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Munro Mike

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Joined September 2018

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Yeah but in part – – you’ve got high humidity and stormy weather; it’s not getting baked in hot sun……that’s what dries out a pitch and opens up the cracks.

And perhaps there was an impact of the combination of factors – – a heavy winter workload that ran to late October due to the AFL (no ones fault…..covid sucks). Perhaps if the Gabba had drop in pitches then they could’ve been preparing them more specifically?

The MCG I feel have finally got the drop in pitch working about right based on this seasons offering.

Article from October re the state of the field/pitch due AFL.

Australia's reliance on the 'Big Four' is hindering them

The decent starts but few of the batters really ever looked entirely fluent.

What we saw was it was very difficult in the main to take a more attacking approach – – that made the efforts of Pant in particular so noteworthy.

There were a couple of dismissals in part attributable to the pitch. Some to good bowling. And some to shot selection.

Remember – Australia (or so we thought and the media speculated) was all focused on a 4th day declaration; however instead we were bowled out (which apparantly this weakened Indian line-up was NEVER going to do in the one test match).

The reality of ALL cricket is catches win matches. If chances are created and put down then you have no one to blame. I still don’t believe we bowled very intelligently on the final day.

And listening to Ricky Ponting going on about the short ball barrage……how about we attack the stumps a bit more??

And Lyon – – might be more effective if we could get someone half decent to hold down the other end; bowl in partnership. Starc can’t do that and we’ve seen it repeatedly from him (especially in recent years) and we saw that too with Mitch Johnson. It’s amazing how much more effective a spinner becomes when teams can build pressure. India did that better with a 21 year old debutant!!!!

Australia's reliance on the 'Big Four' is hindering them

Hazlewood is very much in the McGrath style – – and Cummins a smidge quicker but also with very good control.

Then what around that. McGrath and Warne were a tremendous combination – – hard to replicate. Lee was quick and it’s ironic to say (mindful of his head high failed yorkers) that he had better control than Starc. I DID get annoyed with a couple of tours of England where the likes of Fleming (perhaps his shoulder was shot) and Reiffel were under utilised at the expense of Australia learning again and again the lesson that pure pace only gets you so far and that the Alderman lessons of ’81 and ’89 still held!!!

Australia's reliance on the 'Big Four' is hindering them

Mate – a “flat track” was what the MCG dished up in the Ashes a couple of years back……by day 5 it hadn’t weathered a bit since day 2 and Steve Smith and Mitch Marsh just dead batted away the last 3 hours for a dull draw……….there was nothing in that pitch for the bowlers.

If you truly believe the Gabba day 5 track was “flat” then again, you can’t have been watching what Pujara was putting up with.

That the Australian bowlers didn’t bowl very smart is their issue.

And……the pitches are curated at the venues where the desire is to create a good cricket wicket to last 5 days.

If Australia really wanted a fast bouncy track then they might have opted to schedule a match in Perth.

A track that spun a smidge on day 1…..well….that was the MCG which didn’t work out too great for Australia.

What type of pitch in particular do you think Australia were going to win on?? Because…..first and foremost you’ve got to be playing decent cricket. We seriously can not blame pitches for losing to a team sporting a bowling attack where the most experienced bowler was playing his 3rd test and one of the other bowlers got injured and was barely able to contribute.

The Indian no frills pace attack did the damage…….not their spinners (who mind you – Ashwin and Jadeja were absent at the Gabba due injuries). So……I don’t see what you’re actually asking for here???? The wickets weren’t devoid of grass. Not raging green tops but hardly ‘roads’.

Australia's reliance on the 'Big Four' is hindering them

Last season vs NZ he had a couple of overs in Perth and an expensive over in Melbourne.

I thought we lacked real variety. Green is just another big tall medium/quick…….we lacked a more traditional medium pacer.

Sometimes you need a slower pace to get earlier swing or more genuine seam movement. Sometimes speed is self defeating.

Australia's reliance on the 'Big Four' is hindering them

Father time…..not really the factor in the 3 highlighted dismissals.

the one last night was the most ridiculous dismissal I think I’ve ever seen. There’ve been unlucky deflections onto the stumps but the thigh pad dragging the ball BACK from going down leg directly onto the stumps………that pretty well tops them all.

Aaron Finch's heartbreaking reaction to his latest brutally unlucky dismissal

The irony of your complaint is that the Gabba track provided a test that ran to late day 5 for the result. The SCG test ran to late day 5 where the choice by India – given the injury issues they faced – was to bat out a draw…….without the injuries that was a 5th day result pitch.

How can we seriously complain about those two tracks?? I was delighted to have a couple of test matches run 5 days……a great reminder of what test cricket is all about……and perhaps the Australian selectors needed some reminding of that.

