Extraordinary England and Australiadesh…

6 01 2011

An England Wishlist

At the start of this test match, in discussions with some fellow armchair experts, we suggested that we needed only a few more things to happen and we would be more completely satisfied at the end of an England test series than we have ever been before. These were, in no particular order:

  • Ian Bell to score a hundred.
  • Matt Prior to score some runs.
  • Swann to take a few wickets.
  • The match to finish with a win for England.

With the first two of these objectives able to be ticked off and the fourth looking imminent in the morning (possibly at the hands of Swann thereby completing the third item on our wish list) we are already approaching this aforesaid state of nirvana. Whilst technically we are jumping the gun by celebrating the series win today, it is of course more or less a given with Australia yet again trying to ensure it is not an innings defeat – although with the deficit still lying at 151 runs that too will prove to be futile. This England team are fast becoming a side who can be relied upon to deliver and, unlike in 2005, are promising to simply get better and better.

We said at the start of the series that the key to winning the series would be in the batting and particularly their opening partnerships. In short, with a perceived similarity in quality of their bowling attacks, the side who scored more runs would win. England won this particular battle and won it convincingly, however, this alone would not have resulted in such thumping margins of victory. What has turned these prophesied close victories into absolute thrashings has been the enduring and consistent quality of England’s bowling, something that was in evidence again today. On a flat pitch with plenty of opportunity for the batsman who is willing to graft, England again ran through the Australian batting to set up what will surely be a 100 run innings victory. All the bowlers were exceptional with even the wicket less Swann containing the batsman and ensuring that the pressure was maintained.

Lessons From Bangladesh

Earlier this year England completed two clean sweeps against Bangladesh. In almost all these games Bangladesh found themselves in a position where if they could bat well and crucially bat time, they would have drawn the game. Every time, without fail, Bangladesh appeared to decide that this wasn’t an option and came out all guns blazing – inevitably going down in a plethora of stroke play by large margins. It has been interesting to see that Australia appear to have been taking lessons from the Bangladeshi’s in this department over the last year.

Shane Watson in particular looked like he was attempting to set a target for England to chase by lunch on the fifth day and several of the others got out chasing balls that, bearing in mind they were batting for the draw, they would have been better leaving alone. We firmly believe one of the things has had led to England being the very good side that they are now is that, quite simply, they are extremely difficult to beat. Over the past two years, on several occasions, England have batted five sessions or more to draw the game. The Aussies, here as in Adelaide, appear not to have a clue how to go about this; so much so that one wonders if they might approach Paul Collingwood about the possibility of becoming their batting coach now he has retired – expert as he is in these situations.

Commentators Curse

One final thought for today on commentators of this wonderful game. As in the journalistic world the notion that ex players make the best commentators is clearly rubbish. Some are excellent it is true, Mike Atherton take a bow on both the writing and TV fronts, yet most are either average or so jingoistic that the notion of impartial coverage has clearly never occurred to them.

One commentator (we think Ian Healey), clearly in the midst of a pleasant dream in which Australia are twice the side they are now, said that ‘neither side have dominated the other in this series’ and then (definitely) Healey said Johnson was one of the best fast bowlers in the world. Both statements clearly severe cases of self delusion.

Warne too has gone from a man widely credited with an excellent cricketing brain to someone, whilst not in the Ian Botham camp of ridiculous inane comments, has also lost some credibility by his apparent belief that success is an Australian birthright. Whilst it has been mildly irritating having to listen to some of these ex players, it has been worth it for the amazing back tracking that they have been forced into – worth the Sky subscription alone!




2 responses

6 01 2011

Hopefully this humiliation will light a fire-crackers under the seats of the ACB. Cricket is a profession, birthright isn’t enough to win series, most players who make it to represent their country have enough skill, it’s how those skills are managed is where the difference is. England have been consumate professionals, Australia have been clueless, sulking and inaffective.

7 01 2011

3 out 4 come true for you. Not a bad return!

Outstanding performance from England, just amazing: 2005 was something but this is just special.

I think Peter Roebuck summed it up so well yesterday:

“Throughout England resembled a boa constrictor, a reptile that wraps itself around its foe and crushes it until its eyeballs pop out. Seldom has ruthlessness been as attractively and painfully delivered.”

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