27 December 2011

1st Test, day 3: That long awaited 5 wicket haul for Hilfenhaus

Another day of momentum switches but India will feel they're in the drivers seat at the moment and rightly so after the way they brought about a batting collapse for the Baggy Greens, yet another one.
The lead is in place for the Baggy Greens due to the urgent rescue mission from the man who does it best, Michael Hussey. He's been in a career threatening drought with his Test game and along side him to save things was Ricky Ponting.
It was a day though that belonged to Ben Hilfenhaus who took his maiden 5 wicket haul. Really proud of him as he gets his career back on track while Huss fights to give himself an extended run with the Baggy Greens.

Day 4 is going to be very tough indeed and the bowling effort that we saw from the Baggy Greens today will need to be repeated come tomorrow.

Full scorecard via ESPN Cricinfo

India 282 all out
Ben Hilfenhaus 5-75 (26 overs), Peter Siddle 3-63, James Pattinson 2-55

After surviving some close encounters and having some luck go their way at our expense, India found themselves taking day 2 and being in a slightly dominant position.
However day 3 didn't start out as well as they'd hoped as India only managed to add 68 runs to their overnight total due to some really awesome seam bowling.

The proceedings began with one of my personal bowling favorites Ben Hilfenhaus bowling Rahul Dravid. It was a massive wicket after Dravid survived being bowled off a no-ball by Pedro Siddle.
Hilfy then continued to hit back hard at the Indian middle order as he removed young gun Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and then the nightwatchman Ishant Sharma, who hung about for quite a while.
The results came from fuller pitched bowling.
His first ball of the day was pitched on off-stump and there was just enough movement for Dravid to push it away to the onside. Second ball was a similar line but just pitched up slightly fuller and with a bit of movement after pitching it beat the outside of edge of Dravid and he gone for 68.
He followed this up with two deliveries pitched right up in the block hole to VVS which made the intentions clear.

Seeing him claim his first 5 wicket haul after 17 Tests (this being his 18th) was a very proud moment and I am so stoked for Hilfy. It's been a very frustrating journey for him after being the top wicket taker in the 2009 Ashes series, to suffering a knee injury which has affected his performances since then notably being dropped after the 2010/11 Ashes series.
He has worked hard and his experience counted in his favor with a few of our other fast bowling options out injured. He delivered an outstanding spell of bowling so within the context of the game I think it was a special effort.

Peter Siddle grafted hard yesterday with James Pattinson showing serious fight despite his inexperience.
Pedro took over duties from James Pattinson for day 3 and he removed VVS Laxman in no time.
He was able to grab one more wicket being that of Ashwin's while James then came on to bowl out the last batsman. Pedro was able to get just enough shape to work well in partnership with Hilfy to bring about a major Indian middle order collapse. A few shorter pitched deliveries were thrown in there for tactical variation. Was good to see it when a plan comes together.

An issue Hilfy and the rest of our bowlers faced (paticularly Siddle) was the lack of fuller pitched bowling. They veered off too short at times and that was frustrating but for the better part I still maintain my opinion they did a decent job but we didn't take those critical moment and opportunities.
For day 3 it was a far better collective bowling effort from this trio of fast bowlers playing in their first Test match together. Knocking India over for under 300 was a mighty fine effort. Well done boys!

The eagerly awaited moment!
Ben Hilfenhaus shows the relief as he finally claims his maiden 5fer. Well done Hilfy.

© Getty Images


8-179 from 60 overs
Lead of 230 runs

Michael Hussey 79*, Ricky Ponting 60
Another batting collapse, another display of loose shots and inside edges onto the stumps.
It happens to all teams but unfortunately we've have had our fair share of exposure to batting collapses.
David Warner, Michael Clarke and Shaun Marsh all chopped the ball on with attempted attacking strokes while Ed Cowan just had some misfortune leaving a ball that was just too straight and hit his pads. No shot offered and he was on his way which was a pity because that debut innings of his was outstanding.

