Day 1 –Australia : Good intent, bad shot selection.
Would like to share my thoughts on my observation of Day 1, 1st Ashes Test @ Gabba.
Australia’s intention was very clear. It was to assert domination, and they were successful through David Warner’s display of strokes, but, he was the only player among the top 4 who looked like taking dominating English bowling.
On the other hand England were not carried away by the bounce/swing they received in first hour, which fetched them Chris Rogers’s wicket in 4th over of the day. Instead they were bowling within themselves, and never to tried to overdo by either bouncing or bowling flat out. The speed gun averaged 135kph for all fast bowlers throughout the day.
They used the bouncers to specific batsmen only, of which Michael Clarke was one of them. Otherwise they had great control of their line and also length, which seems to be hovering around 7 or less meters from batting crease. South Africa last year erred in their length as they were trying hard to swing the ball.
Stuart Board was the pick of English bowlers who kept a discipline outside off stump line, bowling a bit shorter than rest of his mates, but getting more bounce.
One was surprised to see Tremlett bowling with reduced pace. He seems to open chested, but he too bowled outside the off stump line.
Infact all, including Swann had a discipline outside off stump line, not allowing Aussies to score easily. Against Swann they had a packed off side field, and it was impossible for Warner to pierce the field.
Post lunch, the wicket became harder, as ball was carrying nicely with more bounce and it be the result of consistent sunshine. England seems to have done their homework well, and have feeling they had this game plan for tour games as well.
For Australia Chris Rogers needs to play with more freedom, and am sure someone who started his career batting at WACA(played for Western Australia before shifting to Victoria) should be able to counter pace and bounce. Nevertheless he was surprised by short sharp bounce from Broad, and instead of pulling(hindsight thinking) he tried to defend/fend. Interestingly in England, they were trying to get him out off the front foot by angling it in from around the wicket. He has been dismissed L B W few times in that series (36.36%) but in Australia would be difficult to get this dismissal as there is more bounce.
Warner’s intent of attacking the bowling was successful for short time, but just when he looked settled, he got to moving wide ball.
Watson: started slowly, but looked composed, and got out to a lazy, typical Watto shot – he could have played an upper cut(or, any horizontal shot) and got out edging the ball, or scoring a boundary.
Clarke – looked extra cautious when he came in, but was unsettled by Broad’s short bowling. Clarke has been hit few times around his head and has a very poor technique of ducking (hands near helmet). Fast bowlers tend to pepper him (initially at crease) w/short bowling, and then usually he gets bowled(26.82%),but this time he was caught fending.
Bailey: think he was too eager to play every ball. Ashes debutants have their adrenaline moments. He hand middle-off stump stance to the ball he got out, suggesting how keen he was too play either side of wicket.
Smith: looked certain to score his first Ashes century but lost patience of leaving balls ‘outside’ off stump.
Johnson: batting showed that if one can apply there is no fear and big score can be achieved. He got out to a very good delivery.
Haddin – since last series, he has tightened his batting. He looks more composed and sure which to play and leave. At same time haven’t forgotten to attack the bowling. Considering batting to spinners is not his major strength, yet, he played Swann brilliantly. He has batted for >50 overs in this innings, and it’s the fifth time he has done in his Test career. Leveling a recent Australia keeper record which Adam Gilchrist achieved. Haddin’s at No.7, his sum of partnerships runs is now 173 (63.36%)which usually top batsmen have.
Tomorrow one reckons the surface will have more pace and bounce, yet it would be even, batting would be much easier than day 1.
For Australia to dominate this Test, they should somehow score 400, and if they do, than it would be 11th time ( in 14 Tests since 2000) they would achieve this milestone at Gabba.
This would give them advantage to win this Test match. Australia haven’t lost a Test at Gabba since 1996.
Day 1 -Close of play. Aus (1st) inn: 273-8(90)overs. Haddin 78 not out. Harris 4 not out.
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