It lacked the sledgehammer-like style of David Warner but the message from South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis was the same - how did the other team's bowlers get significantly more reverse-swing than his teammates had achieved?
"The first innings I think the pitch didn't rough it up. I must be honest, I was really surprised to see the ball reverse from their side. I think it was 27 overs when the ball started reversing - especially (surprising) after rain and a wet outfield. I was really surprised by that, so ... let's leave it at that."
"Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel."
~~ Mark Twain
Tim Lane's article in today's Age is a straight bat affair - since becoming captain Michael Clarke is making shed loads of runs, etc - until you get to this:
Clarke lectured the experienced commentator, Jim Maxwell, to the effect that "When you've played the game at this level you understand that their reverse swing bowling was outstanding." Not only was this unworthy, it sought to disguise Clarke's own failures. In neither innings was he a victim of reverse swing.
Clarke's you-never-played jibe is low rent and deserved a chip (notwithstanding Tim's "to the effect," which is one of those distillations that ask you to trust the reporter). It's the last part where Tim is wrong. Clarke might not have been dismissed directly by reverse swing, but the simple fact the ball is reversing makes every ball a potential banana; the balls which don't swing are every bit as deadly as the balls which swing late and destroy middle stumps a la the Haddin dismissal.
OPENING batsman David Warner says Australia will seek clarification from match referees over South Africa - in particular AB de Villiers - pushing the boundaries on scuffing up the ball.
“I think it comes down to the umpires warning both teams not to throw the ball into the wicket which you generally try and do. They did it better than what we did, or more obvious than what we did. At the end of the day it comes down to who can do that the best and work on the ball. We worked on the ball a lot in England and we got the ball to reverse a lot there and we got the ball reversing a little at home and this time it just didn’t work for us because the outfield was probably a little bit moist under the ground and day one it was obviously quite hard to get it to go reverse as well. That’s what happens in the game. You have to try and work out how to do that. Sometimes that happens.”
Carrot is right: we keep outbatting teams. Not bad when you consider we slump to 4 for 100-odd in most every first innings. No doubt we will soon start 0 for 200 then, from shock, get bowled out for 250.
Is bowling depth the key? While Australia has Johnson, Harris, Siddle and Lyon (and Watson) all capable of pinching poles, England only had a couple of bowlers who looked like providing the knock-out punch. Keep them out, then rally against the scrubbers. Steyn is a gun, Philander is handy, but Morkel averages 35 against Australia and the rest lack teeth.
As usual, fingers crossed we don't get ahead of ourselves.
“I truly believe that the wicket played a big role in the success that he had. He was able to extract every bit of life and uncertainty out of that wicket which, in turn, put us under an immense amount of pressure.”
It's a bit cheeky the way quotes are distilled. Nevertheless, Smurf is an oaf for complaining about the pitch after winning the toss and inviting Australia to bat; even though Clarke agreed. I wonder if Smurf's decision will haunt him like Ponting's blunder at Edgbaston.
Hard to know which way to call this series. South Africa, in South Africa, should win. But cricket is won in the bowling so it's even Stephen. Where cricket is lost for Australia, is in the dismal batting collapses. South Africa is unlikely to let Australia off the hook like England so often let Australia off the hook last Ashes. England were also putrid. Could an absent Shane Watson, and his key wicket taking ability, be the crucial omission?
Been quiet here for two reasons.
Everyone is going on about Kevin Pietersen. I have bugger all to add. People who select teams weigh up two competing characteristics: 1) is a player better than the next player in line; and 2) does the player compromise team performance? Clearly KP can perform and has more talent than the next in line, even if his recent performances, while better than his teammates, have not been special. Does he compromise team performance? Well, if you believe the England Cricket Group Unit: yes. Geelong always had issues with Gary Ablett senior, but they would not leave him out because he was too good to leave out. On recent form and with form as a troublemaker, the ECGU has decided KP is no longer too good to leave out.
The other salient issue has been the ICC, BCCI, CA, ECB brouhaha. I am in no way qualified or well placed to assess cricket's high level management, financial matters and all the other stuff relating to how cricket should be run. I leave that to the likes of Gideon Haigh, Russ, and the assorted cricket boffins. (Who, to be honest, have swamped me with their assiduous analysis.)
Alana Schetzer mixes in different circles to me. I do not know anyone who hails the underarm as a glorious day for Australian cricket:
Thirty three years on, Chappell's move is still hailed as a glorious day for Australian cricket but across the Tasman it's another story - then-Prime Minister Rob Muldoo [sic] called it "the most disgusting incident I can recall in the history of cricket".
Monash University academics David Dunstan and Tom Heenan are writing a new study on the life and legend of Don Bradman, whom they describe as an acquisitive, ruthless, and self-interested loner. In short, “an extremely peculiar Australian”.
This (English needs an eqivalent of the Latin "iste" which means "that" coupled with a scornful sneer) one sided, pejorative laden, context free shattering of the Bradman myth is textbook click bait. As Monash academics, you would hope their "new study" is a more fully rounded appraisal of Bradman's life, career and legacy and not a position paper in the left-right battle over Bradman's reputation.
In a bizarre twist of bureaucracy, British tabloid journalists John Etheridge (The Sun), Dean Wilson (The Mirror) and Paul Newman (Daily Mail) look like being sent home by Australia's immigration department.
Shaun Marsh was picked for the South African tour because "He's in a good space at the moment Shaun," according to John Inverarity.
Ignoring Inverarity's backward sentencing ("he's ... Shaun"), which much surely appal Invers the Headmaster, and the seemingly extraordinary fact that a player can now be picked for the Test squad because he is "in a good space," there is nothing wrong with the Australian National Selection Panel Group dropping George Bailey. The short form skipper was a noble experiment on the heels of his one day form and reputed leadership qualities, but he needed to take his chances in the Ashes. He did not.
