Ball One – Matt Prior may not be England’s best opening option, but his package of orthodox strokeplay and much improved keeping is surely good enough to warrant his place over Steve Davies .To score fifty plus at better than a run a ball is good work from a player in whom England now place significant faith.
Ball Two – Eoin Morgan has made his reputation as an improviser in a team of traditionally lacking in the kind of imagination that other sides can call upon through the order. But pre-meditating a reverse lap with a man placed square of the wicket has all the percentages against him. With more than eight overs left in the innings, that was not clever cricket.
Ball Three – Number Eight is such a key position in all forms of the game. Michael Yardy has plenty of detractors, but can do ugly jobs well. Fiddling through 6 middle overs or batting at a run a ball with few wickets in hand are his roles in the side. He has the experience and nous to deliver that brief – and did so to get England from a decent score to a good one.
Ball Four – It’s never been clear to me how groundsmen (curators) can produce a strip that can last five days, but so many one day pitches deteriorate markedly over the 100 overs of an ODI. England’s slow and slowish bowlers contributed to the problem, but Australia found it very hard to time the ball consistently. The toss shouldn’t really matter that much
Ball Five – England’s improvement has come not through any one individual raising their game, but from a contributions through the team with runs from the top three and lower middle order and wickets from five bowlers. That augurs well for the World Cup – so long as England back up this performance with three more strong showings in the last three matches of this long tour. Four wins may be too much to expect – but capitulations would not be welcome just now.
Ball Six – Good crowd for Australia Day which largely stayed the course – plenty of kids in too. Good for cricket, but it may encourage the next two Ashes tours to be scheduled with seven ODIs each. With the cycle changing to avoid clashes with the World Cup, that would mean 14 England vs Australia ODIs within six months or so. That is surely too many for 2013!
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.