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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

England complete ODI series almost as dismally as Ashes: ODI#5

Australia 9/217 (50ov, Bailey 56/74b/4x4, S Marsh 36, Wade 31, Broad10-2-31-3, Stokes 10-0-43-3, Jordan 2/37) beat England 212 (49.4ov, Root 55/86b/1x6 3x4, Cook 39, Morgan 39, Coulter-Nile 10-1-34-3, McKay 10-1-36-3, Faulkner 2/37) by 5 runs: ODI 5/5 at Adelaide Oval. Australia win series 4-1. Player of series: A Finch, player of match: J Faulkner.

By no means a memorable match, though the close finish offset - to a degree- the many passages in which high quality moments were rare or absent.

Australia posted a modest score on an uncharacteristically slow Adelaide Oval pitch ( not, I hope, an indication of things to come with our drop ins). Then England  moved steadily towards its target, before a late innings freeze saw them yield to disciplined bowling, astute captaincy and good fielding. 

 Ravi Bopara at the end couldn't take England over the line. He came to the crease in the 36th over at 4/154, accumulated 25/44b before being  adjudged, after a drawn out deliberation by the third umpire, to have been stumped by a Matthew Wade fumble. 

9/209: 8 needed from 8 balls and the last pair in. They didn't make it, leaving the 27,000+ crowd  of mostly Australia supporters to go into the warm night and, if they so chose, watch the Australia Day fireworks from the banks of the Torrens.

< a href=""> Scores</a>

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Floor wiped: Australia's many good hands make light work of dispirited England in 3 days to take series 5-0: T5 D3

Australia 326 & 276 (61.3ov, Rogers 119/169b/15x4, Bailey 46, Haddin 28, Borthwick 6-0-33-3, Anderson 2/46,Broad 2/57, Stokes 2/62) beat England 155 & 166 (31.4 ov, Carberry 43/63b/8x4, Broad 42/36b/3x6 4x4, Stokes 32, Harris 9.4-4-25-5, Johnson 9-1-40-3, Lyon 2/70) by 281 runs. Australia, having already regained Ashes, win series 5-0. T5/5 D3/5 at SCG.

Australia batted on, in increasingly frivolous mode (Brad Haddin made only 28) , set England an impossible (even without the benefit of hindsight) task and once again their bowlers contributed to another act of self destruction. 

I still find it hard to believe that, especially after the result in England, that the visitors could have gone to pieces, after looking competitive - if only briefly or intermittently - in each Test.

But full credit to Australia, who played as a team (and were unchanged throughout) , even if the top order batting wobbled at times. England's best player was the debutant Ben Stokes. He may be the way ahead, but his steadiness with the ball and pugnacity with the bat showed a thing or three to his teammates.

It was not unexpected but the one sidedness of this match, and the series, was
<a href= "">Scorecard </a>

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Another meltdown leaves England without any wheels left to fall off: T5. D2

Australia 326 & 4/140  (30ov, Rogers 73*/89b/9x4, Anderson 2/30) lead England 155 (58.5ov, Stokes 47, Broad 30*, Siddle 13-4-23-3, Johnson 13.5-3-33-3, Harris 14-5-36-3) by 311 runs with 6 wkts in hand: T5/5 D2/5) at SCG.

This was an embarrassingly one sided day. Alistair Cook was lbw padding up to the second ball of the day: 2/8. Things then went from bad to execrable: 3/14 (night watchman Anderson), 4/17 (Pietersen), 5/23 (Bell) before Ben Stokes marshalled the lower order to increase England's total sixfold against a pace attack at the top of its mental and technical game.

But, Stokes and Stuart Broad's tail end biffing aside, it was  a pathetic effort. Even a moderate response - Chris Rogers excepted -from Australia in its second innings didn't redeem the situation much (if at all).

Australia now has three days in which to secure its fifth straight victory of the 2013-14 Antipodean Ashes. England have no more wheels left to fall off. For Australia the focus should, once the seemingly inevitable victory in this match has been achieved, shift to next month's three Test series in South Africa, in particular how to paper over the cracks in its top order batting which were evident once again today. 

<a href="">Scorecard </a>

Friday, January 03, 2014

More of the same as England put Australia on ropes before Haddin & Smith counterpunch: T5D1

England 1/8 (6ov) trail Australia 326 (76ov, Smith 115/154b/1x6 17x4, Haddin 75/90b/13x4, Watson 43/59b/7x4, Stokes 19.5-1-99-6) by 318 runs; T5/5 D1/5 at SCG. England won toss and sent Australia in. Australia unchanged (for 5th consecutive
Test). England brought in Ballance, Borrhwick and Rankin for Bresnan, Panesar and Root.

England won the first session (4/94)and a bit ((5/97) convincingly, as they had to if they weren't to have even more egg on their collective face after Alistair Cook won the toss (his first of this series) and sent Australia in. 

But thereafter Brad Haddin & Steve Smith reverted to type, kept to the script of the previous Tests, and swept England (Ben Stokes excepted) aside to post a strong recovery. Which may prove, depending on how the bowlers bowl,the batters bat and the wicket plays, to be a matchwinning one.

The England XI, with three debutants, looked at best experimental, at worst ramshackle. Joe Root, after being used as the gap plugger in the first four Tests  might have felt miffed at being omitted ( and even more so at have to spend so much time sub fielding). Scott Borthwick did take an expensive wicket and Gary Ballance fumbled in the field, so they have points to prove...

As for Australia, Haddin, yet again, and Smith turned the Test around by adding 128 for the 6th wicket.
Haddin played, as he's done throughout the series, with judicious aggression. This was not surprising. Smith's innings - at least the first part, until he'd established himself at the crease - was, after his uneven performances during his Test career. But he showed how much he's matured, not so much by eliminating big hitting from his stroke repertoire as by intelligent shot selection (and brutal execution).

 England were disadvantaged by an injury to Rankin who broke down twice (who of the support staff gave him the green light both before the match and when he returned to the field?) , they don't have frontline spinner and there are, despite Monty Panesar's omission, still a sluggard or two in the field.

All this points to another Australia progression towards a fifth consecutive victory. It doesn't have to be like this, yet it's hard to see England pulling themselves together enough to resist Australia's bowling (& fielding) pressure.

<a href="">Scorecard</a>