Fatties in a tug o’ war team

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Phil Hughes in a rare moment at the crease

Trying to assess the quality of the bowling or the helpfulness of the conditions in this Test is like trying to gauge the contribution of the skinny guy in a tug o’ war team. There may well be something remarkable going on, but the impact’s entirely dwarfed by the efforts of the various fatties who are pulling in the same direction.

Those fatties are the Australian batsmen. They are contributing far more to their low totals than anyone or anything else. Maybe the conditions are tough; maybe England did bowl well; but how can you tell with the slashtastic approach currently being adopted?

But it’s not just the shots

The decision review system has also given the Aussie batsmen an additional means of showcasing their stupidity. Chris Rogers deferred to Shane Watson’s exceptional decision making and meekly acquiesced to a pointless review of the latter’s plumb LBW. Rogers then equally-meekly saved the second review for some unknown team-mate upon his own dismissal, even though he should have used it and clearly wanted to use it.

His cause wasn’t helped by Usman Khawaja, who offered precisely sod all of value when the pair met to discuss whether or not to review. Khawaja then gave a good justification for no-one ever asking his opinion on anything ever by taking the decision to sky a catch with the score reading 69-3.

Between these events, Phil Hughes used up Australia’s second review and even if he didn’t think he’d hit it, this was a bad move because it meant multiple replays of one of the stupidest shots you are ever likely to see: an uppish back-foot drive with an open face with the ball being angled across him and a full complement of fielders covering every inch of catching space for just such a brain dead waft. He, like Khawaja, somehow managed to settle on the one shot that would absolutely maximise the chances of his own dismissal.

The plus side for Australia

Is that they could improve their scores dramatcially simply by avoiding decisions that are manifestly wrong in every conceivable way. Can England bowl out a batting line-up that doesn’t purchase, load and hand over the gun for its own execution? Probably not on the evidence of the last wicket partnerships in the first Test, but what does that matter when they’re playing Australia?


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  1. These Aussie batsman seem to take umbrage at their bowler’s efforts to win a test. We don’t need this they say, as they throw away their wickets in disgust.

  2. They might make me forget about Bairstow’s shot at this rate. Watto’s review was my highlight of the day. Selfish prick.

    Lovely piece KC, starts with a nice hover and executes skillsets with ever greater efficiency from there.

  3. the cricket highlights failed to record while i was at work, and when i got back they still weren’t available on demand, so i have yet to enjoy the spectacle of this (in)glorious collapse. when i finally get the chance to see it, i shall savour every minute of it – i remember all too clearly the numerous hammerings dished out by the aussies in the 90s and beyond.

    tell you what though – if clarke and watson weren’t at each other’s throats before yesterday morning, i bet they were after that review…

    1. Not at all, cent. Apparently, the Aussie approach to the DRS system is to go with their instincts.

      While England have a devised a rigorous analytical process to decide whether or not to review, the Aussies have concluded that they should trust their gut feel. Unfortunately (for them), the Aussie guts are full of sh*t.

    2. arf 🙂

      some of the comments on cricinfo have been very entertaining – various people suggesting that oz have one review, watson another… i know boof tried to spin it by saying that rogers told him to review it, but watson has a bit of previous, right? and as jarrod kimber has pointed out, watson always plonks his front leg in the same place, so one would think he would know by now whether or not he is likely to be out…

      … sitting here listening to the commentary, the lead over 500 and growing (even if bell has just got out as i type this sentence), i find myself almost feeling sorry for the aussies… almost. then i remember how insufferable they always were in victory, and i just hope they get totally crushed… yes, for the good of the game we need a stronger aussie side than this, but that can wait until next year some time at the earliest

    3. “for the good of the game we need a stronger aussie side than this, but that can wait until next year some time at the earliest”

      Next year? Next year!?

      Bugger that. I’ll be happy if Australia are crap for the rest of my life.

