What use is a flat track bully?

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Kevin Pietersen is vulnerable to uneven bounce the one time it happens each decade

The term ‘flat track bully’ isn’t so popular these days. It’s because it’s no longer indicative of a weakness.

A batsman who makes the most of flat pitches, bullying bowlers into submission, is basically what you want in Test cricket where 19 pitches out of 20 are basically pretty lifeless for the first half of the match (and often beyond that). Far better to have someone who is guaranteed to cash in when the going’s good than a player who can negotiate the moving ball who’s prone to lapses in concentration.

Before the series, we predicted that the batsmen England were most worried about, Cook and Pietersen, would actually be more influential than others. You wouldn’t fancy either of them when the ball’s swinging, but when it’s not, well, they’re right up there. Don’t be fooled by Cook’s more sedentary scoring – these two batsmen are creatures of their time.

When the Aussies bowl at Cook, there might as well be an asteroid parked in front of the stumps for all that he looks like getting out at the minute. Pietersen’s different. He swings across the line and plays the ball in the air, but if the bounce is true, he can just trust his eye and get on with it.

Australia’s era of dominance roughly coincided with a modern age of flat Aussie-style pitches worldwide. We’re not by any means suggesting that this was the reason for their success, but it’s worthy of debate whether that contributed at all.


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  1. Perhaps another reason why the term ‘flat track bully’ is seldom heard these days is the retirement of Graeme Hick.

    At least this Adelaide pitch is more interesting than the sort of thing far too often seen on the subcontinent these days.

    Incidentally, quite a few of England’s players seem to be performing in conditions that most casual observers wouldn’t have expected them to be well suited to – Jimmy Anderson taking wickets in Adelaide, Cook making a big score under pressure, etc.

    It’s almost as if lazy generalisations and cliches about players don’t always capture the nuances of their playing style. Funny, that.

  2. Isnt it the same pitch where anderson swung australia out ? or has something changed from first to second day ?

    P.S. The above statement doesn’t account for Australia being shit.

  3. Australia’s dominance was more bowling oriented in the discovery of Shane Warne and McGrath.Their batsmen thrived off the returns of their bowlers

    I think they went through a 5-6 year rebuilding period starting 1985-86 until they found Warne. Ironically they won the world cup in that time. Perhaps the Tied Test tour helped them prepare better than others.

    The teams whose rise has coincided with the flat-track tred are India and England. India know how to dictate test matches by simply scoring tons of runs. England are following the same path.

    Both sides have opposition teams playing into their hands because both have good enough attacks to repond to any juice (turn, bounce and swing) in the pitch,

  4. Daisy succumbed to Morpheus at about 23:20 this evening.

    I tried to keep her awake by playing her The Ramones and The Undertones, but they failed to have the requisite effect.

    Even Stiff Little Fingers are failing to wake her up as I write.

    TTFN, TTNT-niks. Over to you.

  5. Evening Ged
    Have you got a diagram describing Daisy’s inability to stay awake during late night cricket?

  6. I’m back! Which ensures a rash of wickets I’m afraid.

    This test I have been mainly tired and emotional with bouts of what can only be described as intestinal discomfort which has mimimised the viewing time, but helped propel England towards glory.

  7. That what comes of selling your soul to the Devil during the first test

    So what is your strategy for tonight Tight?
    I have
    Electric blanket
    Bananas (any form of crisps have been banned from bed)
    Test Match Sofa in my ear

    No alcohol as it will send me to sleep again tonight, and Ged and Dan will pour scorn on my flakiness again.

  8. Let the naysayers say nay JF – you’re living the dream right there. Obviously the no crisps in bed rule is a pain but in the long term it really does make sense. And sometimes we drink and we fall asleep, but dammit we tried!

    Tonight I have the very same Summer weight lucky duvet, a 2 litre bottle of water, the remains of a pork pie (which might lead to a reversion to intestinal discomfort so best left alone) and the trusty bottle of apple vodka.

