North’s career nearly goes south

October 11, 2010 at 9:59 am Leave a comment

It is a measure of how important the Ashes are to Australia that their current series in India is seen as little more than a warm-up to the battle for the urn. The Baggy Greens are of course desperate to beat the team that has done best against them over the past decade, but every player in Bangalore would happily swap any current success for runs or wickets against the old enemy.

Going into the second Test, cricket betting pundits note how not all of Ricky Ponting’s men would have had that hypothetical choice. Marcus North has been fretting about his place for some time, but he knew he was one failure away from the chop in Bangalore.

Those studying the Cricket Odds for this series are aware that North had scored 46 runs in his previous six innings and whilst a classy century under pressure guarantees his starting place in the Ashes, it somehow does not totally reassure Aussie fans – consistency is the Victorian’s problem.

He now has five Test hundreds in 19 matches, but these are offset by five ducks, 20 scores of 20 or less and only three second-innings scores in excess of 10. He averages 23 on home soil and, most importantly, he has been his team’s top scorer in only three of his 31 innings – his tons are not always crucial.

All this means England will be slightly pleased to see North secure his place for Brisbane. The tourists have plenty of batsmen out of form, but Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Alastair Cook have greater experience, and in the case of the former two, a record of success down under.

This winter’s Ashes will be decided by batting collapses, something both teams are prone to. The continued presence of North in the hosts’ batting line-up suggests their middle order might be the softer underbelly.


Entry filed under: Australia.

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