Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Looking Back in Anger

(One quick rant - then I need to start packing for the trip Down Under...!!)


This can very much be filed in the 'wise after the event' category, but here's a question - what was the thought process that prompted us to declare at 550-6?

Think it through. We'd dominated their attack on a flat, lifeless pitch for almost two days. With a bowling line-up ourselves that could best be described as 'questionable' - did we really think that it would be a breeze to bowl Australia out even once - let alone twice?

It's OK coming out with the 'you've got to back your bowlers to do the job' mantra, but surely you have to have some sense of realism and acceptance of what your bowling attack is capable of. After all, we're talking here about one game in a Five Test series, and with some upcoming venues that will provide far more bowler friendler tracks than Adelaide.

Presumably the answer to the question of being able to bowl the Australians out twice is 'no' - so therefore we assumed that at some stage we'd have to bat again. It then becomes obvious that we'd most likely have to bat again on a wearing pitch on the final day against the best leg spin bowler in history - and that the only way we were possibly going to lose the test was that if that happened.

So it came to pass and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now consider the alternative scenario. We bat on, potentially into the third day - Warne goes for over 200, McGrath ends up in a retirement home, the Aussies are ground into the dust. We could have ended up with around 630 plus. Even at 300 runs a day (a big ask on a track that slow) that would have not put us back out again until lunchtime on Day Five.

From the end of Day one, it was blindingly obvious that Adelaide 2006 was a draw wicket. Why didn't we simply accept that, take the opportunity to demoralise the Australians, give out bowlers a big workout, and look forward to the next Test?

Instead, there was one possible way we could lose the game from 550-6, and we did.

7 comments:

Rishi Gajria said...

It's horrifying isnt it. I watched the game halfway through the first session of the day.
Well, where does England go from here? Where is the light? The campaign to retain the Ashes is nearly over.

Rishi Gajria said...

These are the overs bowled in Australia's second innings

MJ Hoggard 4 0 29 1 7.25
A Flintoff 9 0 44 2 4.88 (2nb)
AF Giles 10 0 46 1 4.60
SJ Harmison 4 0 15 0 3.75 (1w)
JM Anderson 3.5 0 23 0 6.00
KP Pietersen 2 0 7 0 3.50

Rishi Gajria said...

"With a bowling line-up ourselves that could best be described as 'questionable' - did we really think that it would be a breeze to bowl Australia out even once - let alone twice?

It's OK coming out with the 'you've got to back your bowlers to do the job' mantra, but surely you have to have some sense of realism and acceptance of what your bowling attack is capable of."

Its pretty obvious looking at the fact that Giles bowled the most overs in the second innings. And he also tied with Hoggard for the most overs bowled in the first innings. Flintoff had faith in his bowling - blind faith.
How come everyone is talking about the second innings collapse but nothing about the bowling in the second innings, field placements, tactics, and the fact that Harmy was hidden throughout the game. Underbowled as much as physically possible.

Tim Wigmore said...

Regarding second innings tactics, would a more cunning captain than Flintoff (perhaps Vaughan) have advocated bowling very wide outside off or leg stump or unreachable bouncres, as Zimbabwe did at Bulawayo in 1996? Just a thought.

Mark said...

Tim - I agree totally (see 'Wreckage' post below) Two near unreachable balls an over effectively reduces the overs available by a third and makes the chase 6 an over rather than four... a different prospect entirely.

Tony.T said...

Even Australia bowled wide to New Zealand at the Gabba in 2001. It meant we saved a test that might have been lost.

(Mind you, we would have won comfortably had not two days been lost to rain and Steve Waugh hadn't made a "sporting" declaration. Surely that's asking for trouble on what amounted to a Day 3 pitch.)

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