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Sight Screen

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Is this the future ?

I don't know how many of you are following the Aus vs Essex game. At one point of time Essex, having chosen to bat first, were 123/0 in 24 overs. As I write this, they are 238/1 in 52 overs. Against an Aus side, which has thrown its entire kitchen sink and dishwasher into the bowling attack. Tait, McGill, Kasper, Gillespie, Lee.

So, if there is no Warne and McGrath, the 'team' is not a great team after all ? Sure, they may also go on to score 500 in a day, but that would hardly mean anything. Because, as we all know, to become a good test team the bowling attack is the most vital cog. For all these years when we were hailing the great Aussie juggernaut, did ever think how much reliant they were on those two.

And btw, does anyone know more about the Chelmsford pitch etc ? Is it so flat always ? Or the Aussies holding back (sure McGill can't be, his selection is on the line) ?


  • Looking at the score card, i expect it to be a flat track with no life whatsoever. And for sure, Lee is not going to bend his back for these matches. Not sure about McGill.

    By the way, keep up the good work.. Your analysis is quite objective and there are tons of similarities between yours and Prem Panicker's (Well, except for ganguly where u seem to be neutral. Couldn't resist taking a dig at PP!). If i may suggest, please write the match reports for the Oval Test.

    By Blogger whoami, at 10:30  

  • thx whomami. Will try to cover ashes also as much as possible. And we'll catch Prem's straightforward views on Ganguly sometime, atleast try to.

    Yes Lee would not bend his back for sure, but all the rest are in with a chance for next game (even Gillespie, who can get a look-in if he does exceptionally well here). I do think they might have deliberately made a flat track for this game. But still its poor of Aus attack...they are the best in the world, so can't they atleast do decently against a county side, even if on a flat track ?

    By Blogger worma, at 10:50  

  • but whoami even without breaking backs- 306/1 by a county team is a bit too much...I think

    It must dent Aussies' confidence specially if Mcgrath does not end up playing- Warne will be the only addition to this lot then..

    By Blogger suraj, at 10:51  

  • The fact that this aussie team is heavily reliant on mcg and warne in tests was proved by india too in 04

    By Blogger sachin, at 10:56  

  • Wow....it is now 325/1. For some reason the Aussie bowling unit has not been able to take top order wickets. Wonder what gives.

    I guess it is pressure. Gillespie is trying to get back into the XI. Lee is fighting to make an impression. And in general, the Aussies are proving to be clueless on how to attack and get wickets.

    I can now say that England look like they are going to win the Ashes...this Aussie attack will not be able to stop them in the final test.

    By Blogger RPM, at 11:08  

  • sachin..true India proved it, but at that time not fully so, because India had done reasonably well at home also (when both those bowlers played). So at that time, although this theory was there, Aus themselves denied it to some extent. I wonder what's left now to prove

    By Blogger worma, at 11:09  

  • Worma: do you know who this player Cook is. He is just doing so good to England's cause:)I never heard of him. This attack of Australia without Mcgrath and Warne looks pedestrian to me. I mean once these two guys are gone, there is no way these guys can bully any team. With the infrastructure that they have for cricket they will always be in top 3-4, but not no.1 anymore. What's your take?

    By Blogger Ravi Agrawal, at 11:11  

  • rpm...remember. McG & Warne. They can do it. Without much support also. We saw what Warne did in Trent Bridge last innings..he almost 'willed' Eng batsmen into submission.

    By Blogger worma, at 11:12  

  • Sorry to go off on a tangent here but if anyone has information related to tickets for Sania's match tommorow- can you please post here.

    Will really really appreciate it!

    By Blogger suraj, at 11:13  

  • Look at the figures for Mcgill: 16-0-91-0..Are they still planning to play him at Oval?

    By Blogger Ravi Agrawal, at 11:13  

  • yeah sure....they will not be 'dominant' anymore once these 2 go. They may still be good, as you said, even no 1, but not the same kind of 'supreme' no 1 that they have been. Even this Eng team, when and if they become no 1, will be mortal champions only. Look at how they bat even now...remember the same attack which India batted so well against...and Eng is throwing away chances after chances. Just 1 big score from their batsmen the entire series !

    btw, do seem to remember name of Cook...but not sure...

    By Blogger worma, at 11:15  

  • Yeah..it was exactly the same attack which was dominated by India in 2002. Harmison and Jones made their debuts in that series. However, their pace quartret seems to have matured alot. I think Flintoff and Hoggard owe a lot to the 2001 India series becuase they began to mature then only. Nasser Hussain guided these youngsters beautifully. Even Giles came into his own from that series only.

