06 September 2009

2nd ODI: MITCH DELIVERS AN ALL-ROUNDERS GAME!

A victory in the second ODI has put the boys nicely on track to win this 7 match ODI series.
It was an impressive victory given the total of 249 seemed a bit short, and England did bowl well. But when the par score of 218 was determined, from the last 10 ODI's at Lord's, it seemed that there was enough fight to take the match.
With another good field display and a stronger looking bowling unit, the team did well to win by 39 runs.

Callum Ferguson was solid, yet again, in anchoring the innings and adapting his game well to the circumstances. His consistency is the addition of value that has been lacking in our One Day game since the Commonwealth Bank series against Sri-Lanka and India where things started to look a bit out of sorts.
From improvised shot selection to his ability at changing the tempo of his innings by running the ball into the gaps, as well as varying the pace on the ball with the usage of soft hands, he really has the making to be a huge role in driving this young team forward to 2011! Another fine knock from Fergal, and I really hope he can manage to keep any 'hype' under cover to avoid any unnecessary pressure, like David Warner and Phillip Hughes have had to deal with.
From judging him at State Level, I just think he isn't that sort of a character, and I strongly believe he adds a major X factor to the batting line-up that he can continue to configure into his own role. The results from his debut show! I think he has surprised many from the his time with the Redbacks to the ease at which he seems to be handling International pressure. It is refreshing and encouraging to see a bloke at 24 years of age just take his opportunity for Australia, and make any contribution he can.
At the same time Mitchell Johnson has quite quickly brushed aside any Ashes blues and has been playing the similar role to Ferguson. Both of them played massive parts in these 2 matches and Mitch is stepping up his ODI game. My first observation is his arm seems to coming over a lot straiter, and less 'slingy'. His accuracy really is assisting the other bowlers to do their job, and with 5 wickets thus far, it's looking good for Mitch.
The best part of his game – the defining reason for his man-of-the-match award - was with the bat though! That innings (43 off just 23 balls!) ended up making the winning difference in the end, and the way he used the power-play was not only exciting, but perfect given the circumstances how reaching any score close to 250 seemed unlikely. He batted with confidence and some the shot improvisations in Fergal's wake was awesome to watch! It was a quick-fire innings, that electrified the team to get out there and knock England down for 210 runs!
Cameron White deserves credit where it's due, as himself and Callum scratched together a partnership that gave the middle order something to build upon. Cameron is suited well to the number 3 role, and the only upset was that he didn't get to that half-century mark, and we may have even seen the power-play taken earlier!
Seeing the consistency from White, Ferguson and Shane Watson, is a positive sign with an important future ahead for each of them, as well as the future of Australian cricket.
White at number 3 is a smart move that has paid off so far and it's giving him a really good opportunity to make runs.
My only slight concern may be Tim Paine opening. In my squad spotter article I was hoping to see him play a middle-order role. I just feel that he is not a specialist opener for Tasmania, and he has only just started his International career. So it is a big ask, and maybe too much expectation, to want him to go out there and play the opener's One Day role. He seemed to struggle out there with the scoring, and this is where either Adam Voges, Michael Hussey or James Hopes would be the better option. I'd be happy seeing Tim around 5 or 6, but to open is a tough void to fill, especially with Brad Haddin out the picture for now, and don't forget Had's is the leading run scorer in ODI cricket for 2009, predominantly opening up! Shaun Marsh in injury time doesn't help either!
But he has only had two chances against England at the top spot, and in one of those he pretty much was run-out at the expense of some odd calling.

Brett Lee was terrific! 2 wickets and the attitude of Binga, is the attitude we have been lacking! A hard competitor, always happy to share a chirp or more and the ripple effect when he bowls well at the top of the line-up is stirring! Like Ben Hilfenhaus, he is exposed to the 'free-hit' error by almost expectedly bowling a few no-balls, but he always seems to have a plan to make sure the free-hits don't amount to anything to serious with slower bouncers, yorkers, quick deliveries targeting the batsman's movement etc.
Shane Watson was highly effective with 2-26 off 7 overs! He had the wicket's of Bopara and Prior. He seems much fitter for bowling, and his action looks more natural again but not quite 100% I reckon!
The bowling, as mentioned earlier, looked a lot better and I get the feeling that all the guys are loosened up and know what they have to do. Get wickets, and know how to work as a unit. With 5 games to go, there are plenty overs and wickets left to see how things will pair up in preparations to the Champions Trophy.
I reckon Nathan Hauritz is glowing with confidence as he made the crucial break-through in taking down England's Skipper Andrew Struass, and he rarely ends a match without a few scalps to his name! Ritz is also taking quite comfortably to his ODI role. His inclusion his important in each game, and he should play in every match!

