Can't say I'd have gone for the team that's been selected but there we go - when a team's losing badly there is always a huge clamour for changes. If they hadn't and still lost badly they'd have been even more heavily criticised. Bringing Ballance in was likely and I've no problem with that - given that Borthwick has been selected, I'm surprised they didn't keep Root in rather than Carberry as he can support with his bowling (and definitely not because he's much younger which is a terrible reason that's been quoted by some of the Sky commentators - Carberry is hardly over the hill!). But having said that the pitch is apparently so green that England may have felt Root wouldn't be needed to bowl anyway.
Assuming he's fit I'd have played Panesar - it's lovely to have Borthwick's extra batting but his first class bowling stats just don't warrant a call up for his bowling. However he's a great talent and England will hope he can raise his game for the occasion. My fear is that Borthwick could be more of a Steve Smith than a Shane Warne - we'll see. We know Australia will target him so fingers crossed he has a far more successful debut than Kerrigan had at the end of last English summer.
Rankin's also a strange one. Although a decent performer at County level he hasn't shown to date that international players have too much to fear from him. Rather than play a tall bang it in bowler on a green wicket that seems likely to offer sideways movement, I'd have played Bresnan. No Bresnan hasn't played brilliantly in his two matches in the series to date, but I'd argue that he'd be more likely to do well given the conditions.
Cue a great match for Borthwick and Rankin!
Given England's selection issues, interesting to see that Geoff Miller was awarded a OBE for services to cricket in the New Year Honours. His selectorial capabilities are just part of what he has done, but I still find it interesting to see how a consensus view gets formed about someone. Miller has overseen some decent consistency of selection for which he and his colleagues need a big pat on the back, but at the same time he was also key to Kevin Pietersen being made captain. He and his team also couldn't seem to work out who they wanted to replace Paul Collingwood at number 6, or who they wanted to open with Cook once Strauss retired. They went for Compton which was a surprise to many, and then having made that decision, they jettisoned him despite some decent returns for someone in his early career. Miller's got some witty anecdotes, is clearly well liked, and I'm certainly not begrudging Miller his honour. I just find it fascinating how perceptions of selectors and - for that matter - coaches, are often rose-tinted or unfairly harsh.
Still waiting for Rankin to bowl as I type...wide long hop to start!