Posted by: tootingtrumpet | January 14, 2012

Australia vs India Day Two – The Final Over of the Day

David Warner unwinds after his brilliant innings

Ball One – Like Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting is in the twilight of a glorious career and, like Rahul Dravid, he is getting bowled more often than he would like – more often than he should. Yes Umesh Yadav is slippery, yes he’s got a decent ball early in his innings and yes he’s been out all through his career pushing hard at the ball with his head falling to off, but he looked beaten for pace too, late on the shot. Perhaps that’s what happens when a 37 year-old fronts up to a 24 year-old, no matter who the 37 year-old is.

Ball Two – Hit on the head, hit on the arm, dropped (horribly) by Virat Kohli at first slip, David Warner just blocks it or hits it (he doesn’t leave many) and runs like a hare. Then there’s the gum chewing, the narrowing of the eyes and the teeth bared in what might be a smile and might be a grimace. He is the personification of the romantic Australian image of an Australian. Michael Clarke – at the other end – isn’t, but he’s finding a different route into Australian hearts. Both are their own men and have grown in the last twelve months into cricketers of substance.

Ball Three – Ian Chappell on commentary with Ian Healy is the aural equivalent of Sachin Tendulkar batting with Chris Martin. Chappelli is spiky, sometimes offensive and often unpredictable, but he knows his cricket and he knows how to communicate that knowledge pithily and seriously. He’s 68 now, but that’s relatively youthful in the Channel Nine box.

Ball Four – All my lifetime, the WACA has been a venue that rewards positive batting and positive bowling. Pitches should vary around the world, but it should not be beyond the ken of modern science to analyse the composition of the WACA’s soil, variety of grass and the approach to preparation by the groundstaff and adapt that knowledge to local conditions and get a little WACA into the roads that too often reward ordinary batting. Pace, bounce and a little help for bowlers as the match progresses – that’s the ideal for a Test strip.

Ball Five – It’s easier said than done, but bowlers really need to concentrate on the last ball of the over. In the 58th of the Australian innings, Ishant Sharma had logged five dot balls and then delivered a wide half-volley that Mike Hussey merely had to meet with the bat to send it through the covers for four. It was a double release of pressure, as Hussey was on just two at the time and would have felt a lot better for a boundary notched.

Ball Six – Australia have seldom gone into a series with so inexperienced a opening pair as Cowan and Warner, who had just 72 matches between them coming into this Test. But their stand of 214 is the difference between the sides – take them out of the match and India’s 161 does not look so dismal compared to Australia’s 99-6. Batting in partnerships has never been more important than during this curious spell of low scores in Test cricket.



  1. Healy is unlistenable. Still that is what the ABC is for.

    Not sure on Warner being the personification. It’s the stoic fighter we love best – Border, Waugh, Boon etc. Who get hit, leave and play angry slashing cuts. Compared to his distinct, perhaps unique, ADD smashing over extra cover approach. Terrific knock, four of the seven fastest tons at the WACA? Gayle, Gilly and Warner in recent years. Shame Sehwag cant get going at all, thanks to Hilf.

    Significant credit to the Australian bowling this Summer. Mcdermott lengths? HIlf is a man renewed, you can just tell from watching his action without even bothering to see what it does. Siddle has taken a surprising step into maturity, l hope it lasts. Patto is extremely promising. Cummins also. Harris is a pro and probably the best bowler in the country when fit. Still think Starc is very raw.

    • Well Brett, you’re better placed than me to judge the Aussieness, but Warner has something for sure!

      Very impressed with Aus bowling stocks. Hilf looks close to the stumps and balanced through the crease, Siddle has accepted that he’s not a genuine quick and is looking for movement and Starc gets one top order bat out with a lifter and another with one that curved late – exciting stuff. And Pattinson and Cummins might be better again! I don’t think Peter George will get another Test!

  2. Re: Warner, he did play an exciting innings, and I would rate the ton against the Kiwi attack better, but I find it difficult to imagine him doing it against the England test attack, or the SA one, or the Pakistani one.

    Ed Cowan, on the other hand, could become the kind of batsmen who would protect Warner initially against genuinely good test bowling..and allow Warner to settle down before launching his lofted shots.

    But, two world class pacemen consistently bowling short deliveries aimed at Warner’s rib cage, and mixing them up with full swinging ones..I doubt Warner can survive that.

    A pity India doesn’t have such bowlers. The bigger pity for India of course, is its batting.

    • Kumar – It’s hard to find many positives for India, but at least they didn’t fold today.

      I think Warner might be the real deal.

      • How will the Indian transition unfold? When will it start? Laxman, much as l love him, is surely ready to depart?

