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Give them a battering

'England now must learn how to score first-innings runs'

Bob Willis Posted 29th November 2010 view comments

Roll on Adelaide.

England have the psychological edge ahead of this week's second Test after producing a phenomenal effort with the bat to save this game.

After all the build-up the players will be relieved to have this game under their belt and while England shouldn't get too cocky yet, Australia have all of the problems.

Three-mendous: century-makers Trott, Cook and Strauss made a statement for England

Three-mendous: century-makers Trott, Cook and Strauss made a statement for England

Only two of their bowlers - Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus - are firing while Mitchell Johnson and Xavier Doherty look well-below Test standard at the moment.

Condifdence

To focus on those deficiencies would be to detract from England's batting effort though - after all, it's not often we see them 500-odd for one!

Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott deserve every credit for getting stuck in and the runs they've scored will give them a lot of confidence for the remainder of the series.

Cook and Trott are similar in the regard that they look unflappable at the crease - both are mentally tough even when runs are hard to come by.

Bob Willis
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Cook has tinkered with his technique in the last year and now has essentially gone back to the method he used at the start of his career. It is certainly paying dividends.

Last summer he was Graham Gooch-like, looking at the bat behind him to make sure he was picking it up straight but that's no longer the case and his balance at the crease looks much better.

He was helped by the inability of the Australian bowlers to get the ball in the right areas, particularly on day four when they kept on pitching the ball short because Cook feeds off that.

Unflappable

Like many batsmen there's only one place to bowl at him - and that's about nine inches outside off stump; that's where he has all of his problems but Australia weren't good enough to bowl consistently in that corridor.

Cook and Trott are similar in the regard that they look unflappable at the crease - both are mentally tough even when runs are hard to come by.

Trott was particularly scratchy in the first innings but second time around he was supremely confident and didn't look in any bother at all.

With two hundreds in two Ashes Tests in a row, I suspect he'd quite fancy playing Australia all of the time.

England must now find a way to score over 400 in their first innings - something they fail to achieve far too often - so that they can build a much more solid platform from which to win the game.

Benefitted

Andrew Strauss' declaration was perfectly understandable but I would have batted through the day, hoped to have won the toss in Adelaide and then got Australia back in the field again straight away.

That would have really rubbed Australia's noses in it plus - had England lost any more wickets (which looked unlikely) - Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood would have benefitted from another hour or so in the middle.

In contrast, I didn't feel that the seamers needed another run out although, admittedly, Graeme Swann did need the chance to get more overs under his belt.

As it was, Ricky Ponting got the chance to demonstrate what great nick he is in and it underlined that both sides - not just Australia - have to try to come up with a formula to get 20 wickets.

Disappointing

In truth, the pitch was the winner in the end and the next one will be pretty similar so there is plenty more hard work for the bowlers to do.

In the curator's defence he had to deal with plenty of poor weather in the lead up to the Test, but still it is disappointing to see Australian pitches gone the same way as most pitches around the world - that is, becoming flat batting paradises.

The thought remains that both these sides need a fifth bowler because both went for long periods of time without taking a wicket; the bowlers will be on their knees come Christmas if the pitches continue in this vein.

Comments (19)

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Philip Hamilton says...

would messers nasser sir ian bumble david mickey charles and bob stop having a go at them poor aussies, it took them 2 days to get a wicket at the gabba and now there taking 1 every day !!!!!! i,m loving it and please don,t declare till we get at least 650 by tea

Posted 02:44 5th December 2010

Adrian Page says...

I have to disagree with you Bob like any sport momentum and confidence have a massive role to play, now going into the next test the Aussie bowlers will have just bowled around 150 overs against the english top 3 been hit for over 500 runs and only got one wicket (which was a no ball by a part time bowler) whereas our 3 batsmen all got centuries 2 of which were unbeaten. If we had batted all day and had a mini collapse and ended losing 3 or 4 more wickets then the momentum would have shifted back to the Aussie bolwers. It also gave our bolwers a chance to get a few overs under the belt again and potentially get a quick cheap wicket which happened. As for Anderson having another unlucky spell, he has one of those a game it seems, if his ratio of wickets taken through edges to missed opportunties from edges was the same as your average run of the mill bolwer he' have probably 50 to 100 more test wickets at a much lower average and strike rate but hey he still has very good figures considering

Posted 21:37 1st December 2010

Stephen Gardner says...

It was brilliant to see our top order bat the way they did. yeh it was a flat pitch but the pressure was on & they showed this team has a strong mentality which has been lacking in previous tours down under. i also think we should go with the extra bowler in tremlett, he bowled well in the warm up game and his height will get extra bounce out of these flat tracks. unfortunately it should be at the expense of collie who has not been his consistent best for a while now.

Posted 17:17 30th November 2010

George Parker says...

I was disgusted with Andrews Strauss declaring when he did, knowing the match was already drawn why did he not let Allister Cook go on to reach 288 runs or more which would have given him the all time record score in Australia, a record which has been running since 1903 (one hundred and seven years).

Posted 14:25 29th November 2010

Nick Brammar says...

