Posted by: tootingtrumpet | January 16, 2011

Australia vs England First ODI – The Final Over of the Day

Australia's Test selection committee

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.



  1. Fielders who throw down the wicket have achieved their objective
    Part of the skill here is knowing when to throw at the stumps. Risk/reward.

    I definitely think that teams should try to keep Clarke at the crease when he’s going slowly. There was a similar example with the Aus v RSA game in the last World Cup. South Africa chasing 378, Kallis comes in to bat at 1/160 after 21 and promptly scores at about 4.5 runs per 6 balls. I always wondered whether the Australians deliberately let him get almost a half-century.

    • I’m all for risk/reward being part of the game Dave, but no fielder can can assess the inches that decide line decisions. (Even the umpires can’t call 12inch no balls in Wellington!). So the fielders will hold on to the ball – and defensive, dull cricket win out over the attacking aggressive approach?

      • So the fielders will hold on to the ball
        I don’t believe this happens very often (not that I’d mind if it did – if the game is so tight that the risk of ricochet overthrows outweighs the possible run-out, then it’s a tense moment whatever the fielder does). If this is really what you’re worried about, then you’d be citing instances of fielders not throwing at the stumps because of a possible ricochet, not instances of when they do throw. Occasionally fielders will hold on to the ball, but that is usually because there’s no-one backing up.

        What DOES happen relatively often is direct hit ricochets when the batsman’s comfortably home. This is poor cricket from the fielder, who should be throwing to whoever’s at the stumps, not at the stumps directly.

        • I just don’t accept that fielders can make those judgements in the heat of the moment, nor when fielding close to the boundary. You’re right that fielders don’t hold on to the ball for fear of ricochets, but that just strengthens my point that it’s a random event that can’t foreseen nor planned to mitigate. The reward for the batting side – potential runs with no field setting possible – is too great when the fielder has done his job. If the fielder fails to do his job, the field is set and no runs result.

      • English fielders with a defensive mentality might hold on to the throw, and produce dull cricket, but an attacking team will always go for the wicket, and possible overthrows are accepted as the cost of trying. Happened in India recently in a close game, Smith maybe? tried to throw down the stumps and gave away runs instead, no-one blamed him for trying. Ponting later said we would take the throw everytime.

        • Smith missed! Then the penalty is fair enough. If he had hit and the ball cannoned for four and it was shown that the batsman was over the line by millimetres, I think that’s unfair.

  2. Part of the skill of running between wickets, especially early on in your innings, is enticing the fielder to have a ping at the stumps when you know you’ll make it comfortably.

    It’s fun, it upsets the fielding team and it makes them think twice about it next time. It’s a part of the psychology of batting and to make the ball dead when the stumps are broken also prevents a run out at the other end.

    Very pleased to see Watson go on with it and I think his innings tonight may be the most complete ODI knock by an Australian since Punter destroyed India in the 2003 World Cup final.

    Clarke? He did OK but I’m glad he got out when he did. Five more overs of nurdles would have made the rest of the chase very very difficult.

    • Fine, fine knock by Watson.

      Not sure those kind of calculations / psychology can apply when the decision is sometimes the time between frames on the cameras. Neither side know if the man is in or not. It’s different when there’s only the umpire’s eyes to look at stump and line simultaneously! I’d suggest the option of the fielding side making the ball live again by throwing it to the other end.

  3. Totally mystified regarding your comments on Watson. The man has comported himself well, is slowly but surely building his career, is a massive contributor to the team cause, and during and after the game today didn’t indulge in any preposterous triumphalism despite his extraordinary innings. In fact he had the perspective to say that he wish he’d done it during the Ashes.
    Power hitter? Yes he’s strong but he has a reasonably classical technique.
    Product of scientific coaching? Of course, like everyone these days. Is that a bad thing?
    He’s starting to earn serious respect.
    Smith on the other hand is an utter embarrasment. I don’t want to watch cricket if that’s what it’s about. Aus deserve to lose very game they play in which he is fielded. As if to underline the point, after that joker was dismissed, Hussey walked in and played the most beautiful straight drive for four. That’s how you do it. Smith and his like can remain in the 2020 ghetto thanks.

    • fred – Watson is certainly improving on the field, but it wasn’t long ago he was screaming at Chris Gayle. If he maintains equanimity on the field (and cuts out some of the eye-rolling disbelief every time a batsman leave a ball to go through to the keeper), that incident (and one or two others) will be rightly forgotten. His technique is excellent, but his very coached style seems to stop him from changing gears in the Test arena and promotes the anxiety that leads to run outs.