        Kohli is showing something l think.

        • The Indian transition is likely to start at the end of this series when both Dravid and VVS will be dropped/asked to announce their retirement.Tendulkar will be allowed to retire when he wants to.He still is the best batsman in the country.

          No one knows what to do with Sehwag. Even Sehwag himself.

          • I think you’re right Kumar. Sehwag should watch some videos of when he slows down (often after making a hundred) and blocks a few.

  3. Ball four: interesting and debatable question: would we rather have every pitch in the world the exact same, all of them rewarding positive bowling and batting? Or would we rather have every pitch be completely different, as they are now?

    Quite honestly, I don’t know what I would choose.

    Ball five: and this is nitpicking: wouldn’t it be better if this one was listed under ball six?

    • I suspect that there would be enough variation in atmospherics and deterioration if all pitches started with pace and bounce.

      Re Ball Five- Ha! You’re right. The Final Over of the Day is deliberately impressionistic – just a stone skimming the surface of the play, so these anomalies do crop up from time to time. (I don’t do a match report – they are done everywhere online and much better than I could manage).

      • The lack of consistent high heat and low humidity in other places of the world would almost certainly prevent them from getting a wicket as hard and fast as Perth. Not that there aren’t places in the world that couldn’t prepare Perth-like decks with the right soil: Pakistan, Zimbabwe, UAE, probably others. I’m not that big a fan of the Perth soil anyway, as it tends to crack alarmingly in extreme heat. Even the high (mid-30s) heat this year has opened up some ugly looking fissures.

        • Speaking of the WACA pitch cracking alarmingly, I saw this the other day (apparently from a 2nd XI game):

          • Ridiculous – but an obvious error on the part of the groundstaff. Even The Oval in 2009 looked better than that!

  4. Ball 3 – good analogy! I always find myself paying attention when Chappelli is commentating, and ever since he walked out on John Howard in the commentary box, he’s has plenty of credit in my book.

    On a tangent, did anyone notice this incredibly stupid statement–

    ”What we are aware of is the very, very strong culture within the Australian team and throughout international and national Australian cricket, male and female,” a CA spokesman said. ”It’s just an article of faith that it’s un-Australian to contemplate some of the things we have seen happening in sport overseas.”

    Unfortunately it is not un-Australian to come out with reasoning like that. I think I’d probably risk starting a fight to slap that down if I heard it in a pub just before closing time, but coming from someone who is responsible for preventing and detecting corruption it is really quite breath-taking.

  5. l must say l smirked to myself when Haddin was caught flat-footed again. Certainly not the time for him to be mouthing off.

  6. The key to this test has been Warner’s onslaught in the 3rd session on day 1. Even if Australia were 0 for 80 at the end of day 1 they may have played differently and struggled to 250 and the game could have been tougher to win. Having someone like Sehwag (yes I know his form is dire) or Gayle (would love to see him back in test cricket) at the top of the order is such an advantage.

    With all the talk of Haddin replacements, Luke Ronchi doesn’t get mentioned. Until now!

    • Only one real partnership in the match and that dominated by one player. And the two most inexperienced batsmen put it together. Bravo for them.

  7. “Then there’s the gum chewing, the narrowing of the eyes and the teeth bared in what might be a smile and might be a grimace. He is the personification of the romantic Australian image of an Australian.”

    Only an Englishman would write that. We’re not in the 1960’s anymore. Clarke is more representative of Australia now. It comforts the English to maintain this patronising image of strong but basically crude Aussies. Of course they are good at sport, what else do they do?

    GM, I’d be very interested to see or hear IC walk out on Howard, I missed that, is there a link?

    • I heard an interview with him some time ago (forgotten where) where he spoke about it. He had visited one of the prisons for asylum seekers and decided it was just wrong to treat humans like that.

      This article suggests it started with the Tampa incident:

      “Chappell had once walked out of a commentary box during a Test in Sydney when Howard entered, in protest after Afghan boat refugees were refused entry to Australia.
      A repeat of the walk-out in Cardiff was averted only because Chappell was being presented with an ICC Hall of Fame cap on the field while Howard was being interviewed by Agnew in the radio booth. In fact Chappell had made sure he was out of Howard’s way by listening in through an earpiece to establish the former PM’s whereabouts.
      Chappell’s loathing of Howard stems from the appalling treatment meted out to asylum seekers trying to enter Australia. Chappell has been a high-profile activist for better treatment of asylum seekers by the Australian Government, in particular its policy of mandatory detention.”

