Dernbach comes to life at death for England


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The Independent Online

If death bowling can be fatal it is also a way of life. For Jade Dernbach, one of England's seemingly endless supply of seam bowlers, it acts like a grim reaper's elixir.

He disrupted the end of India's innings in the Twenty20 international on Wednesday night with three wickets in seven balls, and was responsible for a fourth when he performed a run-out with an executioner's calm. Bowling at the end of a one-day innings is one of the more thankless bowling tasks in a list not entirely bereft of them.

Dernbach appears to be one of those who, perversely, prospers in it and it is a job he will doubtless be given the opportunity to refine further some time during the one-day series that starts in Durham tomorrow.

"I don't have any particular method," he said yesterday after being made man of the match for his 4 for 22 in England's six-wicket victory, which equalled the best figures for the country in a T20.

"It is always a case of understanding you have more time than you realise, so don't rush things. At that point in the game someone will at some point in the over connect. The most important thing for me is the next ball. No matter what happens I try and forget what has happened and focus on the next ball because I know I have six deliveries to make it right.

"I try and keep that in my mind. It is a matter of enjoying it as well. I really thrive in that situation and I find it an enjoyable experience and that helps you get through it."

All this is easier in the conception than the execution. Many splendid bowlers have been unable to gather the wherewithal necessary for those last few overs when the charge is on, even if the batting powerplay is not. Perfectly serviceable balls can be launched into the stratosphere.

Dernbach had already demonstrated the essential, nerveless quality in the tense fifth match of the one-day series against Sri Lanka in July. Sri Lanka had got uncomfortably close to their target when Dernbach ended their hopes with wickets from the first two balls of the 49th over. His obvious predilection for the job has been helped by his well-stocked armoury of slower balls. They are things of beauty as well as deceit.

"It has come through a lot of time training myself to do it," Dernbach said. "When you come up against batsmen with real ability, occasionally it will not come off but it is a matter of trying to stay one step ahead of the game and do your best to stem the runs and take wickets, which can be crucial in a final over.

"Of course, you have to constantly develop as a bowler and the pressure is to keep getting better. You still can't hide away from the fact that, regardless of people studying you, they still have to hit the ball."

"You can't give too much credit to the batter," he added. "You have to back yourself and [your] ability to produce under pressure." Seems like death bowling is a job for life.