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Monday, November 29, 2010

Ashes series - Tame end to Brisbane test match

The First Test of the Ashes ended in a tame draw but not before a clear message was sent to the host team about its inability to take twenty wickets. They were helped by the bowling of Siddle on the first day of the test but in the second innings on the last two days of a test match that had a bit of rough, they drew a blank (The only wicket being taken by a part-time bowler). Australia would have given their everything to have a bowler who has half the ability of a Shane Warne or Glenn Mcgrath in their playing eleven but the truth is that they dont make such bowlers any more. Agreed that the wicket was not helping the bowlers in a big way - there was no innovation by the captain also in these circumstances. Ponting realized that he could not get wickets like the old ages and went back to the traditional approach followed by hundreds of captains in the game.

Aside Siddle's bowling display, Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin stood out in this test match with a rearguard display without which this test would have surely gone the English way. The Oz team management must be worried about the manner Clarke gets pinged on the helmet regularly these days. North will get a century in one of the subsequent test matches but that will not be enough. Shane Watson and Simon Katich are the ones who have been consistent in the days where the performance (and subsequently the ICC rankings) of the team has gone down - they were a bit inconsistent in this test match however. Overall, the Aussie batting does not give a comfort feel to their supporters and there is always an impression that the innings closure is just one dismissal away to start. The bowlers need to put up a better display in the next test matches if the Australian team harbors any hope of regaining the Ashes. Mitchell Johnson is on a downward spiral and a rest will probably give him a new dose of inspiration. Doherty tried his best but that was nowhere near the performance that could get even a couple of wickets, forget running through the innings. The fielding was also below-par, indicating that there were more issues for the think-tank to look at. With a strong opposition attack, the curators might be thinking of providing a pitch that suits a run-feast - this might be again a ploy that will backfire on the Aussies.

England made up for their first innings display very quickly with their bowling display. The H2 (Hussey-Haddin) partnership revived the hopes of the home team but the English closed the innings once they got through the partnership. Then came the memorable partnerships with the bat - Strauss must be cursing himself for having got out. If he had not succumbed to the wide ball of the occasional bowler, the scorecard could have very well read 517 for no loss. Alistair Cook and Trott made sure that the English domination went on for another 2 sessions on the last day. That was the extent of the domination caused by the English batsmen in the second innings. This batting display must have given the ex-English players (commentators like Nasser Hussain, David Gower, Ian Botham) a sense of revenge for the treatment they received from a certain Steve Waugh in the late 80s and early 90s. The bowlers did a fair job in the match but need to continue the same display if the team wants to have a favorable result in the next test. Swann was assaulted by Hussey in the first innings but very soon, the bowler managed to settle down his nerves. Even though he did not get the success he is usuallly associated with, he will be a bigger threat to the Aussies as the series progresses.

The series is 0-0 after one test match. My previous prediction still stands - the English are 55-45 ahead of their rivals.
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