Archive for January, 2011
The highs of the Ashes tests were always going to take some beating so the flat performances in the one-day series were perhaps expected.
But with the World Cup on the horizon England can’t afford to just drift though this series as they could suddenly find themselves on the brink of the tournament with no form with either bat or ball.
Injuries haven’t helped I admit – virtually the whole front line attack have been missing and more keep dropping out by the day. Kevin Pietersen missed the third One-Day game with a groin injury while Tim Bresnan has torn a calf muscle and will miss the rest of the series.
Ajamal Shahzad, Chris Woakes and Chris Tremlett have shown themselves to be competent enough bowlers, but lack the consistency that one day cricket requires – though it was the batsmen who were to blame in the last game in Sydney, making 214, a total that anyone following the goalwire live match score would have know wasn’t enough.
Anderson though can provide a timely boost to Andy Flower’s men. The Lancastrian has given time off to rest and also spend time with his new-born baby and so has missed both T20 games and the opening three ODIs.
But Anderson – top wicket-taker in the test series – is back in Australia and will return for the fourth ODI at the Adelaide Oval and live score goalwire fans will know he could make a big difference.
That is, of course, the ground where Anderson removed Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke to leave Australia 3 for 2 on the first morning of the test to set England on their way to a crushing and decisive victory.
How England could do with a repeat performance on Wednesday to give their one-day campaign a kick-start.
Matt Prior will take his place behind the stumps again for England in their one-day side after the selectors made a somewhat surprising decision to drop Steve Davies, with the World Cup less than a month away. Prior has been absent for 10 months from the 50 over side and was the only real surprise in the 15-man squad that will travel to the subcontinent after the current ODI series in Australia to play in a tournament that the cricket betting suggest England have every chance of winning.
Not many other international teams have three different wicket-keepers for three different formats of the game and Prior will be looking to take the gloves in both shorter forms of the game after replacing Davies. Prior showed enough during the Ashes to convince the selectors that he warrants a chance at the World Cup and the keeper will take his place in the side for the remainder of the Australia series.
As well as his vastly improved glove-work, Prior has a good record batting on subcontinent conditions and that was a deciding factor in the decision.
Head coach Andy Flower said: “We believe that Matt Prior is best suited to the sub-continent conditions and that’s why we’ve picked him. He is a combative, aggressive cricketer. He fits our aggressive fielding unit so those are the reasons why he has been picked for the World Cup.”
Prior will partner Andrew Strauss at the top of the batting order and will have to improve on the form he showed in that position before he was dropped last year, following his disappointing tour of Bangladesh. Prior’s ODI average is 25.38 and he will need to improve on that if the side are to live up to the cricket odds and win the tournament.
Fortunately for Prior, he will have the rest of the seven game series against Australia to get himself into the swing of the 50 over game. England go into this Friday’s game on the back of their opening game loss at the MCG.
Inspirational England coach David Saker believes England must now build on their Ashes win in Australia and return from the World Cup victorious in order to establish themselves as the best side in the world. The Australian born coach played a massive part in England’s successful summer and helped mould England’s young bowlers into a successful test match unit.
Saker admits that the side will have to adapt their style of play ahead of the World Cup but he is confident they have the ability to succeed. He said: “It will be different, there’s no doubt, and we have to adapt our styles a little bit,”
I’ve had some good experience out there in the IPL. I’m confident the attack we’ll take will be good enough.” He commented.
England are currently involved in a seven game series against Australia and fine themselves in the unfamiliar position of being behind Australia after one game. Shane Watson’s unbeaten 161 at the MCG on Sunday helped Australia chase down England’s score of 294. The sides will meet again in Hobart on Friday with bigfreebet likely to see the sides as equals in the shorter form of the game.
England have plenty of bowling options ahead of the tournament held across the sub-continent and have named a thirty-man preliminary squad which will then be cut down to a fifteen man squad by January 19th. New Twenty20 starlet Chris Woakes has forced himself into reckoning for a World Cup birth alongside test regulars James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who is looking to recover from a stomach injury sustained during the Ashes in time for the tournament, which starts on February 7th.
