The Waca – fast bowlers’ graveyard

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Ah, the Waca. Fast bowlers love it because it gives them an opportunity to bowl plenty of overs. Batsmen are terrified of it because of the humiliating possibility that they might not make a ton. The pitch has been so challenging in the second Test between Australia and New Zealand that only two batsmen have managed double hundreds. New Zealand didn’t even get to declare in their first innings.

We’ll stop short of saying that this pitch is unfit for Test cricket, having only recently made the point that you can only truly judge such a thing after the match has concluded. We will however admit that after four days, we’re starting to form an opinion.

Setting that aside for a minute, it’s good to see Ross Taylor making some sort of a comeback. He looked to be the next Kane Williamson back when there wasn’t even a first Kane Williamson, but seemed to have ebbed away a bit in recent times. He lost the New Zealand captaincy, looked a bit sad and appeared to be developing moobs. Things weren’t looking good, but flat pitch or not, scoring 290 against Australia in Australia is a reasonable knock. Maybe he’s been relaxing more and pursuing his other interests.


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  1. I watched about an-hour-and-a-quarter of play of the afternoon session Sunday (c6:15 to 7:30 our time). The Aussie commentators were whining about the flatness of the track and the soft uselessness of the Kookaburra ball, until Smith managed to achieve an early ball change (the original second new ball had proved to be a dud) and then Williamson immediately holed out.

    The passage of play that followed, when McCullum first came to the crease, was pure test match theatre, with both the new batsman and Ross Taylor subjected to a fierce onslaught from the quicks. It looked seriously difficult against that newish ball, until the edge came off the pace and the so-called seam wore off that feeble Kookaburra ball. Then it all looked easy for batting again.

    But a great hour plus of viewing while the ball was newish.

    In short, I think those flat but bouncy Aussie pitches would make for great test match cricket if only they would use a better ball. A prouder seam would help the spinners ply a more interesting trade too. In this match, the spinners have merely bowled negatively to help spare the legs of the quicks for a while.

  2. The thing about Taylor’s best innings lately is they tend to be overshadowed. He made 142 in Sri Lanka, then lost the captaincy. A year or so later, he made three hundreds, including a double, in a series against West Indies where he averaged almost 250, but then in the following series, McCullum had a match-winning double hundred in the first match and then that 302 in the second. His next hundred was an excellent effort against Pakistan in Dubai in an innings where Zulfiqar Babar took five wickets and Yasir Shah four, but the Phil Hughes tragedy took place shortly afterward.

    Up until he lost the captaincy, he had eight hundreds in 43 matches at an average of 43.57. Since, he’s made five hundreds in 23 matches at an average of 53.44. Even not counting his recent 290, he’s averaged 46.27. He’s actually been in great form for the last couple years, but nobody’s noticed because other things have been more noteworthy.

  3. Mitchell Johnson’s back.

    As in returned – to non-international-cricket-playing life.

    We shall not see his like again, nor shall we hear such a song from the stands again.

    1. I liked it when he was rubbish that time, not so much when he became really good for a bit and thought movember gave him magical powers so he carried it on forever. Bet he didn’t pay any extra money for charity though. And as he already had a muzzy he could not do movember again. Mitchell johnson hates charity.

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