England go from bad to worse

Tim Paine – in only his 7th One Day International – like his Captain Ricky Ponting on Tuesday, gave England’s woeful batsmen a masterclass in how to construct a proper innings with his first ODI century. Paine showing maturity beyond his international experience struck 111 off 148 balls in a well paced innings that has proved far beyond any English batsman all summer with the exception of Andrew Strauss and Jonathon Trott.

In another inept display England’s batsmen again contrived to their own downfall with some bad stroke execution and shot selection and have now found an additional way to chuck their wickets away with some classic run outs.

The last two matches at Trent Bridge should provide the blueprint England need to go forward with One Day Cricket. Out need to go the reckless stupid slogs, sweeps, reverse sweeps, Dilshan shots and hoicks over mid wicket – to be replaced with proper cricket shots, remember the ones? Hit the ball along the ground. Play straight rather than across the line, conventional cricket shots. Then when you are in a strong position after 40 overs you can start playing all the improvised risky shots listed above.

How many times over the last 6 games have we seen an English batsman hit the ball in the air playing a shot that they are not trying to clear the boundary with? There has been numerous occacsions when batsmen have got out hitting upwards into the outfield when the maximum runs they would have got would be a single, totally ridiculous and braindead cricket, almost like fielding practise shots.

Add to that the stupid so-called big hitting shot selections as well, Bopara trying to hit Bracken for six an over after he had just taken him by surprise doing it, Bracken wasn’t waiting for him, expecting him to try it again was he! Prior charging down the wicket a ball after he had hit a four, getting totally carried away, etc,etc. Need I go on?

One Day International cricket isn’t that difficult as the Aussie batsmen have shown. A bit of composure needs to be shown and along with the fielding restrictions in place and some bits and pieces bowlers, batsmen of no great test class can – and have – forged successful international careers for themselves.

Tim Paine and Ricky Ponting both played almost risk free innings. The only sweep shot I noticed Paine play was a reverse one to a ball wide outside his off stump which had little or no chance of bowling him or getting him lbw, an almost risk free shot. Of all the people, Andrew Strauss got out sweeping in the 5th game, ok it might have been a bad decision by the umpire but did he really need to play the shot?

In setting a total, 275 should win more games than it loses, that can be achieved by getting plenty of 1’s and 2’s while hitting the bad balls for a boundary and then going on the attack in the last 10-15 overs if you have the wickets in hand. Not skying balls down outfielders throats in the first 10-15 overs – like England seem to like doing. I know it’s an easy game on paper and not every scenario is the same, but surely if you play proper common sense cricket you will win more than you lose. England certainly wouldn’t be 6-0 down had they done this throughout this series.

Another thing for the selectors to bear in mind. For the last 4-5 years they seem – to me anyway – to have been on an endless crusade to find the ‘English Adam Gilchrist’. Let me surprise them by saying there isn’t one out there! Phil Mustard, Tim Ambrose and Geraint Jones to name a few have all been tried out, being asked to open the innings and to try to smack the cover off the ball. Matt Prior is currently getting moved around the order trying to find a home for himself.

Do the Aussies expect Tim Paine to do the same as Gilchrist? Apparently not. Thursday’s innings was just an example of him playing to his strenghts. When are England going to realise this and stop asking the likes of Prior to try and be something that they are not? Let him play to his strengths, if thats lower down the order then so be it.

Rant over for now!!!!!!! (until Sunday).

England V Australia – 6th ODI Preview

2.30pm, Trent Bridge – Thursday, September 17, 2009 (D/N)

Match Betting

Australia are 11/20 with Sportingbet
England are 13/8 with Totesport and VC Bet
A Tied Match is 59/1 with Betfair

Australia continue their pursuit of a 7-0 whitewash over England in the last day-nighter from Trent Bridge today. If Andrew Strauss had beed hoping that the Aussies might go easy going into these final two games, then the news that if Australia win them both they will return to the top of the One Day World Rankings will no doubt tell Strauss that he might not be so lucky.

After finally setting a competitive total in the 5th game – although there where still some ridiculous shots early down the order from Strauss himself, Bopara, Prior and Denly which led to their downfalls – England then decided to capitulate in the field instead – their bowling wasn’t great either, they have two more chances to try to put the three parts of their game together before the Champions Trophy.

Australia again produced a polished display with the bat chasing down the 300 needed to win. In a lesson to the English batsmen who couldn’t chase down modest targets in the first and second games Ricky Ponting led the way with a century and showed beutifully how to construct a proper innings.