      I hope you know that I’m generally a fan of Watson for all the reasons you give.

    • I was offended by Smith’s 5 ball stay. It truly disgusted me to see a bloke representing the nation bat like a two year old.

      The contrast to MHussey was illuminating as Fred notes. Another thing MHussey did expertly was allow Watson a chance for a short break when his body and mind was fatiguing. His stay was only 16 balls but he faced 15 of them, scored 21 and set a little platform for White and Watson to finish.

      MHussey is one of the most intelligent batsmen I’ve ever seen and a boy like Smith could learn plenty from him if he has the humility to listen.

      It was a remarkable win but let’s not forget how poor Haddin was behind the stumps. The sub-continent is a difficult place to keep wicket and I’m not confident Haddin is up for the task at the World Cup.

      • If they are planning on using slow bowlers for a lot of bowling at the WC, they have to take another keeper. Haddin is poor up to the stumps. Even when he gets a good sighting, he isn’t likely to get stumpings regularly.

        • You can get away with an ordinary keeper in T20, but you can’t really in 50 overs cricket.

      • I thought Watson was slogging out before he collapsed before Hussey gave him that break which allowed him to take a deep breath or two and have a little mental respite. M Hussey has played a lot of cricket all over the world (including county cricket) and it shows.

  4. Davies should be taking those returns in front of the stumps, it was a throw from the deep, not within the 30-yard circle when reaction times are smaller.

    Prior takes the ball in front of the stumps, as does Foster, yet Davies seems a competent wicket-keeper, not an international class keeper, although he is only 24 and time is on his side to improve.

    How scary is it to see 2 Tony Greig’s in one picture?

  5. Good point about the D/L rates. Showing them regularly would help to lessen the public’s confusion when they suddenly kick in and turn a match on its head. (Ok, and maybe the odd coach’s confusion, too…)

    A dead ball rule would also complicate a situation where there’s two or three (or four overthrows) needed off the last ball. The fielding side hits the stumps and it’s game over.

    • GM – I think it would be a good thing if hitting the stumps meant that the game was over! Hitting the stumps is usually pretty conclusive and it’s a farce when the ball cannons away to the boundary amidst all the diving in and shouting.

      They show the D/L target on the scoreboard at The Oval for all limited overs matches.

      • Bellerive too and I know for a fact that the batsmen use it as a gauge when chasing.

        • Yes – it’s much the best indicator of the balance of the match.

          • They use it at Chelmsfort too, always a good gauge for where the game is headed. D/L par: 188 is hardly a lot of information to convey and is surely a better use of on-screen graphics than telling us the heartbeat of a bowler?

  6. You know that I don’t really rate Davies, but I feel it’s hard to get in front of the stumps all the time. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on whether to be in front of or behind the stumps taking throws.

    • It is hard to do it all the time, but from the deep, with a fielder backing up, the keeper should surely aim to get the ball to the stumps as quickly as possible surely?

      I’m not sure that Davies should be opening, I’d be happier with Trott or Bell at the top of the order opening with Strauss.

      • Bell for sure.

        • He got so much stick from the cricketing press the last time he did it though, especially from the OBO writers (if memory serves me right) He’s an excellent batsman and will excel at the role if given a good run I feel.

          • Aus have always gone back to class batsmen – Martyn, Langer, Hayden, Lehman, Symonds … We should with Bell.

  7. People were pontificating about just when did the Australian public fall out of love with Michael Clarke. If you have enough time. Take todays game and then go back through his T20s and ODIs one at a time in date order and I reckon you’ll be able to find the exact day.

    • The Aussies in the crowd were booing every one of his dot balls. He’s too selfish and just adds pressure on the blokes at the other end. He’ll be at the World Cup (wouldn’t be missed if he wasn’t) but if Australia don’t make the final he’ll be announcing his ‘retirement’ from ODIs too.

    • And when the adverts got too much?

    • I think him getting the captaincy of the t20 team really put a few nails in his coffin. I found it intolerable watching him in that format and I am not an orphan. It has made fans more picky about his play in ODI’s as well.

      But he was slow today and only playing for singles or twos when Watson was really struggling with cramp seemed self-centred beyond understanding.

  8. It just occurred that if tonight’s batting line-up is the selector’s first choice then Clarke must be the one to make way for Ponting at the World Cup. DHussey’s bowling and form should see him picked ahead of Clarke and everyone else is too valuable.

