Brad Haddin is kind of shameless

Bowlers win you matches, but batsmen lose them. Is there really much point weighing up day one of the third Test when England’s batsmen might render all that preceded it almost entirely irrelevant?

May as well go through the motions, just in case.

Five down

A growing theme of this series is ‘five down’. Australia have frequently been five down for not a lot, but Brad Haddin keeps forming one half of a big stand. England have frequently been five down for not a lot and have then been obliterated by Mitchell Johnson. If anything, that’s where fortunes have diverged – and they have diverged massively.

Haddin

Clearly, Brad Haddin has played well. He’s an odd sort of a batsmen, in that he often plays the kinds of shots that a five-year-old might play, particularly early in his innings. The great thing about him though, is that he’s utterly, utterly shameless. When he does something monumentally stupid and gets away with it, he’s not in the least bit weighed down by embarrassment. A few overs later, you realise that was the last of the idiocy and now he’s up and running.

Tremlett, Stokes, Bresnan…

But how much have Haddin’s large returns been down to him and how much have they been down to England’s weak third seamer? Obviously, a batsman has to face more than one bowler over the course of an innings, but it seems that while Australia have enough bowling to keep attacking England when they’re five down, the tourists run out of steam at around this point when they’re in the field.

Pep

It’s not that they’ve bowled badly. It’s just that the third seamer – whoever it’s been – has been kind of insipid. As we said the other day, James Anderson effectively becomes a support bowler when there’s no swing, so it’s doubly important that there’s some sort of threat from elsewhere.

Once again, we find ourself looking at a bowling attack which seems a little fast-medium. Height, pace, swing, demented mind games – it just lacks pep.

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16 Appeals

  1. David Saker clearly feels they should have picked one of the big lads. Very honest close of play interviews from him, which makes a change.

  2. This series is becoming a mirror of the one we’ve just had, but with Brad Haddin in the Ian Bell role. We were 30 for 3 twice at Lord’s but won by 200-odd because of Bell. Australia have been 140 for 5 in two tests, but have then put up good totals because of Haddin. I know Smith has supported him in this test, but Haddin has provided the stability.

    The reality is that neither side has batted especially well all year. To argue that Australia’s batting troubles are fixed would be to miss the point, much as with arguing the same about England in September. 36-year-old recalled Haddin is carrying the lot of them.

    The pressure is on England to bat properly in the first innings here, and then play out the draw (or unlikely win). A win at Melbourne, built on the newly acquired batting confidence, then makes the final test a properly tense match, with the Ashes at stake. Naturally, this won’t happen.

    • Its gone completely under the radar because of how awful England have been, but Watson has gone back to being a bit terrible again hasn’t he?

      I guess the thing to look for will be firstly whether England can get through the first 25 overs relatively unscathed, and then how good Siddle, Harris and Johnson will look in the reported 167 degree celcius heat from today. No wait, 168. Put the laptop in liquid nitrogen.

      In other news, I woke up to Jimmy Anderson bowling a 91mph ball. He couldn’t make a ball go that fast if he dropped it out of a plane. Clearly, the machine has been cranked up a bit so I fully expect Johnson to sling down a 100mpher at some point tomorrow afternoon.

  3. Australia will get 423, Mitchell Johnson will get about 70. England will get 258. Australia will follow up with a quickfire 200, England will not chase down the 365, and be bowled out for 197. last 5 wickets caught on the leg side. Game over early fifth day.

  4. I am bored with all this cricket.

    Anyone up for small talk about weather or breakfast?

    • King Cricket

      December 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      We’ll take breakfast.

      This morning we had chicken and green beans (we’re currently moving house and our eating habits are therefore somewhat erratic).

    • I just had coffee and am debating whether I should go for a bagel and cream cheese. I probably will. Onion bagel and jalapeno cream cheese perhaps.

      Good luck with the moving. In my experience, it’s a giant pain the rear.

    • King Cricket

      December 13, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Yeahhhh, certain BT-related aspects are certainly that.

      “Hi, just phoning to let you know that we aren’t coming round tomorrow after all, even though you arranged this months ago. No, there’s no real reason. Okay, byyyye.”

    • At least you get the phone call. Most of the time those sorts of people just don’t bother turning up at all.

      Oh and on the breakfast tip: Muesli, tea and an ill-advised mince pie that went straight through and out the other end.

    • I went instead with an everything bagel and veggie cream cheese. I thought I might as well brief you folks.

  5. So, are we all in agreement? Never again with the back-to-back Ashes?

    • Well, on this very site, the sentiment has been expressed that 2-test series are rubbish because you can’t gleam much from the results, particularly if it ends up 1-all. What are the feelings about the polar opposite, the 10-test series we are currently enjoying? Are we gleaming too much? I think Australia are going to come out of it better simply by the virtue that they had their home games second and thus are doing their winning more recently in everyone’s minds.

    • @Micko I agree the problem is that it’s home then away so straight comparisons are unfavorable to England. On the other hand, ten tests in England, or ten tests in Oz, would run the risk of providing too much fodder for analysis – the better team really would win, and we’d know absolutely how the two teams stacked up (that summer, in those conditions), but then we’d never have the opportunity to argue about whether the winners were truly worthy or if a few moments of luck or umpiring
      could have turned the series another way. There’d also be the threat of up to four matches, twenty days of cricket, where all that is up for grabs is a bit of consolation and scoreline respectability! You can definitely have too many dead rubbers.

      For me, 5 tests home then 5 away, has the unfortunate consequence of revealing just how much chance, form and familiar conditions matter when we seek grander causes than that. It shows up as a load of cobblers all the narratives we like to construct, about how the teams have grown/stabilised/regressed in the intervening years, how players have got older and stodgier/matured and reached their prime, how the ICC’s inane little rule tweaks have changed the balance of the game…

    • King Cricket

      December 14, 2013 at 8:16 am

      That’s a very good point. The usual narrative is how the team’s have evolved in the intervening years.

      These two teams appear to have changed enormously in the last few months without actually having played anyone else. Of course they haven’t, which makes you question the conclusions that are normally drawn.

    • You put the point better than I did your highness. Certainly decent players havent morphed into useless/pathetic/bottling/great/worldbeating ones (depending on which set of players is under discussion and the excitability of the commentator). And the difference between the results can’t be put down to the inclusion of snicko…

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