Australia bat all the way down to number 11

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Their problem is that they don’t bat all the way up to number one. The lower order punches above its weight. The tail frequently wags. It’s the rest of the dog that is sick and lifeless.

Lower order resilience can be undervalued – or used as a stick with which to beat failing batsmen – but it is a strength. Australia’s top and middle order don’t need to improve too much to make life very difficult for England, particularly with only one bowler doing much of note thus far.

James Anderson bowled 56 overs in the first Test. A bit more fight from the Aussie batsmen and there’d be little left of Jimmy for Alastair Cook to ‘go to’. That workload alone might even count for something in the second Test on Thursday. Points are there to be laboured, so we’ll once again express our hatred of back-to-back Tests and the fact that they might compromise the performance of any player.

We enjoy watching Jimmy Anderson bowl precisely because he’s so good. Watching him perform at something like 86 per cent of his capability rather undermines that.


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    1. Better bowler better batsman better fielder

      Seems counter intuitive to pick Finn at TB and then Bresnan at Lord’s but sometimes you have to hold your hands up and admit to the poor call

    2. I’d say Lord’s is the one place Finn is likely to take wickets, though.

      I predict they’ll stick with the same team.

    3. In any case, there is no dispute re. Broad’s position, considering his contribution.

  1. I wonder whether batting line-ups that go down to eleven are a bit like amplifiers with volume controls that go up to eleven?

    I wonder whether Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap is related to Phil Tufnell? And if so, I wonder whether Nigel ever had that extra letter in his surname?

    So many questions, so few answers and so little time, especially when the tests come thick and fast like this.

  2. Cricinfo’s headline – Haddin Epitomises Australia Fight – apart from missing an N, is also misleading. In the last 10 years Australia has batted last in six very close matches, and has lost four of them. They’ve had two two-wicket wins, both against SA, but they’ve lost by 14, 13, 7 and 2 runs. This strongly suggests that the modern Australian team has some fighting spirit, but not enough to actually win stuff. To use a Gladiators analogy, they can get all the way round the Eliminator in decent shape, only to stop running right near the top of the Travelator because they think they’ve done it, so ending up in a heap at the bottom. The one thing you can be sure about, it seems, is that Australia will take you very close, and then lose anyway.

    Oh, and also, Australia has now lost five of its last five test matches.

    1. Haddin was last man out, falling short of completing the job. To our eyes, he perfectly epitomises Australian fight in that he fought almost until the end, but not quite.

    2. Another telling stat for this match was that 40% of Australia’s runs came from their 10th wicket partnerships (228). The other 18 wickets added 348, an average of just over 19 per wicket. That’s the hidden trouble with a never-say-die spirit – that you need one in the first place.

    3. Let’s hope at some point they actually do say “die”. I’m not sure I can take much more of this.

    4. Haddin: “A man who had dragged the corpse of the Australian batting line up within 15 runs of victory” according to jrod, who must be the second most eloquent cricket website runner and cricinfo contributerin the country at the moment.

    5. Or, to put it another way, that Australia get far closer to winning than they have any right to.

    6. Can we just have a massive episode of Gladiator for the rest of the series instead?

    7. Australia’s problem is the opposite of the Gladiators analogy. They tend to suffer a critical setback quite early on, such as dismemberment, but then somehow they find a way to start beating opponents with the severed limb before succumbing to shock and blood loss.

    1. Only 6 teams have won by 1 wicket in the last 30 years, so I think your batting skills must be much better than the rest of us.

    1. A former colleague and I used to compare percentages on a daily basis. I reckon I’ve had a good day if I get above 12 per cent.

    2. Of course, you fellas might be wildly overestimating your latent abilities rather than consistently performing below your capabilities.

      You might take great comfort in that possibility. I know I would.

    3. I wouldn’t. The only thing that keeps me going is a steadfast dismissal of reality.

  3. The Sydney Morning Herald says that England don’t have a Warne, but they do have a McGrath.

    1. Indeed, Anthony McGrath, a stout yeoman of decent county standard who got a few gigs for England when the nation’s talent cupboard was less well stocked. Didn’t he hang up his boots last year?

      And in any case, The Sydney Morning Herald’s point is?…

  4. Let’s go leftfield – Bresnan and Onions in for Finn and Bairstow. Bresnan wont score that many less runs than Bairstow, and having 5 bowlers might mean that we dont kill Jimmy before the second week of the Ashes-o-thon is over. They can then go back to 4 bowlers once everyone has had a week off.

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