England hammer Australia in ODI opener, and this time it was the bowlers at fault

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    Australia’s ODI form trough deepened yesterday as they were flayed by England’s hyper-aggressive batting line-up in the series opener at the MCG.

    The hosts made enough runs – their total of 8-304 set England the task of a record chase at the MCG – but their bowling was simply not good enough against a very strong batting unit.

    The defending World Cup holders now have a thoroughly ordinary win-loss record of 21-20 over the past two years.

    The key issue amid that slump has been inconsistent batting displays, in particular from their middle order. Yesterday it was their bowlers who misfired. In a horrendous spell with the new ball, Ashes stars Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins leaked 72 runs from eight overs.

    Even though each bowler picked up a wicket during this period, their frequent loose offerings allowed England to reduce the greatly required run rate to just 5.54 runs per over with 42 overs to go. From there Australia was always going to have to bowl the visitors out. With Starc and Cummins struggling, that was a task beyond Australia.

    Seamer Andrew Tye was disciplined on ODI debut, maintaining a nagging line and length and displaying his fine array of changeups. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa bowled extremely well for his first six overs before taking some tap later on.

    Australia's Adam Zampa bowls

    (AAP Image/SNPA, John Cowpland)

    It was clear from the opening 30 minutes of England’s innings that the belligerent Jason Roy would be the key wicket. The Englishman rode his luck and rode it and rode it all the way to a very streaky but nonetheless match-winning knock of 180 from 151 balls.

    It was an innings which showcased all the strengths and flaws of Roy. He played some truly gorgeous strokes alongside some horrible hacks, a multitude of which saw the ball lob off his blade tantalisingly close to fielders. In the end, however, all that mattered was his massive score.

    The one major positive to emerge from the match for Australia was the composed manner in which their new-look middle order put them back on track yesterday. While Australia’s top order has been strong for years now they have been soft in the middle for too long.

    It was the frailty of Australia’s middle order which was the decisive factor in their recent 4-1 ODI series loss in India.

    In the final three matches of that series, Australia got off to good starts with the bat before their middle order folded. At Indore, they were 1-224 with 12.2 overs remaining, well placed to make 350, before losing 5-69 and finishing with an under-par total of 6-293.

    The following match at Bangalore, Australia were even better placed at 0-231 with 15.1 overs left and 400 a distinct possibility. Then they lost 3-5 and only managed to make 103 from those final 91 balls.

    Finally, at Nagpur, they were 1-100 off 19.2 overs with Warner and Smith cruising before their innings was derailed and they managed just 9-242.

    Yesterday Australia found themselves vulnerable at 3-78 with their two best batsmen Warner and Smith already gone. Instead of blaster Glenn Maxwell coming out at number five, as he often did the past two years before being dropped this month, it was in-form all-rounder Mitch Marsh.

    The 26-year-old played an impressively patient knock of 50 from 68 balls. Rather than relying on boundaries, Marsh worked the ball around nicely, handing strike over to his well-set partner Aaron Finch (107 from 119 balls) during a 118-run stand.

    Then Marcus Stoinis continued his extraordinary start to his ODI career with a blistering 60 from 40 balls. He found an able ally in newly-installed wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine, who played a neat cameo of 27 from 31 balls.

    Australia’s total of 304 was slightly above par at the MCG. It swiftly became far less daunting due to the awful start with the new ball by Starc and Cummins.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (208)

    • Roar Pro

      January 15th 2018 @ 6:48am
      Saurabh Gandle said | January 15th 2018 @ 6:48am | ! Report

      Records in all likelihood are meant to be broken.Australia lost the plot after 40 overs . Australian middle order leaves lot to be desired .Why have a part timer like Travis Head when you have specialist player like Cameron White.Smith tendency to stick with part time over specialized player is affecting the team.

      • Roar Guru

        January 15th 2018 @ 10:07am
        JamesH said | January 15th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        What are you talking about? Australia made 83 runs in their last 10 overs for the loss of 3 wickets. They would have made more runs in that period if they weren’t already 5 down.

        The middle order of Marsh, Stoinis and Paine made really important contributions after three of the top 4 failed. Australia’s problems in this game were their top order and their poor bowling with the new ball.