    I’ll be comatosed by one am

  9. Can anyone join on this thread? As soon as I come on, Australia start bowling long hops on purpose.

  10. A sleeping wife. That’s a comfort. Wearing my
    Mum’s socks, she sells socks ( true) and a bottle of red. Kp’s my main amphetamine, that and Australia’s attack.

  11. I’m not sure you’re supposed to refer to your wife as a creature you know….

    I’m also massively glad you cleared up the point that your mum ells socks rather than you were wearing socks you had stolen from her drawer.

  12. Did I mention the badgers? I breed badgers and being nocturnal they’re a real comfort through t’Ashes

  13. He’s not great at bowling and batting and general cricketing stuff, but put the guy in a wheelchair and he heads up a team of mutant super heroes.

    It just shows how far Ponting’s captaincy has fallen that he hasn’t even explored the option.

  14. Back to the proper discussion – how do we raise the profile of badgers in English cricket?

  15. I think we need to combine the Leicestershire Foxes and the Warwickshire Bears to create the Badgers. No region name – just “The Badgers”.

    Everyone knows that if a fox and a bear have a baby you get a badger

  16. That’s how I breed them. My house is full of
    female foxes, male bears and, as a result, baby badgers.

  17. do you trade your baby badgers DC? or do you keep them all for yourself?

    Agree about the fox poo, but like having the foxes about as well

  18. What a very entrepreneurial family you belong to.

    If ever I see a badger wandering in a field or perhaps dead on the side of a road I shall take it to your mother forthwith.

  19. Nooo…not the baby badgers,,,

    Just so KC doesn’t chide us for prattling, England are now 412… for 3

  20. He looks totally untroubled. In truth the Aussies look totally deflated, a couple of tight overs and then one that gets hit for 10.

    I’m not convinced I am enjoying watching them like this – I am having unwanted and disturbing feelings of sympathy

  21. almost lunch
    Either I will find a second wind or fall into a stupor and join you again at breakfast, haivng dreamed of baby badgers taunting Ricky Ponting all night.

  22. So I was just going to apologoise for falling asleep virtually mid sentence at the stoke of lunch and abruptly leaving the conversation, but it looks as though the same happened to everyone else.
    6am and its raining and we’re 551-4.
    bugger that rain.
    Tight, D Charlton, Tight’s cat …. are you all still around?

  23. I can’t believe that you made a post regarding flat track bullys and no-one has mentioned Hayden yet…

  24. Resurfaced at 10am after the brief awakening at 6am. Now feel almost normal after hearty fried breakfast.
    Apologies to one and all for the spelling, lack of punctuation etc in the posts from the small wee hours.
    Glad to see you made it intact Tight. Did the cat make it home?

  25. This Venn is dedicated to Jo Fitz:


    Moire worrying, though, was Daisy’s total recall of the evening session when she woke up this morning.

    According to Daisy, the rain relented, England put on another 50-60 runs, then it rained again, then stumps were drawn, then the England interviewees made it very clear that, despite the lead of 360, England intends to bat on in the morning.

    When I presented her with the evidence that she was mistaken, she just said, “oh, guess I must have dreamt it then”.

    What a gal.

  26. Does anyone else find it suspicious that Australia, where (according to my detailed research, involving hours of painstaking study of old episodes of Neighbours) it NEVER rains, suddenly starts raining when England are doing well at cricket Down Under?

    Is this a sign of the coming End Times?

  27. Made it back. Didn’t make it through lunch in the cricket. And had a busy day with the badgers today.

  28. We tried a different technique tonight.

    Leonard Cohen at 19:45. Daisy was asleep well before 20:00.

    We’re hoping that a couple of hours sleep before dinner might just enable Daisy to keep awake for the start of the morning session at least. Especially with the 23:30 start today, weather permitting.

  29. Please stop this juvenile chatter. “Comments” means something of value about cricket, or the current Test.

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