Ponting’s Nerves and English Batting

25 08 2010

Ponting’s Jibes

Well, well, well! The Australians are worried about the English! This is the only reasonable conclusion we can come to when looking at the series of comments emanating from their camp over the past few days (and indeed over much of the English Summer). It is, of course, too much to say that the boot has firmly shifted to the other foot from where it was 10 or even 5 years ago, but there is a strange focus coming from the Australian camp – i.e. already on the Ashes.

Strange because, before this much anticipated series kicks off, Australia have to travel to India for a test and one day series and normally a series against the number one team in the world would take precedence you would have thought. Not this time however – a fact which says as much for India’s number one status as it does for Australia’s desire to win the Ashes back.

Only a short time ago Australian players, when asked about an Ashes series which was still some time away, would have brushed these questions aside claiming that the most important games were always the ones immediately ahead and that the Ashes would be an incidental part of a greater success story. If you had asked the pre 2005 series Ricky Ponting his prediction for the next three Ashes victors it would have been unlikely that he would have said two one to England, and when you consider these are the only series he has captained in, well – you can see why he is so vociferous now. Ponting claims that Australia are on the verge of something ‘special’ with a tour of India, England visiting and then the ODI World Cup to follow. Given Australia’s current frailties it would be remarkable if they were to win all three series. Alternatively, it would be equally special for an Englishman if the Aussies were to lose all three competitions which, we are pleased to say, cannot be ruled out! Which will it be Ricky?! For our money we are backing Australia in India, an English win in the Ashes and semi final appearance for Aussies in the world cup…


England’s Batting

Since the disappointing defeat to Pakistan in the third test at the Oval, there has been much hand wringing and worry in the national press with regard to what this means for England’s hopes in the Ashes. Whilst we are unaware of any really bullish predictions of a forthcoming England win (most people were contenting themselves with the use of phrases such as ‘tight series’ or ‘England may have the edge’), suddenly even these people have on the whole retreated to a more normal pre-Ashes condition of worrying that we’ll score enough runs.

We are going to buck the trend in this and suggest that England’s defeat in the last game had less to do with a poor batting performance but was caused in actual fact by what was an excellent Pakistani bowling effort. The Pakistani’s arrived this Summer in a whirlwind of confusion and uncertainty which had the effect of camouflaging the fact that really they are an excellent (and world class) bowling side. If their batting was more consistent it is likely that both Australia and England would have found it a great deal harder (the fact that Australia only drew their series 1-1 suggests this anyway) and with Yousuf back to give a much needed backbone to their top six it is no surprise really that England are also looking at the possibility of a drawn series.

England’s batting, whilst not exactly swamped with runs, is fine and should be left alone. All of the batsman barring KP have scored a few runs in this series and we for one would be loath to drop England’s most talented player at this stage. Cook has answered his many critics with as fine a hundred as you are likely to see at the Oval, Trott has scored a few and has looked solid despite not quite kicking on (this faint praise may surprise regular readers of the CH), Collingwood is the same old player to be relied on when the going gets tough, and Morgan, despite two lean tests, has shown that he has the required talent and skill to survive at this level.

Ponting has said that Ashes cricket is another level up from this contest, and when you consider the Aussie batting, the pressure and public expectation we agree with him, yet what the England players will not have to face in that series are an excellent spinner (Ajmal) plus the finest seam bowler in the world (Asif). True Johnson and company are fast bowlers who on the bouncy Australian wickets will be more than a handful, yet Mohamed Asif is a true artist with the ball and not one of the Aussie attack is as fine a bowler as him. As for Hauritz, reliable spinner that he is, we cannot see him inspiring the same confusion as Ajmal did at the Oval even once in his lifetime – let alone in the next six months.

In short – there’s no need to panic people!


England vs Pakistan: 4th Test Prediction

England to score 400 plus in their first innings and win by over 100 runs… Perhaps…



8 responses

25 08 2010

Englands batting in the last test was flippant. The Pakistan bowlers have been excellent throughout the series and in my opinion have been under rated by many, but the first two tests, English batsmen settled and worked through an innings. Not in the last test, it was poor application against quality bowling.