        • Roar Guru

          January 15th 2018 @ 10:19am
          The Bush said | January 15th 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          The middle order did their best to claw the team to that score. The issue is we didn’t score enough in the first fifteen or so overs.

          • Roar Guru

            January 15th 2018 @ 11:13am
            JamesH said | January 15th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

            Yep, and then they scored too many in their first 15.

    • January 15th 2018 @ 7:05am
      Roostermark said | January 15th 2018 @ 7:05am | ! Report

      Starc has certainly lost some pace from a few years ago where he averaged balls around 145 kph to a max of 150kph now we see his effort balls at about low 140’s and many around the mid 130’s, Cummin’s after his injury has lost pace also and I fear will never get that speed he had in South Africa all those years ago.

      • Roar Guru

        January 15th 2018 @ 10:36am
        JamesH said | January 15th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

        I don’t think lack of pace was the issue. The way Starc and Cummins bowled to Roy was symptomatic of a problem Australia has had for a while now where they don’t seem to develop any sort of plan against ‘lesser’ opposition players. They focus all their attention on the big guns (guys like Root and Kohli) and seem to assume that this is enough to win games. They certainly didn’t seem to do much homework on Vince, Stoneman or Malan pre-Ashes.

        Roy performed poorly for England last year and his batting in the current BBL has been rubbish. Teams have worked out that if you change up the pace and bowl tight areas to him he stops playing the really nice conventional shots (drives on the up, flicks, pulls, etc) and starts playing those ungainly hacks across the line. Yet Cummins and Starc just kept bowling full or short (and occasionally too wide or straight) at 140+, which is exactly what Roy wanted. It’s like it was a belated Christmas present.

        Where were the slower balls? Why not give Zampa or Head an over early on? If England are going to approach ODIs like T20s then why not respond in kind? I don’t know if it’s arrogance or ineptitude but the Australian brains trust has let the team down badly.

        • January 15th 2018 @ 11:25am
          BurgyGreen said | January 15th 2018 @ 11:25am | ! Report

          Yeah I think we are really struggling tactically in both limited overs formats, and thinking that the key to a good bowling attack is blowing the opposition away with pace is our biggest blunder. It’s good to have that sort of bowler in the opening overs when the ball is swinging, but they become cannon fodder through the middle and in the death. Gun-barrel straight bowling delivered at around 140 is exactly what most current limited overs batsmen love best. It’s why we’re getting hammered in T20s too – because we pick 3 or 4 genuine quicks even though spinners are dominating in T20 cricket everywhere in the world.

          • Roar Guru

            January 15th 2018 @ 12:51pm
            JamesH said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

            The obsession with pace certainly isn’t helping in limited overs or even overseas tests.

        • January 15th 2018 @ 4:33pm
          Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | January 15th 2018 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

          I think Starc and Cummins were still bowling in Test cricket mode where they were trying to blast out the English batsmen with either quick short deliveries or yorkers. All a bit predictable which suited Roy. In retropsect it may have been better to rest Starc and Cummins and give more opportunities to bowlers like Andrews Tye and Billy Stanlake who has been in the T20 groove of mixing up his deliveries to out think and restrict the batsman. I know it shouldn’t happen but it may take a couple of games for the Aussie quicks to adopt the right mind set.

          • Roar Guru

            January 15th 2018 @ 9:07pm
            JamesH said | January 15th 2018 @ 9:07pm | ! Report

            You could be right, but that’s even more of an indictment on the planning for this series. It says to me that the coaching group hasn’t had an in-depth discussion with the key Aussie quicks about how to approach England’s top order. Either that, or the bowlers paid no attention to their coaches, which I find less likely.

            • January 16th 2018 @ 5:35pm
              qwetzen said | January 16th 2018 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

              You’re missing another blame option. Smith could be dictating what the bowlers send down.

    • Roar Rookie

      January 15th 2018 @ 7:09am
      DJ DJ said | January 15th 2018 @ 7:09am | ! Report

      I disagree a bit Ronan. We were always 20-30 runs short. Despite being a record chase the game has changed as 20-20 is now entrenched and 300 will often not be enough. The side looks unbalanced, one batsman short. And why are we resting bowlers? It’s only ten overs per bowler. Just simply play the test attack and have Marsh / head share ten overs. How hard is that ?