Even without Brett Lee – who they rested – Australia again made light work of the English. To rub salt into the wound they left Lee out after England had practised facing his style of yorkers on a bowling machine which injured Luke Wright’s toe.

Dimitri Mascarenhas will probably continue to cover for Luke Wright today and with the bowling looking a touch light all throughout the One Day Series when will Graham Onions finally get his chance? James Anderson has completed his two game so-called rest and should be available again. For Australia Brett Lee should return after his rest for possibly one of Bracken or Johnson, there are no problems in the batting so expect the top 7 to remain unchanged.

England V Australia – 5th ODI Preview

2.30pm, Trent Bridge – Tuesday, September 15, 2009 (D/N)

Match Betting

Australia are favourites again at a best price of 11/20 with Sportingbet. They can be backed at 1/2 with Ladbrokes and VC Bet
England are 13/8 with Totesport, Blue Square, Betfred and 888Sport.
A Tied Match is 59/1 and can only be backed at Betfair

With the series over now, England have only pride left to play for, also they could do with trying to ‘take some positives’ – as they like to say – from the remainder of this series going into the ICC Champions Trophy.

For Australia they will be hoping to do what the Australians of recent years do best. They currently have their collective feet well and truely pressed down on the English throats and will be looking to press down harder and finish them off, hopefully from an Australian point of view with a 7-0 whitewash.

As much as England deserve most of their criticism throughout this series you have to give Brett Lee credit for his remarkable bowling display in the 4th ODI at Lord’s. It’s easy to beat Englands batting with a big stick for collapsing but the truth is Lee bowled well and most sides would probably have crumbled under an examination of that class. You have to wonder what the outcome of the Ashes might have been had he not got injured when he did.

The real damage to England in this series was done in the first 2 games when the English batsmen failed miserably to chase down two modest targets with poor shot selections from players with failed temperaments and the occasional abysmal runout.

At the start of the summer Andrew Strauss stated that he wanted England’s players to show more responsibility for their actions, to stand up and be counted, basically to stop relying on Pietersen and Flintoff. It could and probably will be argued that in winning the Ashes this happened, but in reality quite a few failed during the Ashes and no one has shown any responsibility (except obviously Strauss) duirng this ODI series.

It I where an Australian – which I’m not – I wouldn’t be getting too carried away with the result of this series. Ok, on a positive note Brett Lee looks back to his best and Cameron White has come of age and could be the replacement for Andrew Symonds. Callum Ferguson and Tim Paine have also shown they have good potential. On the whole though they are only thrashing a poor outfit that looks totally lost. You can only beat whats in front off you but I wouldn’t start seeing this as the resurgence of Aussie cricket just yet.

Can only see Australia making changes if they want to give players a run out ahead of the Champions Trophy, Voges, Siddle and Hilfenhaus are yet to play in this series.

For England, well where do you start. Luke Wright is now injured after getting hit with a yorker from the bowling machine, he may well have got dropped anyway. In the bowling Graham Onions may come in to freshen things up, Graeme Swann also could return. In the batting department the options are limited, it’s just same again and hope that they can improve. Collingwood and Anderson are still rested/dropped.

England V Australia – 4th ODI Preview

10.15am, Lord’s – Saturday, September 12, 2009

Match Betting

Australia are best odds of 4/7 with Sportingbet and Stan James
England are a best price 8/5 with Boylesports
A Tied Match can be backed at Betfair at odds of 37/1

The same could be said after all three games so far – after another calamitous batting display by England improvement is again needed. More worryingly for them though is that at the Rose Bowl the lacklustre of the batsmen seemed to spread to the fielding as well, if the bowlers decide to join them England really are in trouble.

England have now took the decision to rest Paul Collingwood (3 games) and Jimmy Anderson (2 games) as they look to revive their fortunes. It could be that this is a polite way of dropping them both to try and revive the batting and bowling as in reality Collingwood hasn’t produced much since the Lord’s Test and Anderson the Edgbaston Test. The more positive spin from the English camp is that they have appeared in all three forms of cricket all summer and need a rest from burnout – either way the team needed freshening up.

England have Joe Denly and Stuart Broad available after injury, with Graham Onions also added to the squad they have more options to choose from. Two changes are certain with Collingwood and Anderson out. Denly could come in to open leaving Bopara to come in down the order, while Broad will almost certainly come in with Onions and Rashid pushing for a place as well.

