Fourth Test – Day 4: It’s all about momentum

Fourth Ashes Test

England v Australia at Durham

August 9 -12, 2013.

 

England 238 & 330 d Australia 270 & 224 by 75 runs

 

Momentum is such an elusive concept in sport. Teams may not even realize they have lost it until it is gone; conversely, a team may have grabbed the momentum baton without even knowing that it is in their possession. And so it was that Australia’s inability to find a way to put a stop to England’s spurts of momentum has cost them this fourth Ashes Test match. Indeed, this Test match proved to be a microcosm of what has continually transpired throughout the series.

 

It was only a subtle change of momentum on the morning of day 3, but so telling. Trailing by only 16 runs and with five wickets in the shed, it was reasonable to expect that Australia would go on to post a healthy first innings lead. Instead, England – snaffling 5/48 – were allowed to wrest back the advantage, and Australia never fully recovered. The superlative Ian Bell then drove the first nails into Australia’s coffin with his third ton of the series.

 

England went into day 4 with a 202 run lead. A lead which, as it turned out, was almost enough. It’s an indication of just how far Australia’s batting stocks have plummeted that, at that stage, I considered it most unlikely that our inconsistent batting line-up could chase down that many. Again, momentum hitched itself to the English bandwagon. And again, despite the efforts of Ryan Harris, Australia seemed powerless to regain that momentum. The Aussies were still in it when Harris dismissed Broad with the best bouncer of the series (around the wicket to the left-hander). But Australia was unable to winkle out Tim Bresnan (and to a lesser extent Graeme Swann) and boy did he make them pay, with 45 valuable runs. There was no doubt in my mind that the game was now gone.

 

It may be harsh to point the finger at Michael Clarke, but as skipper he must shoulder some of the blame for what transpired in this little session. His body language was poor and field placements questionable (has he never heard of 3rd Man?). Above all, his continued refusal to give the new ball to Peter Siddle – the senior fast bowler in the team – is unfathomable. When I saw Siddle marking out his run-up for the day’s first over, I knew instantly that he would not be given the second new pill which was about six overs away from being due. My heart sank a little. In the end, a target of 299 would not be impossible. But a huge challenge nonetheless.

 

Initially, the momentum was well and truly with Australia. David Warner and Chris Rogers survived a number of close calls, plays and misses, Tony Hill shockers, and DRS reviews. It was most unusual, but so welcome, to witness an Australian opening pair post a three-figure stand. At 2/168, Australia was – unbelievably – in with a real chance. But Chris Broad was having none of it. He ruthlessly grabbed the (you guessed it) momentum; in a devastating spell, he exposed the frailties of this batting order, and England cruised to a not insubstantial victory.

There are huge questions hanging over this Australian batting order. This display was a disgrace. And if Australia is to grab the sort of momentum which will allow it to make of fist of things this Australian summer, wholesale changes look to be required.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.

Comments

  1. Peter Schumacher says:

    The problem is, who is around to do any better?

  2. Keep giving young blokes a crack…if they are not up to it, move them on, keep turning them over.

    Usman gives the appearance of someone who is not prepared to work hard enough to be a Test player. His recent comments about Shield wickets not being up to par were instructive. Too bad, mate – get in there and make runs no matter how bad the deck is.
    Haddin should now be moved on in favour of Paine, Wade, Nevill or someone else who will be a keeper for the long-term.
    And hopefully the Watson era is almost over. In 8 innings, he has made 216 runs at 27. And some people are still saying he is essential.

  3. Stan the Man says:

    After being 0/109 then all out for another 100 was a bit weak. I thought the 75 runs Breznin and Swann put on rocked us. They were probably chasing about 50/60 too many. Great start then the Kawager dismissal was soft – he is probably not up to this grade yet. Same with Smith. His dismissal under the circumstance showed he was having a bad day. How could he drop that catch at mid off ?? We were taught as kids fingers pointing up and take the ball in front of your eyes !!! Then if you drop it it will hit you flush in the face – then you deserve to be hit in the head for dropping the cherry !!!! Both those guys’ body language in dressing room/ balcony was bad. Kawager was bighting his nails. Smith looked like a loner without any friends !!! Geez I know Hughes has had a few chances but his innings in the First test should warant a recall for one of those guys ???

    Rogers, Warner , Clarke all got good balls. Haddin was a bit stiff he got a good one too. Clarks was a ripper

    That brings us to Watson. Fevola was right – he’s been out the same way LBW more times than Fev has been pissed !!! He has got a very serious flaw in his batting that needs to get sorted out. He plays across the line on a ball on the mid/leg stumps too often. When he hits it to mid wickt for 4 its great – when he misses it ….he is out !!! Get in the nets and fix it !!! now he is injured – again !!! For a big bruiser batter he is really a soft c@@*k.

    Felt really sad for Harris….and that’s not Rolf Harris either.

    Bird and Siddle didn’t bowl that well late in the 2nd dig – they leaked too many runs to Brznin and Swann

    A gutsy innings by a R Ponting, A Border or S Waugh would have been handy ?????

    Another shame day in Ashes history

    Otherwise after having 4 hours sleep and having to go to work this morning Im fine – yeah right !!!

  4. I refuse to give up my Zzzzz’s for this mob nowadays.

    Watching friggin Malfoy tear us apart, that’s just a living nightmare.

  5. I was in at Fed Square last night watching a whole lot of school bands doing their thing. Some of them were excellent. Got home and saw the Aussies none for 10 at lunch. Went to sleep and woke up to a new day and a new disaster. I can’t say I’ve seen much of this Test but I get the impression that the Aussies are shot. The extra effort required by teams that just aren’t good enough is exhausting.

    We need to persist with Khawaja. Watto’s got to go, go. Haddin out for Paine, I like the way Bird goes at the bowlers rather than Starc’s wafty style. But ultimately I think we’re all waiting for a new generation.

  6. Dave Nadel says:

    I went to bed just before tea with Australia 1 for 109 and every chance to win. I woke up to the sound of a bewildered Jim Maxwell failing to explain the rout. I figured we’d lost. I doubt that I will stay up to watch the fifth test. I will watch a reconstructed team back in Australia. So long as it doesn’t include Khawaja, Smith and Watson. In a pinch I could barrack for Smith and Khawaja but please, no more Watto.

  7. Luke Reynolds says:

    Just awful. The opening stand was fantastic, Warner is an opener and an opener only. I thought 299 was too much to chase but after the start we got we should have won. Too many players with bad techniques. Khawaja, Smith, Watson and Haddin aren’t up to it. Agree with Dips, Paine in for Haddin. Try anyone in place of the other 3. Bailey, Ferguson, Burns, Maddinson, M.Marsh. They couldn’t do any worse.

  8. I agree Luke, time for those 5 players to be given a try. Add Doolan to the mix to. Paine is our best keeper; providing his fingers have recovered, he should be a shoe in. Speaking of keepers i’m currently in the internet Cafe in Bellingen. Just walked through the park land, past the bust of the towns favourite cricketing son, Adam Gilchrist. Oh, if he was playing for Australia now.

    Glen!

  9. Luke Reynolds says:

    Spot on Glen, Doolan has been a good Shield performer and has a much better technique than most of the batsmen currently in the squad.

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