"Ryan Harris was literally on his last legs."
~~ Tom Moody extols Spearmint Ryno's match winning wicket.
Since David Warner has already admitted Australia tamp... works on the ball - "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" - does it really matter if Faf du Plessis accuses Australia of... let's leave it at that:
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.
We've been outscuffed:
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.
‘Pitch to blame for Johnson’s 12 wicket haul’
Well, that is not exactly what Graeme Smith said:
“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.)
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.
At least if Bailey never plays another Test he can forever dine out on a 5-0 Test record.