might be a good idea to move him down to number five to get him away from the moving ball, but they will be wary of how it looks for the captain to be taking a step back at this stage in the series.

Michael Clarke

Australia's problems do not end there. They should also make a change in the bowling department by dropping Mitchell Starc for Peter Siddle.

Starc is bleeding runs and has only taken five wickets in the past two Tests. If you give him a white ball he seems to knock everyone over but he's not doing a consistent job in Test cricket at the moment.

Siddle, who has been playing county cricket for Lancashire this season, has lost a bit of the zip he used to have and Australia coach Darren Lehmann is not his biggest fan, but he can bring the control that Clarke so badly needs.

He took a hat-trick against England in 2010 and kept getting Kevin Pietersen out during the last Ashes in Australia.

Clarke's biggest challenge in the remainder of the series is uniting the Australia dressing room.

Peter Siddle bowls
Peter Siddle has taken 67 wickets in his Ashes career, but just two in Australia's tour matches against Essex and Derbyshire

There was apparently some disquiet over wicketkeeper Brad Haddin being left out for Peter Nevill despite Haddin insisting he was ready to play. And although Nevill has done more than enough to deserve his spot, sometimes these things can unsettle a team.

I still believe Australia can win the Ashes if they play their best cricket in the last two Tests.

The absence of James Anderson from the England attack at Trent Bridge will give Clarke's men a huge lift.

Anderson took 10 wickets in England's Ashes victory in Nottingham in 2013 and has a magnificent record at the ground. His loss is a huge blow for England and an absence that Australia will be looking to exploit to the full.

Whatever happens at Trent Bridge and The Oval, the Australia selectors will continue the process of rejuvenating this ageing side.

With opener Chris Rogers bowing out after this series, they will be looking at batsmen such as Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns, who are currently touring India with the A side.

Clarke's future is yet to be determined, but it is far from inconceivable that Steve Smith will be leading the side into their next series in Bangladesh.

Jim Maxwell was talking to BBC Sport's Sam Sheringham

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