Fortunately our senior players brought about a rescue mission to get us somewhat back on track.
Both Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey fed off each others intentions and their innings were quite similar.
Playing the ball with soft hands into the gaps, running very well between the wickets, showing their class once they got things under way and this was evident in their shot execution for their respective boundaries.
I had a look at their wagon wheels and it was very interesting to see so many similarities with the way they mapped things out.
Unfortunately the way we see the nervous nineties for most batsman, Punter is now suffering from the nervous sixties. He has made another half-century for the summer but has failed to carry on.
No need to be critical as it was a joy to see Punter's innings alongside Huss (the good old days some might say) but it was just a possible lapse in concentration that resulted in Punter flashing at one.
He had played some lovely back foot drives but he was caught out lunging at a wider one from Zaheer Khan to be caught in the gully.

Huss continued to play with gritty determination as his career is totally dependent on it.
He had a life line when Dravid dropped him in the slips but he has played wonderfully so far for his 79 runs with 7 boundaries. I use the word "urgent" to describe this innings from Huss as after Ben Hilfenhaus' effort with the ball and yet another collapse, we needed something special from Huss who has come off the two worst Test series of his career.
We urgently needed him to show his class and we urgently needed someone to step up after we slipped to 4-27.

Brad Haddin departed cheaply with Pedro Siddle and Nathan Lyon following soon after but fortunately James Pattinson can graft so hopefully he will give Huss the assistance needed to try and advance our lead which is easily 70 runs short of something substantially threatening.
Ben Hilfenhaus will probably have a licence to slog so let's see how things go but that lead isn't too minimal to give India enough of a threat.

The Verdict?
India will feel they clawed their way back into the game and momentum rests with them.
Their collapse will weigh heavily on their minds but they did have batsmen stand up, notably the veteran players. They're in a good position now.
We need a lead of 300 to take to the field with a psychological advance to try roll them for the victory.
It was an outstanding bowling effort from our boys but the collapse was upsetting.
Very good Test match so far and good to see some dominance from the bowlers from both teams.

Fear not though if you are a Baggy Green fanatic as the Huss is still there and we know how good he is when batting with the tail. It brings out the best of his competitive spirit.

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Joshua said...


I am disappointed with our batting.Our bowlers take the pain in setting up the game for us and the batsmen seem to just waste it with irresponsible!Why cant they ust see of the new ball? i think BBL has played a role in the dismisals of both Shaun Marsh and Warner in both the games!And i think its time for haddin to play his natural game elsewhere!He never looked like a vice-captain and looks unliklely to be in the top6!Would love to see Tim Paine take up his place...hope he recovers soon! as you've mentioned, we need atleast 300 to be in the game.less than 300 in a fourth day flat wicket will be a cakewalk for the Indian senior batsmen!

Joshua said...

I am disappointed with our batting.Our bowlers take the pain in setting up the game for us and the batsmen seem to just waste it with irresponsible shots!Why cant they ust see of the new ball? i think BBL has played a role in the dismisals of both Shaun Marsh and Warner in both the games!And i think its time for haddin to play his natural game elsewhere!He never looked like a vice-captain and looks unliklely to be in the top6!Would love to see Tim Paine take up his place...hope he recovers soon! as you've mentioned, we need atleast 300 to be in the game.less than 300 in a fourth day flat wicket will be a cakewalk for the Indian senior batsmen!

Sylvester said...

Very disappointing display by the top order. Thank God Hussey and Punter stood up, a welcome change from some of our other efforts.

Hoping Warner learns from this, Cowan wrong judgement and I think Marsh is showing rustiness. Haddin on the other hand is a lost cause, I have absolutely no confidence in him, he's a tailender to me now.

Was a great comeback by Hilfy today, bowler brilliantly and well supported.

Ian said...

Yeah Josh.
It is just so disheartening but thankfully we're still in the contest so that's a positive but there is cause for concern.
The younger blokes like Warner and Marsh will come right but our issue has been consistency all around. It's been a long time since we had that sadly.

