Wednesday, 11 July 2012

English Cats Play With The Mice

Bailey 46x - best of a very bad bunch
To say rain interrupted a match in Manchester is like passing on the revelation that the Pope is a Catholic. It would be similar to say Australia were dreadful again in this short, greedy tour. They dropped catches, were rolled by the B and C members of the bowling attack and couldn't break through England's batting.

They were thumped again.

Dave Warner and George Bailey did good things again with the bat. For Warner it is largely a determination to get the bowler before they get him. One would say, he wants to make hay whilst the sun shines but it has so rarely done so in this wettest of English summers, his billets would be thin. Bailey has at least displayed the right technique. Perhaps its playing so much cricket in Tasmania, which mimics both temperature and dampness of an English summer. The rest offered very little, including Matthew Wade, who finally had a chance to open again but looked churlish and disorganised against the moving ball. Forest ran himself out, turning slowly for a second run to long on and ending up short to a good throw. Clarke speculated to point and was done by a direct hit from Eoin Morgan. Even with rain as an excuse, 145 was nowhere near enough.

Bopara had a night out
England lost early wickets but Cook and Bopara brushed aside a weakened Australian attack which needed three spinners (Clarke, Smith and Doherty) on a fast bowlers deck when the quickmen were overpowered. Doherty was massacred again and has been a non-event in the home of the left arm spinner. McKay bowled with purpose and rhythm but Hilfenhaus and Pattinson were kinders bowling to HSC students in this abbreviated Manchester lunch time. Pattinson has a lot to learn about length and line before he comes back in twelve months. The muscle up short stuff he intimidated India with on hard Australia pitches just sat up and was swatted by Cook and Bopara in their 92 run match winning partnership. In between, he over pitched. He would do well to get some tapes of Stuart Broad. Bopara has probably played his way into the Test side at the expense of Morgan, who had been favoured to push the unsuccessful Jonny Bairstow back to the bleachers. 50 over cricket is a different game to Tests but form is everything.

Both sides dropped multiple catches. It was the only aspect of the game in which England were worse than their lacklustre opponents.Samit Patel had a shocker but Matthew Wade's drops in two consecutive overs when Australia needed to snare everything, killed off any remote chance Australia had of an upset.

Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur have a lot of work to do. England have given them an even steeper psychological hill to climb in less than a year. It can be done. After all, look what has been achieved since we were thumped at home by Andrew Strauss' men and the tough little bugger from Liverpool is just the man to do it but some of his younger players will have to do more. They have earned their places but they'll have to show they deserve to keep them.

England has become no place for the feint hearted.