Even the MCG track – a fabulous divergence from the flat roads produced in recent times. That match finished early more due to poor batting and not the fault of the wicket.

I think we’ve actually been spoiled by pretty good “Cricket” pitches this summer. They didn’t break up ridiculously but provided the bowlers enough that batters rarely looked completely set. We need only reflect upon the brilliant and brave efforts of Pujara on the 5th day track at the Gabba.

I also think we’ve been spoiled by excellent umpiring on the field.

Australia's reliance on the 'Big Four' is hindering them

This quartet of bowlers failed this task – a home series against India in 2018/19.

This time around – against a weakened (no Kohli) batting line up (with greater change due to injuries etc) – they failed again.

I would hope at least that were India to tour again in 2 years time that we didn’t front up again with this quartet of bowlers and somehow expect a different outcome.

The simplest statistic illustrates part of the problem. LBWs. In 2018/19 India “won” on this count; 10 vs 1.

In 2020/21 again India “won” on this count; 13 vs 4. That’s 23 vs 5 over the 2 series. Okay – had Australia won then fine. But we didn’t. And our bowling was supposed to be our strength.

The question needs to be asked – did India out bowl Australia IN Australia??

My personal feeling is that we lacked variety. No – Mitch Starc no longer counts as variety because he’s a leftie……because his control is abysmal and his swing is absent. He isn’t exploiting his “point of difference”. So……he’s just another big tall guy who bounces most balls over the top of the stumps.

I think back to the West Indies at their best. When the taller quicks (Holding 1.92m, Garner 2.03m) were complimented by the shorter Malcolm Marshall (1.8m). Marshall skidded on. He threatened the stumps far more. And he provided a real point of difference.

I look at the bowling offered up by Australia – – and yep – Adelaide 2nd innings……we actually need to ignore that. What is lacking is a bowler like Jhye Richardson (1.78m). We did have Pete Siddle (1.83m). He was the guy who could hold an end to allow a spinner to operate. He was a guy who could attack top of off stump and provide a different proposition to the other bowlers. Sadly no one could hold catches off him in England – 2019 – and his figures suffered……he bowled much better than that. It needs to be acknowledged that NOT playing Starc and going with Siddle was NOT a failure by bowlers/selectors but a failure in the field. Rotation policy should have been seen as a success but could easily and superficially be dismissed as a failure.

And since then……we’ve seen an accentuated lack of rotation. Last summer Pattinson did come in after Hazlewood went down injured. However – outside of that – this “Big 4” played every other test match.

One irony to note……..on the last day in Sydney…..and the last day in Brisbane……how come Matty Wade didn’t get a trundle?? A crack deemed too short for a 196cm bowler to exploit might just kick in for a 170cm bowler.

Australia's reliance on the 'Big Four' is hindering them

ALL Statistics are only as meaningful as their context.

“FACT” is arguable.

For example – one of the most meaningless statistics is the more used and abused.

Averages.

The batter scenario….can score 250(not out), 0, 0, 0, 0, 0…..his “form line” is 5 ducks from last 5 hits……his current average is 50. Do you drop a guy with an average of 50?

Bowling – – consider Starc last time India came out – – his “2018/19” season average in Australia was 25.84. Ripper – – pick him.

However, vs India it was 34.5 (13 wkts/4 tests). Hmmm…..do we pick him??

And the season average was bolstered by 12 wickets at 16.4 vs a severely depleted Sri Lanka. Hmmm…..

And even there – he had a day out 10/100 match return in Canberra. So for the rest of the summer the average was 36.4.

So. What context to we draw from that?? Can we “normalise” the data. Effectively in that Starc summer, the 10/100 was akin to the 250 by the batter. (granted it came at the end of the sequence and not the start).

Not only is the sky not falling, this Australian Test team is really good!

Exactly – – when a ball kicks (which is why the batter missed it), it’s very hard for a keeper – – the trick for a keeper to spin is to stay as low as possible as long as possible. The kicking ball is the hardest to handle – – because everything in the keeper (body/hands) will be moving upward as a reflext action to try to get the ball………..and then should somehow the ball be gloved cleanly – then the keeper has to reverse that action to get at least one arm (with ball in that glove) back down to the stumps/bails.

What is more the issue is that Lyon wasn’t able to exploit the pitch better. Was he bowling for containment??

I suggest the problem yet again – was that the left armer at the other end couldn’t contain the batters and couldn’t hit his lines…..no pressure was able to build. We had this so often with M.Johnson and likewise with M.Starc.

Tim Paine's time as captain is done as Australia crumble to humiliation against India

Coming into this series it was all going to be different (to 2018/19) because Smith was back (and Warner……at some point).
However – – – how could it be all different when we dished up the same bowling attack making the same mistakes?? (hint: compare the LBW counts 2018/19 and 2020/21).
Home truths……this time is was sub strength India who ripped away any excuses Australia can muster.
In 2018/19 the LBW count went to India 10:1. This time again to India, 13:4.
Tells a story.