Big free bet will cover the tournament and England will be amongst the favourites to reach the final in Mumbai.
England’s World Cup hopes were handed a major boost this week, with the news that Stuart Broad has been given the all clear after his scan. The fast bowler picked up an abdominal strain during England’s victorious second Test in Adelaide, which ruled him out of the remainder of the triumphant Ashes series.
The injury also forced Broad to miss the current one day series under way in Australia but the 24 year old is on track to be fit enough to travel to the sub-continent for next month’s tournament. Although the bowlers currently in the England team are performing admirably Down Under, Broad’s inclusion in the 2011 ICC World Cup team will be pretty much guaranteed.
Broad played a big part in England retaining the Ashes before his injury cut his series short, but he won’t view it that way because of his absence for most of it. When Broad does return to the side, he is sure to be desperate to prove he still deserves his place in the team, despite the stunning form of those who replaced him.
Who misses out on a place in the team is still far from clear with Tim Bresnan, Ajmal Shazad and Chris Woakes all looking good in the recently drawn T20 series. Ashes hero Chris Tremlett will be looking to make the 50 over side for the Australia series and after the form he’s shown over the past month, his case is pretty strong.
With Broad’s batting ability making him a genuine all-rounder, it could be Bresnan who finds his place in the World Cup team under threat. The Yorkshire man will definitely be hoping the England management goes for both him and Broad in the side. Both are bowlers of decent pace and both can swing the willow, there is more than enough room for them in the team. The 2011 Cricket World Cup betting will make the side one of the favourites, and they will need a balanced side if they are to go all the way.
England will set off for the sub-continent on February 14th and will be hoping the confidence is carried on from their winter in Australia. A confident one-day series win against the Aussies before the World Cup would be the perfect preparation for the team looking to establish themselves as world cricket’s dominant side.
After an absorbing test series which eventually petered out to a draw, South Africa and India will now look forward to a one-day series which should give a good indication of who is in the best shape for next month’s World Cup tournament.
After such a big series, it’s to be expected that attention will gradually tail away as crowds have their fill of test cricket, only to have an extended one day series put in front of them – Australia and England have also fallen foul of this curiosity of modern-day fixture scheduling. But the one-day series between the two best sides in test cricket has the rare distinction of being almost on par with its test counterpart.
Even more intriguing is that teams must finalise their 15 man squads for the World Cup by January 19th – at which point this ODI series will be only three games out of five down. This gives fringe player’s ample opportunity to influence their selectors ahead of the final decision – come the final cut, both squads could have a very different look to them.
Injuries to test star Virender Sehwag and leading IPL auction pick Guatam Ghambir are big blows to India – both score runs quickly in one-day cricket and would likely have exceled on lively but not unplayable South African pitches. A close race would have ensued over who will score the most runs in any spread bet.
Replacements Rohit Sharma and M Vijay have big boots to fill, but can view this opportunity to stake an unlikely claim for a place in India’s final 15 if they succeed in this series. India’s bowling appears to have caught up with their batting counterparts in terms of strength in depth, at least in the one-day arena. Competition is rife for World Cup spot, with Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar all playing for spots alongside dead certs Asish Nehra and Zaheer Kahn.
Harbhajan Singh is likely to be joined by Ashwin as second spinner, although Piyush Chawla is back in contention after a two year absence.
The big blow for South Africa came when Jacques Kallis was ruled out the series with a rib injury – not that it halted any of his batting heroics in a test series which was punctuated with treatment from the physio. Colin Ingram will look to do justice to the impossible task of replacing Kallis, and will find himself in pole position for the World Cup squad if he succeeds. The injury to Kallis will no doubt play on the mind of Captain Graeme Smith – his finest batsman would have been most likely to head up the leading run scorer competition in any spread bet guide.
The intriguing sub-plot of a World Cup birth will add to the excitement which already surrounds this series. What a blow it would be for the confidence of one side were they to be defeated comprehensively by the other so close to the World Cup. With Australia and England about to embark upon a similar battle all is to play for in the battle for one-day supremacy. All teams will insist the focus is entirely on the respective one-day series, but one eye will be constantly fixed on the looming World Cup in the near distance.
