Posted by: tootingtrumpet | January 30, 2011

Australia vs England Fifth ODI – The “Final” Over of the Day

Dougie Bollinger in typical mood.

Ball One 7.44am – Throughout the Test series, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle were picked as the most likely men to bowl out England players, something that they did only intermittently. Come the ODIs, Brett Lee and Dougie Bollinger have been selected (and Shaun Tait in the T20Is) as wicket-taking bowlers. None of those six named offer a great deal of control in any format (too quick in ODIs, too full or wayward in Tests)  but it’s also clear that all six cannot be authentic strike bowlers, for the simple reason that, with the exception of the West Indies in the 70s and 80s, no side can produce so many such bowlers at one time. As with much of Australia’s batting over this long southern hemisphere summer, Warnesquely believing that aggressive cricket is the way to go in all match situations has not served Australia well.

Ball Two 7.57am – Those of us who believe Matt Prior has a role in the ODI side base that belief in the opinion that he is one of the best six batsmen in England. Consequently, he should play like that, rather than play as a tricksy improviser hitting the ball into unusual places. On the vast outfields of Australia, there is enough space for Prior’s brand of hard-hit orthodoxy to get the job done – especially when the job is only 250 in 50 overs.

Ball Three 8.05am – One of the reasons I use this format for writing up a day’s play (other than to avoid duplicating match reports available elsewhere) is the way it can capture some of the ebbs and flows even one day cricket can provide. No sooner do I write of the penalties attendant on aggressive cricket than wickets clatter. I might, in my defence, suggest that anyone could have been bowling, so poor / tired / misconceived were the shots played by three Ashes heroes –  Prior, Strauss and Trott.

Ball Four 8.20am – It’s often said, with more than a hint of truth, that if the bowler doesn’t know where it’s going, then neither does the batsmen. That can be a useful trait in Test cricket, where winning requires 20 wickets, but in ODIs, where winning can require as few as half a dozen wickets, the captain needs to know where to place his fielders. How to set a field to Mitchell Johnson, is a question that will tax Australian captains – until, perhaps, their patience expires and more reliable bowlers are favoured.

Ball Five 8.36am – The free hit makes all the players look a bit stupid. Batsmen charge, bowlers favour the horrible slow long hop and the field cannot be changed, so the captain looks a bit foolish too. Perhaps the most stupid looking of all is the bowler who delivered the no ball in the first place – why get so close to the line, especially in ODI cricket? The free hit penalty’s artifice should act as a big deterrent, meaning that we seldom see them – but the same players that dive with such risk of injury to save a run on the boundary, seem happy to risk being called for no balls – don’t ask me why.

Ball Six 8.46am – Smiles all round as KP backs up a long way before scurrying back to his ground and thwarting Mitchell Johnson’s chance to throw down the stumps. David Gower praises KP’s getting his body between the fielder and the stumps, but is such play praiseworthy? I have no issue with batsmen running a straight line along the edge of the cut strip, but I object to batsmen who run at the stumps, all but colliding with them (as KP did in this instance). No batsman would do so if he is not intending to block the throw and isn’t that what the mode of dismissal “obstructing the field” is designed to avoid?

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

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Responses

  1. Neither of these two look like world cup winning teams do they. I’d bracket them with West Indies and Pakistan on the second rung behind the big 3 (SL, India and RSA of course).

    • Much can happen between now and the sharp end of the WC, but England are going backwards and Aus look short of batting and pressure bowlers.

      Well done to Aus on the series though – much the better team.

  2. The 2011 World Cup format almost guarantees all major nations a quarter final spot. From there it is three straight wins to clinch the title. It’s a shame we have to put up with a month of practise, sorry, group matches to get there.

    All of them are a solid chance because it will be more like the Champions Trophy than a World Cup.

  3. England look good despite the losses.
    Australia have found form in time for world cup. Will there ever be another winner in world cups?

