Live: Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 1st day

Good evening, gluttons. Ready for more punishment? I am. Adelaide starts an hour later than Brisbane, just to make it even tougher for those in Blighty.

If you’re up and awake and listening/watching to the play, get chatting.

Lehmann England’s next coach?

Darren Gough is a bit of a rumour merchant, but he does know Darren Lehmann pretty well. And last night, Gough said Lehmann was a “strong rumour” to replace Duncan Fletcher as England coach. Thanks to Rod:

The old boy stories continue with the news of an on-stage interview with Darren Gough last night, at the Adelaide pre-Test dinner. The former England bowler said that Darren Lehmann, the South Australian skipper, was a ‘strong rumour’ as the next England coach after Duncan Fletcher. Whether it was a blast at the current coach is unknown, but Gough said: “He teaches enjoyment to the players… his knowledge is second-to-none, especially of the England players after playing in the country for so long.”

Thoughts?

The plot (and the humidity) thickens

The second Test here in Adelaide has had an interesting prelude with the news that Glenn McGrath will need a fitness test in the morning. It appears that his troublesome heel isn’t getting better and there must be doubts as to whether or not he is fit enough to last five days.

Faster then you can say ‘Mitchell Johnson’, the English writers are reminding us of Edgbaston. Certainly, removing McGrath from the game goes some way to making it an even contest, but that won’t help England’s bowlers take 20 wickets.

What might help though is that about 4pm this afternoon a sudden downpour hit the city of Adelaide. I was about a mile from Adelaide Oval when it struck, and if the pitch was uncovered when it happened, it will have had an effect on it. It was not very long, but it was enough to put a dampener on the Oval (and me).

The recent hot spell that has been engulfing Adelaide will now subside, and players should enjoy almost perfect weather conditions to play in, without the enervating heat of Brisbane, and there might be more humidity then at Brisbane as well. So the fates are turning ever so slightly in England’s favour. The question that remains is, are they good enough to seize the moment?

Steady as she goes

Australia have named an unchanged squad for the Adelaide Test, and aren’t likely to make any changes to the team. After all, why would you?

All eyes will be on England as they ponder their options.

South Australia v England, Adelaide

It’s the final warm-up match to Brisbane. England are Trescothickless and could do with a good run-out here to stretch their legs for next week. They ought to get it with Darren Lehmann, Shaun Tait, Dan Cullen and Mark Cosgrove among them. Their resolve will be seriously tested.

Chat away.

The Don at night

A great photo of the statue of Donald Bradman in Adelaide. Incidentally, Patrick recently wrote about big Donny B in his Dimly fades the Don post:

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the numbers of people visiting the Bradman Museum in the Don’s birthplace of Bowral has slumped from 85,000 a year in the late 1990s to about 40,000 now. Reduced income and rising costs have led to the museum’s founding director, Richard Mulvaney, stepping down on Friday after 17 years in charge.

The Don...

Mowling.


A farce waiting to happen

Just a quick post from the Antipodes to put in my two cents on the Great Australian Ticketing Fiasco. Needless to say, Cricket Australia won’t accept a bar of responsibility for this; just as needless to say that they won’t learn from this if it happens in the future.

What I would have done is copied the system used by England; for all the faults of the ballot system, the UK ground authorities are well experienced in dealing with demand for tickets that well outweighs capacity. Cricket Australia has this ‘we know better’ notion when it comes to England and English cricket, which may have had some relevance in the 1990′s but certainly isn’t the right mindset in 2006.
I’m not concerned in the slightest that Australian grounds will be full of visiting Englishmen this summer; the tourist boom to the economy will be well worth it, and it will teach the good for nothing, fat, lazy, whining Australian public to appreciate Test cricket more. I’m fed up to the back teeth of going to half-empty Test grounds. And, yes, I do have my tickets, if not for my home Adelaide Test, but I did get tickets for Boxing Day. 100,000 fans on the MCG for an Ashes Test; a dream come true for someone like me that cares far more for Test Cricket, and Ashes Cricket as the pinnacle of Australian Test Cricket.

Lots of Photos

Plenty of photos of the Australia vs Sri Lanka game played at Adelaide yesterday, all taken by me. You can see them here.

What Statsguru can tell us about the first final between Australia and Sri Lanka

I played around with Cricinfo’s statsguru program so I could write a post about the first final for the Cricinfo blog Different Strokes. Ironically, that blog is down, as indeed are all of cricinfo’s blogs. Some technical malady has smited them. So because I’m going to the game and won’t be here to post anything, I’ve taken the liberty of reprinting it here.

Thanks to Tuesday’s result, we now know that Sri Lanka will play Australia in the finals of the VB series. This is good for the series, because in my opinion, Sri Lanka are better equipped then South Africa are to cause an upset win in at least one of the fixtures and push the series into a third final. Which is something that has not happened for twelve seasons. The trend strongly is that the team that wins the first final goes onto win.