Tim Paine's time as captain is done as Australia crumble to humiliation against India

The “Harris” bad shot in the first innings wasn’t his usual issue outside off……very different, a smidge uppity off his pads. It was early in his innings where as the Smith variation on that, flicking to leg against the spinner was the less forgivable “poor shot”.

I’m more concerned about Harris in the second…..he’s flying…..looking good…..and somehow get’s completely undone by a shortball. Completely undone. That was ugly and amateur hour.

Tim Paine's time as captain is done as Australia crumble to humiliation against India

#Timmy

Wade opened for the first 2 tests.

Save your comments until you’ve done your research.

(did you actually follow the series??)

Tim Paine's time as captain is done as Australia crumble to humiliation against India

……Warner…….

and N.Lyon, 9 wickets at 55.

And as good as we want to present Cummins and Hazlewood……….yet again……..where were the LBW’s and Bowleds. Where was the attack on the wood work?

S.Smith Adelaide/Melbourne and M.Labuschagne for passing 20 in all but one hit, passing 40 on 5 times…….and reaching triple figures just once and even then not going big (due to shocking shot selection).

I see A.Finch at the ‘Gades lament “dumb batting” and “dumb cricket”…..sad to say the Australian test side suffered the same malady.

The Liebke Ratings: Australia vs India, fourth Test

and with hindsight……….

……the last day in Sydney showed us the bowling attack was tiring, and in the case of Starc was questionable for the role.

And even Lyon.

This is India we had to dislodge……..not a flighty Pakistan, a nervous NZ or an understrength Sri Lanka.

That said…………how good was Pujara to put his body in the way and deny Australia. What a class act he was…..”whatever it takes”.

Should Australia have declared at tea?

From an outsiders perspective – – I’m not sure “death spiral” is the right term.

However – this article does appear to be innocently optimistic.

First and foremost – – with revenue severely in question – – more teams, moving more to winter and a P/R system which would mean more teams at the level below with a self interest.

The problem is………..this isn’t a Euro nation. This is Australia. There’s 4 professional football codes vying in what is far from a sporting vacuum.

In effect the A-League has failed – – it’s primary goal was to become the summer sport of choice; because there WAS a vacuum; cricket and tennis had irregular and patchy offerings to the TV/attending public. There was tremendous opportunity out of the shadow of the NRL and AFL across winter.

And……..it’s a fail. Cricket came along with T20s and rather than just the Friday night and weekends; the BBL runs nightly.

So – while I admire the dreamers – it seriously looks like hard slog ahead for the A-League. How do they create not just a currently sustainable broadcast revenue model but a growth model moving forward?

The problem is that the “pie” hasn’t seriously grown in Australia. Viewing numbers haven’t really gone anywhere. Granted – moving out of the shadow of the EPL and Euro leagues might make the local offering more attractive for the “Euro-snobs”. However – the notion of a 16 team top level with P&R really looks like dividing the existing pie into ever smaller and smaller pieces. So good luck with that.

Ten reasons to be optimistic about the A-League’s future

Way out of luck too…………the run out (backing up) at the bowlers end the other day and the next bat he had he got a neat fine deflection first ball, should’ve been 4 down legside but just a smidge too fine and caught first ball…………

……it’s a fine line between “out of form” and “out of luck”.

But – – point is; you need a batter who is mentally “at ease”. I suspect Finch personally and team wise (‘Gades) has been building up a bit of frustration.

As much as I’d love to see him get another game…….last time vs India at home he looked to be coming to grips with it……who knows what might have happened in Adelaide if he’d gone to DRS – and in Perth he’d snagged a 50 (but ODI style played across the line) and was flying in the 2nd until he got smashed on the hand and retired hurt at 25 – and first ball resuming back got strangled down leg side……

I still reckon he can’t have been right for the Melbourne test that season.

Mitchell Starc should be dropped for Brisbane

I’ll admit I’m just not a fan of Starc.

Yep – he’s got Shaw and Argawal (twice in Melb). Is that enough? Perhaps. Gee I’d prefer to see Pattinson (if fit) in there; some real aggression.

Starc looked scrappy/tired; so probably needs a rotation anyway.

Mitchell Starc should be dropped for Brisbane

There’s a difference between bowling rubbish most of the time and having a dropped catch against the trend; compared to bowling really well in partnership with the rest of the bowling group – and having a catch dropped.

Think Siddle in England in 2019; bowled very well and had zero luck. Should’ve had really great figures from his last series.

