Ashes 2015: This series is as hard to read as Rocket Science for Dummies turned into Latin - Damien Fleming

The Aussie Angle: The loss-win-loss sequence means the Australians are due a win at Trent Bridge

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Well, the Edgbaston Test was very short and painful for myself. A bit like my Warwickshire Bears cricket career.

In 2003, late in the county season, the Bears pro Shaun Pollock was away for the last month and for the 2004 season. I was invited to send some outswingers down, with a view to playing the whole season in 2004. Twenty-four balls later those plans flew out of the window as I boarded the QF10 back home with an appointment to see my chiropractor about a slipped disc in my neck. I bowled that slowly against Yorkshire that a ball I released later hit me on the head in my follow-through. Yet I’m still waiting for my invite to the past players’ days. Ian Bell, any chance?

What a see-sawing Test series. Can anyone explain the 11 days of Test cricket we have witnessed, where each day rotates like a Shane Warne leg-spinner? I can’t. As an ex-player you are frequently asked a variety of questions from keen cricket followers and generally my answer takes in the form of the players and the momentum of the respective teams. For me this series is harder to read than Rocket Science for Dummies translated into Latin. It’s been as volatile as the relationship between Oasis’s Gallagher brothers

Nifty Peter Nevill was excellent for his 59 runs in the Australians’ second innings. He isn’t going to explode Test matches open like an Adam Gilchrist or Brad Haddin but he reminds me more of my former team-mate Ian Healy, with his ability to keep the scoreboard ticking and clean wicketkeeping. Heals was a great player and loyal and popular team man. He worked tirelessly on his game, carrying a squash ball around just in case he wanted an impromptu catching session against a wall.

 

Like Nevill he was a clever batsman with a good defence, looking to work the ball around, but loved a cut shot and possessed a unique, walking cover drive. Hopefully, Peter can follow Heals’ career and standing in the team, as in his first two Tests he looked the part.

Mitchell Starc scored his fifth 50 in his short career and played sensibly. The modern Australian fast bowling cadre Josh Hazlewood, Starc, Patrick Cummins and James Pattinson and Co all have essential qualities to be high-quality quicks for years to come – pace, bounce, swing etc – but the exciting thing for Australian cricket is they are all handy lower-order batsmen, particularly Starc and Pattinson, who have fine batting techniques. The days of the “Rabbits and Ferret” lower-order batsmen are like the Dodo bird. Extinct.

The recall of Steven Finn was an inspired choice by the England selectors. His eight-wicket haul was a great reward for persistence off the field and resourcefulness on it. Ian Bell looked comfortable batting at No 3. He threw his wicket away in the first innings when he looked like scoring the only hundred of the Test. In his second, he used all his experience to sense that scoring quickly in chasing a small total ripped the heart out of any Aussie chance of victory.

The positive news for Australian is that, considering the loss, win, loss sequence of the first three Tests, they are due to win at Trent Bridge. James Anderson’s skilful swing bowling will be sorely missed by England but a huge advantage for Australia. Their top six needs to maximise his big loss. A rejig of that top six could mean Shaun Marsh batting at No 4 and Michael Clarke back to his more comfortable No 5 position, where he averages 61.

The Australians may consider a bowling change in a line-up that is leaking runs. Can Peter Siddle come back in and bring some “Vegan Venom” into the Aussie bowling line-up? He doesn’t have the powerful weapons of pace and swing of the younger quicks, but he is resilient and evidently bowling quicker in training and will keep the runometer down.

Comments