      • January 15th 2018 @ 9:26am
        jameswm said | January 15th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        Agreed. Smith, Finch, Stoinis, all got out at the wrong time when we were starting to press on.

        • January 15th 2018 @ 9:35am
          Perry Bridge said | January 15th 2018 @ 9:35am | ! Report

          I love Finchy, and he made a 100, but even he was clearly miffed that he’d got out when/how he did. It’s hard to be critical but due to the relatively early loss of 3 wickets (before 20 overs) – he really needed to bat deep into the last 10 if he could.

          I did look at the batting order and wondered how many 5th bowling options were needed? Stoinis, Marsh, Head…….Smith, Warner…..Finchy.

          Marsh also got out at any inopportune time. But – at least they had some runs to their name. After the loss of Finch, Marsh then had to be the guy to bat deep. In the end that was Stoinis. But the innings sputtered out after 200 from 35 overs, the back 15 going at 7 an over. It’s ironic that we regarded that as underachieving nowadays!

      • January 15th 2018 @ 9:35am
        Taurangaboy said | January 15th 2018 @ 9:35am | ! Report

        And why is Mitch Marsh’s 50 from 68 balls “impressive” in a high scoring game? Slowed the run rate down and helped lose the game.

        • Roar Guru

          January 15th 2018 @ 9:57am
          Chris Kettlewell said | January 15th 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

          Exactly. At that point of the innings he needed to be scoring at a run a ball minimum.

          • January 15th 2018 @ 11:27am
            BurgyGreen said | January 15th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

            It’s fine to take 68 balls to get to 50 – as long as you go on to accelerate at the death instead of getting out with 15ish overs left

        • January 15th 2018 @ 10:16am
          Bob said | January 15th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

          Agree Stoinis was much better with bat or ball. Whe he actually has to play on a wicket with some lateral movement we will see if he has any value.

          • January 15th 2018 @ 1:29pm
            matth said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

            Stoinis has had as good a start to an international career that I can remember.

            • Columnist

              January 15th 2018 @ 2:22pm
              Ronan O'Connell said | January 15th 2018 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

              Stoinis just continues to amaze me with how seamlessly he has slotted into this team.

              There’s a lot of doom and gloom comments in here about Australia’s batting but there was a lot to like from Finch, MMarsh, Stoinis and Paine.

              Australia have relied very heavily on Warner and Smith in ODIs the past two years so they’ll be very happy to see a host of other guys stepping up when they had a rare dual-failure.

        • Roar Pro

          January 15th 2018 @ 4:52pm
          Adam Hayward said | January 15th 2018 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

          Marsh’s innings was impressive as he came in at 3/80 and had to build an innings and bat through the middle overs, which he did well in a supportive role for Finch. What did you expect him to do? Go out and slog? If Marsh got out early playing too aggressively, Australia could have been bowled out for a lot less. It’s not T20 where you have to go full blast from ball one, you have to construct an innings.

          If you want someone to blame, then blame the captain and bowlers. They should have been able to defend that total. No excuses.

      • Columnist

        January 15th 2018 @ 11:26am
        Ronan O'Connell said | January 15th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

        “We were always 20-30 runs short. Despite being a record chase the game has changed as 20-20 is now entrenched and 300 will often not be enough.”

        DJ DJ you’re right that 304 is not enough often these days in ODIs but that’s because so many matches around the world are played on much smaller and higher-scoring grounds than the MCG.

        The MCG is the lowest-scoring ODI venue in Australia, with the average 1st innings score around 260 over Australia’s past 10 matches there.

        That Australian attack should be able to defend 304 at the MCG more often than not, no matter the opposition, but Starc and Cummins were so bad with the new ball that it took all the pressure off England.