The question is: who's next? Looking at Shield numbers alone, it is almost impossible to justify Marsh's selection.
Read down the list and cross out the obvious: Quiney, Cowan, Doolan, Smith, Wade, Rogers, Hussey, Paine, Warner, Khawaja and Botha. Have I missed anyone? Probably Hughes, since the selectors would be reluctant to give him another shot so soon after dropping him for the third time.
That still leaves a huge number of batsmen ahead of Marsh. A huge number of batsmen ahead of Doolan, for that matter.
Inverarity is well respected in world cricket circles and there are no obvious candidates pummelling the portal with runs, but if the Marsh selection bombs "in a good space" will rival "informed player management" for cricket fans' sledge of choice.
I don't suppose I can interest you blokes in training tonight? It will be none but the brave. Como Park.
52 years old. (Not "of age".) Haven't played for 22 years. Malingering somewhere between unfit and unhealthy. 43 degrees.
None but the stupid in my case. I said yes.
Setting up the nets I was starting to flag. Several balls in, some in the general vicinity of a good area and only one approximating utter filth, but all accompanied by loud creaks of shoulder and both groins, I was flat on my back on the grass gasping for breath and squirting water on my head. A couple more mini-spells punctuated by trips to the water fountain and my first cricket training since Cox Plate week 1991 was over. Didn't even have the energy for a bat and a chance to "hit 'em well in the nets" or, most probably, get well hit in the nets.
Extracting the positives, I did not bowl long enough to be sore today.
Now, people, what you must keep in mind is that the England Cricket Board Fast Bowling Group did not start tinkering with Steven Finn's action because they thought it just needed a little tweak. What you need to ask yourselves is "why"? Why, if Finn was ripping apart batting line-ups, did England, David Saker, Middlesex and Angus Fraser start giving Finn the alleged "conflicting advice" and start changing his action?
England are considering ending the torment of Steven Finn by sending him home early from his nightmare tour of Australia.
Finn, one of the best fast bowlers in the world this time last year, has lost all confidence and rhythm during this Ashes tour and has not been trusted in a single international game despite England using a record 18 players during the Ashes.
The post below may point you in the right direction. The oblivious commenters at Barney Ronay's article may not.
Good oil reaches the AGB that the England camp has been warned about the, shall we say, architecture and harmony of Steven "Skinny" Finn's action. Read Barney Ronay and pay special attention to what he has written between his lines:
Steven Finn, England's own talented, statistically prodigious man-of-the-moment-before-last, whose falling away from the front rank is one of the more puzzling base notes of a generally puzzling tour of Australia. The ballad of Steven Finn is, in outline, a narrative of disappearance.
Last week at practice in Melbourne he could be seen sidling in to bowl at three-quarter speed in an empty net. A bit later Finn and Alastair Cook spent a few minutes running though the basic business of turning the bowling arm over in a straight-arm arc.
We started the summer calling him Skinny Finn (after his fatty namesake), but ended the summer calling him Filthy Finn (after his filthy bowling).
I note also that he bowled with a fair bit of variety last night and that his action was ungainly (I didn't get a good enough look to say it was chucky) as he sought to unveil an array of different balls. Which brings me to a more general question: do bowlers run the risk of falling foul of 15 degrees as they try to bowl more and more quirky and unnatural balls?
A bit of a laugh, they said. Just a hit and giggle. Twenty20 cricket couldn't last; it wasn't the same. Audiences have proved the naysayers wrong - and hasn't it made TV executives smile?
T20 is a bit of a laugh. It is hit and giggle (and slather and whack). It isn't the same. But as far as I'm aware, rock all naysayers said it wouldn't last; and just who are these naysayers? Contrary to what sounds like press release regurgitation, plenty of people said the Big Bash would get a boost moving from cable to FTA.
"Test purist colleagues" plural is curious. The bullshit detector pings when more than one person is quoted using the same words, in this case "strangely addictive". But the BSD could be jumping at shadows.
Note: I've only seen about 20 minutes of the BBL. Been stuck home waiting for my call up to stand in a box and catch sixes.
England cricket flop Monty Panesar put a humiliating Ashes defeat behind him – by trying to tempt a blonde to his room at the team’s hotel. The spin bowler chatted her up using a dating phone app four hours after bowling the final ball in a Fourth Test spanking by Australia.
In The Odyssey, Homer turned the ten years it took Ulysses to return home from the Trojan War into a majestic myth. Is ten years long enough for all concerned to turn The Argus Report into a majestic myth about Australian cricket's return to Number One?
Don Argus will not be prepared to call his review a success until Australia is ranked No.1 in all three formats, and has singled out succession planning as ''the big issue'' confronting the triumphant Ashes team.
Out of those 11 series, only two saw Australia retain The Ashes at the MCG: 1936/37, when Australia came from two Tests down to win the Fifth Test in Melbourne and retain the Ashes 3-2; and 1965/66, when Bob Cowper made 307, Wally Grout and Grahame Thomas played their last Tests and the Sixth Test was drawn so that Australia retained the Ashes 1-1. (Although few cricket fans noticed, since cricket's go-slo had sent them to sleep several years previously.)
Since marvellous draws are the flavour of the month, that 74/75 draw is worth a mention. England batted first making 242, Australia followed with 241 to trail by 1 run on the first innings. Batting second England made 244 to leave Australia 246 to win. Australia finished on 8 for 238, 8 short of the win with Maxy Walker on 23 and Ashley Mallett on 0.
SOUTH Africa's cricket board made the unusual move on Saturday of denying social media comments that captain Graeme Smith threatened to quit if black wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile was picked for the test series against India. CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat: "There is no truth at all to these malicious and damaging comments."