Day One,Woolloongabba..


Everything was picture perfect till drinks in the first session. Ross Taylor won the toss and decided to bat in spite of the heavy cloud cover. Brendon McCullum is one man who certainly doesn’t understand cloud cover and he went about his job in his usual way. Martin Guptill was trying to set himself up at the other end while Baz was blazing away at the other. Full balls were driven, shot balls were cut and the slightly wide ones were slashed hard and went over the slip cordon.

Peter Siddle wasn’t overwhelmed by the conditions. He was on the corridor straight away and got both swing and seam. McCullum didn’t allow James Pattinson to settle to a rhythm with the new ball but the latter came back and bowled quite beautifully in his second spell. One hour into the test, I thought this opening partnership was looking good and the prospect of Williamson, Taylor and Ryder was mouthwatering. And it would have been an anomaly if New Zealand had converted that good start.

It was similar to a Sehwag-Gambhir partnership. McCullum was hurting the Aussie attack. Guptill looked as determined as ever but was trapped by a full delivery from Siddle. The most important lesson to any bowler around the world was that these Aussie bowlers looked to pick wickets by bowling fuller length balls. It would have been so attractive to hit the deck short of a length and look dangerous on this Gabba pitch but they generally, hit length.

I hadn’t quite recovered from the shock of seeing Nathan Lyon in the eleven and ended up being pleasantly surprised by the way he bowled. Captain Clarke certainly has a major say in the way Lyon is handled and he did a wonderful job this morning. Firstly, bringing Lyon on to bowl before lunch and then giving him the catching men at both forward and backward short leg. Lyon, for his part, bowled beautifully. The trajectory was brilliant, there were serious revolutions imparted, the line and length were good and overall, it was good to watch. Kane Williamson handled spin so well when he played the tests in India. He is still an excellent player of spin. But I thought he wasn’t prepared for the kind of pressure Clarke and Lyon exerted so early on in his innings. He got out to a classical off spinner’s trap.

Mitchell Starc seems to have a hell of a lot of potential. He can be three dozen times the force Mitchell Johnson is.  He could have got more wickets if he had stuck to a particular corridor today. He bowled a tight line to McCullum from over the stumps and then came around the wickets, stifled him for width and McCullum immediately gave his wicket away, hitting it straight to point. Maiden test catch for David Warner and maiden test wicket for Mitchell Starc. And out of all dismissals, Ross Taylors’ was the poorest.  He probably wanted to get on fluently straight away. But that’s not the way to build a test innings. Pattinson was troubling him in his second spell with balls swinging and zipping past the outside edge. On a full ball, wide outside off stump, Taylor went for a drive without getting to the pitch off the ball and chopped it on to the stumps. He wasn’t settled enough to play that shot and that was poor, poor temperament from the skipper.

It was 4 down for 94 at lunch and the usual top order failure had happened again. From the bowling perspective, Siddle was the pick of the bowlers, identifying the line from where he got the right amount of movement outwards, while Pattinson was second best. Things got worse in the first over after lunch as Jesse Ryder cut one ball straight to point. 5 down for 95 and in came Mr.Cricket, Dan Vettori.

It was another typical Vettori innings. He left balls which had to be left. He picked the length early on some, shuffled and scored through square leg. Those were definitely pre-meditated. He had a smart sweep shot for the spinner, and an effective late cut. He drove through the covers on all possible opportunities and he kept the scorers busy. Most importantly, he had a very decent defense!

Dean Brownlie never always offered the straight bat. He played a steady second fiddle to Vettori. He doesn’t have a great defense but playeda bit of a gritty knock. Nathan Lyon went defensive in his spell after lunch, to both Vettori and Brownlie. Starc was given a longish spell and showed what he’s capable of.  And yes, I forgot to mention Captain Clarke dropped a sitter at first slip, off Brownlie; Peter Siddle was the unfortunate bowler.

As tea approached, the light went bad and Siddle and Pattinson should have been bowling when Micheal Hussey was given the ball. I remember there were at least four men on the fence. That was probably the one major error of Clarke that I can remember today.

I don’t know when Hilfenhaus will return but whenever he will, he’ll have a lot of juniors fighting for spots. This battery of Siddle Harris,Cummins, Pattinson, Cutting and Starc looks very encouraging for this rebuilding team. And Nathan Lyon looks like he’ll be around for quite some time.

For the Kiwi batsmen, it was another familiar story. Poor shot selection and poor temperament. John Wright should be a very dejected man. But they don’t need to go too far for somebody to look up to. Someone has averaged more than 40 in the last three years and has been a regular rescuer to the batting unit several times. And generally, bats at No.8.

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One Comment on “Day One,Woolloongabba..”

  1. vishwanath Says:

    around a month bac i told u i wouldn’t hav hilfy even in my squad. australia simply hav d best young crop of pace bowlers in d world…not seen much of cutting tho…all others u mentioned are gr8 prospects. N they played copeland ahead of pattinson n starc. Copeland is not quick bowls mid 130s. dont rate him high….but d others r very good


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