Has the Australia cricket team bottomed out?

Good leave

On balance, we still think that they already had. Others will argue that being bowled out by New Zealand for 136 represents a further low, but we think it’s an improvement on being bowled out for 47.

That’s how bottoming out works. It’s not like bouncing back. When you bottom out, you’re not at your worst any more, but you’re still very, very close to it.

Australian batting collapses come thick and fast these days. Why is it happening?

Start

A proper collapse by definition starts with the openers, so Australia have got that covered. Since Simon Katich played his last Test this time last year, the openers have scored 15 runs or fewer on 10 occasions. That’s pretty special.

Middle

But the heart of a collapse lies in the middle order. You’d expect Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey to be able to halt a crumbling innings. But they don’t.

Actually, Clarke did stop one – Australia’s first innings at Newlands was essentially a collapse with an intermission, so we can consider that another black mark against Ponting and Hussey.

These guys hadn’t appeared in too many collapses until recently, so what’s changed? We don’t think age makes much difference, particularly for Clarke. Age is just an easy, catch-all explanation. We also doubt whether it’s lack of faith in the bowlers. The Newlands collapse happened with a first innings lead of almost 200 and South Africa having been dismissed for 96.

So why then? The mere presence of Brad Haddin? The metrosexualisation of Australian society?

Ending?

Maybe it is age. Maybe a minuscule slowing of reflexes isn’t exposed on a flat pitch or against the old ball, whereas on the occasions when the ball does a bit and the top order fails it suddenly makes the difference between survival and dismissal.

If the top order weren’t dog shit, maybe the old guys in the middle order would be knocking out hundreds and we wouldn’t even be mentioning their age. Problem is, the top order IS dog shit, so what do you do?

In our eyes, the middle order could work, the top order doesn’t. Our solution is that Australia should pick Mark Cosgrove and we’re not being dissuaded from this by the fact that he hasn’t scored any runs this season.

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21 Appeals

  1. Ed Cowan in for Hughes, David Hussey to finally get a chance in the muddle order. Surely that would basically solve everything as if by magic?

  2. (*middle order – my phone’s made a scathing Freudian slip…)

  3. Firstly, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha …

    Secondly, part of the reason it is so funny is that it is bloody obvious. Can Phil Hughes be an opener? I don’t know, so let’s give him 15 tests to find out. Oh, the answer is no. So shall we drop him? No, let’s pick an identical untried batsman to partner him. This is always the best way – if there’s a hole in the dam wall the optimum approach is to make another one.

    Thirdly, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha …

    • King Cricket

      December 10, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      If Hughes is c Guptill b Martin for three in the second innings, it would be so bloody-minded to select him for the next Test, we’d feel a genuine sense of admiration for those responsible.

  4. it’s simple. they’re just not as good as they used to be.

    all the best things in life are simple.

  5. Its rather sad to see great sportsmen fading, refusing to accept their best days are behind them. In cricket, the failures of the batsman, are, unfortunately, more visible than that of the bowler. Ponting has the added difficulty of batting on lively pitches most of the time – Tendulkar is still offered quite a few dustbowls (his failure in England was no accident). There is nothing wrong or shameful about this. It is sad, though. As sad as seeing an old, shaking Mohammed Ali being pummelled by Larry Holmes.

  6. Didn’t Sachin make two centuries in the South Africa series (3 match series) before coming to England? and those were played on pacy pitches, weren’t they?

  7. Nah, the collapses have been going on for about three years or so? Punter, Huss and Clarke are old hands at them now. Won’t get any of them to admit it’s anyone but the bowlers fault though.

    • True, true. But Clarke does have the capacity to bounce back, I think.

    • There were one or two collapses even in 2005.

      Slow, inevitable decline is so much more enjoyable to watch than the catastrophe-induced sort.

      Revenge…cold…

  8. What with Phil Hughes continuing to suck, it’s about time Katich came out and said something smug.

  9. c Guptill b Martin 20

  10. 159/2
    199/9

  11. Without making excuses (hell there are NO excuses for being unable to play the moving ball) I would like to point out the following:
    a) Bellerive oval is below sea level
    b) High tide was just before 9am (it’s been around 8am most of the test)

    Cossie may well have been the solution for this test as it’s his current home ground, and he watches the bloody ball. Can we sack the top order now (except Warner, and maybe Clarke)?

  12. Wolf’s posting reminds me so much of England fan talk throughout the 1990’s, I literally want to crack a bottle of Champers this morning, tell the boss to get stuffed, bunk work and watch the highlights.

    Except that I hate Champers, work for myself and don’t really like watching highlights of matches when I know the result.

    I metaphorically want to…

    • England Fan Talk

      Dial 0898 043043 to hear genuine 1990s England fans talking the way you want them to.

      Want to talk about Ian Salisbury? They can do that. Need to discuss the selection policy? Mmm, they’re there for you. Drawing a test with Zimbabwe? They know just how you feel about that, and they can give you the relief you need.

      New special XXX line – Ashes in the 90s – Real Australians on the line to humiliate you. You know you want it.

  13. What a series.

    I can’t wait for the deciding Test.

    What?

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