One of the unremarked quirks of this match was that, by batting, England both negated their strategy in 10/11, and (at least in recent statistical history) reduced their chances of both a victory and a draw. After a fourth successive shambolic batting effort in a row from Australia it appears they can afford to do just that. Australia's bowling has, so far, been reasonable, though not as good as hoped. The continuing absence of Bird, particularly at Lord's, is a tacit admission that Shield statistics, and even tour form, are irrelevant (though we knew that already). The continuing success of a strategy built on looks and not results is there for all to see. But in the first innings, notwithstanding Bell's fine century and a useful rear-guard from Broad and Swann, 361 looked an under-par score.
For a decent line-up. Which Australia is not. Watson top-scored, which is odd, because his failure is there for all to see. Compounded by a terrible review, but let's be frank, if this team is dwelling on its reviews, it is focused on the wrong thing. No amount of reviews can rescue 128 all out.
The down-side of batting is often a need to enforce the follow-on to create a result. Turns out if the opposition are hapless that is not a problem. England had time for Cook to get the odd hint from the tv producers, and still schedule a fifth day golf match. Dropping Root early didn't help Australia, and again they made the early running. But no bowler can expect to back-up a few hours after their first effort and maintain it. Especially when the spinner is struggling.
The eventual target, 583, was largely irrelevant. Noone expected Australia to get within a sighter of it, and they did not. That bodes badly for the rest of the series; as we've seen in the recent past, once a side is down they tend to capitulate repeatedly with modern schedules. Khawaja and Clarke showed a little class, but no backbone, and Swann got perhaps the least deserved 9 wickets in a match in recent memory. That's what happens when a team is outclassed though. Worse, it is hard to see it improving dramatically.
Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.
Cricket - Ratings - Test 1st August, 2013 01:49:08 [#]