"he's a tailender to me now."
I had to laugh at that Sly. Kind of like in the movies when they say, "you're dead to me".

Indeed Hilfy was a champ and he had excellent support.
All in all it's now up to Huss who seems to have a knack of delaying his comeback of class.

Sylvester said...

Haha now that you mention it, it does sound similar.

Don't mind players producing career saving knocks in the situation we were in, would have been down right embarrassing having another one under 100. Hopefully Pattinson can survive first up tomorrow and Hussey can get himself in again and go on to that ton. Definitely need 300 against India, would take one hell of an effort from the bowlers to keep them under 250.

Stapo said...

Credit to India for bowling well and yes the Aussirs got out to some poor shots in this match but let's not forget whatever happens that the umpiring has been unacceptable it seems to be forgotten by some media but the Australians have had no luck with Ian Gould in the last 18 months he used to be a fine umpire now lost his form and should go.

Ben Hilfy bowled really well great to see him back in form. He's. Got his confidence back and is swinging the ball again.

It's a pity about Brad Haddin he's always going to be compared to Adam Gilchrist and seems to have lost his confidence in the last 6 months.

Great partnership by Punter and Huss has the Aussies in the game and if Huss can bat well on day 4 we should be set for a great finish on day 4.

Ian said...

"Australians have had no luck with Ian Gould in the last 18 months he used to be a fine umpire now lost his form and should go."

Haha, I remember you sledging Gould at Newland's from the boundary, that was one of my funnier cricketing moments Stapo.
We're in agreement though.

Yeah, I have always felt Hads was bound to carry that burden. In 2008 for the Bangladesh ODI series he said it was a thing of the past for him but I don't agree.
He came in when his cricket was at its peak and he's struggled, more evidently now.
Natural game versus expectations and the way he has struggled to read the game when batting is upsetting because he's so much better than that.

Anyways, day 4 should be a cracker.

Big Nose Stu said...

Our top 3 really did undo all the good work our quicks did this morning. Hilfy was superb and Patto and Siddle bowled well without reward. Our top 3 really got themselves out but the Indians bowled superbly. I just hope 250 is enough tomorrow. Also think Haddin is surely on his last legs and Justin Langers role as batting coach needs to be looked at.

Stapo said...

Oh Ian Mr Gould has lost the plot since Newlands simple sack him.

I can't believe the talk about Langer he's a part of the coaching staff for many years. It's up to the batsmen in the middle. JL is not just a batting coach he knows the mental side of the game like few others. JL was one of Australias greatest ever openers.

He's working with inexperienced players look what he's done for David Warner he's turned him into a batting machine. Like Steve Rixon and Craig Dermott the team will develop well over time and supporters need paitence.

Big Nose Stu said...

Yeah I get it Justin Langer is a top bloke... He is the batting coach and our batting has been poor for a few years now. Whatever he is doing is not working. Time for a change.

Sebastian said...

I really don't know what to say. I can't help but feel for the Australian bowlers atm. They go through hell to set up a match for us and dozens of times over the last 2 years our batsmen throes it away.

I'm 100% certain that its a mental toughness issue, a real incapacity to say "fuck you, I'm going to bat all day". You saw it in Clarke, haddin and marsh today (I don't blame warner, he's opening and isn't reaponsible for recovering from a collapse unless its his partner and the #3 who get out, same with Cowan). They didn't seem to recognise what was happening, its not like they played only one bad shot and were out, there was a couple and then boom, gone.

I've mentioned the mental issue a couple of times and it only seems to be the batsmen - this morning and Pedro's last spell showed that the bowlers have got that "going to get you out no matter what" attitude.

I wonder what it is? Is it Langer, unable to teach the middle order to recognise a collapse in progress and how to stop it? Is it that the batsmen are so supremely overconfident that they think they won't get out of they play a loose shot? Is it just an inability to prevent from playing the loose shot? (I certainly have the last when I play... That's why I'm pretty bad!)

