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Posted on | December 3, 2010 | No Comments
I have never seen a Brisbane pitch as dead as the one that saw 624 runs scored for two wickets by both teams in the first Test.
Batter-friendly: Brisbane’s flat pitch proved hard work for the likes of Stuart Broad and James Anderson
It was so flat you could have played a timeless Test on it. The quality of the pitch is crucial to the quality of cricket and whether a result can be achieved. There was no margin of error for any bowler, unless his line and length was perfect. That can’t be fair or good for cricket. We need a contest between bat and ball.
Bowlers on both sides can’t take 20 wickets unless there is something in the pitch to encourage them. There are no great bowlers in this series and both teams are wary, even frightened of playing five bowlers and five batsmen.
Until we get something in the pitch there will be a number of drawn, high-scoring batting Tests unless we get pace or bounce or grass for the bowlers to exploit.
We used to have lots of drawn Tests years ago. The public now want results and flat batting pitches will hurt Australia more than us. They have to win the series to win the Ashes. Our lads will not mind because five draws keeps us the Ashes.
If pitches are going to be batting friendly then both sets of bowlers will be hard pressed to retain their energy levels and England may need to freshen their bowling unit as the Tests come along so quickly.
Surprisingly our best bowler was Jimmy Anderson, which is a huge plus for England because the old Jimmy would have got frustrated, started to experiment, spray the ball all over the place and give easy balls to hit. He was very disciplined and very unlucky not to take more wickets.
Steven Finn did well in the first innings but looked tired in the second.
Graeme Swann was not his normal self. He lacked his usual exuberance and that translated into his bowling in the first innings, but he bowled better in the second innings. He failed to create any pressure by dropping one ball short per over. He will find it much harder in Australia than anywhere else he has played.
Stuart Broad bowled too short and needs to be reminded to pitch the ball up on that awkward length where batsmen are not sure whether to come forward or stay back.
Many bouncers were too short and ineffective. They may have looked good but they were harmlessly going over the batsmen’s head. When he bangs it in short he needs accuracy to aim at the batsman’s ribs, high chest or neck area which is pretty awkward for the batsman to keep the ball down.
There is nothing to fear from this Australian attack but we need to put five or six hundred runs on the board in the first innings so that we can control the game and not have to make that sort of total to save the game.
Usually the Adelaide pitch is magnificent for batting and results have been achieved here for Australia because Shane Warne has bowled, a truly great leg-spinner. There have been only three draws in the past 19 Tests but that was down to Warne. Remember four years ago he bowled England out on a flat pitch.
The fact is, he isn’t playing now and two of the past three matches Australia have played in Adelaide without him have been draws. Even the West Indies saved a Test last year, and they can’t play. For Australia to bowl us out we would have to bat so badly it would be a nightmare.
Ricky Ponting put this lifeless pitch in true perspective with 50 off 40 balls. It was ominously easy for him. He is a class act. He batted beautifully.
After the game he was annoyed, and rightly so, with umpire Aleem Dar for going to the television replay when Cook drove to short midwicket and Ponting took a low catch. Every player knows television is two-dimensional, there is no depth of field like the human eye. If Ricky really said to Cook “it was —- weak umpiring” then he is right. Aleem Dar was 10 yards away and had a clear uninterrupted view of the catch. He “chickened out” of making a decision.
Technology is supposed to help players and umpires to achieve more correct decisions. At the moment with referrals for low catches, television is not good enough to judge whether it is out, and fielders believe they are being cheated out of fair catches.
My experience in television and as a player tells me Ponting caught it fair and square. That one incident did not change anything on the last day but it left a sour taste. The International Cricket Council needs to instruct umpires to make a decision themselves and not have television reviews for low catches. Ninety-nine per cent of the time television will show as if the ball has bounced.
Article reproduced with kind permission from the Daily Telegraph