So for Sri Lanka, to win the first final is very important indeed. If they can somehow conjure up a win in Adelaide on Friday night, they will have a great fillip, and the second final is on their favourite Australian ground, Sydney. Between now and Friday, Sri Lanka’s coach Tom Moody will be working on a game plan to surprise the Australians, and he’ll probably use Cricinfo’s Statsguru program. Let’s see what Statsguru says.

The variations of scheduling help here, since these sides have met 15 times since 2002/03. This gives us a good sample to work with, and from these results, certain trends can be inferred.

Australia has dominated recent meetings between the sides, winning eleven and losing only four. The alarming figure for Sri Lanka is that Australia have batted first seven times in the fifteen, and won six out of the seven. Whereas, Sri Lanka have batted first eight times, and won three of those matches.

So Sri Lanka would like to bat first. In those eight matches where they batted first, they won three with scores of 343/5, 245 and 309/7. The other five scores were below that, and they lost all five. So they know if they bat first and can score 245 or more, they have given themselves a good chance to win.

And history at the Adelaide Oval certainly backs that plan up. Adelaide Oval has hosted 60 limited overs matches, and the team batting first has won 35, but recent history is strongly in favour of the team batting first, with eight out of the last ten being won by the side batting first.

However there is one small problem with this scenario for Sri Lanka. They have to win the toss and bat first.

If Australia win the toss and bat first, Sri Lanka have a problem. Of the last seven times Australia batted first they have won six of them. The only game they did not win, they scored 198/7. They have defended several scores in the mid 200 range as well as scoring over 300 three times. So Australia will be very confident that they can defend anything over 200.

So Tom Moody has to somehow find a weakness in Australia’s armour. Thanks to Statsguru, we can fine tune our search. Let’s look at the last 15 games where Australia won the toss, batted first, and lost the game.

What is interesting here is that while Australia has quite a few low scores in that lot, the mean score over the last fifteen is 221; and further looking around suggest that eleven of Australia’s last fifteen defeats came while batting first.

The common thread is that Australia have lost by losing a lot of early wickets, and getting either bowled out, or close to it.

So this should flow into Sri Lanka’s tactics. They have three bowlers who can take wickets, Vaas, Muralithiran and Bandara. My own feeling is that Sri Lanka should look to try and bowl these key figures early, and dispense with at least one of the powerplays until the 40 over mark. Because if history shows anything, if Australia still have top-six batmen in at the 40 over mark, the score will already be past 200 and Sri Lanka’s chances will be slim indeed. So the key thing is to attack at all costs, take early wickets, and keep taking them. If Australia are able to bat through their fifty overs, Sri Lanka will find it very hard to chase them down, and the history of the venue also points to that.

I somehow doubt that Tom Moody will instill this sort of attacking gameplan into his charges; Marvan Attapatu is not one of the attacking captains. However, thanks to Statsguru, we can see that to win, he’ll need to win the toss and bat, and failing that, he’ll need to use his bowlers in a very aggressive manner to stop Australia.

Athers: “Offspinners were crap in my day!”

If it’s Sunday, it must be time to see what Mike Atherton is writing in the Sunday Telegraph.

Mike, if you read this, I pick on you because your good. I don’t do this to Roebuck or any of the other hacks out there.

This week, our hero is writing about England’s dire spinning options heading to India. No doubts there. But not to worry, no English spinner was ever going to bowl out Dravid, Tendulkar and co. England’s strength is in their pace bowlers. If England are going to win in India, it will be Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff that are the men to do the job

But Athers goes into his own memory to make a point:

The best off-spinner that I played against, Tim May, didn’t bowl a ‘doosra’ but he did grasp the need to vary his pace and his flight, change his angle on the crease and give the ball such an almighty rip that a huge, bleeding gash was routinely opened on his spinning finger each time he started a spell.

TIM MAY????

*scott falls on the floor laffing*

Truly, your kidding, right? Actually, “Mayhem” was a pretty decent offspinner, who never took himself very seriously at all. It’s one of the funny things in life that Tim May, who was a affable joker of a player has transformed into the uber-serious head of FICA, the cricketer’s union.

The first Test I ever actually went to was Australia vs West Indies, 1992-93 (yes THAT one, where we lost by one run.) I had to catch my train back to the country town I was living in, so I had to leave the ground with an hour of play to go. As I regretfully walked out the Victor Richardson Gates at the Adelaide Oval, May was just coming on to bowl. He took 5 for 9 in that hour, routing the West Indies, and causing the rest of Adelaide to lose the plot. And I missed it! And Tim scored 42 not out to nearly take Australia to the Frank Worrell Trophy. There was real steel under that goofy grin, and real talent, too.

But I still want to know how much Mayhem paid Athers to write that. All of Tim May’s friends, family and fans want to know!