Starc……was bowling rubbish in the SCG test. Couldn’t hit a line or length. Releases the pressure was too easily. Oh he’s okay against a seriously weakened Sri Lanka……or now and then he has a spell with a swinging ball where everything gets forgotten and it papers over the cracks.

However – India is a different kettle of fish. He failed against them last time around and is struggling again this time around. It still astounds me that he gets granted first crack at the new ball.

Mitchell Starc should be dropped for Brisbane

As someone who likes to see Wade do okay – – I was disappointed with (and for) him with the shot to get out in the first innings here – – and that was largely because of the situation of play.

That and…..he was looking pretty comfortable. The runs had come okay and would come. He didn’t have to “invent” something.

Don't dare drop them – Cameron Green and Will Pucovski deserve long Test stints

#Don Freo

I’m not suggesting Wade vs Warner for spot in the team. I’m simply taking up the class/ticker suggesting.

Warner has NOT caned the Poms or Indians other than in Australia. He’s done alright in South Africa on the more similar pitches.

His “class” is a function of Geography.

His “ticker”…..has not been able to overcome that function of Geography which to me implies a lack of nouse, of adaptability, of method/approach…….and perhaps a lack of “ticker” which as I’ve pointed out was pretty obvious in England last series.

That and……of course…..we know to what lengths he was willing to go to gain an advantage in the field……but couldn’t learn how to bat in England/India/SL etc.

So……I struggle to respect the guy. I definitely don’t admire him.

Don't dare drop them – Cameron Green and Will Pucovski deserve long Test stints

I was impressed with him in Melbourne – – yep – -made the mistake in the first innings and mainly it was a mistake to go aerially.

Second innings he put his head down, did a job, didn’t loft a single shot from what I saw.

Was very disappointed then with his obvious error in this match. I can only figure after his 3 very well executed sweep shots had each been stopped by the shot leg that he got frustrated….I reckon 90% of batters would be getting frustrated at that point….that was the time where a batting partner should’ve been in his ear to settle him. S.Smith doesn’t do that.

Don't dare drop them – Cameron Green and Will Pucovski deserve long Test stints

Warner at home avg 64, away avg 33.

In Eng 26, in India 24, in NZ 13, in SL 27 and in the Carib 27.

The only nations Warner has gone 30+ (all pretty well 60+) are Aust, Bangladesh, RSA and UAE.

There’s a trend around the “class” of Warner….he is suited to flatter tracks.

He’s got very nice overall career numbers but his “class” is very debatable because of his limitations.

His “ticker”; while I was hugely impressed years ago with a very tough century against NZ down in Hobart (2011; 123*) – I was dismayed with his lack of ticker on the last Ashes tour in England where he dropped his head, and dropped even simple catches until he managed to scramble 61 at Leeds and suddenly he could catch again.

Not impressed. Passed double figures just twice in 10 hits. 3 ducks in a row.

“Ticker”……yeah nah……..flat track bully in a similar manner to Uzzie.

Wade – is frustrating. He’s done everything right to deserve his chance. 2 centuries in England was a tick. He’s clearly a ‘filler’ player presently. Ideally T.Head should’ve been making the selectors say to Wade “Thanks for your efforts; we now need to move on” but Head has failed to do that.

Don't dare drop them – Cameron Green and Will Pucovski deserve long Test stints

It’s interesting how some players have every reason in the book used to NOT be picked and others – – it seems the other way.

Time and place can come into it. Burns might claim to have been a smidge hard done by in the past however – – he was very fortunate this time around and surely goes to the bench.

I’d love to see Australia go bold. Yeah – – Warner if fit. Harris?? mebbe. Pucovski – – would love to see have some cricket to regain confidence but would be bold to throw him in now. Maxwell…..I’d love to see come in.

And ironically – despite Starc having really good numbers since the last India series – – I’m not impressed by him and would be just as happy with Cummins and Hazlewood opening……..Green as the 3rd seamer and Maxwell tweaking a few to race through the overs and support Lyon.

But mainly – – in doing that – – we’d suddenly have the potential of Maxwell, Green, Paine, Cummins batting 6-9. Surely that line up could nudge 300 odd!!!

Australia must swing the axe for Sydney

It looks like they’ve figured the 20 odd from Harris isn’t worth it – – when balanced against the likely failure from Burns but living in the hope that he manages one of his ‘good tests’.

His concern for me is that he’s had 6 very good to great tests where he’s averaged 50+. He’s gone heavy in those 6 tests, making 71% of his career runs in those 6 at an average of 88.9. It’s the other 15 that are the concern – – scored the other 401 runs at just 16.04.

So – that’s what the selectors are gambling on at the best of times – – he’d gone through a real feast or famine and struggled to score ugly runs when it wasn’t working.

Gee – it’s a massive, huge challenge for him.

Australia reportedly settle on opening pair, XI, for first Test vs India