I'm not sure. What I do know is that mcdermott has been brilliant for the bowlers and, mostly, rixon has been brilliant for the fielding (mostly). Both were exceptional appointments. It's too early to tell for Arthur, but his history is great and I have faith. I'm thinking that, perhaps, the issue with the batting is that Langer was never really in the situation where he had to struggle to save the match, so, perhaps, he doesn't have the experience to teach the middle order how to do it. I would love to be proven wrong, but damn I'm sick of collapses. We've now had more than anyone except Bangladesh in the last two years.

Stapo said...

We just had a change of head coach the last thing the Aussie team needs is further changes the 2 players under pressure today scored 50's let's pay tribute to them. Punter and Hussey are going to be around for a long time on current form. Hussey might score a big hundred tomorrow.

Congrats to the MCG crowd this test match everyone clapped Ponting and Hussey as they walked to the crease and the support for the Aussie team in general has been outstanding.

Sylvester said...

Nothing against Langer he's a great guy and all but some players just aren't made for coaching. For me what happened to our bowlers after Mcdermott took control is enough for me to see what a new batting coach can do.

Sylvester said...

I will add Langer took over in 2009 and we have since had 3 scores under 100. Obviously not pinning it all on him but that ain't a great stat to have on your CV.

Big Nose Stu said...

Spot on Sylvester, it is clear from the outside looking in that Langer isn't doing the job we need at the moment. A change would be wonderful it has worked well for the bowlers with McDermott coming in.

Stapo said...

Yep that's true the batting has not been great at times but fact is Langer was only part time from 2009 to mid 2011 that was a shocking mistake by CA to make any coach of the national team part time.

Sebastian said...

Yeah, I didn't mean to suggest Langer isn't a brilliant player, just that we should look at the batting records and think about whether he should be maintained. I know we've had heaps and heaps of change lately - selectors, coaches, administrators, players - and we're still suffering batting collapses in almost every match we play.

Obviously, the Argus review was huge and all inclusive, it looked at coaching and coaches and determined that Langer is doing the job. With all the change recently, it's probably not the right time to go against the structure and setup determined by the review - i.e. keep Langer for now. I just don't want to see the sort of complacency that we saw from 2008 to 2011. To avoid that, we have to ask the difficult questions.

It's made more difficult for Langer as McDermott has had immediate and huge success. Not just with the new players, Pattinson; Lyon; Cummins in particular, but Siddle is the really impressive change.

Since McDermott has taken charge, Siddle has taken 20 Wickets at 28.40 with no 5-fers (i.e. he's consistently taking wickets!). Before McDermott, Siddle took 74 wickets at 32.10. His strike rate has also improved by 5! Watson has had a similar improvement: from 43 wickets at 31.41 to 13 wickets at 16.76 (admittedly, heavily helped by the Galle & Cape Town pitches!).

Enough of a rant from me. I'd be posting this sort of stuff on my blog, but my home computer's broken :(

Peter said...

I agree with most of the comments. A very disappointing performance (again) from our batsmen. For me, Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke are the most culpable. They are experienced players who know that the second innings is the time to knuckle down and do the business. To be fair to Clarke, he got a reasonable ball, but it was a shame he couldn't show more ticker. And Haddin .... can't keep, can't catch, can't bat ... time for a change there I reckon. Apart from that I'd stick with the rest of them - certainly some disappointing aspects, but also plenty of positives in this game.

Anonymous said...

The batting and the fielding isn't crash hot. In fact, the catching is dire a lot of the time. Look at Michael Clarke, after all these years, he still drops more catches to his right than he takes. Not sure if it's coaching or just lack of talent though as I've never been up close to the system.


Anonymous said...

I was bloody pleased for Hilfy though. Couldn't happen for a nicer cricketer even if he is the world's biggest bogan.


Ian said...

Hi Lou

The fielding has been atrocious at times but for the 2nd innings it was right up there after the way the standards were well below par in the first.
Another area where consistency will turn things around.

Indeed, Hilfy is a champ and I was stoked to see his moment arrive at last.
Shaun Tait probably up there as the biggest bogan but also has that whole cool cat attitude going.