        • January 15th 2018 @ 12:42pm
          Rosso said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

          Interesting to hear see smith say after the match that we were 30-40 runs short and lamented thar finch and marsh failed to go on when they were set as they ate up all a lot of bowls for their runs

          • January 15th 2018 @ 1:09pm
            Perry Bridge said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

            Interesting Smith saying that – Finch ‘ate up balls’ in making sure that 4 of the top 4 didn’t fail – and that 3-78 off 14 didn’t become 5-100 off 20!!

            His first 50 off 65 balls. The 2nd 50 came off 47 balls. This was during the phase that Marsh came in – the 3rd 50 of the innings (3-100 to 3-150) took exactly 60 balls. Slowest of all. In the 100 run stand from 106 balls Finch made 55 and Marsh 42.

            • Columnist

              January 15th 2018 @ 1:29pm
              Ronan O'Connell said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

              Smith should have been more concerned with his own failure – Finch and Marsh were the ones who rescued Australia from 3-78 when they could have been rolled for 250 or less.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 1:45pm
                spruce moose said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

                Exactly.

                It’s extraordinary how those who performed are getting blamed while those who didn’t escape scrutiny.

                I’d love to purchase the teflon coating David Warner uses. I’d never need to replace my frying pans again.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 1:54pm
                jameswm said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

                Smith got out. It happens, even to him,. But he was striking at 120 and it looked like a walk in the park till then.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 2:00pm
                BurgyGreen said | January 15th 2018 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

                @sprucemoose Yes, Warner and Smith failed in this game, but there are very good reasons that their places aren’t under any scrutiny – starting with their 43+ batting averages, which no one in the team other than Stoinis is close to.

        • Roar Rookie

          January 15th 2018 @ 5:26pm
          DJ DJ said | January 15th 2018 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

          Fair call Ronan you’re right. Smithy was smiling and joking around even when it was apparent we’d lose so maybe he and Cummins and starkey just didn’t care enough about this game. Hard to be at 100% intensity all the time.

    • January 15th 2018 @ 7:59am
      Brian said | January 15th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      Dno about Zampa. We could have Maxwell in for him and lose very little in the bowling, but gain immensely in the batting. Carey should be in the side over Paine.

      • January 15th 2018 @ 12:59pm
        matth said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

        No. If you look at recent trends in both ODI’s and T20’s, it is specialist spinners who are leading the way. so we need a second good spinner, not drop our only specialist. I’d be looking seriously at Mitchell Swepson if they are really against playing Lyon, who would definitely be our best in all formats.

        • January 15th 2018 @ 4:51pm
          Bazmace said | January 15th 2018 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

          Id bring in Ashton Agar. His short form bowling has been exceptional in the big bash, plus he is a good batsmen and elite fielder.

          • January 15th 2018 @ 5:32pm
            twodogs said | January 15th 2018 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

            More elite is Maxwell.

        • January 16th 2018 @ 5:50pm
          qwetzen said | January 16th 2018 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

          Alternatively; How about a respectable part-timer who turns the ball more than Zampa *and* can open the batting? D Short anyone?

    • January 15th 2018 @ 8:08am
      Christo the Daddyo said | January 15th 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      Is it coincidence that (by and large) the players from the Test team underperformed and the ODI specialists were the better performing players?

      • January 15th 2018 @ 9:01am
        jamesb said | January 15th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        Travis Head made five, and Adam Zampa took 0/72. I take your point about Finch and Stoinis, but i think it was a mixed bag from the “ODI specialists”.

        • January 15th 2018 @ 9:19am
          Brian said | January 15th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

          If your going to play all rounders batting at no 5 and no 6 you don’t need to consider Head bowling when he bats no 4.

          I think he has a good future but i struggle to see how he should currently be in the top 4 ahead of s marsh or maxi.

          • January 15th 2018 @ 9:26am
            jameswm said | January 15th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

            or White or Ferguson or Bailey

            • January 15th 2018 @ 10:27am
              Christo the Daddyo said | January 15th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

              I don’t understand why White didn’t play and Head did. Was there an explanation given at any point?

              • January 15th 2018 @ 1:00pm
                matth said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

                Head is the incumbent and his form has been ok. I don’t rate him as highly as some seem to, but he is fairly young and doing a reasonable job.