    • Smith steps aside for Punter doesn’t he?

      • I hope so but I think Smith is GChappell’s pet project player. Clarke will go to the World Cup for certain but I can’t find a place for him in the best XI.

        • “I think Smith is GChappell’s pet project player”
          Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, you come out with that. Lord help us.
          Watson was persevered with for quite some time before he started to deliver (although I think alot of the setbacks were injuries rather than form related). Smith however is not even in the same ballpark.
          Agree its hard to have much confidence in Clarke at the moment. But unlike Smith, he’s performing below his obvious talents, so hope remains.

          • So was White. It took him quite a while to find his feet. I suppose it’s Smith’s turn.

  9. Even as a Pom, I felt a bit sorry for Clarke today. Given his form and the state of the Aus team, the captaincy was a complete hospital pass. Couldn’t believe the booing of his dot balls today. Can any of the Aussies on here explain the apparent animosity towards him?
    On an England note, really impressed with Shahzad. Hopefully, he’s bowled himself into the WC squad today – I’m convinced he’ll offer more than Tremlett in subcontinental conditions. Oh, and Swanny badly needs a rest. Good figures but a distinct dearth of the usual effervescence. And if England are to have even a sniff in the WC, they’ll need him at his best.

    • Can any of the Aussies on here explain the apparent animosity towards him?

      I think that some of the animosity is unfair, though if I’d been in the crowd I would have joined in the booing of the dot balls. Clarke has been batting slowly in the one-dayers for a few years now (to be fair, I just checked his stats and in the past 12 months he hasn’t been quite so bad – just under 5 runs per 6 balls). While I certainly wasn’t the first to notice, once I was convinced by the Clarke haters, it became very aggravating to watch him nurdle his way to a 50-ball 35.

      More generally Clarke has an image problem, and the public is going to turn on the tattooed metrosexual, who had the very public romance and breakup with Lara Bingle, whenever he has a bad trot. And he had a terrible run in the Ashes. I don’t think all this is particularly fair on Clarke, but while a lot of fans see him as soft, the criticism will continue until he starts batting well again.

  10. I have to admit that I was one of many who disliked Watson for a long time…but after this innings, I’m starting to thaw a bit….while his batting has remained the same, his behavior has started to improve, and he has not displayed any twat-tish characteristics recently…some of his statements regarding the Ashes, and even the floods show a depth of maturity that I had thought was impossible.
    As for Clarke, he needs a break from cricket. Mentally, he is so burdened that it shows on his game. He needs to realize that there are worse things in life than getting booed, running out of form and losing a supermodel girlfriend.

    • It’s strange to observe how Watson appears grown-up and Clarke adolescent when a year or so ago, the reverse was true.

  11. I thought KP’s fielding was excellent. The ball kept on following him it seemed. And his running, fielding and throwing was first class. Handy bat too. Clarke wasn’t too bad. A decent innings is just around the corner.

  12. I didn’t see KP bat, but I feel he’s a competent rather than good fielder, all through force of will, as he is no athlete. Maybe for Clarke, but he does look like he needs a break.

    • he is no athlete.
      I’m pretty sure the Ch9 commentators said that of all the people they’ve put the GPS on this summer, KP has been clocked at the fastest sprinting speed – something like 35km/h.

    • Yep, got a link for that KP stat – a top speed of 35.3km/h, comparable with rugby wingers.

      • Thanks Dave. Amazing really as he does not look fast on the television nor with the naked eye.

        • he looked fast to me, he was gliding over the park i thought, and never looked pooped

  13. Reg Clarke, we in India have a skipper who has predominantly been nurdling his way around for S/R 75.00 for quite sometime now. He had an annoying habit of coming in at #3 when the score was 96/1 or so but sending in rookies at #3 when the score was #15/1 or so.
    He managed to get out of that phase – basically, he was getitng and using a free pass of being captain. But now we cant do without him.
    Not sure if Clarke deserves similar leeway but just saying. History has ann annoying way of granting pardon in retrospect to some lucky players

    • 2008/2009 Clarke had a sr of below 70 in ODI’s. Combine that with his helpless t20 batting – and the Aus fans who have long memories- and every time he starts playing overly safe, he will probably cop a hiding.

      At least at the MCG:)

  14. Maybe Clarke needs to go back to opening the ODI batting, like he did back in the day (when people loved him)

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