      • Thanks GM.
        I’ve always thought Chappell had a nice mix of attitude and knowledge, and had always enjoyed listening to his opinion.
        His despisal of the immigration policy and Howard can only increase my respect.
        My favorite comment of his was around the time brother Greg was sacked in India apparently for being too opinionated, and he said “opinions were served up with the cornflakes in the Chappell family”. They would have been fun breakfasts.

        • Good to read that about Chappelli. He comes across as a man with his own mind who was prepared to take on authority for what he believed was right inb Gideon Haigh’s book The Cricket War (on WSC and Packer).

          • I always assumed he was a bit of a redneck deep down till that happened. I also like that he doesn’t grandstand about it, just treats it as a private matter.

            I liked (/was horrified by) his story about his father berating him as a 14 y.o. for being scared of getting hit while he was batting. He’d filled in as a No.11 for his dad’s team in grade cricket and stayed in long enough for the game to be won. He was expecting praise, but just got stony silence, until his dad said “As long as you’re scared of the ball, you’re not playing again.”

            Obviously his dad should have given him some praise too, but I suspect Phil Hughes would be a complete batsman if he’d had the same advice at that age.

  8. Nesta, have you retired from cricket blogging?

  9. Fred – you should, I hope, know me better as you have had the good grace to read and comment on my scribblings for years now. The adjective “romantic” is there for a reason. Like all countries, all institutions, there is a reality and a mythic construct of how reality might be – many in fact. John Terry is a million miles from the personification of Englishness, yet he is one version of a romantic version of Englishness – not one to which I would subscribe.

    I know as well as any person who has not been fortunate enough to visit Aus that its culture is as diverse these days as any nation’s and could never be captured by one person. That won’t stop Warner becoming very hot marketing property at least partly for reasons I allude to above though, will it?

    • To be fair, your writing is usually more nuanced than to deal in stereotypes.
      I’d just dipped my toe back in the guardian cricket coverage and was a bit exercised by the usual attitudes there, so you probably got a comment that was provoked by someone else. The arrogance on those pages is tempting me to rejoin the debate, but it’s probably not worth the toss.
      Yes, I’m sure the PR people will make the most of him, that’s what they do. His is a pretty extraordinary tale so far. Will be interesting to see act 2, or if he follows the Phil Hughes path.

      • Cheers Fred. The Guardian can be very good, but it can grate – as all blogs do – when the posters get carried away. That doesn’t happen too often these days and Clarke, Pattinson, Hilfy, Warner and Cummins have been getting a lot of praise. Even Siddle I think!

        • I expect the posters to be of mixed quality, but it was actually the paid journalists I was referring to.

          • The Guardian’s coverage is often superb, but I guess there can be misjudgements everywhere

            • I was going to let this pass because I’ve long given up on Guardian cricket. But then I read this, and decided to call you out, I’d appreciate you explaining why the Guardian’s coverage is often superb:
              When is the last time the Guardian posted something like this? Would any writer there be capable? The Guardian is mostly full of attitude, juvenile humour, and in-jokes, with an occasional glimpse of cricket. Cricket deserves better, and thankfully it has cricinfo.

              • “The off-spinner has a conventional round-arm (action), and it doesn’t seem to be a threat but the doosra is the delivery that the batsmen are all struggling with. The authorities are now allowing these mystery spinners, unorthodox off-spinners, to bend their elbow,” complained a clearly irked Bob Willis.

                What is wrong with this? Everyone knows that the doosra requires a kinked arm that may or may not be within the 15% limit and that some bowlers have been cleared and some needed remedial work.

                The article sets up a straw man and demolishes it when there is nothing there. I’ve watched doosras bowled at The Oval from behind the arm and the flexing is there for all to see, so why can’t it be talked about?

                Selvey, Smyth, Bull, Marks and Wilson at the Gurdian wouldn’t expend all that energy going over old ground based on so flimsy a quote.

  10. My point was not actually about Ajmal and his delivery, or the words of Willis, it was about the very detailled description of spin technique which followed. I couldn’t imagine that being written in the Guardian.
    I really don’t want to get into the 15 degrees debate, long sleeves, or the wisdom and motives of Willis for raising this, that’s a whole other debate. I just enjoyed the writers exposition of spin technique.

    • Fair enough Fred – I wasn’t overly impressed, but I was my Wasim’s explanation of pace here –

      • Yes I enjoyed that one too, although seeing the photo at the top of the article I expected him to be talking about his favourite ice cream flavour, best film he’s ever seen, first love…it’s like they posed him for a teen magazine!
        Interesting comments, interesting the importance of the senior bowlers he learnt from, and his attitude of just doing what he was told. I susepct he is being a tad modest there. I guess it was just when he was younger.

        • He has a film star look up close! Pollock says the same thing about talking to Maco.

  11. that was a long but interesting article

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