    Right now India are no.3 test team, far ahead of no.4 . And, if status quo is maintained for next year, the next series in India will be just amazing..

    By Blogger Ravi Agrawal, at 11:31  

  • ravi,

    the way McGill is playing, australian's may even leave him at oval and return.. :)
    Worma, england is probably not throwing away the chances but everytime they have a surprise from the aussie tail. Not sur e if anyone covered it, but Brett Lee and Warne has been revelations this serious with their batting and thier never say die attitude..

    By Blogger whoami, at 11:34  

  • ravi I meant about the Eng batting...is not dominant, against an Aus attack which India mauled so much down under....so the Eng team may go on to be no 1, but they wont be as dominant as the Aussies.

    About Eng attack, ofcourse its matured a lot. I dont think its correct to assume that its the same attack which India thrashed last time around. Even Aus thrased Harmison, Jones, Hoggard. But they have changed a lot now. They are working well as a quartet.

    By Blogger worma, at 11:34  

  • ravi...just checkd his profile, and now I know where I remember his....he was the Eng captain this last U19 WC(2003)
    Check it out here, just 10yrs of age, his second season into county...looks all promising

    By Blogger worma, at 11:43  

  • oop...I mean 20 yrs of age :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 11:44  

  • although it does look like this Aus attack is only worth being handled by 10year olds ;-)

    By Blogger worma, at 11:45  

  • yeh the chelmsford pitch is flat indeed and so is the oval. Oval is a batting paradise and as long as the weather isnt cloudy, then the final test will be a draw. My feeling is the aussies will win the toss and pile on runs.

    By Blogger jgohil, at 12:23  

  • obviously, much has been made of the future of the australian attack without mcgrath and warne. But, I remember 2001 and 2003 ashes, when gillespie and lee were a handful too. They dint wickets in bounties, but definitely had many wicket taking deliveries...the aussies problem, circa 2005, lies with the flat, non real-time methods that gillespie and kasprowicz have employed in this series...They have failed to address issues with wides/no-balls/action/and line-length...reminds me of harmison in 2003..with his wides and no-balls problem...australia will come back form this, and they will be better than ever...mark my words.

    The test team right now is short of options in the sense that they dont have a swing bowler, or even a wicket taking bowler that suits the seamy english conditions. kasprowicz and gillespie's poor form have ensured that their bowling attack consists of only 3 blowing options...and its the mark of this champion team that they just abt managed to lose in 2 tests..the real score card shoulda been 3-0 in favor of england, if they had managed to translate potential into actuality on day-1 of Lords. They recovered, and how magnificant this series has been for all..albeit the fact that they won both the tests mcgrath did not bat in! After all, isn't he the champion batsman that australia are potentially missing?

    By Blogger Mahesh, at 12:28  

  • Though the scoreline is a little demoralising for the aussies, i would not read too much into it. The Aussies will do fine at the OVAL.

    The Eng-India series early next year will hopefully live up to the hype. There were some great memories of the 2002 series. I think the defining moment was the fourth day of the second Test at Trentbridge. India had to face about 17 overs towards the end of the day's play 350 down and lost Sehwag and Jaffer. In comes sachin, not in the greatest of form( which means he had gone 6 innings without scoring a 100) and counter attacked England with a brilliant 50 that evening. I still remember the trademark punched extra cover drives off Hoggard. breathtaking stuff.. in fading light. It set the platform for India to save the match(Dravid, Sachin and Ganguly all made big scores and Patel did his bit.) The momentum swung in India's favour and they won at Headingley.

    India needs such brilliance early on.( Ganguly's hundred at brisbane , Sehwag's triple hundred at Multan) if they need to beat England. They can no longer expect blokes like Dasgupta and Devang Gandhi to make hundreds.

    Anyway my take on the Ashes is Aus win to make it 2-2. The match will be close, but Aus will win comfortably( of course all this happens if the rain stays away.)

    By Blogger RamantheB, at 12:34  

  • Guys,
    Dont know about Cook, but i have definately seen a bit of Bopara who has made about 132 today against Australia. He is a really bright young talent and some of this strokes are really exhilirating. Wont be surprised if he dawns the England colors very soon atleast in the ODI format.

    By Blogger Harsha, at 12:58  

  • Worma and Whoami,

    I think England is firing on all cyllinders right now. They have a lot of confidence at the moment and if they win the ashes, they can really go on pretty far for next 3-4 years. However, whether this team can do an Australia in the long term (say 10 years) remains to be seen.

