Batting badly as a unit – and as individuals

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There are times when you simply do not want to see James Anderson’s face. Switching on the TV at 6am was therefore a bleak moment. Upon noticing that he wasn’t wearing a helmet, the mental calculations were rapid, even at that hour. There was, quite simply, no way that this could be a good thing.

Batting even worse than Australia’s

Andrew Strauss made a good point on commentary. He said that players hide behind collective responsibility at times like this. Listen for it. Listen for: “We need to perform better as a batting unit.”

No. You need to perform better. You need to perform better and he needs to perform better and so does he. Do that and the ‘unit’ will take care of itself.

So in the spirit of humanising the unit, we’d like to put Jonathan Trott, Joe Root and Matt Prior forward for greatest opprobrium (although really no-one should escape).

Trott was strangled down the leg-side, which might be forgivable if it hadn’t happened several times before and Mitchell Johnson hadn’t spent the last few weeks scheduling an appointment for strangulation. Joe Root played a crappy shot, doubtless looking to ‘be positive’ and for some reason thinking that playing away from his body at a ball angling across him was the time to do that. Matt Prior kindly provided an action replay of Ian Bell’s dismissal for those who had missed it the ball before.

The only real difference between Australia’s poor innings and England’s dire one was that numbers seven and eight didn’t bail the tourists out. However, if you’re setting your standards according to what Australia’s batsmen achieve, you’re not going to win too many Test matches.

Rough ’em up

The worst thing about this collapse and the fact that two of the specialist batsmen got out to short balls is that it encourages the Australian fantasy that they’re a nation of hirsute hardcases.

Note to Australia: Mitchell Johnson is your hard man. He is hairy for precisely one-twelfth of a year and he’s as brittle as the wishbone of a bird.

On the other hand, he is currently a fast bowler and we’re a fan of those regardless of nationality. Their rarity multiplied by the infrequency of even slightly hard pitches equals a rare opportunity to see one of the greatest aspects of cricket – batsmen struggling to cope with pace.

Trends and facts

It’s no longer a trend; it’s just a fact. England’s first innings on every Test tour will be an absolute horror show. The batsmen don’t hit the ground running. They hit the ground and then stand there, wincing at the resultant knee pain.

Here’s a suggestion: whatever you do before the second innings of the tour – why don’t you do that before the first innings?


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  1. ah, unit-watch. excellent 🙂

    shame about the rest of it eh

    still, the match ain’t over yet (though admittedly it’s hard to envisage england coming back from that position)

  2. Is momentum also collective or individualistic? who has the momentum now? I certainly don’t.

    1. England definitely had the momentum. Now Australia definitely have the momentum.

      That pretty much sums up the value of momentum.

  3. Pick your trend:

    1. The continuation of a trend of bad first innings in Brisbane (i.e. sloppy attitude)

    2. The continuation of a trend of bad first innings in all series (i.e. preparation)

    3. The continuation of a trend of not being able to bat properly in 2013 (i.e. form)

    4. The continuation of a trend of becoming steadily worse at batting since the heady days of 2010/11 (i.e. regression to an unsuspected mean)

    We’d all better start hoping for it being 1 or 2, because if it’s 3 or 4 we’re going to lose.

    And also, how do you switch off that feature on radio alarms whereby they wait to turn themselves on until a phrase of horrific suggestion is about to be uttered? This morning’s was Mark Pugatch, with his genre-defining “…and it will be extremely difficult for England from hereon in.” Your Anderson moment was another classic of the type.

    1. I’m inclined to think it’s 2, I don’t think it’s preparation as such, I think it’s complacency. India were good enough to take advantage, New Zealand weren’t. Remains to be seen if Australia are.
      Another possible factor here is a case of tides. Increasingly over the last few years I’ve noticed the grounds along tidal rivers or on the coast (the Gabba, the WACA and Belrieve) seem to be a bit tricky for batting a couple of hours after high tide as the ground dries out. Unfortunately for England the danger time tomorrow is going to fall squarely at tea. Expect some wickets a little before and after but unless several players stand up like Faf and Kallis it’s 1-0 down. Doubt that’s going to help us win the series though.

  4. Yeah Mitch is our hard man, Broad is yours. Seeing those two metrosexuals square off is cringeworthy.
    On another note… how smug will Nick Compton be feeling around now?

    1. Very, but for no other reason than because he’s Nick Compton and that’s kind of how he is.

      (We’ve no idea about whether that’s even slightly true, incidentally, but he’s kind of posh, so we feel it’s acceptable to stereotype.)

  5. Hard to know how to respond to that really. I’m considering going into a sleep-deprived sulk and maybe kicking the cat.

  6. I got in to work to an ominous one word text: “massacre…” from my pal this morning. I still managed to get through to lunch on the TMS replay before looking at the score, but I couldn’t continue. I had to know!

  7. I’m glad I didn’t sign up for the cricket channel yet. Knew it was worth waiting. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I’d watched that, and paid for the privilege.

  8. My fortune cookie tells me that Kevin Pietersen will win the game for England in the second innings.

    If he does, y’all should have Chinese takeout and post pictures on Instagram.

    1. Cookie is certainly going to need some fortune to get out of this one.

      He might have to come up with a fortune Belly and a fortune Trotty too.

      On second thoughts, they both sound like euphemisms for the wild shits.

  9. Nice to see England batting like Essex. They’ve got to try harder to get dismissed for 20 though.

    Come on guys, you can do it.

  10. “I think the batsmen obviously feel a little down about the session but the feeling in the dressing room is still pretty positive.” (m. carberry)


  11. Both teams have batted like Norman Bates’ ma, apart from Johnson and Haddin.

    However in England’s favour is that Australia haven’t won a match since about 1902 so you can bet they’ll tighten up from here on in. Shit bowling and poor catching should be of some help in England saving, possibly even winning the match.

  12. So. My fellow bus companions on the N22 night bus in Edinburgh were somewhat nonplussed by my shouts of ‘yes’ when seeing some early wickets.

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