Tag Archives: WACA

Third Test Post-Mortem

So the collective feeling of English optimism was quickly sent running for the hills with its tail between its legs in Perth, and my body clock was utterly wrecked by the fact that the WACA’s in a different time zone.  What a nice sequence of events it proved to be.

Highlights

  • Paul Collingwood’s über awesome diving catch to get rid of Ricky Ponting in the first innings.  Not that I saw it live as I was in the kitchen making a cup of Horlicks and bemoaning the lack of a slip in the position which Ponting had edged through at the start of his innings.
  • Shane Watson’s hissy fit when he was out for 95 in the second innings.  What made it all the more amusing was how adamant he was that he’d edged the ball first, despite his unsuccessful referral of the decision saying otherwise.
  • Chris Tremlett bowled rather well.
  • Australia’s bowlers spared us a whole day of watching the tailenders struggle.

Lowlights

  • Reality slapping us all in the face and reminding us that our batting lineup isn’t always going to look invincible when Mitchell Johnson suddenly finds an iota of late swing.
  • Collingwood getting out to the last ball of the third day ranks up there with Michael Clarke in terms of setting the tone for the next day.
  • Getting tonked so soon after a comprehensive win can be pretty hard to stomach, although I was probably too tired to care at the time.

I suppose that it was inevitable that all the voices of dissent would emerge from the woodwork after a match like them, so I thought I’d join in.

England

  • The bowling attack is suddenly under scrutiny, and it can’t entirely be blamed on Stuart Broad’s injury, since Chris Tremlett didn’t look out of place at all.  What was worrying was James Anderson lacking the same degree of control which he had achieved in Adelaide, whilst Steve Finn’s bowling suddenly looked fairly attractive to Australian batsmen, resulting in him going for around five runs an over.
  • The only highlight for Graeme Swann was the wicket of Hussey in the first innings – from then on, it was all downhill.  Not that you can really be that critical of him, the WACA pitch didn’t have much in it for the spinners, hence Australia’s five-strong seam attack.
  • The batting went from god-like in Adelaide to quivering field mouse-esque in the first session of the second day, a transformation from which they didn’t recover.
  • It’s not necessarily cause to start panicking over, although given how relatively comfortable Ian Bell’s looked, perhaps it would be a good idea to move him above Collingwood so that he has more batting partners to eventually run out of.  Or just tell Collingwood that he’s at last chance saloon, that tends to bear fruit.
  • The talk about ‘resting’ Finn for Melbourne has left me raging over comments in the media.  Quit with the euphemisms and admit that he bowled bobbins and that possible alternatives are being lined up – see it as character building.  Whether Tim Bresnan would cause Australian batsmen to lose sleep is anyone’s guess.

Austalia

  • Battering us has probably done the series a world of good, given how many fans in Australia seem to get turned off of cricket the minute Australia look a bit turd.
  • Mitchell Johnson was back to his best, making the decision to rest him in Adelaide look a masterstroke.  The ‘resting’ of Steven Finn is probably England’s attempt for similar results.
  • Mitchell Johnson’s form doesn’t necessarily guarantee that he’ll play as well in the next Test, nor will he have the Fremantle Doctor over his shoulder.  But then I said something similar about Michael Hussey being crap after career saving centuries, so I’m willing to believe whatever happens in this series now.
  • What’s more remarkable is how Australia managed to win as comfortably as they did with the likes of Phil Hughes and Steve Smith in the top six.  Correct, some genius thought that bits and pieces cricketer Smith could do a better job at #6 than in-form Brad Haddin.  And with Ponting and Clarke not necessarily batting well, it’s been largely the likes of Watson, Haddin and Dr. Cricket, Michael Hussey getting all the runs.

Suddenly this series has exploded with unpredictability.  Good for Test cricket, bad for people who make relatively safe bets.

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Perth Preview

Sorry it’s been a while, the time between Tests threw me into some sort of lull where I retained a somewhat normal sleep pattern.  It turns out that Horlicks does affect your mood when you wake up the next day, or so it would seem.  I wonder what would happen if I drank it during the third Test and didn’t go to sleep.

Malted milk drinks aside, the third Ashes Test begins tonight, huzzah.

For once on an Ashes tour, England don’t have much in terms of selection or performance issues, apart from the obvious omission of Stuart ‘do you know who my dad is?’ Broad who went and tore a stomach muscle, the careless boy.  The selectors seem to be ignoring the potential influence of the Fremantle Doctor on swing bowling and going with a like for like replacement in fellow beanpole Chris ‘I play for Surrey’ Tremlett.  No problems with that, this formula worked in the previous Test and Tremlett was probably the best performer in the games the second string bowlers got.  What I’m not sure about though is the suggestion that Tim Bresnan is above Ajmal Shahzad in the pecking order.  That Bresnan offers runs down the order shouldn’t be a contributing factor to being picked in a four man unit.

Australia meanwhile have been experiencing a whirlwind of speculation about what their lineup would be.

The most high profile story amongst it all is definitely the calls for the greatest McDonald’s ambassador since Alan Shearer to make a return to the Australia side.  This is somewhat understandable, given how being called an Australian spinner these days invites as much ridicule as performing artists who put ‘of X Factor fame’ on their business cards.  The brevity of a spinner’s Test career is also akin to a TV talent show winner’s period of fame – Nathan Hauritz bringing a period of stability before disappearing makes him the Will Young of Australian spinners.

Thank God then that Shane Warne (and Liz Hurley) diverted the news stories away from such nonsense with a return to form in off-field antics.  The whole thing smacks of desperation (the comeback that is), although English folk are no better – remember the calls for Mark Ramprakash to be recalled for the Oval last year?

With that in mind, the question is whether Australia opt to play Michael Beer or an additional fast bowler, something which wouldn’t be the worst idea at the WACA ground.  Steven Smith will come in for Marcus North (something about his form going South), which means they still have a batsman who can turn his arm over should spin be required.  I’d have made a Bollinger to Beer pun about the decline in quality of Australia’s bowling attack, but I’ve seen enough of them this week.

Furthermore, Mitchell Johnson arguably has more riding on him in this match than he did in the opener at the Gabba.  That duff performance saw him dropped, only for him to be brought back into the team for this Test on the basis of him performing rather well in his three Tests at the WACA.  This may be either the match where he turns it round like he did at Headingley last year, or his reputation diminishes somewht.

Methinks the key battle will be England vs themselves, all too often they’ve had moments where they let the opposition back into the series.  Shake that monkey off the back and it’s a big step to the urn returning to England.  Not that they it leaves that glass box in the museum at Lord’s, but there is that big crystal replica, I suppose.


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