Australia managed to beat England by 3-2

Australia managed to beat England by 3-2 in the 5-match One Day International series.

The Kangaroos won the decider easily by 8 wickets yesterday and ended their disappointing tour on a good note.

The conditions were perfect for batting on a gorgeous day at Old Trafford and it was a very good toss to win for England.

The ball was always going to nip around early on, but, after half an hour or so; the batting would have been enjoyable.

David Lloyd, during the pre match show on Sky Sports, had also suggested that there were good chances of the game being a high scoring affair as the surface was rock hard and there would be nice carry for the batsman to be able to hit their shots on the up.

But, what happened with England is that they lost wickets in heaps at the start.

Jason Roy had to head back to the pavilion after a howler of a decision by Joe Wilson, while, Alex Hales played another disappointing shot to be caught at the 30-yard circle again.

The onus was on the pair of Taylor and Morgan, but, this time around, they failed to dig deep.

Taylor was caught behind trying to fish at a delivery which he perhaps should have shouldered arm and then, Morgan was hit flush on the head by a Mitchell Starc bumper and had to retire hurt.

However, the good news came across later that the Ireland born left hander just had a slight concussion and he’s doing alright.

Ben Stokes’ handy batting kept England in the game just for a short duration, but, once, he was dismissed, the lower order couldn’t show much respite as they had done in the previous games.

Australia smashed their way to the target of 140 with more than 50% of the deliveries still to be bowled in their innings.

Mitchell Johnson had proved to be sort of unplayable for England

It’s not long back when Mitchell Johnson had proved to be sort of unplayable for England.

The Three Lions were just not able to find a way to deal with the left arm speedster when they had faced him in Australia a couple of years back.

But, Johnson might not be able to make the same sort of impact in the Ashes series this time around as he is not going to get the pitches to his liking.

The English pitches will be slow and low and bounce will not be that much of a factor.

However, with the speed that Johnson can crank up, he might still have a thing or two to say, but, for him to intimidate the batsmen the same way as he had done in 2013-14, it’s probably not possible.

However, the second Mitchell in the Australian team i.e. Mitchell Starc would thrive on the English conditions.

Starc, like Johnson, also bowls left arm fast and is of the same speed, but, the length that he delivers is quite different.

He looks to keep the ball full and swing it back into the right handed batsmen.

And, he is very accurate, Starc. Despite being in the high one forties, rarely does he offer a loose ball to the batsman.

It would be interesting though if Starc gets himself into the playing XI or not for the first test in Cardiff.

Ryan Harris and Johnson are the two certainties and the competition for the third place is between Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

The Cardiff wicket can turn on the 4th and the 5th day. So, there is not much chance of Australia fielding an all pace attack.

Australia has not won an away Ashes series in the last 14 years.

James Faulkner is very quickly turning into all rounder

James Faulkner is very quickly turning himself into a batting all rounder now. These days in the Indian Premier League, he is batting 5 or 6 for his team Rajasthan Royals and he is delivering for them too.

Faulkner’s biggest strength as a hitter is his bat swing. It’s so fluent that most of the times, the connection happens to be perfect and the ball goes sailing into the stands and, his power too.

Faulkner is such an incredibly strong man that he actually does not need to hit the ball off the meat of the blade to get the maximum value for his shots. His half hits are enough.

However, he would be a little concerned that his bowling has not remained quite as effective as it was a couple of seasons back especially when he plays on unresponsive pitches.

On pitches which do a little bit, Faulkner can put some effects on the batsmen, but, on flat decks, he travels and that’s because he does not make the ball move after pitching on the surface.

He varies the speed with the back of the hand stuff, but, no movement in the air or off the pitch.

However, being the left arm over the wicket bowler, he gets that natural angle away from the right handed batsmen, but, if he adds that inward movement to his repertoire as well, he would be a far better bowler.

Nevertheless, if his batting and bowling skills are combined together, he is still good enough to find a place in any limited-over XI in the world at the moment.

In the final of the recently concluded World Cup which was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Faulkner was the man of the match.

Glenn Maxwell back in form is helping Australian Team

Glenn Maxwell’s return in form is the best news for Australia at this stage because if Maxwell is delivering with the bat, it makes them that much more deadly a team to contend with.

In the title game of the Carlton Mid tri series, Maxwell scored 95. The value of that knock was immense just because of the time at which it was played.

English had the chance to win that game right there when Maxwell arrived. If they had got rid of the Victorian and a couple more low order players cheaply, the Aussies would have struggled to get to even 150 on those tricky 22 yards in Perth.