Firstly well done to the boys for a very un English fightback! I would like to see England play a fifth bowler in the next test and would probably go for Shazad, he is virtually unknown to the Australians and could bring a surprise element, also he is pretty handy with the bat. Suspect it will be the same team that starts in Adelaide though.

Posted 13:55 29th November 2010

George Staples says...

Yes we did well. But remember it was an awfully flat batting track and at the end the Aussies were not that far behind with nine wickets in hand. Drop Collingwiood bring in Bresnan and replace Prior with Davies. The selection worry for me is the usual Flower excuse of not changing a team, either win or lose. His favoured few will again play in the second Test,regardless of form. When will England select a tgeam ON FORM not on maybe or past scores.? The middle order is very suspect, Broad did not claim any success, sol we should not get carried away. George Staples

Posted 13:47 29th November 2010

Nigel Foster says...

Yes it was great to see English batsman on top in the land of OZ...but lets not get carried away.The teams no matter what the pundits say...are not equal,England are on the up and are the better players "on the whole",but man for man..... mmmm,Katisch,Ponting,Hussey,Haddin,and if Johnston can hit form again,and has not completely lost "IT" Its these 5 matches that will decide who is the best --- In Australia. My opinion..Bowlers FINN,Broad if they can fire for Anderson must not just be dangerous but also take the wickets when he his in Space.Batting,if the openers find consistency then a pietersen does not need to get 80+runs,Because I believe Bell will be unstoppable and consistent,and prior ,swann and Broad can knock around the 30-50s. If I was going to pick an Extra bower it woud be Tremlet.Bcos I believe Bresnan might go for some. Though I do rate himIf England keep their discipline.They wont lose the ASHES

Posted 13:38 29th November 2010

John Butt says...

Drop Collingwood 5th bowler I agree with that. You cannot even say Collingwood is not dropping the ball this year. I would go for Bresnan.

Posted 12:42 29th November 2010

Steve Wright says...

professional performance,after the first days disaster.lets hope our players at the top of the order havent peeked and used up all their runs already,because below prior,although swann etc can bat,they fail all to often and only get a score when the pressures off. my plans for the second test is for a big score and a large pieterson ton,especially if we bat first.the loss of only one wicket in our second innings and a record for one wicket,which was self inflicted,should demoralise their attack,should we get another large score from friday

Posted 12:28 29th November 2010

Jean Mann says...

We are never going top hear the last of this, its not as though England Won, I'm a true Aussie Supporter even though i was Born in England, I have never supported the English at any Sport, they will be prepared for the 2nd Test, they will not lay die and die.

Posted 11:37 29th November 2010

Mark Tasker says...

Thanks to some timely batting form returning,we got out of jail.We must improve our bowling,the lads from Notts bowled some rubbish at times,this shouldn`t be happening to experienced pro`s.Pitch the ball up,for goodness sake!!!!. Their best bowler took a hattrick,why? because he pitched it up!!!.

Posted 11:36 29th November 2010

Mark Green says...

Its easy to forget if Broad and Anderson would of had the luck their excellent bowling at the start of day 3 deserved this could easily have been an England win. I doubt you'll see a more luckless spell of bowling this series.

Posted 11:11 29th November 2010

Matthew Buser says...

England did extremely well to fight back in this test to draw, cook looks another classy left hander with the mindset to stay at the crease for long periods, however, wouldnt it be so much more satisfying if the runs were made by Englishman and not South Africans.

Posted 10:50 29th November 2010

David Mckeown says...

This series is gonna be nil nil at this rate. Groundsmen need to get the defibralators on the pitches to squeeze some life into them and skippers need an extra bowler, or we'll all be bored to death by Chrimbo...

Posted 10:41 29th November 2010

Nick Dawson says...

I see what you are saying Ian Gatward, provided that we win or draw at Adelaide. But its a good point which I haven't heard raised by the commentators; Australia have two tests to produce conditions and the right bowlers to take 20 wickets and win. If they don't, as Ian points out, we retain the ashes.

Posted 10:40 29th November 2010

Bob Beaver says...

I would of batted all day - I saw little point in declaring. - give our batsman practise in the middle - tire the aussie bowlers, and may be produce an injury in one - don't give the aussie batsman any practise Strauss missed a trick their!

Posted 10:16 29th November 2010

Martin West says...

Yes, England definitely came out on top in this match, even the supporters, well done barmy army, you stayed there till the end, unlike the aussie's. I wonder if they will use 5 seamers at Adelaide? Maybe bring in Tremlett or Bresnan, both can upset the aussies with bat and ball, and drop Collie (Unfortuntely for him)

Posted 10:15 29th November 2010

Eddie Pickett says...

I agree, the Aussie attack looks very flat for this level of cricket. Whilst I firmly believe our bowlers are better, any attack in the world would struggle to produce on that wicket.

Posted 08:49 29th November 2010

Ian Gatward says...

I think it is down to the Aussies to sort their issues out and if they want to keep their pitches a batsman,s paradise then let them because when it comes to the boxing day test and we avoid defeat then the ashes are coming back home

Posted 08:46 29th November 2010

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