  4. Just wanted to say how much I agree with your final point. It’s always baffled me that such obvious pieces of, at best, sharp practice, and at worst, outright cheating are universally condoned and even indulgently chuckled at.
    On the subject of sharp practice/outright cheating, what the hell was that caught-and-bowled business with Steve Smith all about? Given that he was actually lying on the ball at one point with his hands nowhere near it, he can’t possibly have thought it was out. So why not just say so and avoid a potential stain on his reputation?
    Amazed that Paddy Power still have England as third favourites for the WC. For me, it’s India, then Sri Lanka, then daylight, then South Africa. But I’d even fancy Pakistan slightly ahead of England.

    • Very poor stuff from Smith, who looks foolish and in breach of the Spirit of Cricket. Captains should ask players and withdraw appeals if they say they dropped it – players can be momentarily blinded by the heat of the battle, but not after ten seconds or so.

      Of course, he won’t be trusted in the future now.

      • Have to say I disagree with you both on the Smith situation. But then I also disagree with how it was handled.
        To me his question of if it was out was no different to a batsman asking for a review when he is given out LBW and he knows he didn’t hit it.
        It seems we have a referral system in place, but it isn’t used to cover all types of dismissals. Surely any instance where the legitimacy of catch is questioned should now be made through the referral process and not the previous way of asking the umpire to check with the TV umpire.

        • Jim – LBW has an element of judgement in it. The batsman calling for a review is believing (or sometimes hoping) that the umpire may have erred – they do, tough not often. Reviews are also limited, so there’s a cost involved which is not the case for appealing for a non-catch.

          There’s a big difference between matters of fact (the ball rolling on the ground) and matters of judgement when it comes to the process of appealing and reviewing.

          • It seems because questioning catches is outside the referral system a players integrity is questioned when he is doing something that has become legitimised in other areas of the game.

            I do have to question how much Smith knew of the facts when he asked.

            The replay clearly shows he doesn’t pick to ball up off the ground, his second hand is off the ground and the ball just ends up in it. The balls not in front of his eyes, he is not looking at the ball and he’s not celebrating, but asking then to check if it was out. He clearly does not know how the ball ended up out of one hand and into the other. It’s a lot different to the Phil Hughes one in the test series. A quick TV replay to show the ball went along the ground then his body weight makes the ball bounce into his hand. Then we move on.

            • Agree with JimDavis on Smith (talking about what actually happend helps a lot in these cases. Clearly Smith did not see the ball and did not pick it up off the floor) and Toots on KP. Funny how it’s always cheating when it’s one of “them” and quick thinking when it’s one of “us”.

              • gg – I suspect that if Smith had not known that the ball had rolled along the ground, he would have appealed properly, rather than doing that rather pantoish “What me? Could be a catch – might not be”? Steve Waugh got away with it in the Caribbean once didn’t he?

              • Oh, I think he suspected that it wasn’t a catch, but he didn’t “know”; and it’s not his job to decide, is it?

                On the running point, one day an umpire is going to enfore the rule on obstructing the field in a high profile game, and then things will change, but not without some serious squealing from ex-pros in the media. I sometimes think I could do without ex-pros in the media altogether.

        • This reminds me a bit of Ian Bell’s out in Sydney. It was patently obvious that he knew he knicked the ball, his reaction as well as his interview at the end of play said as much, but his partner suggested he refer, which he did. And hotspot in all its dubiousness showed no spot. Yet Bell, aside from a few boos in the crowd, was hardly criticised for this.

          • Pete – There are some similarities, but the approach to reviews isn’t settled, but the approach to claiming catches that are pretty obviously not clean, is settled.

    • South Africa are strong contenders so are Australia. 4-1 against a resurgent England without Ponting and Hussey – come on, give them credit. England arent as bad as the scoreline makes them look. Precisely for that reason, Australia start as joint favourites with Saffers and India. Sri Lanka’s middle order lacks class – Silva and Kapugadera are rejects several times over and dont inspire much confidence. Their bowling is good but since the knockouts are not in their backyard, they dont get too much advantage. I’ll put them behind Aus-SA-Ind-Eng. India will not win the World Cup – we’lll revisit this after the cup. They are vulnerable on one day when they lose the toss and concede 350 and there is multiple organ failure in their batting line up. This will surely happen in one of the knockout matches. If Dhoni’s luck manages to mitigate this, then, well played, boy.

