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Monday, November 29, 2010

First Test lessons

The First Test, Australia v England, has ended in a draw yet several things have come out of the game.

First, there was some excellent batting by both teams, with four century makers and one double-century. Hopefully this is a sign of more excellent batting displays to come across the rest of the summer.

One thing is patently clear, however, that the current Australian bowling attack lacks sufficient penetration to bowl a decent time out twice. And make no bones about it, the touring Englishman are a much improved line-up than of a few years ago.

When a good player is out of sorts, sometimes they need to be sent down to get their head together. Surely that time has been reached with Mitchel Johnson? His arm action seems appreciatively lower as it was during his horror last tour of England. In my opinion, when Johnson's arm is dropping lower it is a sign that he is in trouble, with that changed action becoming increasingly erratic. He also seems to lose fluency in his action which I suspect is a sign of him tensing up too much in his delivery.

If I were a selector, I would be giving Johnson a rest and reinstating Dougie Bollinger for the Second Test.

Spare a thought for the Englishman, Alastair Cook. First he fielded through the fairly lengthy Australian first innings, then batted right through the English innings for his unbeaten double-century then returned to the field yet again for the short Australian second innings before they agreed to call it quits. The poor sod must be absolutely knackered.

I couldn't help but notice how mouthy English bowler James Anderson is getting between deliveries. Verbals between a fiery fast bowler and the batters is nothing new but a bowler needs to be able to back it up with the ball. Let's be honest - the moment the ball isn't swinging, Anderson has nothing much left. Apart from making him look like a goose, plenty of batsmen feel encouraged when a bowler who isn't cutting the mustard, feels the need to mouth off. It is generally a sign that you're on top of him. Wake up to yourself, Jimmy, lad.

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