Saturday, August 3, 2013

Anyone for 10-0?

Thought not. England's bravado and the patronising of the Australian team - for being unable to compete - by the assorted press after the Lords Test has been replaced with the very real prospect of batting for the remaining days to attempt to save the third test. There is the prospect of some more traditional Mancunian weather to save them potentially however.

England's bowling lacked any penetration on a fairly benign pitch offering little for anyone other than Graeme Swann. England's body language on the pitch steadily deteriorated as it became clear that they had little answer to the avalanche of Australian runs that were being so comfortably scored.

Comments that England were overly reliant on Jimmy Anderson looked to definitely have some merit as he toiled in the Carribbean like Lancastrian sunshine. Stuart Broad possibly looked the best of the England seamers and was obviously unlucky with a huge LBW shout late on Thursday.

Michael Clarke is Australia's one true world class test batsman and he proved it again without question on Friday putting the England bowlers to the sword with a vast array of attacking shots, it was an innings of the highest quality at a time when Australia needed it most.

Clarke backed up his pugnacious innings with an equally aggressive declaration sending a clear signal of intent to England, he is here to win. He also probably had one eye on the weather forecast.

England toiled on what looked to be an excellent batting pitch which did offer some turn. As a friend of the writer pointed out, one suspects that a certain S.K. Warne would have extracted far far more from the surface than Graeme Swann was able to as hard as it is to knock a five for. Their seam figures were simply miserable.

All of which makes last night's disappointing but somehow unsurprising batting progress all the more galling. England have flattered to deceive with the bat for some time now and again the deficiencies were laid bare by some honest and straight forward seam bowling.

There are certainly no demons in this pitch with it only occasionally offering any encouragement to the seamers and the later siren's call of reverse swing. Having said that, England face considerable work to firstly avoid the follow on before even considering having batted themselves back into the game.

Bearing in mind a draw would secure the urn, it's has been a pretty ordinary effort. The folly of England's persistence insistent of the use of a nightwatchmen was yet again laid bare. Prior should he get amongst the runs will have one less partner now.

Subject to the weather, England face a tough three days to secure an otherwise unlikely draw. Some big names such as Cook, Prior and KP have offered little in this series so far, it is time to step up or the next discussion could be regarding the possibility of 2-2 - No Nonsense.