Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 13, 2015

England vs Australia First Ashes Test – Australia Report Card

Australia's batting on the fourth afternoon

Australia’s batting on the fourth afternoon

Chris Rogers (95, 10) – Upped his boundary count as he notched yet another Test fifty in the first innings, anchoring the Australian reply until his impatience unexpected got the better of him. Looked all at sea in the second dig when Anderson went round the wicket negating the easy leave / tuck off the legs that gets him through the new ball. Like all his batting colleagues, he has some thinking to do before Thursday at Lord’s.

David Warner (17, 52; 2-0-9-0) – Two starts, so he will be angrier than ever to have thrown them away chasing a wide one and missing a straight one. He looks more orthodox at the crease these days, and, denied his slashing cuts by England’s disciplined lines, less likely to change a game in a session. He may need an hour or two on the bowling machine looking for scoring options from a tight, round the wicket line, before taking guard at Lord’s.

Steven Smith (33, 33) – Out twice while set for more of the huge scores that have propelled him to number one in the world batting rankings, Smith can expect more bowling well outside off stump making his working to the legside at best uncomfortable and at worst a liability. After a golden period of form, Cardiff may prove a wake-up call for him to show more patience and reassess his over-enthusiasm to walk towards the ball, rather than letting it come to him

Michael Clarke (38, 4) – Just when he had demonstrated his old athleticism in taking a magnificent diving catch at slip to see off Adam Lyth in England’s second innings, his stiff-backed prod at the ball contributed to his side’s horror Saturday afternoon, one of five wickets surrendered in the session. He was disarmingly honest as ever in the post-match interviews, but he’ll want more application from his batsmen and greater accuracy from his bowlers at Lord’s (and, though he can’t say it just yet, more pace in the pitch).

Adam Voges (31, 1) – After the late but wonderful start to his Test career, the experienced old pro plummeted back to earth with two dismissals at exactly the wrong time for his team. Having looked settled in the first innings, he was out just before the close on Day Two, then, when the collapse was on in the second dig, he touched a regulation delivery through to the keeper. Five is a pivotal slot in the order, especially if Australia continue to play Shane Watson at six, so Voges will be looking to build partnerships as the series progresses.

Shane Watson (30, 19; 8-0-24-0, 5-0-23-0) – Lucky to be selected ahead of the in-form Mitchell Marsh, he did is cause no good at all with two dismissals almost comically predictable, as the front pad lurched towards the ball and the bat followed behind, hopefully. His bowling too, on a pitch made for his wicket-to-wicket mediums, is barely an option these days so do Australia stick or twist with Watson? In the past, the selectors have almost always stuck, but perhaps this may be the time to twist.

Brad Haddin (22, 7; 2ct, 3ct) – His good work on a difficult track for keeping will be lost in the shadow of his one-handed, slightly showy, failed attempt to catch Joe Root on 0, a miss that determined the course of the match and, perhaps, the series. His batting, once so feared, especially by England, looks tired now, his recent run of low scores unsurprising to read. He’ll be 38 in the Autumn and wicket-keeping 100+ overs, then leading the counter-attack with the bat is a physically and mentally demanding gig. Will this be a series too far for the man who pulled off the remarkable feat of following Adam Gilchrist in Ashes Tests with similar results – if rather less grace?

Mitchell Johnson (14, 77; 25-3-111-0, 16-2-69-2) – 22 yards of dry Welsh soil emasculated the fire-breathing dragon of 2013-14, as England were able to treat Johnson as they would any other fast man, rather than as a terror from the Bush. He bowled better than his figures suggest, but with the physical threat diminished, batsmen could get into line and then punish the width that he has, as the old song has it, always offered. Clarke needs his strike bowler striking again and soon.

Mitchell Starc (0, 17; 24.1-4-114-5; 16-4-60-2) – Bowled some jaffas amongst the scattergun spells to show why he is both feared by batsmen around the world, but also pays more than 31 runs for his Test wickets. Showed plenty of heart to keep running in while clearly injured to some extent, and might benefit from a rest this week as Peter Siddle’s nagging line and length may suit the team’s balance better at Lord’s.

Josh Hazelwood (2*, 14; 23-8-83-3, 13-2-49-2) – Lived up to his billing as the next McGrath, Clark iteration, as he hit his lines and lengths and moved the ball just enough to trouble all the batsmen. The tall right-armer took five top order wickets in the match, but was curiously under-bowled by his captain, who seemed to be pining for his champion, the now retired Ryan Harris. If Starc does miss a match or two, Hazlewood can expect more work and England can expect fewer four balls.

Nathan Lyon (6, 0*; 20-4-69-2, 20.1-4-75-4) – A good match for the spinner who got the ball to grip and turn as well and bounce occasionally, picking up five left-handers amongst his six victims. The key to success for Lyon as the series progresses will be his batsmen’s capacity for posting good scores quickly, allowing him to work long spells on the England men without scoreboard pressure tugging at his captain. That’s a comfort his opposite number enjoyed in this match, but it surely won’t stay like that over the whole series.

 

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Responses

  1. At the end of day two I was incline to call Australia’s performance to that point careless. And they were duly punished for their carelessness on day three. But hearing Michael Clarke’s post match talk, I’m starting to wonder if stupid is a more apt descriptor as I try to wrack my brain to remember the “success” he says this style has brought Australia. None of this squad has beaten England away and he’s the only one left who has won in India. I guess hindsight will tell us which of the two is correct.

    It was probably written in the stars that 2 “umpires’ calls” (now where should the apostrophe go on that one?) would end Shane Watson’s career. (My money is on Adam Lyth eventually taking up the mantle of next walking LBW?) Now what is the more pressing need? Replace him with a guy who will most likely bowl 4-8 overs and possibly bat for 20, or a guy who will most likely bowl for 20 and possibly bat for 4-8 overs. I’d like another bowler in there, especially as Clarke seemed so reluctant to give us Starc and Johnson in tandem in Cardif, but then Siddle isn’t seen as ‘the futcha’.

    Very much looking forward to seeing Hazelwood at Lords


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