The Green and Gold pulled it back in this game and we outclassed England to ensure their ambitious whitewash was simply a dream. The guys haven't performed well in the series for many reasons I find understandable and frustrating too, but they have put that behind them. England have the series so it's important to do as well as they can in the remaining games. The 4th ODI is ours and the final game will be at Lords. The guys came out aggressively as I anticipated but we may see a bit of hostility next game from England as well. I'm all for that.
Just good to have the victory!
BATTING: 5-290 off 50 overs; MJ Clarke 99*, RT Ponting 92, SR Watson 41
The biggest thing that was sorted out was our batting in this game, which has let us down and ultimately a direct cause for the series loss.
Tim Paine and Shane Watson didn't put together another fifty run stand, but the top order recovered things collectively after Tim was dismissed for 8 runs.
I think the only issue Tim is having is that he is making starts but in doing so he's hogging a fair bit of the strike, which does in some ways add pressure on Watto's role. When taking time to get settled (eg. Getting to 30 odd runs off 50-60 deliveries) you're expected to convert those dot balls into a big total but increasing your scoring rate. Simon Katich and Michael Hussey are good examples at managing this effectively within their respective games.
Tim is a capable opening batsman. In 2009 I mentioned we needed firepower up top. I have changed my thoughts on this as Watto has taken on the aggressive role up top so I'd rather see firepower in the middle order. He (Watto) needs a competent opener alongside him who can rotate the strike to ensure momentum isn't lost and can hold the innings together if he goes early, because aggressive cricket doesn't always come off. For this reason I was keen to see Shaun Marsh get a chance open up. All Tim has to do is look to back himself, not get bogged down when he struggles to score and look to rotate the strike rather than push himself find boundaries like Watto does. He must do what he does for the Tassie Tigers.
Watto continues to show his importance at the top of the order. He's getting the job done. For his own expectations he won't feel he's getting the job done (going on to get a big score) but as a contributor he's doing a consistent job and putting runs on the board for us, and not wasting time in doing so.
Ricky Ponting was the guy to watch this game. Our Captain hasn't had a good series and with the poor batting performances colletively, we got an idea just how important he still is to Australian cricket with the bat. But the pressure was still on and he played a brilliant innings.
The maestro was at work! Beautiful shots with superb timing and he also found the gaps with ease and grace. It was also special as not only did he plug in his 79th fifty, but he reached 13,000 ODI runs! He's the third batsman in the history of the game to do so, the first Australian player to do so and it was special to see the moment. I've been fortunate to have followed his career from debut so every achievement I get to check is a memory for a cricketer whose achievements get taken for granted by many. Unfortunately after such an outstanding innings he was caught for 92 hauling one in the air. Be keen to see Punter pull out another one before the Tests against Pakistan! Would've been something had he scored his 13,000th run and brought up his 30th century in ODI cricket.
Michael Clarke supported Punter well. He got a bit pinned down in the early stages of his innings, but then managed to let loose as Punter gained momentum and probably just boosted Pup's gameplan. He was given some lifelines after trying to hit out, but he continued to back himself by running hard between the wickets and not overcomplicating his game. It was of course unfortunate to see him left stranded on 99* as Steven Smith took control of the closure of the innings, but I am a firm believer that the team comes first, so Stevo did a fine job at the end of the innings. You never know just how important each run could be. Pup had also let by a number of dot balls go by at the end of the innings by stepping outside the line of the ball and slashed at a few. In that regard he only had himself to blame. Doesn't take anything away from him though. He did the job for us and to do it alongside Punter was a big step up from our seniors. All Pup needs now is a return of that flashy confidence he had 3 years ago with his limited overs game, although the competition will heat up over the upcoming months.
The total was on the board, and a score of 290 was more than adequate to give our bowling attack something to defend and get out there to hit England hard.
BOWLING: England 212 all out in 42.4 overs; RJ Harris 5-32, DE Bollinger 3-38, SPD Smith 2-59
Quite funny that England scored 212 this game, what we scored last game.
Man-of-the-match, Ryan Harris is a rough Aussie bowler, who has the egde about him that would've made him slot into the early 90's side with ease. He did a fantastic job for us in the first few games and really stepped it up this game with the new ball. He bowled with genuine pace and hit his targets. He showed aggression, which I always love to see in any fast bowler and he picked up an awesome wicket when he bowled Kieswetter by just getting the ball to shape in. It pegged the off-stump back and we were on our way! When he gets his wickets he does it in fine style! Economical, balanced victims from both the top and lower order. He has had a dream return for the Green & Gold and hope he continues to stand strongly for us! Well done Ryano.
I do like the way Punter rotates our bowlers. You need to do it with a slightly 'under-par' bowling unit. Shaun Tait was used in a similar way and the way they over exposed to lengthy spells thereafter didn't help him. But using him in 2 over spells is effective and he's been fast, accurate (yes, accurate) and economic. His call-up was unexpected but a worthy one to put Taito back on the map for limited overs cricket. He looks confident too. I'm very happy for him.
Douggie B started out poorly, bowling the wrong line to Andrew Strauss who you should know loves to cut the ball and play anything square of the wicket. He pulled it back nicely though in a tidy return spell. He managed to pick up two wicket at the end of England's innings to get him a good boost in his attitude out there!Douggie is a Test bowler in my eyes, I haven't been the biggest fanatic of his spot in the ODI team, but there's no doubt he does his job with the ball generally and as we saw in the 3rd ODI when he displayed some brutal fast bowling at the end of the English innings he can be lethal. The learning curve in ODI cricket has just taken him a bit longer than his Test achievements.
Steven Smith had a great game. He did a good job with the bat getting vital runs for us with some crafty boundaries, but also delivered with the ball. The delivery to dismiss Luke Wright was a good delivery. At first I thought he generated a fair bit of spin to bowl Wright around the legs, but it was more drift on the ball than anything else. It was still great to see it happen. As always he worked like a dog in the field. Running hard and committing himself to the stop 100%! He's a touch expensive at times, but that's the life of a spinner, especially a wrist spinner.
He's a young man, is learning quickly and certainly sparks our side in the field. He's also close to a debut for the Baggy Green!
The final ODI will be on Saturday at Lords Cricket Ground.
There will try to snuff England out of a final victory and make sure we head into the Pakistan series with some pride and added confidence after our cricket was poor.
There was no one to blame, our cricket was just well below standards and we gave England an open door to take us down. We performed better a little to late with the bat but as Aussie supporters we know to never give in...the 3rd ODI should have indicated that, along with hundreds of other examples out there!
Well done Aussies, that was an impressive fightback!
* An early note: LIVE CHAT here @ The Baggy Green Supporters Blogsite for the T20s versus Pakistan on Monday 5th & Tuesday 6th. Check your local guides for the game!
Ricky Ponting brought up his 13,000th run in his innings of 92 runs. Reverse-sweep! Something innovative. Ryan Harris delivered the goods with an excellent spell of 5-32.
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