Sunday, 21 November 2010

Ashes Build Up

So, England have won their last warm up match before the Ashes begins, and with a slightly weakened side too (the four main bowlers having gone on ahead to Brisbane so as not to be lulled by the different conditions at Hobart). Some things worth paying attention to, therefore:

  • All the pitches for the warm up games have offered movement after a damp start to the Australian summer. Wet weather is set to continue, and the Aussies have to fancy the strength of their own pace attack, so possibly this trend will continue.
  • It does, however, mean that England are likely to continue with their policy of four front line bowlers. Paul Collingwood's medium pace dribblies in the last match also point to that, since they suggest that they will be used to fill in a few overs here and there. Good, until we hit a flat pitch. Then Australia have greater strength in depth, since Michael Clarke, Marcus North and Shane Watson are all effective part timers.
  • Most of England's back up bowling looked good, without being quite good enough to force a way into the main side. Tremlett, Bresnan and Shazad all bowled well, with movement in the mid 80s, but none of them threatened the 90mph mark the way Broad and occasionally Anderson can.
  • Panesar looks to have rediscovered his control, though the price for that seems to have been a slight loss of spin. As usual, the commentators started to suggest that he should bowl slower. Personally, I would much prefer him to rediscover the quicker ball he briefly experimented with, since it tends to be the more dangerous accompaniment to that style of spin.
  • On the batting front, most people have done well in at least one of the warm up games, with Bell and Collingwood getting good runs this time out. Pietersen's woes with left arm spin continue, and seem odd. The ball that got him from O'Keefe pitched on middle and off, straightening just enough to hit off. Had the leg spinner Smith bowled Pietersen surely wouldn't have had a problem with it. Hopefully, it won't prove a difficulty against new left armer Xavier Doherty.
  • Talking of whom, that seems like quite a surprising selection. I'm not offie Nathan Hauritz's biggest fan, but dropping him for the Ashes seems a little harsh, particularly when Doherty and Steve Smith both average around 48 with the ball. If they've brought him in specifically to trouble KP, then doesn't that leave the question of what will happen when he bowls at all the people who don't have a blindspot for slow left armers? Couldn't Michael Clarke do that job?

All in all, it's looking like a closer contest down under than we've had for a few years.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Yeah, I have no idea what you are talking about :) Is this Cricket...? I can see why they would want to live in Brisbane...it's warmer there :-P I don't know what people are talking about when they reference American sports either...