Curators must give Test bowlers a chance

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    The recently concluded series between Australia and South Africa was meant to be a battle between two much-vaunted bowling attacks. Instead what we saw were three tests of batting, batting and batting.

    Did I forget to mention batting?

    Only for a brief day and a half of the final test did we see bowlers shape the fortune of a match, and about half of the 20 wickets that fell in the two teams first innings in Perth were due mainly to idiotic batting rather than good bowling.

    After the first innings in Perth, the pitch was finally exposed in the second innings to what all good pundits initially thought it to be: a road conducive to good batting. Another road.

    Perth was the third Test in a row where the curators prepared a batsmen-friendly pitch. Why?

    What benefits were to be had from preparing three flat pitches, two of which at venues where bowlers are traditionally meant to have assistance from the pitch?

    Was it good for the development of John Hastings to see Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith have the confidence to expose his stumps, walk across the crease and whip the ball into midwicket since he knew the pitch was going to neutralise the ball?

    Was it good for any bowler in Adelaide, where the boundaries are even smaller than normal to get spanked because the pitch was so true for batting?

    Was it good for Australian bowlers to bowl an entire fifth day and receive absolutely no assistance from the pitch until the last five overs of the test?

    You could easily argue that the pitch, and not just South Africa’s dogged resistance cost Australia the second Test.

    The rain and a woefully flat Gabba pitch combined to ensure that there was only ever going to be a draw.

    I’m perhaps one of the few who thought twice during this series, when Australia flogged South Africa around the park in Adelaide and the reverse in Perth for six runs an over, that this is a bit ridiculous.

    Cricket is meant to be an even contest between bat and ball, not a series of batting exhibitions.

    I’m not saying that the bowlers are excused from blame, there were occasions were true tripe was bowled.

    But no bowler from either side was able to extract any swing, no bowler was able to get good movement off the pitch and no spinner was able to gain any significant turn – the pitches never broke up.

    As much as I like watching a batsman hit a double century, I also like seeing a bowler getting a five-for too. Mitchell Starc was the only Australian bowler to get one, and even then he paid for it with over 150 runs.

    Morkel paid much for one in Adelaide also. Contrast that with batsman. Clarke two double centuries, Hussey two centuries, Warner and Cowan one century for Australia.

    Amla two centuries, Smith, Kallis, Du Plessis, De Villiers centuries. 12 centuries all up in three tests.

    I’m hoping that the pitches for the Sri Lanka tests offer a greater balance between bat and ball.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • Roar Rookie

      December 6th 2012 @ 2:13am
      Neuen said | December 6th 2012 @ 2:13am | ! Report

      You can not blame them it is the start of the Aussie summer so piches will be very good for batting. They need to be used a couple of times before they become a contest.

      • December 6th 2012 @ 6:02am
        Bobo said | December 6th 2012 @ 6:02am | ! Report

        The Gabba test is always the first of the season, and it’s usually got a nice covering of grass, some pace and carry. This year was exceptionally flat. The WACA pitch is similar to recent pitches there – good bounce, but none of the terrors of a traditional WACA monster. Pity.

        • Roar Rookie

          December 6th 2012 @ 1:10pm
          Neuen said | December 6th 2012 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

          Yeah but didn’t South Africa use to tour in December and not November which means the pitches would brand spanking new tracks compared to December where they ad more nurture and play on it?

    • December 6th 2012 @ 7:24am
      Matt F said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:24am | ! Report

      The conspiracy theory would be that there were so many 3 and 4 day Test matches last summer (I think Adelaide was the only test to reach the 5th day) that CA have ordered the curators to flatten out the pitches so that they go the distance which means that CA, plus their broadcast partners and sponsors, don’t lose revenue. Not that I would ever suggest anything like that…..

      • December 6th 2012 @ 3:14pm
        Jay said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

        I have a similar take on the standard of pitches (in general) over the last few years. Pitches are being prepared to last at least 5 days, regardless of whether it’s a good pitch or not. Often they are roads, and often in favour of the batsmen.

        I don’t think it should matter if a pitch is a bowlers paradise and the match only lasts 3 days. It’d be a great spectacle, and you’d know there’d be a result, and it’d be great seeing some batsmen hopping around.

        Test cricket is the pinnacle. I love it. But I do think the majority of pitches being prepared are far too suited to batsmen, too pedestrian, and I, like you, believe this is due to orders from higher up as to maximise revenue. I’d actually think the opposite is possible to be true, in that I think revenue would be maximised by more variable pitches, and a match lasting 3 days of excitement could draw as much revenue as a 5 dayer trundling towards a draw.

    • December 6th 2012 @ 7:48am
      Robert said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:48am | ! Report

      Its not a conspiracy theory,its a fact.I have it from very very good authority that,at the Gabba at least,a particular groundsman was told by CA that they want a five day test,meaning a dull,flat pitch

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    • December 6th 2012 @ 7:59am
      Gus said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      The reason test match were finishing inside 5 days last summer was due to the woeful opposition, not the pitches.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

      • December 6th 2012 @ 8:43am
        Nick Inatey said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        Yeah. India would have been bowled out by the the Under 10’s last year.

      • December 6th 2012 @ 9:22am
        Blackie said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        The reason why the pitches were so flat was that if they had played on 3 seaming decks the Proteas would have won 3 – nil.

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