Ball One 9.00am – Television provides a lot of information these days, with the score always on screen along with the speed of deliveries, Hawkeye pitch maps etc. So why is the Duckworth-Lewis “end of next over target” not shown? It’s widely accepted that being ahead or behind the D/L target is the best way to judge a side’s management of the run chase.
Ball Two 9.22am – With Clarke struggling for form and using up deliveries without scoring many runs, should England look to keep Clarke at the crease? It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s often said in such circumstances that the batting side won’t be unhappy to get the next man in, so why shouldn’t the bowling side aim the keep the out-of-touch man at the crease? The deliberately dropped skier is coming soon.
Ball Three 9.30am – When batsmen were required to field for 60 overs in an ODI and then come out and bat, I don’t recall them cramping up, looking fatigued, calling for electrolyte drinks etc. Sure the game is quicker these days, but with central contracts, dieticians, conditioning coaches and God knows what else in the back rooms, you would think players could stand up to the physical challenge more convincingly. Perhaps less time spent in the gym might be more beneficial?
Ball Four 9.42am – Congratulations to Shane Watson on getting the ton his play over the last few months has deserved. In some ways, his batting is a microcosm of ODI cricket. He is a power-hitter, very media-friendly and aware of his worth; but he is also one-dimensional at the crease, often charmless whether winning or losing and a product of scientific coaching in his approach to the game. There’s little truly spontaneous in his play, so, while commendably excellent, he seldom surprises his public.
Ball Five 10.00am – With 14 overs left to be bowled and 100 runs needed for an Australian win, the bookies have pretty much handed the game to the men in green and gold. I’m not entirely sure it’s as cut and dried as that with the softer ball (from about the fortieth over) hard to hit to the fence. Time will tell.
Ball Six 10.02am – Comedy overthrows from England, but I’m going to bang the drum for my desire to see dead ball called if the return from the outfield hits the stumps. Fielders who throw down the wicket have achieved their objective, thrilled the crowd and played attacking cricket – so why should they be punished? It’s not as though a captain can set a field for the ricochet which can, of course, go anywhere.