    I have been very impressed with the captaincy of Vaughan in this series. In fact, his record as a test captain has been nothing short of outstanding. The way he remains cool in the field, his field placements and his backing of youngsters like Bell and Jones have been really superb. Last year, England won virtually every test match. England have got so much of flair in their cricket at the moemnt ( a sharp contrast to the team with gooch, gower and gatting). Its only wonderful for the test cricket if they play like this in future. I just can't wait for England series now with our team (and hopefully our team would live up to it as well, they are good in test cricket anyways).

    One note here: Did anyone notice how the England selectors have supported their captain (who still has a batting avg of 30 in ODIs and plays occasionally well in test cricket) and their youngsters? Any comparisons with our cricket????

    By Blogger Ravi Agrawal, at 14:06  

  • Mahesh,

    I tend to disagree with you on Australia's redemption. Every great adventure comes to an end. Mcgrath and Warne are the bowlers that come in a century. They ARE not going to be replaced. A keeper like Gilchrist may not born again, not in Australia. I mean these are some of all time greats. Remember WI of 80's, what happened to them. Australia has a better infrastructure and cricket culture, so they won't go as low as WI have gone, but still they will not dominate other countries like they did in last decade.

    Regarding the next test match, nothing can be said. But, if England play the same way they have been playing, then its going to be a cracker especially since Mcgrath is returning. Interesting to see if they play Mcgill though as Oval has been traditionally friendly to spinners. Whoever plays won't matter though if England plays the way they have been since last year:)

    By Blogger Ravi Agrawal, at 14:14  

  • All those saying Aus will do well, they'er not done yet, my resonse is - certainly not. They are still number one side in the world. And I have no doubts that they will continue to win a lot now and in near future. Even this Eng side would struggle to beat them repeatedly home and away. But all this is because of Warne and McGrath. Withough them, they wouldn't be bad, they'll just stop being great. Just a good side with some good batsmen, a few decent bowlers. Thats all.

    And about Eng, as I said, they have a long way to go before becoming number one. Aus is not number one because of winning the ashes last time around. Ashes is not the world cup of test cricket. So I would think Eng needs to beat ALL the teams home and away, to become num 1 (that means Ind, Pak, Aus, SL have to be beaten in their backyard and in Eng. 'This' Eng team has beaten only SA, WI, Zim, Nz). They may become ICC num 1 slightly earlier than this (although I doubt that).

    By Blogger worma, at 14:53  

  • And btw, what Eng is doing now is great, no doubt. But shouldn't we think, hey we've done that earlier. They're not the first one to beat this Aussie team. And, infact, we did it to a much more dominant team (broke the 16 win streak).

    All that meant was that we were a good team. We didn't become num 1 then, or anywhere close. So, all this says for this Eng team is that they're damn good. Nothing more.

    By Blogger worma, at 15:04  

  • Its all a case of which is the stronger bowling side. The reason why Australia have been such a strong side for the last 10 years is beacause of great bowlers in the side. And their future is indeed bleak without Mcgrath and Warne. And the greatest proof of this is the fact how India performed down under when these 2 were missing. I am not discounting India's batting bravados on that tour but you could see that the Aussie attack was pedestrian when the batsmen were on top.

    One of the great memories of that 95 tour of the Windies was the fact how Glenn Mcgrath stepped into the shoes of Craig Mcdermott and delivered at Barbados. He has moved from strength to strength to an all time great. But who will step into his shoes? Warne's shoes cant be filled...we all know that.

    About the english attack all I can say is that they are very good at strangling the opposition by tight bowling. Everyone knew his role and played it to perfection. But the Australians didnt adapt to this kind of bowling and their impetuosity cost them wicket after wicket.

    I am sure that Fletcher must be very pleased with Essex batters . Such kind of batting really demoralizes the opposition. But we probably shouldnt be reading too much into the tour game. Test matches are played with a different intensity. At the Oval, if Ponting wins the toss and Australia put up a good total on board , Id be very interested to see how England handle the 2 leggies ( yes Mcgill should play even though he didnt get a wicket today...i just pray that they dont pick Gillespie or Kasper). I still believe that with runs under the belt, Austalia will be a different side. Can set aggressive fields, attack more. The toss at the Oval will be crutial. It went England's way in the last 2 tests and punter did a big blunder at Edgbaston.

    So as a die hard Aussie fan, I pray for these 4 things to happen at the Oval.
    1> Ponting wins the toss.
    2> Jones not playing for England.
    3> No dropped catches, Hayden scores some runs.Martyn too.
    4> Finally, a Shane Warne special- it will be the masestro's last test on English soil and given his sense of occasion Im sure he has something spectacular up his sleeve.

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 16:51  

  • ......And Roebuck in this beautiful article says that England will bring calamity upon itself if it plays for a draw at the Oval. What tense expectations for this match. Its gonna be some test..

