Adelaide day 5: England succumb in under an hour


England’s resistance didn’t last long on day 5 at Adelaide. Less than an hour in fact. Their fans back home settling in for an unlikely great escape got a good 6 or 7 hours sleep before work on Monday morning.

Unfortunately for England, the tone was set in the very first over of the day when Stuart Broad fell for the oldest trick in the book. With two men out on the hook, Stuart Broad proceeded to smash Peter Siddle into the stand as a statement of intent. On the very next ball, Siddle bowled that little bit shorter and quicker and Broad took on the hook once more. This time he top edged straight into the watchful hands of Nathan Lyon.

Whilst Broad shouldn’t shoulder the responsibility of scoring big runs for England in the series, his dismissal was emblematic of England’s Ashes thus far.

England’s crappy shot selection

Australia put men out deep on the leg side, England compulsively hook and pull in the air and get out repeatedly in this manner.

Australia put two mid-wickets in place to counter an England strength. England aren’t deterred and clip in the air through mid-wicket to get out. And out again.

Australia encourage Nathan Lyon to attack on a very straight line with a strong leg side field. England persist on fending in the air to one of sometimes three catchers.

If there was one man who showed the way for England in this Test, it would have to be Joe Root. Having played a dreadful sweep to his old grade cricket teammate Nathan Lyon in the first innings, Root duly shelved the stroke and set about batting time making 87 the second time around.

Like Root, the rest of the English batsman need to shelve the “carry on regardless” approach to batting and knuckle down and make runs.

A word on Mitchell Johnson

Gideon Haigh described Mitchell Johnson as the “uncommon denominator” in this series. He obviously didn’t play in England, and he also brings a pace and aggression that is unlike any other bowler on display. Athers pitched in explaining how a firing Johnson seems to make players around him grow a couple of inches in stature.

Johnson now has two man of the match awards from two Tests thanks to his first innings 7-40 blowing Alastair Cook and England’s middle and lower order away. He wins a Man of the Match award every 7.5 Tests. That’s the best ratio of any Australian to have won more than 2 awards in their careers.

Michael Clarke’s bold prediction that Mitchell Johnson will be man of the series now looks odds on.

What next in Perth?

No English side has ever come back from being 2-0 down in an Ashes series.  Australia have named an unchanged squad of 12 players in Perth. England meanwhile are in deep shit with only three days to cobble together a side capable of winning the third Test.

Tim Bresnan, if fit, surely needs to come back in. Ben Stokes should start being England’s quickest bowler in Adelaide. Panesar out-bowled Swann (albeit not with great figures) but is a passenger in the field. And none of the the giant quicks have made a case to be included.

England scored 300 for the first time in the series in the second innings at Adelaide. If they are to avoid further humiliation, they will need to bat even longer.


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The record-breaking humility of Hashim Amla


Hashim Amla is an exceptional cricketer. But he’s not going to go out of his away to tell you about it.

His 59th run in his ton in Sunday’s 134 run victory against India made him the fastest man to 4000 runs in one day international cricket. Amla brought up the feat in 81 innings. That’s seven less than the man widely regarded as the greatest ODI batsman of all time, Viv Richards.

When asked about his achievement and surpassing Richards, Amla responded with an equally record-breaking feat of humility.

Feel a bit embarrassed to have it because Sir Viv Richards is certainly the master blaster, the original great batsman. He is more deserving than anyone else. I have met him on a few occasions, so it makes even more embarrassing. It would be befitting if he was ahead.”

“Whatever the case be, there is a lot of one-day cricket these days and no doubt someone else will come along and beat that and the game will just carry on.”

Yes, there are more one day internationals today than ever before and totals have no doubt inflated over the years, but surely the company Hashim keeps is deserving of the cricketer and the man. Virat Kohli comes in at number three on the list below. Meanwhile Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting find themselves in 19th and 20th place respectively.

Fastest player to reach 4000 ODI runs

fastest player to 4000 odi runs

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Adelaide day 2: “Bradmanesque” Clarke and Haddin put England to the sword

michael clarke and brad haddin adelaide

Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin love batting at Adelaide. If after day 1 honours were even, in the space of one session Clarke and Haddin made sure day 2 belonged to Australia scoring 116 runs, rollicking along at over 4 runs an over.

Michael Clarke brought up his 6th century at Adelaide just before lunch. His score of 148 means he is now Australia’s most prolific centurion at Adelaide and averages  a lick under 105.

Brad Haddin, dropped on 5 by Michael Carberry on day 1 and caught behind off a no-ball from Ben Stokes whilst on 51, powered his way to a century after the tea break. If you had to sum up his innings with just one image, it would be the sight of him planting the spinners over the short boundary for six with his favourite slog sweep, some top-edged and some middled.

Haddin (118) who eventually fell to Stuart Broad now has two centuries at Adelaide and averages a staggering 121.

England’s hammering was then compounded by a breezy run a ball half century from Ryan Harris.

With Mitchell Johnson having already dismissed England’s captain for 3, bowling at speeds up to 95mph, and Nathan Lyon seemingly extracting more turn than Swann and Panesar, England will have their work cut out to get anything out of the second Test.

