Thursday, 23 November 2006

Flat pitch, blind optimism

First Test, Brisbane
Day 1 Comment
Whatever the state of a game, you are often just a few balls away from turning it on its head. It is this notion that exploits humanity’s most inexplicable emotion - hope - and that which feeds the addiction of a cricket observer.

So even after Steve Harmison’s aberration of the first ball ‘statement’ on the series, there was still hope of recovery. Despite ending the first session one down for over a hundred, I still believed. And at 198-3, I almost felt England were on top. Now, with two of the greediest batsmen in cricket still at the crease and a first day score to match any of the depressing scorecards of Ashes series of the 1990s, I still think, well, a couple of wickets with the new ball tomorrow and…

But neither hope, belief nor blind optimism can mask the daunting feeling that England are in a spot of bother here. Let’s be clear, this Brisbane pitch - a ‘good batting pitch’ - is not good for cricket in any sense. It removes all the variation and subtlety from the bowler’s armoury. That is of course, unless you’re one of the best spinners to ever play the game. And this is what will end up separating the sides in Brisbane.

Take Warne out of the equation and – on the pitch we saw yesterday – you could imagine Australia’s bowlers may have been equally innocuous. But with Kevin Pietersen finding turn, one can only imagine how much Warne is looking forward to making his mark on this match. As it is, England must find a way to take 20 wickets without seam, swing, reverse swing, or much pace and bounce.

To do that, all we can do is draw inspiration from the second test of 2003 that India played against Australia on a similarly placid pitch in Adelaide. Batting first, Australia's Ricky Ponting made 242 in a commanding first innings of 556. Unnerved, India responded with 523 and went on to win the match by four wickets. So it can be done. England just need to strike early tomorrow with the new ball, get Clark and Gilchrist to the crease while there is still a hint of shine and…

4 comments:

damo said...

Keep writing! I've read everything in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Guardian and the times - this is better! Obviously the pitch is a batting paradise - but don't you think there was a lack of intensity from the English attack - everybody’s commenting on 'that' wide but why didn't harmy or anyone else bowl at Langers head. He's one hit away from his career ending

Sahil said...

Yes I have to agree. The lack of consistency from our stock bowlers (Hoggard and Anderson) and the lack of any meaningful bouncers throughout the day was, frankly, embarrassing.

DSP103 said...

I didn't think Hoggard was all that inconsistant, thought the conditions were extremely unhelpful considering his bowling style. Anderson had some pace, it's like we've got the big guns but we're firing them wildly! Perhaps Flintoff 'leading by example' isn't quite enough?

David said...

My name is David by the way (Davey), not dsp103, pleased to meet you guys!