          • January 15th 2018 @ 9:41am
            BurgyGreen said | January 15th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

            Yeah Head at 4 is a real question mark for me. He came into the side as a dynamic batting allrounder at 5 or 6, but now that we have Stoinis and M. Marsh covering those roles really well I’m not sure how he fits into the side. He needs to be one of the best four ODI batsmen in the country and he’s just not right now. We’d be better off with S. Marsh there. It’s a big surprise not to see him in the squad – apparently his JLT form was good enough to get him into the Test side but not the ODI side.

            With the squad we have at the moment, White would be a better option than Head. Then you’ve got other specialist bats like Bailey, Khawaja, Hughes, etc who could really do a job at 4.

            • Roar Guru

              January 15th 2018 @ 10:00am
              Chris Kettlewell said | January 15th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

              I feel like S.Marsh, like Khawaja, really needs to be opening. So we are really strong in the opening position, with Warner, Finch, Khawaja and S.Marsh all great options there, but not sure any of them would be as good coming in the middle order.

              • Roar Guru

                January 15th 2018 @ 10:24am
                The Bush said | January 15th 2018 @ 10:24am | ! Report

                I wouldn’t mind a line up of S Marsh, Warner, Khawaja, Smith, M Marsh, Stionis.

                The issue with the current line up is that while Starc and Cummins can throw the willow a little, it shouldn’t be left to them to hit the big runs in the final overs. If you have Paine at seven, that that means that you don’t bat that deep to do the big hitting late in the match. If we’re going to be playing all of Starc, Cummins and Hazelwood, plus a specialist spinner, then we need to be bowling sides out for less than is expected, because our batting is actually slightly limited compared to the top teams going around at the moment.

                When Faulkner was doing well and batting at 7 or 8, we had a deep, well balanced battling lineup. I don’t feel we have that now.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 12:50pm
                Rosso said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

                Bush I like your lineup, I would also love to have Khawaja on the top 4 and hopefully he gets a shot this summer in the ODIs or T20s

              • January 15th 2018 @ 10:59am
                Harbijan Can't Singh said | January 15th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

                So Bush, you wouldn’t mind dropping Finch the century maker? Interesting…

                I do agree that Australia has lost out majorly now with Faulkners dip in form. He added an incredible amount of depth and balance to the line up.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 11:10am
                BurgyGreen said | January 15th 2018 @ 11:10am | ! Report

                I think S. Marsh would do fine at 4, but you could always swap him and Smith if you really felt he needed to be close to the top.

              • Roar Guru

                January 15th 2018 @ 12:02pm
                Chris Kettlewell said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

                Maybe, despite Paine having a good summer, that is where it starts becoming reasonable to look at someone like Handscomb or Bancroft for the ODI keeping spot. Handscomb hasn’t done great with the gloves in his couple of opportunities, but they’ve also been when thrown in last minute because they main keeper was dropped or injured. If he was told that was going to be his role and he came into the match having done some work on his keeping he might do okay. Alternately, maybe Bancroft might be the other option. Either of these two could potentially play that #4 sort of role in the middle, thus allowing the hitters to come in behind them.

                Alternately, if you are going to stick with Paine, then maybe he needs to bat ahead of Marsh and Stoinis. He’s the guy to keep it ticking over in the middle order if we lose some early wickets rather than come in late and hit boundaries.

              • Roar Guru

                January 15th 2018 @ 12:30pm
                The Bush said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

                Harbijan Can’t Singh,

                Not necessarily saying we should drop Finch, just saying that I like the look that line up. Would be more than happy for Finch to stay and S Marsh to not be there. I also think S Marsh could do the job at four.

                BurgyGreen,

                I agree that S Marsh could be at four. Actually don’t see why Smith can’t be as low as 5. I’ve seen him score at phenomenal rates in many versions of the game (I distinctly remember one epic BBL score prior to his really breaking into the side).

                There’s no reason why Smith can’t score at the same rate as Stoinis or M Marsh in the last 15 overs – you don’t need to be M Marsh’s size to be a hitter.