Lets be Frank, England have one a bunch of tests on the trot, against poor competition. Yes, the Pakistan team was recently humiliated in Oz, and many faces have now changed because of that; however, Pak were humiliated because they have a rubbish batting line up. Each country’s bowling contingent is the same in Oz, thanks to boring pitches, and a naff ball, and unsuitable bowling conditions.

To win in Oz, England need a firing batting line up and a set of bowlers that don’t leak runs when the conditions do not aid swing or seam. Our England attack has been blunt on days this summer that have had the same conditions they will face in Oz.

And can we expect our batsmen to put 550+ up in the first innings? We managed it once in the last tour down under, admittedly we will see Trott and Morgan there, yet 4 of the top 6 remain that played in that series: can we expect these two to make up the difference of between 250 and 400 runs that we fell short in each of the other first innnings total.

I think the Aussies are spooked, and I think Ponting is spooked because he is not in great nick. But Ponting is a rockstar of a batsman, you know at some point during the Ashes, he will show us exactly why he is one of the greatest.

England vs. Australia

Batting – England 6/10 : Australia 7 / 10
Bowling – England 6 / 10 : Australia – 4 / 10
Fielding – England 9 / 10 : Australia – 8 / 10
Captaincy – England 7 /10 : Australia – 8 / 10

England to nick it, just but I certainly don’t have confidence in a blow out!

26 08 2010

Cheers for that analysis and I think you’re probably right and it is true that the bowling will make the difference between the sides. I just hope that KP for one will start firing due to it being Australia and that this slight trough in form will be climbed out of for England’s batsman as a whole. We have Swann though and for me he could be the difference between the sides.

26 08 2010

Spot on about KP, I havent been able to see much of the cricket, just follow on the Beeb, but he seems to have lost his swagger. He’ll raise his game for the Aussies, he is similar to Freddie in that sense, but it would be good to see him play well today.

Swanny = legend! I would love to put a microphone on that guy when he is on the field, can imagine the banter is hilarious!

25 08 2010

Ponting has to be making the right noises but he must be deeply concerned about his own team and particularly the bowlers at his disposal. I totally agree that Pakistan’s Asif, Amir and Ajmal would walk into the Aussie team. Strauss on the other hand has a talented quartet to call upon and rarely have all four failed to fire, hence no Pakistan centurion this series.

There are question marks over the England batting line-up but with the exception of Morgan, all are proven (if not star) performers at test match level. The key to an England success is a strong start in Brisbane, where Australia have won their last 6 tests played played there. Avoid defeat in the first test and I believe we have the ability, experience and temperament to go on and win the series.

26 08 2010

Gee I must say I’m slightly offended by your prediction of an Aussie win in India. Considering their only win here in the past 41 years came thanks to a remarkable alignment of the stars (Ponting missing three tests (Yeah, it worked in their favour), Tendulkar missing two tests due to injury, Day 5 of the second test washed away with India needing little over 200 to win with 10 wickets in hand, Shashank Manohar getting the curator at the VCA Stadium to prepare a green top to avenge Pawar’s loss in the BCCI elections). However, I’ll let the cricket prove you wrong.

Coming to the Ashes, I think this one will be just as hard to call as the last one. The only obvious disparity is in the spin department with Swann being a much better than Hauritz although the Aussie has been good in the last year or so. England might well have lost the Edgbaston test had Pakistan held their catches. In fact, I think that’s the only reason this series is 2-1 in favour of England and not Pakistan.

26 08 2010

Hi Mahek – sorry about that! I felt it too rich to say that Aussies would lose them all and so had to pick one of the three series / competitions for them to win! I just think that India aren’t the side they used to be and particularly on the bowling front lack a good deal of quality. For the record I will be supporting India! It could easily be argued that England will lose the Ashes but India will beat Australia.

Agree with you on the Edgbaston test. I really think if Pakistan could get some sort of cohesiveness and solidity in their batting they could be one of the better sides in the world. The bowling talents there anyway!

Thanks for commenting.

26 08 2010

It’s all cool buddy. A lot of people don’t rate the Indian team highly and if opposition teams also come in with that mindset we can cash in on their complacency. I’d say we have a better test side now than the one that beat the Aussies in 2008 who come in with a weaker batting order and a bowling attack with very little experience of Indian conditions.

27 08 2010

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