But, Maxwell, with his crisp batting, changed the game and showed why he had been given that name ‘The Big Show’ by the Kangaroo fans. He is indeed a big occasion player.

When you have as much talent as a batsman as Maxwell has, you always think of playing miraculous shots. But, the game comes back to bite you on the back if you look to get over ambitious. You might be the most talented in the world, but, you have to keep your shape, otherwise, the success will always elude you.

Maxwell seems to have understood that. He has learnt how important it is to get rid of the recklessness. Off late, he has looked to give himself some balls before going nuts. He used to go for biggies from the first ball in the past.

Even in that final against England, he was vey watchful to start with. Of course, when the drive was on or the cut was on, he went for it, but, there was no forcing the issue.
He is such a good player, Maxwell, that if he just tries to play normally, he would score at better than a run a ball.

Mitchell Johnson affected by Workload

Mitchell Johnson appears to have been affected by the amount of workload that has been put on him this summer by his captain Steven Smith.

The ferocious fast bowler is starting to collapse a little bit and the reports are coming through that the Australian team management might keep him out of the Sydney test match on precautionary grounds.

In the three test matches against India, Johnson has not bowled with the same kind of pace that he had been bowling with during the 2013-14 Ashes series.

He has been bowling in the one-forties, but, he has not crossed one-fifty mark too many times, something that he had been doing on a regular basis against England.

There are only a few Indian batsmen who have been hurried by Johnson’s deliveries in the ongoing test series. Most of them have played him alright. Some have even had a go at him.

The experts reckon that Smith has shown his inexperience as captain by bowling Johnson in longer spells. He must have been using his fastest bowler in shorter bursts, but, he hasn’t done that.

Michael Clarke was very smart at using Johnson. He would always give him short spells and at crucial times.
Whenever Clarke sensed that a particular batsman was feeling a bit iffy on the back foot, he would bring Johnson on.

Clarke was a wily customer. Smith is a young man. He is only a few test matches old at the moment. He would learn.
In case Johnson misses out in Sydney, Australia might replace him with a spinner.

Sydney wicket is known to crack up from the 4th day onwards and it turns big. So, Ashton Agar along with Nathan Lyon might give the Indians some headache.

And, these young Indian batsmen don’t play spin particularly well.

Australia wont be Playing up to their Strenght

Australia might not be playing with the strongest XI in the opening game of the test series versus India.

Many of the players who regularly feature for the Kangaroos in test cricket are devastated by the recent Phillip Hughes’ tragedy and the Australian Cricket Board totally understands their situation.

The board chief, Mr. James Sutherland, clearly said while talking to the press yesterday that it’s not mandatory for every player to feature in the first game.
According to Sutherland, those who feel that they need more time to work their way through this horrific phase can withdraw themselves.

In the words of Sutherland, “Anybody who is uncomfortable getting back to the game in such a short space of time can pull out. The board as well as the audience would understand it. We have all been hurt and it’s just about co-operating each other at this point in time.”

“It’s not a limited-over game which would get over in a few hours. It’s the longest form of the game and you are tested mentally while playing it. So, it’s up to the individual players to make the decision about their availability. We would be okay with their decisions.”

Actually, quite a few of the Aussie players were playing in that game in which Hughes took that life taking blow on one of his arteries. They saw that happening in front of their eyes. So, it’s quite obvious that are shattered emotionally and it would take them a while to be normal again.

However, Michael Clarke, who is the skipper of the Australian test side, wants to play and help his juniors out there in the middle.

The first game would be played from 9th to 13th of this month at the Adelaide Oval.

Gurney gets another opportunity on the back of Broad injury

Stuart Broad’s injury has given Harry Gurney another opportunity to prove that he is World Cup material.
The Southpaw paceman would probably not have found himself in the touring party to Sri Lanka if Broad had not been sitting out recovering from his operation.
Broad and Anderson are two certainties in the England bowling line up in the World Cup. The third will certainly be a spinner, whether it’s James Tredwell or Moeen Ali and the fifth will be an all rounder.
So, only one spot is up for grabs and that is of the third seamer and for that, Gurney will have to battle with Steven Finn and the West Indies born Chris Jordan.
The advantage that Gurney has over the above mentioned two other names i.e. Finn and Jordan is that he is a left hander. So, if he is there, he makes the attack a little versatile. He would come with a different sort of angle for the batsmen and bowling in tandem with the new ball with Anderson, he can do some damage to the opposition upfront.
Also, he can bowl slower balls with efficiency which Finn and Jordan can’t. Finn showed in the India series though that he is trying to develop that off spinning slower one, but, he doesn’t have full control over it as yet.
Gurney, on the other hand, has got a back of the hand slower ball which is always tougher to pick than the off spinning one.
In the T20 game against India last month, Gurney had bowled a couple of economical overs towards the end of the innings against probably the fiercest batsman in world cricket right now i.e. MS Dhoni.
So, he has a lot of plus points about him, but, its performances which count and not the ability. So, he will have to come good in Sri Lanka.

