An Australian bowling attack unsuited to Australian conditions

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'Please keep me away from that thing'

You’ve got to break partnerships in Australia. You’ve got to somehow take wickets when the ball ain’t doin’ a right lot.

This Australia bowling attack seems ill-suited to the task. Today one wicket fell – to Marcus North. No matter how flat the pitch, no Australian bowling attack should completely fail over the course of an entire day, but this one did. They even had a big first innings lead to help them apply pressure.

So what are they lacking? Basically, all of the qualities that England always look out for in their bowlers, having learnt from many days just like this one in previous Ashes series.


Australia don’t have a ganglatron of metronomy like Glenn McGrath or Stuart Clark. Their pace bowlers are all over six foot, but elite sport rewards the freaks and there’s no-one you’d spot in a pub and think ‘Jesus!’ about. Their tallest bowler, Mitchell Johnson, entirely negates his height by delivering the ball from about mouth height


We get the impression that the speed guns at the Gabba are less generous than some others. They might even be accurate. Johnson is the quickest Aussie bowler and he’s hovering around the mid-eighties with the occasional ball hitting 90mph (144kph). It’s quick, but not terrifying. More pertinently, it’s not negate-the-pitch quick.

Mystery spin

The mystery is how a worthy but essentially mediocre finger spinner like Xavier Doherty ever ended up playing for Australia. To make a Matthew Hayden style statement: his presence is fading the fabric of the Baggy Green.

All are very good bowlers

But none is good enough to operate effectively on a batting track when the sun’s out. It’s probably Johnson’s job to break a partnership on those days, but the unpredictability that is his strength is a last resort for Australia in the absence of the above qualities elsewhere in the attack. Unpredictability is not the greatest strength.


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  1. Well I for one thoroughly enjoyed watching that Aussie bowling attack in action. Long may they continue, I say.

  2. Hear hear, Ged.

    My two Australian pals have drawn different conclusions from what we’ve seen so far:

    Aussie 1 – The series will finish 0 – 0

    Aussie 2 – Australia will win because Siddle will get a first innings hat-trick in each match.

    Now I realise that these are in effect the same conclusion, but they are right. This Australian attack looks like it needs a fluke like a hat-trick to be seriously damaging. The question is (for some of us, at least) is this also true of the English attack?

    Apropos of this match, the situation is exactly the same as The Oval 2005 – England with a slim lead going into day 5, nine wickets in hand, Aussies still to bat. So if anyone thinks it’s over, just remember the tension of that day as McGrath and Warne ripped through the batti… oh, hold on, I’ve spotted a difference.

  3. I used to think there were only two sure things in life, one was a nurse and the other was death. In 2005 I added a third whihc was the certainty that Glenn McGrath would always predict a 5-0 whitewash. I am now pleased to add a fourth, Glenn will always be wrong!
    While I am appealing I would just like to observe, in a stuffy MCC traditionalist kind of way that high fiving from England bowlers having got Hussey out for 195 was only matched by those reciprocating towards Marcus North, that penetrating first change of the Aussie attack ,on getting the only wicket of the day at 188.
    Straussy was clearly knackered and looking to get others some battiing practice ahead of Adelaide!

  4. There were cracks in the wicket, and the Aussies just couldn’t find them. A bit of pace would have helped aswell i feel – as you say, there is just nothing scary in that attack!

  5. “We still need to get nine wickets and that seems a long way away at the moment. But there’s definitely still quite a bit of hope for us.”

    – Shane Watson (2010).

  6. The irony is they do have Stuart Clark don’t they? They just don’t want to pick him. If I was Ponting I’d have been crying out for Clark over the last 18 months. Even if he was only in and around the squad he might be able to teach the likes of Johnson how to bowl straight and stay patient….

  7. Hang on Bert, we can’t get too sniffy about facial hair with KP strutting about like a moustachioed peacock.

  8. I agree, SW. I don’t want to be partisan about it. And I realise also that all moustaches need to go through the phase on view at the moment before they can become the full Graham. But the proper time to be in this phase is when no-one can see you. The fact that they both did this in time for the biggest test match of the year suggests that this is the look they are after.

    I can only conclude that they have both lost their passport / ID card, and they therefore need some other method of proving that they are old enough to drink.

  9. I’m now in Rosslare as I will be getting the ferry home tomorrow.
    It is snowing outside.
    I have in my room
    1. wifi (hurrah! no more sitting in random corridors)
    2. a pint of Guiness (this may become several)
    3. a family packet of a German version of Frazzles.
    All is set for the final day.

    I can sleep on the ferry.

  10. We had some Frazzles yesterday. First time in ages.

    We have Bacon Fries quite often. They are different.

  11. I was of the opinion that the facial furniture was all part of Movember and raising money for Charidee. It’s very big in Australia, and let’s face it even the Aussies are capable of seeing that they look colossal bloody fools.

    I prefer the Charidee angle

  12. I’ve been dozing with Test Match Sofa in my ear (no Test Match Special again on 5 Live sports extra in Ireland).
    I’ve surfaced to find that we’re 487-1 and the 300 partnership is up.
    How did that happen?
    Who of you has sold their soul to the devil?
    Tight – if it’s you, remember that selling your soul can’t be repeated to save the next Test.

  13. Test match pitches these days are a disgrace.
    The (economic) desire for every test match to go to day5 means shed loads of batting-fests; India v NZ, SL v WI, SA v Pak, Ashes.
    The double ton is the new 100.
    A team can afford to fold in the first innings and then bat the shit out of the match in the 2nd.
    I love test match cricket but this is complete dog shit.

  14. nope.
    obviously not english either.
    i dislike (or like if you’re a positive kinda guy) both teams fairly equally but if pushed would rather england wins.
    I did reference a few other recent series which have fuelled my anger towards flat pitches.
    there are a many a big hundred being scored at the moment in drawn matches; Gayle, AB De V, mccullum, Cook, Sanga.

  15. oh – just to add to that, in the other recent series, one side should have dominated the other but the roads they playing on made it impossible.

    “Roads? Where we’re going we dont need roads”

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