Posted by: tootingtrumpet | October 2, 2010

India vs Australia First Test Day Two

Watson-lite in every sense - handy keeper-batsman though.

The “final over” of the day.

Ball One – If Zaheer Khan isn’t swinging the old ball, why did MS Dhoni persist with the old one? A soft ball is handy if the batsmen are slogging, but its lack of carry takes slip catches off slow bowlers out of the equation, unless they stand very close indeed. Ohja, continuing to bowl beautifully without luck, should have had a better tool with which to work.

Ball Two – Shane Watson had a bit of luck, but played a vital innings for his side. 126 out of 275 is a huge effort and, not for the first time, delivered the Test opener’s brief to perfection. At the start of play, 400 was deemed a par score on the betting sites, but with some variable bounce and turn already apparent on Day One, I felt 320-330  much more realistic. Openers have to assess the pitch and play the risk / reward balance accordingly – Watson got that balance right.

Ball Three – Very, very tight call for Billy Bowden as he turns down a huge Harbhajan shout for a bat-pad catch off Tim Paine. Hotspot, inexplicably absent, is usually decisive one way or the other where edges are in question and really should be there to help the umpires with the hardest calls of all.

Ball Four – I’ve written here before of the brittleness of the Australian batting and there was more evidence of that yesterday, but Australian fans must be pleased with the levels of concentration displayed by men whose batting is not the only skill they bring to the team. Whether doing a bit of bowling (like Watson), a lot of bowling (like Johnson) or keeping (like Paine) eases a bit of pressure when batting, can only be conjecture. If Australia’s specialist batsmen can concentrate as hard, the transition to the post-Ponting era will be much smoother.

Ball Five – I really love a Number Eight, as the seventh wicket partnership can be crucial in changing momentum against tiring bowlers. England have some handy players down the order (Swanny and Broad) but they need time in the middle to run into form. Mitchell Johnson came in and looked in decent nick from the get-go – not bad considering he has had just 19 balls in the middle in the last ten weeks. With the international calendar so crowded, late-order batsmen will need to mimic MJ and hit their straps in the middle with only net practice behind them. Of course, re-starts after breaks can be hard without time in the middle, and an elongated drinks break saw off MJ after a fine knock.

Ball Six – Brad Haddin is injured and hoping for an Ashes comeback. Tim Paine, rather tall for a keeper, will have his technique tested behind the stumps on this dying pitch; but in front of them, he has real talent as a batsman, proved in batting over nine hours for Tasmania in making a double hundred. Brad Haddin’s brand of biffing may edge Paine out of one day formats, but surely class like this cannot be ignored for Test cricket.

The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.



  1. Pepp – Hope you like the photo!

  2. * faints* ..

    toots, toots* ..

    * faints again.

  3. Sewag is just ridiculous. He’s opening a test innings, and he currently has a strike rate of 132.

  4. Sehwag is just absurd!

  5. MJ bowls rubbish and gets wickets. He does it too often for it to be chance – surely?

  6. I am pretty happy with todays play, also. not a bad day at all. . .

    oh toots.. the lovely Tim.

  7. The absurdity is finished, thank God. Now there’s only Dravid, Tendulkar, and Laxman to deal with.

  8. Game is poised I feel. Tendulkar’s wicket will be huge.

  9. Actually Johnson bowled ok today. Sure there were some shit deliveries, but not as many as he can bowl (everything is relative with Mitch) and he was the only one who looked threatening. He was the only one that made Veru look at all uncomfortable.

    He’s not a batsman. He always looks better when he realises he’s a hitter, not a batsman.

    I’m just going to be plain depressed when Haddin comes back. He’s a twat and Paine isn’t, that’s completely beside the difference I see in their wicketkeeping skills.

  10. And Tim Paine is quite graceful at the crease. He uses his feet well.

    • Quite graceful without a shirt too.

  11. MJ is a bit better than a hitter, but he’s definitely better playing his shots than fiddling about.

    Haddin for Paine would be a crime against Test cricket.

    • ‘Crime against test cricket.’

      You are singing Hilditch’s song.

    • What do you think about Prior? I think he has really come on as a keeper and is possibly the best batsmen out of the international wickies now. It winds me up that some fans and commentators still think of him with suspicion. The excitement about Kieswetter with his flawed technique both batting and keeping, I found bizarre.

      • I think Prior is a much improved cricketer. He appears to have grown up a bit and concentrates on his own game and gets a lot right. Still has trouble putting in good performances keeping and batting in the same match, but that’s tougher than Gilly and Sanga made it look.

  12. Paine’s innings provided a flashback to the past- converting a mediocre position to one of strength.
    No, I dare not dream. Gilly was once in a lifetime.

    • Don’t go there Fred. He is nothing like Gilly. For starters, I think he’s probably a better keeper, certainly this early in his international career. And he isn’t at all that sort of batsman. Lovely to watch though and seems a particularly calm presence out there. But I suspect, like Gilly, he has some brains which really does seem a rare commodity in the Aus team.

      • Yes I know he’s not that sort of batsman, but I just meant the idea of having some serious lower order talent. I don’t expect sportsmen to be intelligent, if they are, that’s a bonus.

        • Paine – Smith as a 7 – 8 will be immense for Aus. Paine has a Pura Cup double ton which took 546 minutes. That’s serious batting talent. Looks a very decent keeper too. Is he a sledger? Doesn’t look like it – and that’s because he doesn’t look a strutter either.

          • Interesting interview he gave. I could barely see any swagger in him at all. He was rather watchful I thought. I’ve seen him interviewed as skipper of Tasmania and he handled the press very well.

  13. “He’s a twat and Paine isn’t,”

    Be that as it may, but when you’re facing the likes of Broad, Harbi and Khan, no harm in having one on your side.

    Why is it I can’t think of any South Africans to put in that category? What’s the world coming to?

    • Dale Steyn, though not without charm, can be twattish.

      • I’ve never seen Steyn being twattish either, but now you mention it I’ll keep a close eye on him. SA must be carefully hiding their inherent twat character.
        If they don’t start misbehaving soon I’ll be forced to confront my prejudices, and I hate that.

    • But we have Punter. He handles all that stuff. Perhaps Haddin is in training for when Punter retires.

      I’ve never thought of Steyn as twattish. He always seems rather low-key except when in the actual act of bowling. He never makes an idiot of himself like Broad or Johnson. Well, not that I recall.

  14. If there are charm stakes, its a dead heat between Steyn and Murali, for me. Both these men simply ooze it, they are made of it, nothing interrupts it, they are unable to be anything less than total charm.

    Friends.. forgive me. But I must digress from the cricket for one post. The World Road Race Championships currently just beginning in Melbourne, racing thru the You Yangs and into Geelong, with everyone who matters in cycling on the grid.

    It is a gorgeous Spring morning in Melbourne, the ENTIRE STATE is green, every single puddle, pond, dam, river is full , not a breathe of wind, a moderate 22C, a spectacular and stunning sight. May the best team win.

  15. I am getting a free to air live broadcast, but it is on the net, if anyone over there –> is awake and curious ..

  16. Pepp – I used to love the World Road Race, watching those famous names in national jerseys, but no more, even in the lovely state of Victoria. The drugs have spoiled it, if spoiled is the right word.

  17. oh toots.. it was a tremendous spectacle.

    now. It’s Tendulkar into bat, …..Mitch looking a bit miffed and savage.

    • The world road race is almost always a beautiful sight – remember Verona (I think) a few years ago? Hushovd won – good work from a man with no team support!

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