Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 2, 2012

The Final Over of the Day England vs Australia Second ODI

But is he now kissing his career goodbye?

Ball One – There’s nothing worse than the media complaining about their facilities – after all, we don’t pay (nor queue) to come in and the food and drink is very palatable. At The Oval, however, there is a drawback – it’s very hard to see from the Press Box. Quite how this state of affairs came about is a mystery, as The Oval is otherwise very well appointed, especially for members.

Ball Two – Shane Watson’s pre-series jibe that England’s balance wasn’t quite right was hardly McGrathian in its confidence, but it did carry a bit of a sting. He was obviously eyeing the opportunity that would arise if one of England’ s frontline bowlers had an off-day (or was lined up by a batsman) and a sixth bowler was required. Most limited overs sides have options  – Watson himself is often a sixth bowler for Australia – but nobody in England’s batting unit lends themselves to fiddling though four or five overs for 20 or so. Except Ravi Bopara, who found a length that meant the ball was never quite there to hit, and a line that kept the batsmen honest. It was another example of Ravi’s potential – a strange word to use of a man who has played international cricket for five years.

Ball Three – Though it’s hard to judge a pitch until both sides have had a bat, Australia have been content to knock the ball around for much of the first 38 overs of their innings. It’s a strangely unAustralian forbearance, somewhat old-fashioned in its approach of holding on to wickets in readiness for a late thrash. It could also be read as a tribute to the strength of England’s bowling and to Eoin Morgan’s template-setting innings on Friday at Lord’s.

Ball Four – Have you ever met anyone over the age of about 12 who says that they like the music at the cricket? There’s a full house here, it’s England vs Australia and the game is evenly balanced as Australia approach the end of their innings. If that’s not enough for spectators to feel a sense of excitement, they’re watching the wrong game.

Ball Five – What to do about Mitchell Johnson? Not so long ago, he was World Cricketer of the Year and was amongst the most feared pacemen in the game. Now he suffers the cruel songs and crueller cheers of England fans every time he comes on to bowl. The threat is still there, but he’s like a spinner who has lost his stock delivery – there’s just not enough between the wicket-taking balls and the four balls.

Ball Six – The sightscreen at the pavilion end has two levels – a large black screen and a square tarpaulin that hangs down the scaffolding erected for the television cameras. Inexplicably, between these two components, are seats for about a dozen spectators. Whether moving or not, it was inevitable that these spectators would catch the batsmen’s eye and provoke hold-ups in play. With plenty of seats available on the top level, the stewards should have moved them.

You can tweet me at @garynaylor999



  1. Oh I really like the Oval. It’s so easy to get around and great for spectating , but I didn’t know that about the press box. That’s weird.

    Aussies are being utterly outplayed by a more talented and committed team. I was guffawing at Bailey and Watson’s partnership yesterday. We all know that Watson can’t rotate the strike but I wasn’t aware that Bailey can’t either. The bowling was good but not brilliant, the wicket was a bit too short format for that but I think it’s more about the Australian personnel not being up to it. They can’t do anything about that and I thought they did well to get to 251 considering where they were by the 35th over.

  2. Not sure they are being that out played. Definitely in game 2, but I thought they engineered their own demise in game 1.
    What the first game should be doing is again raising to the public consciousness the question “what is the point of Steve Smith?”
    At least with guys like Johnson or Watson, you can see why they are their. They may not be able to deliver, but you can see what the management want from them.
    I don’t think that could ever have been said of Smith.
    I also need to call into question the wisdom of management putting Smith in at the start of powerplay 3 when Australia still had their back up opener in Wade available. At the fall of Hussey, Australia were still favourites in game 1, but putting Smith in pretty much wasted the power play, and for all Morgan’s play in the final 4 overs was the biggest difference in the end (2/17 v 0/40 for England in PP3 and the run rate went from 6 with a PP in hand to 7).

    • Smith was slogging it around against ropey bowling in the IPL so I guess they were expecting that he would be able to belt it around in England. He can’t of course, but I think the expectation is that he should be able to.

  3. I don’t mind the music. I won’t say I enjoy it, but it soothes the breaks in play. I’d add two caveats though: 1) the sound system has to be good. The MCG’s used to be terrible, so the sound was somewhere between inaudible and headache-inducing; the renovations have made it perfect everywhere. 2) Music during overs has to respect the context. To date I’ve not seen music DJs appreciate the difference between home and away events, or the subtleties of play. It is music for music’s sake, whereas music at American sports tends to be well constructed.

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