Their grip on the urn is loosening by the minute. Can they reverse the tide?

Australia will meanwhile want to keep their eyes in and crush England…

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Swanny’s Ashes Video Diary Episode 1 (2013/14)

Swanny's Ashes Video Diary

Last time England visited Australia in 2010-11, Swanny’s Ashes Diary proved one of the viral hits of the summer (or winter depending where you were).

You’ve be forgiven for thinking it was canned after not being produced prior to the Ashes and now that England were humiliated at the Gabba. But you’d be wrong.

Swanny is back and episode one of his video diary has just launched. Whilst the show isn’t as irreverent as it could have been had England recorded 517/1 in their 2nd innings in Brisbane, it’s still bloody brilliant. There’s plenty to enjoy including a piss-take of Nasser’s decision to bowl at the Gabba back in the day and some fitting well-wishing to Jonathan Trott.


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Jonathan Trott leaves Ashes tour with a stress related illness

Jonathan Trott

The overnight news from Australia is that Jonathan Trott has become the first casualty of the Ashes tour flying home because of a stress related illness.

The England batsman will take a break from cricket for the foreseeable future and explained his decision:

“I don’t feel it is right that I’m playing knowing that I’m not 100% and I cannot currently operate at the level I have done in the past. My priority now is to take a break from cricket so that I can focus on my recovery. I want to wish my team mates all the very best for the remainder of the tour.”

Trott, so long considered England’s lynchpin at number 3, looked totally out of sorts at the Gabba producing one of the worst knocks in Test cricket with his second innings score of 9. The knock left such an impression on Australia that David Warner went public with his mental disintegration singling out Trott for being “weak”.

England’s Coach Andy Flower has played down the direct link between Warner’s words and Trott’s decision. He stressed the illness has been a long term thing, known to the England camp and thought he was well enough to take on an Ashes campaign. The stress of touring months at a time away from home is well documented. Ed Cowan has written a fantastic piece on why cricketers are more prone to depression than other sportsmen.

You only have to think of Michael Yardy who flew home from the World Cup in Sri Lanka and Marcus Trescothick who left Test cricket because of a stress related illness. Trescothick is in fact credited with changing the perception of mental health in sport.

Is sledging to blame?

The English press this morning would have you believe that sledging is one of the main culprits. They might support that claim with the news that Michael Clarke has just been fined 20% of his match fee for using offensive language whilst sledging Jimmy Anderson. But this would be some tenuous and seriously “weak” journalism.

Sledging and verbals are part of international sport and having a psychological edge is a determining factor in the outcome of results. Do we want cricket without drama? Do we want some anodyne product? Should we really crack down on one of the most colourful parts of a beautiful game?

You have to feel for Jonathan Trott in this instance. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him in an England shirt in the future. But in no way can we attribute the behaviour of Michael Clarke and David Warner to his decision.

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Mitchell Johnson circa 2009 gives England “one hell of a beating”

Mitchell Johnson man of the match

Australia annihilated England by a whopping 391 runs in the first Test at the Gabba. Mitchell Johnson, who circa 2009 was considered the most exciting cricketer in the world, bullied the English in every department.

Johnson was named man of the match for his scores of 64 and 39 not out and taking 9 wickets in the match. Not too long ago we explained our mixed emotions about Mitchell Johnson being recalled to the Australian Test side. Whilst some England fans, particularly those who were at the MCG in 2010, no doubt rejoiced at the recall, we warned against a different, more mature Johnson.

But we have to admit that we thought Clarke’s bold prophecy of Mitchell Johnson being man of the series was a load of hogwash.

England’s bowlers did amicably on a track that suited batting and played very true, but both Harris and Johnson bowled with more nip. In the first innings for example, Johnson bowled rapidly at an average of 89mph.

Australia of old?

The Ashes are ignited and Australia are taking no prisoners – Michael Clarke somewhat unpleasantly sledging Jimmy Anderson to “get ready for a f**king broken arm”,  showed an intent and belief that is quintessentially Australian. With a resurgent Mitchell Johnson, he now has the firepower to match his aggressive brand of captaincy.

What’s next?

Australia will be huge favourites for the third Test in Perth considering the pace and bounce akin if not surpassing the Gabba. Alastair Cook meanwhile has admitted that England are up for ‘war’ on the pitch from here on in. All is not lost for England however. They will be glad Adelaide is next up and focus on turning around some woeful batting.

It’s all set for a cracker of a series!

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One Hand One Bounce 102: Ashes preview and witnessing Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell Test in Mumbai

OHOB-102-episode-pictureListen to the Cricket Podcast that Plays by Backyard Rules

In this episode…

Audio, 18th November 2013: 42 minutes

DAVID GREEN joins the show to preview The Ashes with the first Test just days away. And SUBASH JAYARAMAN shares his experience of being at Sachin’s farewell Test in Mumbai.

NB: Please allow a moment while it buffers/loads

Don’t miss a single episode of the One Hand One Bounce Podcast. Automatically get each new episode by subscribing via iTunes or subscribing to the RSS feed. [Read more…]

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Sachin Tendulkar final career statistics

sachin-tendulkar-famous quote

The 24 year international career of a man who is an icon all over the world and a god in his homeland is over.

