Australia’s fresh bowlers deliver fresh pies

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< 1 minute read

Australia were probably down to their third-string attack in the third Test. We’re not sure how deep ‘bench strength’ needs to be these days, but they might want to stay shallower next time they play.

This bowling attack was Australia’s choice, but Mitchell Johnson is basically a bowling machine set to ‘wide long-hop’ and he was probably the best of the bunch. Mitchell Starc went hours in the second innings without bowling a ball at the stumps and we don’t even know what John Hastings is.

We assumed Hastings was one of those all-rounders who does the donkey work and keeps it tight – the kind of player New Zealand always seem to produce – but it turns out he’s not much of a batsman and he went for plenty of runs, so we’re still pretty much in the dark.

Someone said Australia had loads of fantastic young fast bowlers

Someone’s confused ‘promising’ with ‘fantastic’. Australia have a bunch of young quicks who are being talked up by various pundits at the minute, but sometimes the general volume of talk remains the same whether there’s something to talk about or not.

Few of these bowlers have really been tested and most can’t bowl for more than half-an-hour without fracturing a hip or contracting jaundice or something. They’re inexperienced too. They’re good bowlers, but you can’t just pick four of them and then expect to have a Test bowling attack.

What about South Africa?

They were pretty immense really. Australia threw everything at them in the second Test and they just took it. They then returned the favour in the third Test and Australia promptly crumpled like a wet paper Superman when subjected to a kryptonite barrage.


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  1. Cricinfo pointed out that the SA 2nd innings was only the third time in test history that all ten wickets were taken by bowlers with the same first name. Test cricket is defined by such meaningless stuff as this. This question (what were the other two occasions) has delighted me and my test-loving friends all day.

    We think we’ve got one of them (it depends on whether ours is technically allowed or not), and we’ve got a likely country for the other. Any thoughts?

    1. Well then surely if one bowler taking 10 on his own counts, that’s both your two previous examples, not just one of them, or am I being dim? Jim and Anil?

    2. Isn’t the clue in the ‘bowlers with the same name’ as in two Mitchells, two James’ etc?

      As to who they are I have no idea!!!

      I would love it if they are obscure gems such as two ‘Winstons’…

    3. Fantastic question. I’ve found one (which is ancient) and I’ve got a maybe on the other (the names sound the same but are spelled differently).

      Are you guys still working on this, or shall I post my answers?

    4. Go for it Ed – I’m keen to know. But maybe others are less keen. To avoid any trouble and violence, write your answers in code.

    5. Thanks Bert… um… #98 and #939? It’s not a very good code. And I’m drunk right now so I might well have got it wrong. Work tomorrow is going to be a total shambles.

  2. Australia lost the match before they set foot in the field. The only explanation I can come up with is they were so overwhelmed by Ricky’s decision that they really didn’t bother about much else. But that sounds fake.

  3. Australia needed more left arm seamers. Taking all 2nd innings wickets. Makes you wonder what Alan Mulally would have done to the saffers.

    1. Actually the fall of wickets at the end of the second innings showed why this South African team is number 1.
      South Africa wanted quick runs to declare and have a shot at Australia before stumps. The players were swinging wildly at the short, wide crap delivered by the Mitchell’s in an attempt to get those runs when in normal circumstances they would have let a lot of those deliveries go.
      The players were more focused on doing what was needed for the team than worrying about their own averages. That is why this team is so hard to beat, and why they will likely stay at the top for a little longer still.

    2. Starc got a lot of wickets caught in the deep off bouncers. That said, his main weapon is to inswing at the right handers’ off stump, so still it’s nice to see a bowler who can do two things.

      Johnson however really showed why he’s useful. He was hitting the deck hard all game and directed numerous short balls at the batsmen in ways they didn’t seem overly appreciative of. When he pitched up he hit the splice and got c&b. Amla was edging up to a double century and his wicket was really against the run of play. If Elgar is not entirely shithouse, then it is the measure of how well Johnson bowled. After Johnson made him wear a couple of short ones, he pitched up and got the batsman trapped on the crease. To get Du Plessis, again Johnson hit the deck hard, got it to lift off a length and found the shoulder of the bat.

      Johnson’s wickets weren’t anything to do with the batsmen; he was getting them out even if they weren’t looking to play an expansive shot. It was all about the conditions and what fast bowlers need to do in Australia when the ball has lost its shine.

  4. Ricky may be gone but Clarke is maintaining the tradition of someone talking crap in the press conference after.
    It’s about your favorite subject too:
    “What South Africa showed us is when they had momentum, they ran with it for as long as they possibly could and when they didn’t have [it], they did everything in their power to fight their backsides off to try and grab it back. There’s probably a few occasions throughout the series where we had momentum and didn’t run with it for long enough, that’s for sure”

  5. If England don’t pick their own pie man in Bresnan, this lot will get battered in England and served with “ta-ta” sauce.

    An appalling mix of metaphors, but my work is a mixed bag. A bit like the two Mitches really.

  6. I suspect there will be some comfort for the Australians and their fans in that their third-string attack is serving up the pies, rather than their first-choice vice-captain.

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