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Sight Screen

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dentures, anyone?

Much of today was spent, by much of us on the Aus-England Natwest thread, in discussing the supposedly resurgent Team England, ahead of the Ashes.
One aspect of the 'England is competitive' theory I've not been able to swallow whole is this -- even granted the team's top order problems are only an ODI phenomenon (I don't think so, actually -- the way Trescothick, Strauss and Vaughan, especially the first two, are being taken out points at structural weaknesses), the question I haven't found answers to is, what does England use for bowling teeth?
Harmison and Flintoff, is the common answer. And oh yes, Mathew Hoggard is useful. Right -- but is that enough to take out 20 Australian wickets?
Angus Fraser asks that same question, in his column in The Independent. Harmison and Flintoff, Fraser says, have delivered all their captain has asked of them and more. But... and this is the big but...
It would also be wrong for him to expect Harmison and Flintoff to get his side out of trouble on every occasion.
They need support, and it is difficult to see where it will come from. England have used nine bowlers against Australia but the remaining seven have claimed only 18 of the 43 wickets taken, with two being run-outs.
In one-day cricket, a game where you can win a match without taking a wicket, this predicament can be overcome, but in the Test matches it will become a huge problem. Harmison and Flintoff never shirk their responsibilities but Vaughan will increase the risk of injury should he continue to bowl the pair as much as it appears he will need to.

The question is asked, but answers are not in evidence. Yet. And it is, what, ten days to Ashes time?

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