Saturday, 4 January 2014

Not so Baggy Green on the other side

The following was sent to us by Middle Stump follower Brendan Lynn, aka Lord Lynn of Liversedge. Brendan is an Australian living in Yorkshire, and describes his views as coming from the various characters in his head. He sent us this with the intention of cheering up all Poms, although I think having read it and realising that this Australian team aren't that great a side, I feel even more depressed than I have been recently. I could handle losing 5-0 to a side containing Warne, McGrath etc but one containing George Bailey shows how poor we have been. Read on and Brendan tells us that the Aussies have plenty of re-building to do themselves.

Haddin...irreplaceable?
As the fifth and final Test draws to a close, I can see that Australia’s batting set up is not as bright as it seems, whereas the bowling department looks a well oiled unit with an even stronger future.

When Australia had the luxury of Hayden and Langer to opening the batting, the versatility offered by both these players provided a confident feel. As Hayden was often identified as the “Bully” style player, Langer could regulate the scoring rate when his partner struggled. Backed up with Ponting at No 3 it was a solid foundation.

This current unit struggles here, with Warner providing his aggressive, swashbuckling nature it can often fail, and when it does your reliant on a consistent No 3 who can bat according to various situations. This position has been a massive headache for Australia since the departure of Ponting.

Numerous players have filled this role with dire results. The pressure is then applied to the middle order, and just like England achieved this series, Australia are four or five wickets down with little on the score board.

Shane Watson currently fills the position, which you feel is a role he’s  been thrown into because there is no one else that can justify it. He’s batted in various positions and more than likely this will change again.


Watto...a number 3?

Darren Lehmann will have this pencilled as the priority problem that needs resolving.

If you look back to Australia’s 4-0 series home victory over India in early 2012, you will find top order batting collapses only salvaged by Ponting, Clarke and Hussey. This series however provided a number of saviours with the bat, Haddin, Warner, Smith, Clarke, Rogers and even Mitchell Johnson in the first Test. It can’t happen every time and heavy Test defeats loom. Don’t forget the not so distant all out 47.

You get the feeling this Test side has a mix of form players from the shorter version of the game. It will take time before Lehmann can force his influence with the selectors to create a batting line up that he feels will offer Test consistency.

This will include failures along the way!

The form of Chris Rogers has been a massive bonus for the selectors, I hope they keep faith and trust in his ability. Haddin’s brilliant form has reinforced my love of Test cricket, as when it seems you're on the ropes, down and out, you can still win a Test match. He’s done so with a combative nature using common sense. Attacking the correct delivery and providing a run rate that will always give you a chance of winning a Test.

His loss will be problem number two for Lehmann to rectify.


A Yorkshire based Aussie says this Yorkshire/Aussie has plenty of decisions ahead

Australia’s ability to score quickly yet restrict England has been a massive influence on the series. England’s loss of Trott at No 3 provided a blow from which they could not return to their feet. Root has not had a terrible series, but when Root and Carberry are paired they are too easily restricted. They have meandered when one of the pair should have been attempting to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Having spent time at the crease and seen off the new ball, this should have made batting easier for the middle order. Take nothing away from Australia’s bowling however, it has been such a consistent machine that has kept providing impeccable performances. The actions of Siddle and Harris have fuelled a platform for Johnson to excel. A truly well planned, well executed operation that scores A+.

In a series which will never be known as a classic, at least we have not been inundated with the DRS system! Last summer in England it overshadowed the sport hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. When the third umpire gets it wrong after watching numerous replay’s where do you go? Just simply stick with the on field umpires decision unless you can clearly prove otherwise.

A strange element of this Ashes is that wickets seem to be a very cheap commodity. I have woken to check the score to wonder if I have missed a day’s cricket. Is this the influence of the shorter game?

Whilst Australia’s current bowling and future prospects looks positive, they have pending problems with limited options in key areas. There are no current players standing out to take the No 3 position nor do the Test performances from wicket keepers Wade and Paine install confidence. Haddin’s time is up shortly and a replacement is pivotal.

The form of Mitchell Johnson is a major factor also,  and he can’t deliver these heights every Test. When he’s wayward he gives runs away at a rate that is damaging. His wayward bowling also has the ability of rendering a ball useless. When he can’t hit the seam and when both sides of the ball are damaged you will have 80 long overs of batting practice to watch. Just ask Ben Hilfenhaus. Despite this the bowling department has options in reserve.


Harris...no spring chicken

Looking elsewhere the recent retirements of Tendulkar, Muralitharan, Kallis etc will have selectors across the world finding similar problems.


Amid England’s turmoil of early retirements, stress related departures and batting collapses, this current Australian crop has it’s own rebuilding to undergo.

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