Oh “the Horror the horror.”
These are the words that swept across the Gabba on the final day of the first Test. Australia were humiliated with such an inferior and timid bowling attack. To think only 48 hours ago Australia were looking to go 1 up in the series. Now, some home truths have to be answered.
Mitchell Johnson’s position is in serious doubt now. He is marked as a wicket taker. At the moment he is a bowling machine for the English. He talked up his aggression before the series and has failed to deliver on his promises. Johnson’s sudden fall from grace began when the opposition did some much needed homework on him. When he won international cricketer of the year, he took the majority of his wickets from the “sucker” wide ball. Opposition batsman now ignore the “sucker” and just wait for Johnson to bowl on their pads. His time is up and Doug Bollinger is waiting eagerly in the wings. Unlike Johnson, Bollinger is in the batsman’s face every ball and won’t die wondering.
Peter Siddle survives the cut for the second Test, thanks to his hatrick and six wicket haul. But he needs to make further adjustments to his bowling. In the first innings, Siddle enjoyed overwhelming success by bowling a consistent full length that would entice the English to drive. In the second innings, his pace was down, his length was short and his greatest asset- his aggression, was no where to be seen on a depressing day five.
Ben Hilfenhaus is the only Australian bowler on a bleak day in Australian sporting history,who bowled with any discipline and somewhat consistent line. He tends to drag his line a tad to wide but he is a thinking bowler who will throw in a few off-cutter and in-swingers. The most shocking aspect about Australia is the lack of thinking and awareness in the field. Siddle and Johnson don’t change their angle at the crease nor vary their pace, nor bowl off-cutter and leg-cutters. Hilfenhaus won’t be a match winner but he will at least force the English to remain honest.
Ricky Ponting blastered a half-century to finish the Test. A friendly warning to the Poms that he still has the match winning quality within him and the fuelling motivation to drag Australia over the line. The embarrassing bowling performance will force the selectors and Ponting’s hand to make an immediate change. Until Johnson learns to bowl an in-swinger, he should battle his way in the State ranks.
England will now have an extreme belief within themselves to knock off a timid Australian team. From today’s efforts, the bowling is club level and the fielding is dare I say… nearing Pakistan’s level (no not quiet there but Pup Clarke might want to hold a catch soon).