After seeing his bowlers skittle Pakistan out for scores of just 80 and 72 lately, it was strange to hear England’s, Australian bowling coach criticize his bowlers for a “complacent” showing during Sunday’s afternoon session of the 2nd test at Edgbaston.
Such criticism is unheard of in England after such a win. We usually start believing we are the finished article and have made it to the top of the tree. The ‘we are now the best side in the world crap’ usually makes an appearance after a couple of impressive wins.
In short, it was a very un-English thing for Saker to do.
But in my view it was right, and it is refreshing to hear such an honest approach after two crushing victories. Instead of wallowing in the glory and masking over the shortcomings, Saker is pointing out where his players need to improve.
Such an approach is well overdue in English sport, it would appear to be a change from the usual attitude of thinking that it’s ok to do just about enough to win.
I don’t wish to be negative about this and pour scorn on what is two good wins for England, but I am going to try to be realistic about it. England bowled out a very fragile, young, inexperienced Pakistan team for low scores twice, in swinging conditions that would have tested the worlds top batsmen.
Lets not get too carried away with this, there is still a long way too go. England still seem to lack the ruthlessness to really put a team to the sword, when they have the opposition down, the foot never seems to come out and press down on the throat – this seems to be a fact not lost on Saker.
The same could also be said about the batting. In a strong position at Edgbaston, England again failed to put up a decent 1st innings total, one that would have batted Pakistan totally out of the match.
These are weaknesses that need to be ironed out of England’s play if they are to become the top test team in the world. Also, if these failings persist this winter, you would have to imagine it will prevent England from winning, or maybe even retaining, the Ashes.
More positive thinkers like Saker is what England need if they want to become the top team, it may be a shame it takes an Aussie to point this out, but lets hope this attitude rubs off on the rest of ‘Team England’ and they can keep on striving to improve, and maybe achieve that aim.
The problem is I still don’t see a strike bowler in the pace department but having said that England’s attack looks better than Australia’s attack.
Thanks for the comment.
Yes, I would agree, and there is a shortage of that sort of strike bowler in world cricket these days.
I do think we have a decent attack, and it probably edges the Aussie attack on the whole. But not sure if in Australian conditions that our attack will be as effective as theirs.
Having said that, if we can put 400+ on the board in the 1st innings, we have the kind of attack that can apply pressure and force mistakes from the batsmen.
Thats why for me, the key to the Ashes is England’s 1st innings batting.
Of course, Aus. would have a bit of advantage as they are playing at home, but even at home their attack looks average.
Johnson is a threat as with a kookaburra in hand, he has been very good.
Siddle is a honest trier, but in my opinion bowls a touch too short.
Hilfy has a good outswinger, but doesn’t really bowl the inswinger. So, good batsmen can work him out, though up against teams like Windies, he looked a real threat. A good example can be, Saffers played him rather well in 09.
Bollinger is another honest trier and can reverse the old ball, but unless it is Pak, Windies or NZ against whom, he has been successful, he isn’t a bowler, who can run through opposition batting line-ups.
Hauritz is a gutsy cricketer, who doesn’t mind getting hit which isn’t bad for a spinner.
I also thought they left a bit of grass on most pitches in 09/10 probably because they don’t have McGrath, or Dizzy in the attack. I doubt whether they would do it this time around with a certain Anderson in the attack. Last year, they benefited from it at Brisbane, as Hilfy got wickets albeit against a poor batting line-up and Taylor as well as Rampaul couldn’t utilise the helpful conditions as they bowled short.
I think it would come down to which batting line-up is more consistent as both teams have average attacks, though England have Swann, who can be the trump card, especially with Aus. having three or four lefthanders in their line-up. Occasionally though, when Swann doesn’t get wickets, he gets into the habit of trying to bowl too quick through the air.
Think you’ve summed up Aussie bolwers quite well there, wouldn’t disagree with much of that.
Seem to remember a couple of years back that Siddle wasn’t all that impressive against SA in the Aussie home series. It’s one thing doing it against Pakistan, Windies etc, but another against the better sides.
I agree that Johnson will be a big threat on home territory, and the others are nothing special. They have already backed Hauritz for this series, meaning there will probably be no place for Steve Smith.
No offence to Hauritz, who (as you said) is a tryer, but I think England will be happier to be facing him than Smith.
My main view is that home advantage will probably even up the bowling, so it will probably come down to the batting. And that is where England will need to pull their fingers out.
Having said that, if Swann, or any other one of the bowlers has one of those series when everything goes right, anything could happen.
I just keep coming back to the batting though, in SA last winter I think we had two centuries in 4 tests, and a repeat of that form probably won’t be good enough. I can see the Aussies scoring more hundreds at the moment, and that could be where the series is won or lost.