By Pete South
While much of the SCG turned pink on day three in support of the Glenn McGrath foundation it was the red faces of the shattered Australian players that provided the most colour by the end of the day.
Those following the Live match score centre note that the morning began with England players presenting their special pink caps to McGrath himself in order to be auctioned off to raise funds for his foundation, set up in memory of McGrath’s late wife Jane, who died from breast cancer in 2008.
The generous gesture highlighted the good relations between the two sides, but as soon as the players crossed the white line the pleasantries were soon forgotten.
Alastair Cook, resuming the day on 61, was merciless. His patient start to the innings rewarded in the late afternoon as he took advantage of tired bowling from the wilting Australian players to smack 187, taking his tally in the series to 766. Only Wally Hammond, who hit 905 in the 1928/29 Ashes, now stands ahead of him.
He had a few scary moments, including when on 99 when he edged a Michael Beer delivery toward Philip Hughes at short-leg. The Aussie opener appealed and upon referral to the third umpire that appeal was rejected as the ball had clearly bounced before Hughes claimed the ball.
Commentator Ian Botham was quick to criticise the left-hander for trying to dupe the officials and though stand-in captain Michael Clarke defended the player after the game, you got a sense that from then on any spirit of fair play was lost on the Australian side.
Whether it was for that incident or the one the night before, when Cook’s wicket was spared only after the third umpire had spotted a no-ball upon referral, the Australian players weren’t forthcoming in applauding the England opener’s efforts when he finally made three figures.
The muted response was replicated when Ian Bell hit his century. Bell was involved in controversy himself when he referred a caught behind decision. Hotspot picked up nothing though the stump microphone and later snicko picked up a slight edge. He was also booed by the crowd when he made it to three figures and when he was finally dismissed for 115.
None of the incidents were the England players fault so the reaction of the Aussie players and fans was disappointing (Michael Hussey excepted). But rather than symbolising any animosity towards their opponents I think it merely reflects a side weary of being second best in yet another test match.
With a deficit of 208 and still three English wickets remaining it is hard for those studying the Latest Ashes scores to see a way out for the Australian players, who face losing a home series to England for the first time since 1987.
Will the real Mitchell Johnson please stand up!
Gone is the timid, wild, expensive chucker from Brisbane and in is the deadly bowler we all knew he was. A solid knock of 61 on day one perhaps boosted his confidence and the moment he began to find some swing with the ball on day two, the writing was on the wall for England.
He took six wickets for 38 runs – the fourth time he has taken a five for in as many games at the Waca – including what those following the Livescores will recall as a devastating spell of 4 for 7 in 27 balls before lunch.
England had been going along nicely at 78-0 and many thought they were gearing up for another extended session with the bat, just as we had seen at Brisbane and Adelaide.
But the moment Alastair Cook edged to gulley Johnson – and Australia – didn’t let the momentum slip. The pacy left-hander sent down a series of brutally quick deliveries that swung to devastating effect.
Jonathan Trott attempted a drive from a full ball but misjudged the movement and was caught lbw, three balls later Kevin Pietersen went inthe same way. With 3 for 4 in two overs Johnson was flying and for the first time in the series England were under serious pressure.
Collingwood went soon after and once the tail was exposed by Ryan Harris, Johnson swept up the innings with the dismissals of Tremlett and Anderson.
It was hard not to feel sorry for Johnson a few weeks ago and begrudge him his moment in the sun now. After the drawn test in Brisbane he was made the scapegoat by the Aussie media, who didn’t hold back in their scathing criticism of the 29-year-old.
It was perhaps unfair to single out Johnson, as he wasn’t alone in struggling on the flat Gabba pitch so credit must go to him for getting his head down, working on his action, and coming back flying.
With those studying the Live cricket scores noting that Australia as ahead by 200 runs with seven wickets in hand, the stage is set of a test winning innings tomorrow and should that happen Johnson should now be seen as the hero – rather than the villain – by the Aussie media.