Only a fraction of sportsmen ever make it as elite athletes. Of those, a fraction represent their country. Of those that make it to international level, few make it to the pinnacle of their sport. Sachin Tendulkar has remained at the pinnacle of his sport for 24 years straight. It’s hard (perhaps impossible?) to think of a person who has the same kind of longevity in professional elite sport.

While statistics are said to never tell the whole story in cricket, one look at the Little Master’s final career statistics are more telling than most.

Perhaps the most telling of all stats has to be that of most international centuries and runs.

Most international centuries and runs

Sachin Tendulkar final career statistics

Besides having a staggering 29 more centuries than his nearest rival, Sachin also has almost 7,000 more runs than his understudy.

Most Test runs in history

Most international Test runs

200 matches, close to 16,000 Test runs, 51 centuries (7 more than his nearest rival), and an average above 50 for the most part achieved when a plus 50 average was a rarity.

Most ODI runs in history

most odi runs

Over 18,000 ODI runs (almost 5,000 more than his nearest rival), the first man to ever record a double century, and a World Cup crown to cap his career, Sachin Tendulkar is without a doubt the finest ODI batsman the game has ever seen.

These stats, whilst only telling half the Tendulkar story, are simply groundbreaking. Sachin Tendulkar tells the other half of the story in his tear-jerking speech in Mumbai.



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Rohit Sharma’s remarkable start to Test cricket


Having the opportunity to watch Sachin’s farewell test, “SRT 200”, has been an absolute joy. Whilst Sachin (74) fell an agonising 26 runs short of the fairytale send-off, it has been a fairytale start to the Test career of the talented but previously frustrating Rohit Sharma.

Rohit has become only the 5th man in history to score successive hundreds in their first two innings in Tests. That feat looks like this:

Lawrence Rowe (West Indies) – 214 and 100* in 1972

Alvin Kallicharran (West Indies) – 100* and 101 in 1972

Sourav Ganguly (India) – 131 and 136 in 1996

Yasir Hameed (Pakistan) – 175 and 105 in 2003

Rohit Sharma (India) – 177 and 111* in 2013

While the feat itself is immense, the maturity and manner in which Rohit has accumulated those runs should bring even more joy to Indian fans. For example, in Mumbai today when India number eleven Mohammed Shami came to the crease, Rohit only had 46 to his name. Controlled aggression was the name of the game (111* off 127) and the shepherding of the strike was intelligent. Once Shami had found his feet, Sharma gradually gave him more strike and instilled a confidence in his batting partner. And what a way to bring up your second Test match ton by smashing the bowler back over his head for six!

The Cricket Couch Subash Jayaraman in last week’s One Hand One Bounce explained just how excited he was to see Rohit finally get his chance of transfer the Ranji Trophy average of ~60 into the Test arena. Rohit has emphatically showed he can perform at the highest level.

 What do you think Rohit can achieve in his Test match career?

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How do you feel about Mitchell Johnson being back in the Australian Test team?


Australia have announced their 12 man Test squad to face England at the first Test in the Gabba in a week’s time. George Bailey having smashed in the selectors’ windows is in and so is the ever-mercurial Mitchell Johnson on the back of some fast and controlled bowling in India. For England fans who were in Australia in 2011, the Johnson selection may be seen as a time to rejoice, a time to once again heckle a man not cut-out to face the discipline of Andy Flower’s men.

“He bowls to the left, he bowls to the right,
That Mitchell Johnson, his bowling is shite” – The Barmy Army

The Barmy Army’s rendition of how shite Johnson’s bowling was and his case of the Yips has to be one of the lasting memories of England’s triumph last time around.

However, a glimpse into the Australian camp and the reaction of the squad at the “big reveal” press conference would hint at a different feeling altogether. Mitchell Johnson has regularly been hitting 90mph and there is a sense that his control, confidence and bowling arm (albeit still round-arm) is as high as it has ever been.

Michael Clarke seemed quietly confident at the press conference, almost sporting an an air of smugness, when he assessed where the prodigal quick was at.

“I think he is bowling a lot more consistently. His pace is certainly high, which is a good start. But it doesn’t matter how fast you bowl, if the bowler doesn’t know where it is going, it is always easy to face as a batsman. I think Mitchell has that control, he showed that in the one-day series, and it wouldn’t surprise me if in a couple of months time you see him as man of the series.” – Michael Clarke

 While the talent and ability is monumental, Test cricket will once again be the biggest challenge of someone previously proved mentally fragile.

Should England fans be rejoicing at the recall of Mitchell Johnson? Can Mitchell Johnson overcome his demons and terrorise England? Have Australia made the right decision with their Test squad? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Australia’s 12 man Ashes squad

Player State
Michael Clarke (c) NSW
Brad Haddin (vc) NSW
George Bailey TAS
James Faulkner TAS
Ryan Harris QLD
Mitchell Johnson WA
Nathan Lyon NSW
Chris Rogers VIC
Peter Siddle VIC
Steve Smith NSW
David Warner NSW
Shane Watson NSW



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