The Aussies biggest problem is not a resurgent England but who to leave out for the returning Ricky Ponting. Cameron White’s performances have guaranteed he won’t be left out, although he probably won’t still be in the No.3 position. The openers are safe, as is Michael Clarke, with Callum Ferguson also impressing this series that leaves Mike Hussey and James Hopes looking vulnerable.

With Mike Hussey regarded as the finisher Ricky Ponting won’t want to lose his cool experienced middle order linchpin, while if it is James Hopes as expected who misses out the Aussies will have to replace his overs from somewhere.

Same old story from England’s batsmen

Another abject display from England’s batsmen on Wednesday at the Rose Bowl condemned Andrew Strauss’ men to another defeat and they know find themselves 3-0 down in this best of seven series.

Do these players get sent out with the wrong game plan by the team management or do they just continually take it upon themselves to play rash loose shots and get themsevles out in such ridiculous circumstances.

Accepted, the nature of One Day International cricket means that you are going to – from time to time – make yourself look silly with an unconventional shot while trying to take the attack to your opponents or by trying to step up the run rate. England though, take this art to a new level.

To compound things in this latest fiasco the fielding seemed to be lowering itself to the same level of the batting and before long the bowling is going to crack under the strain of trying to carry the team as well.

At the top of the order you can accept that maybe one player (Bopara at the moment) has a licence to play some extravagant shots during the fielding restrictions, but the shot selection still has to be right and sensible. There are runs to be had in a less risky way than trying to hit Bracken back over his head for six, the fact he had done it once may lead people to say the shot works and produces runs and that he was unlucky, (in the mould of Kevin Pietersen) but I would suggest that Bracken is a canny customer who expected Bopara to be predictable and try it again and was ready and waiting for him the next time.

In the case of Matt Prior, what is he thinking in trying to pull Mitchell Johnson when he is only facing his 4th ball. Ok, I know you need to get on with things but at least have a look at the bowling and conditions for an over or two and try and play yourself in a bit before taking on bowlers of that pace and quality in such a manner.

The Aussie’s must be laughing at their English batting opponents knowing full well that they are stupid enough to walk into the simple traps set for them. And they are not exactly well thought out simple traps either.

Owais Shah maybe got a rough decision this time and was run out by Collingwood in the 2nd match but he has still failed in this series. Collingwood, well what can you say, did we not see that pathetic shot at Lord’s in the 2nd test. One common theme throughout England’s batting failures in Tests, ODI’s and T20 is Paul Collingwood, need I say more!

Eoin Morgan is a young man trying to find his way. In short the selectors are having a look at him. So far he has showed signs of promise but when you look at what Jonathon Trott achieved in test arena you have to say so far Morgan has come up short. Then you could argue that Trott’s international debut at ODI level wasn’t much better than what Morgan is doing now, maybe there is a lesson to be learnt there.

Luke Wright only knows one way to play and got out early on rather than later doing it. This isn’t meant as criticism but you know what your going to get with him, if you want a big hitter at number 7 then thats what you’ve got. If you want a more compossed finisher (Isn’t this supposed to be Collingwoods roll?) then play someone else there.

There was a chorus of boos that greeted Strauss when he went up to speak at the aftermatch presentation from those who had bothered to stay behind. I doubt it was meant as a personal attack on the man who has carried England’s batting this summer, but more a sign of displeasure at what is being served up by England at the moment.

When Nasser Hussain asked Strauss as to whether is it a lack of technique or confidence thats causing the batting failures and Strauss answered it is a confidence issue you could again hear the howls of derision ringing out around the ground.

The English public would seem to be running out of patience.

England V Australia – 3rd ODI Preview

2.30pm , The Rose Bowl – Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Match Betting

Australia are a best price of 8/13 with Stan James. They can also be backed at 4/7 with William Hill, Paddy Power, Boylesports, Bet365 and 888Sport.
England are 11/8 with Betfred, Blue Square, Sky Bet,
Totesport and VC Bet
A Tied Match can only be backed at 53/1 with Betfair

After another calamitous batting display by England at Lord’s if they are to get anything out of this series – other than a good thrashing – you would imagine a victory here today is a must for Andrew Strauss’ team. If England go 3-0 down you would have to say it’s already series over.