    4. lol

      yeah, what i meant of course was “can wait until after the return series down under” but i did find myself questioning my own stance, not long after i’d assumed it. if australia keep losing forever, will i really mind? and besides, england were shite for years, and the game survived.

      then again… that was before T20. will test cricket survive at all now, if australia completely fall apart? one guy who commented on cricinfo reckons that the changing face of aussie sport (and particularly the fact that “rules” has gone fully pro) means that the talent pool for cricket down under is totally drying up. we know (…) that india are not that fussed about tests any more. england can’t just play themselves, can they?

  4. ‘The decision review system has also given the Aussie batsmen an additional means of showcasing their stupidity’


  5. Right, there is this Australian cat, Lucas, in the cat alley and he’s a right a dick. He just swaggers along the alley every day acting like a fucking nob. Anyway, we’ve not seen him for a few days – he’s been keeping his head down yeah? So Trevor, this big ginger fucking tabby bastard, cock of the cat alley, pushed a note through his cat flap and it said ‘Free fucking fish for all the cats in the back alley at 3pm today. No cats will mention the cricket. Guaranteed.’
    Right, so the rest of us meet up at five to three, about twenty of us, and then Lucas comes round the corner and we all go ‘IN YOUR FACE YOU SHIT CRICKETING BASTARD!’ and he ran off crying and shit. It was fucking brilliant.

  6. hang on a minute. it seems churlish to find a dark cloud amidst this sunny sky (for england supporters), but did bell really get out twice to steve smith in the same match? match aggregate notwithstanding, that’s gotta hurt :-S

    i still haven’t managed to catch all yesterday’s highlights, but i did at least see some of them. rogers’ dismissal was extraordinary: swann will probably never bowl another ball that bad in his career, and as for what happened next – normally a pie like that would get spanked out of the ground. the whole thing is just bizarre really. someone (i think dan brettig) had it down as “rogers lbw watson” which pretty much sums up just how selfish and wasteful watson’s referral really was

    a few weeks ago i was worried that lehmann’s appointment would prove a shot in the arm for the aussies. but it turns out they’re already moribund

    1. Smith got Bell three times in one match, if you accept the Gower & Co argument that Steve Smith’s catch was good.

      But my goodness, didn’t they go on and on and on and on and on and on and on about it?

      Can’t wait to hear Willis droning on same subject on the Verdict later. Life’s too long to avoid a chance for a good wallow.

  7. i’ve only (just) seen it on the highlights, but it looked to me as if it hit the deck first. one of the commentators (vaughan? or nicholas) even said that it looked as if it had “bounced into the fielder’s hands” and suggested this meant it was out. er, if it bounces at all it hasn’t carried surely? i dunno, boycs and everyone else reckoned it was out so i guess the aussies can rightly feel aggrieved. but only a bit… even glenn “5-0” mcgrath described this as a horror day for australia. how much fuss can they really make about one disputed decision? not as if it changed the course of the friggin match is it?!

  8. Benefit of any doubt should always go to the shitty team. There’s no excuse for Bell not walking.

    1. No way on earth anyone would walk on a ‘catch’ like that. Didn’t look to me like it carried, although I think the flattened angle on video often makes it look that way.

  9. Joe Root? Ian Bell? Pah. Today I dropped a catch, didn’t bowl and got out for 0. Proper cricket.

    1. Sam

      On the final day of the edgbaston test I was on a train going TO Edinburgh. Strange but true.

      And I watched the Trent bridge test IN Cornwall. But not on a cliff. In my parents-in-law’s house in redruth.

      It’s like our lives are intertwined, yet destined never to meet…

    2. Your writing is just fine, Sam.

      Indeed, even your cricket sounds OK by most reasonable standards.

      The thing you seem to need to work on, frankly, is organising your life around your own priorities. By your own account, you’ve been having a shocker in that department for years.

  10. Ged

    Thanks, I guess. I’m not sure quite what to make of that. I’m quite happy though, if that helps.

    This is all a bit serious, isn’t it?

    1. Just reading your blog and extrapolating, Sam. Not meant to be even a bit serious.


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