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Cricket XIX - Australian Hundreds and Other Myths


Stubby

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Bloody hell that was nerve racking for a while, if Australia had won that I'm not sure I would have been particularly confident about England winning the series. Really good test match in the end though and given how competitive Australia have been in the last couple of games I think it's looking like the series in Australia should be pretty good.

It's strange to say it after all the talk of him carrying England's bowling after Trent Bridge but with that series in mind it might be worth resting Anderson for the next test. Broad was excellent over the course of the test, Swann and Bresnan were reasonable but I thought Anderson was poor. I think that's as badly as I've seen him bowl for a few years and he looked jaded in the previous two tests as well.

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I can't remember the last time a game was so topsy-turvy in the space of a day. Maybe Trent Bridge? At the start of play it looked like England would cruise to victory, then Harris destroyed the lineup, then the tail got the total back up, then Warner got going... at 5pm I thought it was a done deal. My nerves are shredded.

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That was a fantastic match. I think Hereward and the X's chose the right day to go.

It must be crushing for the Australians, this is the third time in the series they've got themselves into sight of a victory and they've nothing to show for it. I think this might be the most painful, since that was an epic batting collapse after Warner and Rogers had built a great platform. Admittedly, there was some great bowling from Broad but there were some weak dismissals there and they did seem to panic towards the end.

It's strange to say it after all the talk of him carrying England's bowling after Trent Bridge but with that series in mind it might be worth resting Anderson for the next test. Broad was excellent over the course of the test, Swann and Bresnan were reasonable but I thought Anderson was poor. I think that's as badly as I've seen him bowl for a few years and he looked jaded in the previous two tests as well.

It is a bit odd how Anderson fell out of form so suddenly, although England were lucky that Broad stepped up to take his place. I suspect there won't be any changes for the final match, although it's possible Tremlett could come in on his home ground (Onions has just broken his finger so wouldn't be in contention).

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I wouldn't be surprised if Anderson is still feeling the niggles of that endless spell at Trent Bridge; he hasn't looked the same since then. Hopefully the chance to put his feet up for a while, before Australia if not before the Oval, will help.

England have shown, today and in the past, that they don't need Anderson per se, but I think everyone feels a hell of a lot more comfortable with him fit and playing. Which, if I'd said six or seven years ago, I'd have been laughed out of the room for, but still.

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I wouldn't be surprised if Anderson is still feeling the niggles of that endless spell at Trent Bridge; he hasn't looked the same since then. Hopefully the chance to put his feet up for a while, before Australia if not before the Oval, will help.

I'd forgotten about his epic bowling effort earlier in the series, but you're right that it could have taken a lot out of him.

England have shown, today and in the past, that they don't need Anderson per se, but I think everyone feels a hell of a lot more comfortable with him fit and playing. Which, if I'd said six or seven years ago, I'd have been laughed out of the room for, but still.

I'm not sure what would have been more implausible back in 2006, that Jimmy Anderson would be one of the most consistently dangerous bowlers in world cricket or that Ian Bell would be England's best bet when they needed someone to rescue an innings.

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George Dobell this morning taking another opportunity to suggest that England could really do with five bowlers rather than four. This five bowlers nonsense is really starting to get my wick now. I'm not even sure where it's coming from. Perhaps it's because England used five bowlers in 2005 and that was good or something? Since the start of the Flower era, it's been the batsmen that have lost matches; only at the Oval last year did the bowlers really fail. Nor have England drawn a lot of matches they should have won thanks to lacklustre bowling: most of the matches they've drawn they've either been on the losing end, or a result was never on the cards thanks to pitch or weather. It's the batting that needs reinforcement, surely, not the bowling.

Nor is it as if five bowlers has been a magic formula throughout history. West Indies (70s-80s edition) and Australia (90s-00s edition) used four bowlers almost exclusively. 1948 Australia, England in the 50s and West Indies in the 60s did use five bowlers, but had the advantage of a genuine all-rounder (all-time greats in the case of Australia and WI, highly capable in England's). England right now do not have such a player, so behaving as if they do is pretty pointless. England's most successful series in recent times have come using four bowlers.

To get around the all-rounder issue some commentators have previously suggested that Prior should move up to six as he's good enough to play as a specialist. Even when he was in form this didn't look like a winner of an idea, but surely it can be entirely discarded now?

But apart from anything else, I'm not sure the evidence supports the central hypothesis: that using four bowlers places unnecessary strain on each of them. England have probably been fortunate with bowling injuries of late, but are yet to sustain any serious damage from using four bowlers only. Anderson's being lacklustre after being overbowled at Trent Bridge is speculation, not fact. Moreover, the very series the five-bowler crowd always keep going back to (2005) saw a career-ending injury to an England bowler even in a five-bowler unit, which suggests that increasing the number of bowlers doesn't necessarily help anyway.

Over the years I have gone from being intrigued by this suggestion, to dismissive, to exasperated, to table-gnawing fury whenever I see it mentioned. I apologise for inflicting it on you lot.

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Terrible defeat...to get so close and then spectacularly collapse is worse than getting wiped out entirely. Rogers and Warner did such great work to get us within striking distance, their partnership effectively meant we were only really chasing 190 and we still comfortably lost.

Re: the fifth bowling, it has been a bit of a fetish in the past decade with the Australian team too (Watson). Australia did it because we were desperate to uncover our own Flintoff after 2005. Added to Adelstein's argument about history proving four bowlers is enough, the over rates these days are so slow that you aren't going to bowl 90 in a day anyway, so theoretically at least there should be even less of a workload for the average bowler.

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What a fantastic day. Sorry Durham, but I'm sure you can restock your alcohol stores over time.

Good to hear you had a good time, bro. Honestly surprised that none of you had a stroke or heart attack of some kind what with all the ups and downs yesterday!

Edit: It feels somehow wrong calling Hereward "bro." Sorry Hereward.

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So I have now confirmed it after enquiring about what was being worn etc. Laoise and I saw X-Ray in the crowd on day 4.

A pair of Aussies in Perth picked an American out of the crowd, on TV, during a test match in Durham. Go figure.

Dunno who the old bloke sitting next to X-Ray was.

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No, she was dressed as the honey monster.

PS Stubby, I now regard you in the same spirit of friendship and mutual respect as Clarke does to Watto.

I'm hurt, mate. Hurt.

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