                Chris,

                A little bit like Wade, it might be the case that Paine is not the man we need at 7. Whatever Haddin’s faults were with the bat, he could score quickly when he needed to. Doesn’t mean all ‘keepers are the same.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 12:51pm
                Rosso said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                Bring Khawaja or white at 4, head hasn’t made runs in the JLT or big bash or in the most recent series against India

              • January 15th 2018 @ 1:02pm
                matth said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

                I could see Carey in at 7. His recent BBL form indicates he could have a decent slog.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 1:29pm
                Perry Bridge said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

                #The Bush

                It certainly came across that way. Just for the record – and granted Finch had a dry spell in the back half of 2016 –

                however – his 2017 ODI’s produced 405 from 8 hits at 50.6, throw in yesterdays and that’s 512 from 9 at 57. In fact his last 4 hits (could go back to June 10 for 68 but I’ll stick with ‘relatively recent’ so back to Sep 2017) have produced 124, 94, 32 and 107. That’s 357 at 89.25.

                So – right now I’m very much liking the look of A.Finch at the top of the order.

                Certainly more so than H.Cartwright!!!

                What IS interesting – S.Smith SInce hits 164 and 72 v NZ in Sydney and Canberra back in Dec’16 – he’s produced 472 from 12 outs (but in there are 3 N.Os tallying 138 runs, so, the outs have been 334 from 12 at avg of about 28).

                For a #3 batter – and he’s mostly been 3 since March 2015 and prior to that either 3 or 4 from Sep ’14 – his 50 to 100 conversion isn’t flash. Warner is good, 14:17 (100s:50s), Smith is 8:19 and Finch 9:17 is slightly better.

                Looking at a guy like Kohli, 32:45 is pretty special from 100 games (202) more than Smith & Warner (102). Finch has 86 games.

              • Roar Guru

                January 15th 2018 @ 3:43pm
                The Bush said | January 15th 2018 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

                Perry,

                Not sure what your reference to Cartwright is about – no one in their right mind has or does mention him as an ODI prospect.

                As I said in my follow up comment, I’m happy for Finch to stay, didn’t mean to slight the bloke.

                Re Smith, I agree that he hasn’t set the world on fire in ODIs for a while now. He come on with a bang in 2014 after he broke into the side, but his test form has not translated into ODI form.

                To compare any of these blokes to Kholi is insulting. For whatever faults Kholi might have as a test batsmen (and I actually think he has a few), he is the worlds premier limited overs batsman.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 4:35pm
                Perry Bridge said | January 15th 2018 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

                #The Bush

                re Cartwright

                How soon we forget. They trialled Cartwright as opener in India for the couple of games – before Finch returned with 124 first game back.

            • January 15th 2018 @ 10:30am
              Ouch said | January 15th 2018 @ 10:30am | ! Report

              Same. Not convinced by Travis Head. There are better options.

            • Columnist

              January 15th 2018 @ 12:19pm
              Ronan O'Connell said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

              Hang on, Finch has made 425 runs at 85 in his last five ODIs!

              • January 15th 2018 @ 5:23pm
                Nudge said | January 15th 2018 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

                Yep I’d be happy with that. I like the way England have 2 guys at 4 and 5 that can just pace an innings but also go big when required. We only have Smith so if Khawaja or S.Marsh were to come in at 3 you could then have 2 players in the team that can do both. I think what may be holding S.Marsh and Khawaja back is there fielding. Having Finch plus one of them is going to cost you runs.

            • January 15th 2018 @ 12:54pm
              Nudge said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

              The reason we have been ordinary in one day cricket for 2 years now is we don’t have a no 4 bat. The bowling from last night can be fixed, but we need a guy who can guide us through 50 overs. It’s that simple in my opinion. Since Clarke retired and Bailey lost some form we haven’t had anyone to guide us through the innings knowing when to pick up the pace and shutting shop for an over or 2. Joe Root did it beautifully last night. I’d be seriously looking at Handscomb long term for this position. Considering from overs 15 to 44 you usually get around 20 overs of spin you need a really good player of spin bowling. He fits the bill.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 1:03pm
                Harbijan Can't Singh said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

                Ferguson is that man. He does it for SA, albeit at 3, but he plays that guiding hand. His previous stint in ODI’s prior to doing his knee showed he was well up to International standard in this format.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 1:57pm
                jameswm said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

                Or Smith Nudge, and bat someone else at 3 – Khawaja or SMarsh.