England will be doing their homework to pick up their batting, as I don't think their bowling is too far off from being satisfactory. I'd be very alert to the realistic possibility of them clawing a comeback, especially in the batting department.
But it's a 2-0 lead in the 7 match series, and Lord's will hold a slightly better memory now for any of the players in the squad who were apart of the Ashes 2nd Test loss at the historic home of cricket.
Momentum rolls along like a snow ball, and both teams are far from their best.
I'm really confident that there are a few more hectic moments of cricket ahead for us!

10 comments:

Sylvester said...

Our batting still needs serious work. If Paine and Watson are playing the safe approach they need to carry it through and not get out in the 30s with their strike rate below 70. I wouldn't mind trying Johnson at the top if we continue to struggle, no harm can come from it since next to no one cares about this series anyway. If he fails so be it but if he goes well we might well have our next Gilly/Hayden.

Bowling was good once again saved our batters ass. We could use an opening wicket as the English should have won from the position they were in.

Sidthegnomenator said...

I like Johnson right where he is, Sylvester. I think it is good to have a strong batsman hanging around the lower order.

Johnson, Bracken, Watson and Ferguson were all looking good yesterday. Good day.

Eventually.

I was a bit worried for a while there.

Jawad said...

As Sylvester mentioned, batting has been below par. You can't expect Ferguson and Johnson to bail you out every time, or the bowling department for that matter.

I'm not sure Johnson is needed at the top. The top order is just fine except for Hussey. His time is near, I feel. None of them are firing consistently though and this would be a problem sooner or later in this series.

Yes, I'm not sure why this is such a long series? 7 ODIs? I say, give these boys a rest before the Champions Trophy.

Punter retires from T20, which was no surprise at all. The guy barely took the game seriously. I would give the captaincy to White for sure but clarke will be the likely choice.

Ian said...

yeah the breaking news about punters retirement from T20's is great news! I think the reasons behind it are genuine and I strongly believe it will benefit his cricket, longevity and his focus to the bigger forms of the game where he has excelled. Great move and very pleased about this!

7 ODIS is ALOT of cricket...5 is adequate, but this is how it has been. But it is good prep's for the Champions Trophy!
Sylvester for once I can't agree on Mitch.
I just think we still have so many top order strengths...some of those guys just aren't playing to full potential. But fear not mate, they will. I am seeing more and more signs of attacking cricket (Clarke's handling of our fielding tactics and bowler usage) and that spirit is the Australian way. I feel really strongly that, like our rugby Union, we are on the way to strong progression!
Keep Mitch where he is as it add's alot of value. When guys like Haddin and Marsh, even Punter return, it will mean strong candidates and room for tweaking.

Best part of our bowling guys...going for the kill and CLEANING the tail out! Bracks was terrific there! Control and experience!
Still 5 games to go though!

Sylvester said...

Well this series we have Paine as opener. This is one of the very few times Johnson has produced down the order, if he does it more consistently then he would be ideal down there but he averaged under 10 for over 50 ODIs so it suggest he is being wasted down there.

Baiju Nair said...

Ian,
Personally I am very pleased to see a fully fit Binga firing at 150 Ks / Hr consistantly especially coz people were saying that he has passed his prime and cant bowl quick (I mean 'Seriously Quick')anymore. I think he still has got a good couple of years left in him. By the way it was refreshing to see Watto coming through with his bowling. He was consistantly clocking around 90 mph mate.

Jawad said...

Sylvester, I understand your concern. I think you are right in pointing out that this is probably one of the few times Johnson has scored but I still feel he is fine where he is at. I think he is a bowling all-rounder who can hit a few once in a while. I'm glad clarke is letting the inform batsmen take the top order. I think Australia's main concern is the middle order.
The positive have definitely been the bowling department. They have fired consistently even with a low score. Bracken hasn't hit top form as he was in the WC 07 but i'm glad he is there to clean up the tail with Lee. Good to see those yorkers! where were they in the Ashes damn it!

Ian, I think 7 ODIs is a little too much prep for the champions trophy. I would rather see these guys play 3 match series and get some rest for the big tournament. oh well! Its business.

Sylvester said...

Jawad he probably might be fine down there, I just feel its worth trying him up at opener this series. We have nothing to lose. Its a bit like what Waugh did with Gilly, if he failed, Gilly could always move back down to 7 but we know what followed after it. If the same happens with Johnson then we have found that player to get us away to an explosive start.

Ian said...

Yeah 3-5 ODI's is sufficient, 5 gives the crowds a better chance too see a game too.
I think we should stick with what is working and build with it. This series is on the eve of a big ICC event, where we are the title holders, as well as this series gives a big chance to boost those rankings. If this team could find some synergy, with Ponting in the midst too, it will be valuable. With Haddin and Marsh out is has made the top order a question to work out.

I also think I overlooked Watto the other night. He was consistent, very accurate and maintained good pace. He does look more bowling fit for the ODI arena.
Still need a few more games for Bracks and Binga to get their game ready for action against the other International teams...notably WI, Pakistan and India!

See how the boys turn out today, and if England have a few plans of their own to turnaround.

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