Sunday, December 25, 2011

A thorny question

I don't know which of the whoever bats second will probably score a squillion runs scenarios I find more depressing.

Given a Cricinfo report suggesting that this year's drop in pitch will offer early life and is unlikely to break up once that early life departs, you'd expect a side with a strong batting order to be inclined to insert the opposition, bat for about two days and then see if they can be winkled out on Days Four and Five to win without needing to bat again.

Which will, of course, make the toss and subsequent decisions rather interesting.

You'd hope that whoever bats first would last well into the second day, and preferably lasts until some time through the middle session, giving the bowlers a short spell with the new rock before Tea and two and (probably) a half hours in the final session before a bib bowl on Days Three and Four.

You definitely wouldn't be looking to a repeat of last year's opening day even if it is India batting first, because rocketed out on Day One would reduce opportunities to enjoy Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Dhoni at the crease.

I could watch those guys bat all day, and there's every chance I probably will.


Having them at the crease all day, and given there's a fifty-fifty chance India will be batting second it could well stretch to two - not that I'm objecting to the prospect provided we've managed something over three hundred batting first - means there's going to be an awful lot of work for the bowlers.

Having had the series in Sri Lanka and South Africa to cement his place in the side it'll be interesting to see how Lyon goes against a batting order that has been known to destroy spin bowlers.

And given the lengthy spell at the crease you'd have to assume there'll be something go amiss with one of the bowlers. Ten days of Test cricket over the next fortnight and all that…

Murphy's Law would suggest that we'll lose one of the quicks and/or have something go amiss with Lyon, and given the whatever can go wrong will go wrong and when it does it'll go wrong at the worst possible time factor means that if we lose a quick it'll probably be Pattinson.

That would make two potential spearheads of an emerging attack gone in the space of three Tests.…

So there's my reason for not looking forward to two days of Sachin and Company at the crease.

I am looking forward to it, actually, but in a way I'm not.

We could, on the other hand, find ourselves batting second against an attack where you'd have to place question marks over the fitness of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma, and surely, I hear you ask, Hughesy's looking forward to watching Australia amass something in the vicinity of six hundred.

This is where the I don't know the worse scenario bit really kicks in, since a score around the six hundred mark is probably going to mean a big hundred or two, and there's every possibility that or two might mean both of Ponting and Hussey, and a belief that both can stick around into the indefinite future.

Under those circumstances, given the fact that we went for Hussey over Christian at Six, where does Watson slot in, given the assumption he's an automatic selection if fit?

And with that, I rest my case for the moment. Reflections on Day One to follow tomorrow morning.


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