                Ferguson not the worst option either. He did really well when he was playing regularly for the ODI side.

        • Columnist

          January 15th 2018 @ 11:33am
          Ronan O'Connell said | January 15th 2018 @ 11:33am | ! Report

          It was an odd performance by Zampa.

          He did a fantastic job of choking up the run rate in the first half of his spell against two set batsmen and troubled Roy – had him out LBW only for that decision to be overturned on review, and then next ball completely beat Roy in the flight only for his mishit to lob just over the head of long on for six.

          While Roy had an incredible amount of luck last night, Zampa really had none. That’s just the way a match flows some times, I wouldn’t be damning Zampa based on last night.

          • Roar Guru

            January 15th 2018 @ 12:04pm
            Chris Kettlewell said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

            Often the pressure of really needing a wicket can lead to bowlers bowling more loose deliveries, trying to search for that wicket, rather than just bowling tight. I get the feeling that probably happened to Zampa in the second half of his spell.

            • January 15th 2018 @ 1:03pm
              matth said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

              Agreed. We need to persist with Zampa if we are deciding he is our specialist.

          • January 15th 2018 @ 5:26pm
            Nudge said | January 15th 2018 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

            I agree James. I replied above, not sure how it ended up there

          • January 16th 2018 @ 9:17pm
            Ben said | January 16th 2018 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

            I thought Zampa was very good, it just wasn’t his night

    • Roar Guru

      January 15th 2018 @ 8:24am
      The Bush said | January 15th 2018 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      304 was never enough. KP is painful to listen to, but he was right last night, old records mean nothing now, the game has changed and you could sense he didn’t think Aus had enough. The rest of the stodgy channel 9 team was praising our batting like it was circa 2003 and 300 was a monster score. That was a 330 wicket, though England were on track for 350 plus (though extra score pressure might have changed the result).

      • Roar Guru

        January 15th 2018 @ 10:00am
        Ryan H said | January 15th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        Yep. 304 normally would’ve been plenty you’d think, but it’s 2018 now too, and against an English side with so much power in their batting, they were always 40-50 runs short. It does prove what most were thinking in that it should be a high-scoring series all round.

        • Columnist

          January 15th 2018 @ 11:38am
          Ronan O'Connell said | January 15th 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

          I disagree, 304 at the MCG is equivalent to 330 at the postage-stamp sized grounds that abound throughout the rest of the world – some of the MCG boundary lengths were enormous last night.

          At those much smaller grounds so many shots that carry for six are only fours at the MCG and so many shots that reach the boundary rope are only 2s/3s at the MCG. That all adds up significantly over 50 overs.

          • Roar Guru

            January 15th 2018 @ 12:31pm
            The Bush said | January 15th 2018 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

            Fair enough Ronan.

            Mind you, geez they bring the rope in so far now, takes the fun away from sixes for me.

          • January 15th 2018 @ 1:04pm
            matth said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

            The boundary may have been enormous in some areas, but Roy hit two sixes that were only 66 metres each.

            • January 15th 2018 @ 1:46pm
              spruce moose said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

              Top edges over the wicket keeper are the shortest parts of any boundary.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 1:53pm
                matth said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

                The other one was a hit to the leg side

              • Roar Guru

                January 15th 2018 @ 3:45pm
                The Bush said | January 15th 2018 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

                So that means straight drives are the shortest parts of any boundary?

                I accept that we need a rope to stop them diving into the fence, but the rope is about 20 to 25 metres in now – that’s ridiculous. They don’t need more than 5ms to protect themselves.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 12:41am
                Steve said | January 16th 2018 @ 12:41am | ! Report

                Straight drives aren’t the same as top edges over the keeper. You’ve forgotten the 20m of the pitch which is the difference between 66m and 86m.

      • Roar Pro

        January 15th 2018 @ 5:01pm
        Adam Hayward said | January 15th 2018 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

        304 was enough. The bowlers need to accept responsibility for that loss.

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