Saturday, January 14, 2012

You're never quite in on this track

When you go looking for the rather remarkable form reversal batsmen and bowlers are probably going to approach it from different directions.

Just after I arrived in Bowen and became involved in the local Junior Cricket scene I met Doug Holloway, an ex-serviceman from Adelaide who'd been stationed in Bowen during World War Two and came back regularly to go fishing and do some coaching on the side. He'd been involved with the South Australian Shield squad, and was definitely a batsman.

Wickets fall, in what I recall of his philosophy, because batsmen make mistakes. Being of the bowler persuasion I questioned this, but Doug was quite definite.

Batsmen make mistakes. He was a rather good analyst of batting weaknesses, and seemed to work on the premise that you stayed in until you got something wrong, which is fairly obvious in its own logic.

By that reading a day where fourteen wickets fell for 308 runs would suggest a large number of batting errors, wouldn't it? That's coming after a day when ten fell for 310. Plenty of errors there too.

The four wicket difference between the two days, would go down in the batsman's Book of Explanations as a dominant performance by Warner and Cowan in the face of what I described yesterday as what's looking increasingly like a popgun pace attack that doesn't seem to have the pace to exploit the track operating to a slips cordon that's standing a good metre too far back.

Day Two, on the other hand, was a case of same horse, different jockey and we were back with the attack that looked, in Sydney and Melbourne as good enough to trouble an Australian batting order that had serious question marks beside most names from One to Six, except for Michael Clarke, who was probably only safe because he had the captaincy.

At the start of the series I'd been thinking that our emerging but showing considerable potential bowling against their star-studded batting order was about equal to their weaker attack against our weaker batting order.

In the first two Tests it was the bowlers' ability to keep the targets down that allowed the bats to run them down, and the bowlers' ability to roll them again that delivered the victories, and we're probably still looking at the same scenario here.

It could, of course, have been very different if India had managed to get their line and length right in the last session in Day One. That's not to take too much away from Warner's innings. They put it there to be hit and he duly hit it. Simple.

He was a bit more circumspect on Day Two, but part of that was because an improved line and length and the cracks opening in the track forced him to. When they strayed into his zone the ball departed very swiftly towards or over the boundary.

And once Cowan and Warner had gone the rest of the Australian batting order and the aging champions from the subcontinent set about proving the Terry Alderman thesis from Day One. You're never, it seems, quite in on this track.

There were fairly similar sentiments from Geoff Lawson yesterday, and I'm inclined to fall in with them. We bowled the way we have through the series, putting the ball up into the zone where the batsmen make mistakes and the bats obliged.

The Indian attack, lacking the horses for courses faster bouncier wickets personnel we have to draw on couldn't manage to do that quite as consistently.

Looking back, in Melbourne it was win the toss, bat, roll them for a first innings lead and set a large enough target to bowl at.

Sydney was  lose the toss and bowl, roll them again, make the most of good batting conditions and roll them again for the innings victory.

Here, it looks like being much the same except the Indians didn't choose to bat first, and it almost seemed the Indian brains trust hadn't considered what occurred as a likely scenario, didn't know what to do when it happened, sat down to figure things out overnight and worked out a viable bowling plan.

It would have been very interesting to be a fly on the wall in the Indian dressing room and assorted hotel suites while those matters were under discussion.

They still haven't addressed the issues with the batting, and, again, it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall last night to eavesdrop on discussions about the Tendulkar LBW.

As I've remarked before I'd have thought Tendulkar, who's been on the receiving end of more dodgy decisions against him that most Test playing nations' entire XIs would have been all for the DRS.

The replays using the relevant technology were, however, quite definite, While The Little Master was livid to be given out lbw when he thought it was going down leg side" and "reacting with dismay to replays that showed the ball clipping leg stump"  it'll be quite interesting to see what the match referee makes of it.

One suspects, however, that the forensic evidence will be downplayed with the old but the technology is wrong, but you'd have needed to be the fly on the wall to know for sure since I haven't seen that line used in public this time around.


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