Clarke Admits Smith Needs To Be In the Team

The captain of the Australian Cricket Team, Michael Clarke, has admitted that not including the middle order batsman Steven Smith in the playing XI was a wrong decision in yesterday’s match against Zimbabwe.
Australia, shockingly, lost that match to Zimbabwe by 3 wickets. It was their first defeat against the African nation in more than three decades.
The track at Harare Sports Club was clearly sluggish and was expected to turn. But, in spite of that, the Australian team management left out Smith who not only is a good batsman against spin, but, a good spin bowler as well, probably more than a part timer. So, he would have offered a lot more in those conditions than somebody like Mitchell Marsh or even Glenn Maxwell for that matter.
Speaking in the post match press conference, Clarke said, “Steve could be useful here yes. But, the bottom line is that we just didn’t play well enough. The conditions were difficult no doubt, but, that doesn’t mean you can’t win. Obviously, credit goes to Zimbabwe. They were positive towards the end there and they should get all the plaudits for what they have done. Congratulations to them.”
When asked why the spearhead fast bowler Mitchell Johnson was not in the playing XI either, the Kangaroo skipper said, “Actually, the final call on the playing XI is taken by the selectors and my job is just to manage the proceedings on the ground. But, as I said replying to the previous question as well that whichever players are out there, they need to play well. With performance like this, we wouldn’t win any game against any team.”
Australia’s next match in the tri-series is against the South African team at the Harare Sports Club only on Tuesday.

Gilchrist Believes Cook Should Settle Differences With Warne

Adam Gilchrist reckons that Alastair Cook, the English captain, should meet Shane Warne and try to sort out his differences with the leg spinner.

Warne has been Cook’s biggest critic in the last 12 months. He clearly says that the Essex left hander is not good enough to be leading the English side.

Warne has an issue with Cook’s negative approach on the field. According to him, the England captain keeps looking for a safer route and that’s why, the Three Lions don’t manage to win matches.

What Warne is saying about Cook is not completely baseless. England is generally known to be a very strong team at home, but, this summer, out of the three test matches that they have played on their home soil, they haven’t won any. They have, in fact, lost one against Sri Lanka, while, the remaining couple have been draws.

Warne believes that Cooks defensive captaincy is largely responsible for England’s poor outings at home of late.

In one of his columns recently, Warne had written that Cook’s performance as captain in the second match of the test series against Sri Lanka was as bad as it could have got.

In that match, Sri Lanka, despite conceding the first innings lead, had emerged out victorious at the end.

When asked about Cook being severely criticized by Warne, Gilchrist said, “I think Alastair should call Shane and talk to him. Shane would surely not mind it.”

“What Shane has said so far about Alastair is not too different from what the others are saying.”

When Gilchrist was asked about his thoughts on Cook’s poor form, he said, “Look, he’s been a great batsman over the years and he has seen lean patches before as well. So, I am backing him to come out of it.”

Patterson Said He Made Too Early Of A Debut

The fast bowler of the Australian Cricket Team, James Pattinson, has said that he made his debut in test match cricket a bit earlier than when he should have and that’s why he has got repeatedly injured in his test career so far.
Pattinson has been one of the most injury prone Aussie fast bowlers in the last couple of years. He has hardly played consecutive test matches in the recent past.

He had injured his back while playing in the Ashes series in England last year which kept him out of the home Ashes.
Then, he was declared fit for the tour of South Africa where he played just one test match and got injured again.

Pattinson is going through a rehabilitation programme at the moment after which he will work with a couple of coaches on his action so that he doesn’t get hit by too many injuries again in future.

According to Pattinson, his aim is to be available for selection in the Australian team for the next Ashes series which will be played on the English soil next year. If he manages to play one or two test matches before that, he will consider that as bonus.

Pattinson currently doesn’t come in Australia’s first choice test fast bowlers. Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle are ahead of him in the pecking order. But, if somebody out of these three gets injured, Pattinson would be the first in line to replace him in the playing XI provided he remains fit.

Very few people know that James Pattinson’s brother Darren Pattinson was also a cricketer and he actually represented Australia’s arch rival England in test match cricket a few years back. He played only one test for the Poms though.