England’s top 6 batsmen – yet again – seem to be the reason behind the demise. In both games they have had the opportunity to chase down reasonable targets and have blown it spectacularly on both occasions – in particular last Sunday when the openers got them off to a flying start, they managed to collapse from 74/0 to 210 all out.

Australia have managed to get by without captain Ricky Ponting with relative ease so far. Without setting the world on fire they have set respectable targets and then successfully defended them, although it has to be said with some help from England’s batsmen.

Mitchell Johnson seems to be back in full swing now and has been the standout bowler of the series so far. Also with Brett Lee letting all his frustration out, Australia have a couple of potent strike bowlers both firing well together at the moment.

Callum Ferguson has also been the standout batsman so far and with Ricky Ponting arriving back with the squad this week (he won’t be available until the 4th match) the Aussie batting line up will be strengthened.

The Aussies look set to stick with the same team that has so far won the first 2 games. England still have no Stuart Broad or Joe Denly who are both still not deemed fit enough to play. Adil Rashid could come back into the side in place of Eoin Morgan or Tim Bresnan, while Graham Onions has been added to the squad but is not likely to play.

England V Australia – 2nd ODI Betting Preview

England make two changes to the side that in the end only lost the first game by 4 runs, out go Stuart Broad with a neck injury and – somewhat surprisingly – Adil Rashid after his good all-round performance at The Oval.

In for Broad comes Tim Bresnan while Adil Rashid makes way for batsman Eoin Morgan as the England management expect a more seem friendly surface at Lord’s, disappointing for Rashid after an excellent performance and probably not great for the young man’s confidence.

Australia go with the same 11 that won the first game, they know that the performance at The Oval was just about good enough and that they will have to improve. The pitch has a tinge of grass on the top and they will have to be watchful batting first on this wicket. Mitchell Johnson will be looking to carry on his impressive form (3 for 24 at The Oval) on a helpful looking pitch.

Teams

England – Andrew Strauss, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior (WK), Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood (C), Eoin Morgan, Luke Wright, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson.

Australia – Shane Watson, Tim Paine (WK), Cameron White, Michael Clarke, Callum Ferguson, Michael Hussey, James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Nathan Hauritz, Nathan Bracken.

England won toss and will bowl first.

Match Betting

Australia are 5/6 with Totesport
England are 11/10 with VC Bet and William Hill

England V Australia – ODI Series Fixtures 2009

England V Australia – One Day International 50 over series

AUSTRALIA WON SERIES 6-1 (Best of 7)

1st ODI – 4th Sept, The Brit Oval, London (D/N)
Australia 260/5 (50 ov): England 256/8 (50 ov)

Australia won by 4 runs

2nd ODI – 6th Sept, Lord’s, London
Australia 249/8 (50 ov): England 210 (46.1 ov)

Australia won by 39 runs

3rd ODI – 9th Sept, The Rose Bowl, Southampton (D/N)
England 228/9 (50 ov); Australia 230/4 (48.3 ov)

Australia won by 6 wickets

4th ODI – 12th Sept, Lord’s, London
England 220 (46.3 ov): Australia 221/3 (43.4 ov)

Australia won by 7 wickets

5th ODI – 15th Sept, Trent Bridge, Nottingham (D/N)
England 299 (50 ov): Australia 302/6 (48.2 ov)

Australia won by 4 wickets

6th ODI – 17th Sept, Trent Bridge, Nottingham (D/N)
Australia 296/8 (50 ov): England 185 (41 ov)

Australia won by 111 runs

7th ODI – 20th Sept, Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street
Australia 176 (45.5 ov): England 177/6 (40 ov)

England won by 4 wickets

Top Wicket Takers – England V Australia ODI Series

Top wicket takers in England V Australia, One Day International series. (after 4th ODI) Australia lead series 4-0.

9 Wickets – Brett Lee, AUS
8 Wickets – Mitchell Johnson, AUS
7 Wickets – Shane Watson, AUS
6 Wickets – Nathan Hauritz, AUS
4 Wickets – Nathan Bracken, AUS
3 Wickets – Graeme Swann, ENG
3 Wickets – Luke Wright, ENG
3 Wickets – Paul Collingwood, ENG
3 Wicket – Tim Bresnan, ENG
2 Wicket – James Anderson, ENG
2 Wickets – Ryan Sidebottom, ENG
1 Wicket – Ravi Bopara, ENG
1 Wicket – James Hopes, ENG
1 Wicket – Adil Rashid, ENG