      To me it is Australia and Saffers followed by England and India followed by SL and Pak followed by NZ and WI.

      • Think that’s a little harsh on WI there Kaminey. they look a decent unit to me, especially in the batting. Man for man they don’t seem noticeably weaker than Eng or Aus.

  5. In the Ashes, the biggest difference between Australia and England was England’s ability to leave balls alone – forcing the bowlers to bowl to the batsmen. You don’t get that luxury in an ODI – even when chasing only 4 or 5 an over. Throw in the fact that bad balls get plenty of wickets in ODIs and you start to see why Australia are still making about the same number of runs per innings, but England have been brought back to Australia’s level. You then have a rusty Morgan looking every bit like the guy who was “next man in the team” for 3 months. And suddenly Australia have their noses in front.

    I do worry about Australia though. Lets be honest. England should have been successful in each of their run chases so far this series. Australia are not making enough runs. It looks like the selectors had a plan for the T20 world cup in the West Indies. It worked. And as it’s the only plan they seem to have had in the last 3 years that has worked, they want to repeat it in the ODI’s on the subcontinent. It’s a decent plan on Australian wickets but I’m not convinced it’ll work in India. But after what happened during the Ashes, I am happy we at least have a plan, even if I think it’s misguided.

    • Jim – That’s a pretty sound analysis. I think SL’s talent and planning puts them well ahead of Eng and Aus, but WI have some batting power which will probably outweigh bowling and fielding in this WC.

    • Not Bellerive, Jim. It’s only had 2 chases of over 230 in any international games there.

      The Aussies look hopelessly out of nick to me. Clarke, White, David Hussey, Shaun Marsh appears to be worked out. I’m not sure if White has actually middled two balls in a row yet.

      I think the big thing for England is that Morgan looks thoroughly mehhhh. He has been a bit of insurance for them recently.

      Anyway, I wish they’d just stop this series now that someone has won it. The English players deserve some R and R at home before that endless WC starts.

      • Lou – So do those of us who commentate on it too!

  6. gg – I agree on ex-pros. Here’s the law – “Either batsman is out Obstructing the field if he wilfully obstructs or distracts the fielding side by word or action.” (http://www.lords.org/laws-and-spirit/laws-of-cricket/laws/law-37-obstructing-the-field,63,AR.html) What KP did sits four-square within that definition. Usually I’m all for letting the professional umpires do their job, but Smith was close to leading them astray – a commission rather then an omission. The line is fine – I agree.

    • Almost as bad as the old pros are those who hang on their words; some particularly unsightly slavishness is to be seen regularly in GU Towers, for instance. And as for that idiot “Beefy”!

      • Beefy – Oh dear.

        • To be fair, I have found it very useful having Sir Ian in the commentary box when I haven’t the time to sit and watch (and no not for that reason!)
          The thing is you only get one of two Ian’s.
          Smug Ian when England are winning; or
          Whinging Ian when England are losing.
          One whiff of his tone and you know pretty quickly what you have missed.

          • A use for Botham? Who’d have thunk it! True though.

            • Nothing is entirely wasted, it seems.

  7. “…..wilfully obstructs or distracts the fielding side by word or action.” But there would be no one left!

    • And wouldn’t that be nice? Actually, I don’t think batsmen do much sledging do they?

  8. If a batsman runs deliberately between the fieldsman and the stumps, which in my opinion is fair play, then the fieldsman has every right to aim his throw at the batsman. Preferably, at an unprotected part of his anatomy like the back of the knee, the kidneys or the shoulder blades.

    I’ve copped a few in the back in my time and delivered some nasty bruises myself and I’ve no complaints either way.

  9. Looking ahead, my feeling is that the four teams best equiped for the WC are, in alphabetical order, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Next pot are Australia, England and the West Indies, all on a par, more or less. Then New Zealand and Bangladesh, with Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands making a fourth group. On a giid day, the teams in groups 3 and 4 are capaple of giving group 2 or 3 teams a scare, and maybe even beating them. Beyond that, things are unpredictable in the extreme, but I expect that if the draw allows (can’t be bothered checking), my group 1 teams will contest the semis, with India winning in the end.


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