    Bigger than '66? It's England's turn to worry
    By Peter Roebuck

    Jonathan Agnew says an England triumph at The Oval would be as joyous an event as the winning of the 1966 football World Cup. In that case, Australia have a chance. As befits an experienced representative of the BBC, Aggers knows the national mood. English cricketers are as ready to charge into battle as the lads at Agincourt. And this time no one will be abed. Tickets are not merely at a premium, they could pay for a holiday in the Caribbean.

    Sport is an examination of the mind. Adam Gilchrist's words before this series were full of foreboding. He said he didn't want to be a member of the side that gave back the Ashes. Already those negative waves that Donald Sutherland protested about in Kelly's Heroes: "The bridge will be standing, boys," said the erstwhile tank commander. And so it was, until it was demolished before their very eyes. Australia started worrying before a ball had been bowled.

    Now it is England's turn to suffer. So near and so far. I can remember the 1966 World Cup, could name the England side, half the Germans can recall even the moustachioed Russian who decided Geoff Hurst's shot had crossed the line. Hurst scored a hat-trick, Martin Peters provided a fourth. Nobby Stiles was everywhere, snapping at ankles. Bobby Charlton passed the ball around majestically while his lanky brother Jack protected the penalty area. Gordon Banks was flawless between the posts. The crowd developed its own clap. It was a dreadful, dirty World Cup but England won.

    And The Oval is bigger than that? Day by day the pressure mounts.

    The most difficult task a sportsman faces is to keep thinking the right way. Sportsmen do not press a switch at breakfast and remain at their peak until nightfall. Every day they face the challenge of thinking themselves up. Of course, it is easier for those blessed with a sunny disposition, like Brett Lee, than for the more gloomy types to be found in defeated staff rooms. Always those negative thoughts try to sneak into a sportsman's head, whereupon they go forth and multiply.

    Apart from the weight of expectation, England's chief handicap is that a draw is enough. After all, The Oval provides fine batting conditions, and the groundsman knows every man is expected to do his duty. Of course, it might rain. Unless the weather spoils the show, though, the series will either end 3-1 or 2-2. His pitch encourages pace, spin and bold batting. England have a strong attack and aggressive batsmen. The idea of playing for a draw must be rejected. England dominated the past three matches and have nothing to fear but fear itself.

    Not that England have to declare or anything as reckless as that. Nor, though, can their batsmen concentrate on defence. Apart from anything else, these Australians bowl superbly to cautious batsmen.

    Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne are at their predatory best when batsmen are pushing and poking around. In any case, five days is a long time and modern batsmen are inclined towards attack.

    England must maintain momentum. Between the calamitous first and epic second Tests, the hosts made the brave decision to attack. It's not time to hold back.

    The sound of Australians complaining must be music to local ears. Rather than seeking sympathy, the tourists must go back to basics. Matthew Hayden is not leaning into his shots, and the catching, fielding and running between wickets must improve. Australia have been outplayed. Ponting's players must forget about substitutes, reverse swing and other distractions and concentrate on their own games.

    Not that their complaints are without merit. Apparently county players regularly put hair lacquer on the ball. Well, boo-hoo. Cricket is a struggle between bat and ball. Over the years the bowler's lot had seldom been a happy one. Every new law adds to their burden. No one complains about shorter boundaries or bats as large as railway sleepers and as light as cocktail sticks.

    Australia must attack and hope their opponents go into their shell. England must keep their nerve. It won't be easy. For the first time this summer the visitors are the side with the least to lose. Of course, it is a compliment to the Australians that a rival is so desperate to beat them. The highest tree catches the strongest winds.

    By Blogger Dark Nights, at 17:00  

  • dark nights, I agree that whatever we may talk about here....is Aus win the toss and bat first, half their problems gets sorted then and there !...
    ...and anyway we would like to see this condition happen atleast once...otherwise we are forever going to wonder - "what if.."

    By Blogger worma, at 17:11  

  • Ashes joke:
    McGrath and Warne are talking to each other:

    Mcgrath: "They say that the ENG team will take the Ashes. Is there no one to stop them?"

    Warne: [bond style, throwing up the ball, not the gun] "Just us".

    By Blogger amar, at 19:12  

  • Chelmsford is a shirtfront - I live 45 min from the ground and have been to several games there, including IND v Essex in 2002... and check out the card from that game, SS Das made 250:

    Having said that, Cook and Bopara are both real ENG prospects.

    By Blogger thirdman, at 04:15  

  • ohh...did he..250!!...hmm...then it must be real flat

    By Blogger worma, at 04:20  

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