How awesome was Brett Lee's bowling in the 4th ODI?
90mph consistently, with a few clicking at around 95mph, and stumps being sprayed, what more could you want for fast-bowling!
Binga picked up figures of 5-49 and while it registered at 5.44 runs per over, it was the effectiveness when Ricky Ponting brought him on just before the mandatory ball change.
Nathan Hauritz' style is proving to be so valuable. He can tie up the batsmen so well, and his defensive tactics (while not wanting to be pigeon-holed as a 'defensive bowler') come in very useful from a pressure perspective. He was only hit out for 23 runs and with 2 wickets behind his name, he has proven that with faith shown in his abilities from the selectors and the supporters, that he may become alot more accustomed to the One Day setup.
Yet again Ritz picked up the wicket of Andrew Strauss, and Strauss was once again the only English batsman to make any impact, with 63 for the second time. Strauss has certainly found greater consistency with his game, but his team-mates aren't doing him any favours! What more does Michael Atherton expect him to say at the Post-match presentations. In 7 ODI's it will probably get to a point where if England keep losing Atherton will just ask the crew to playback his previous comments. Frustrating situation but we were there just over half a year ago!
Brett Lee was the real man of the moment! With Mitchell Johnson sending the pace alongside him, the pace factor is looking really good. Clearly Binga's pace, with the yorkers being bang on target, proved to be too much for the English middle order, and a few scraps of the tail.
It's spectacular to see any fast-bowler deliver a feriocious spell, knocking the wickets down, in any format of the game. So seeing Binga's spell at Lord's was great in the context of not only winning the series, but seeing him looking in top shape for the Champions Trophy.
Maybe giving Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus a go for the 6th and 7th ODI's, to give the likes of Binga/ Bracks and maybe even Mitch a rest before the Champions Trophy, is a move worth considering.
The batting task wasn't going to be too difficult chasing down 220, but it was encouraging to see Michael Clarke score another half-century, but this time at a much better strike-rate. Maybe having Punter leading the side again just gave Pup that edge on his focus needed in order too get the job done.
It can be easy to overlook some of his contributions. His innings reminded me a bit of when he played a similar knock in the 2007 World Cup semi-final against the Proteas. While 150 wasn't a daunting total to win, after losing Adam Gilchrist first ball in the run-chase, with the Proteas highly pumped up to win the match, Pup put his head down and showed what seemed to me his true step up in ODI cricket and his value as a prospective senior player. He is now one of the leader's in the team and his innings what the flank to Tim Paine's fifty which set the stage for Punter and Pup to knock off the runs.
Every batsman had a strike-rate around 80 which is a positive sign after the trend has been a rather dull rate in recent fixtures.
Tim Paine made his first fifty for Australia, and innings by innings in this series he has scored better and looking the part behind the stumps. He is seeming alot more relaxed in the middle, and I am sure having fellow Tasmanian (on rare occassion nowadays) Punter alongside him must have been quite a boost to his opportunity with Brad Haddin resting his battered fingers. While Tim won't be an immediate feature in the squad, I am pretty confident he has good temperament to keep his performances strong for the Tigers and remain Hads' understudy in the ODI squad. Graham Manou must remain the reserve Keeper for Tests in my opinion. The man's glovework is pure quality!
Ricky Ponting batted beautifully for his 48, ideally deserving to go on. When the boundaries start to flow and his enthusiasm kicks in in One Day cricket, he is just terrific. Despite what the critics say, I have been watching Punter's career since his debut in International cricket and when I see him at the crease or leading the boys in the field with Baggy Green or Green and Gold gear on, I am proud to have him out there. He is a master-class cricketer and I do believe when his enthusiasm peaks, it has an immense ripple-like effect on all player's involved. He scored 48, which was enough to ensure Michael Clarke and Callum Ferguson could finish the job off. Once again Fergal was unbeaten and did the job quickly, and promptly with some well placed strokes in the mix!
It is great to have another One Day series win after a slightly bleak last 2 years with mixed one day results. While it is a pity from an entertainment perspective that only the 1st ODI really came down to an exciting finish, it is pleasing to see the results with a big ICC event approaching. I want a 7-0 result, not for rankings primarily but just because it will be such a boost in confidence for all the players concerned, as well as all of us who support the boys game in, game out.
There is WAY TOO MUCH cricket even for my liking, so every bit of support the team gets is refreshing as some really pointless series', unnecessarily drawn out fixtures and a schitzophrenic calendar of fixures and formats, you can understand why the players get a bit low on ethusiasm and continued ambition.
But the pride of the Baggy Green, and the drive to get to the elite level and perform is probably the driving force for the guys to keep playing their best cricket, and entertaining all of us. Spare a thought when you see the schedule, work or play!
A series win in pretty good style I think and there are many crucial performances that stand out...just what we have been lacking in recent times, e.g. "How did we lose the Ashes to England?".