Doherty has put Antipodean selectors in a spin

Australia's bowlers worked hard to little effect. Overall the attack looked stronger than in Brisbane but their batsmen had let them down. At least the flingers pitched the ball up, attacked the stumps and remained strong despite the withering conditions but the English batsmen were imperturbable

All three speedsters bowled their hearts out. None of them carried as much baggage into the match as Mitchell Johnson would have. Ricky Ponting was able to throw them the ball confident that they would try to execute his plans. However, it was to no avail.

Moreover the plans were flawed. The Australians try too hard to accommodate different batsmen, setting pre-ordained fields designed to exploit technical flaws. It looks clever and everyone goes gaga when it succeeds but it is contrived and can put the bowler off his game. As often as not, it's wiser to let the flinger focus on his own skills.

If the pacemen held up their heads the twirler was found wanting. Xavier Doherty is not the answer to Australia's spin problem. Until he adds to his repertoire the selectors need to look elsewhere.

At present the lefty lacks the resources needed to trouble accomplished batsmen on docile pitches. He does not give the ball enough of a tweak or beat batsmen through the air or possess a withering change of pace or the shock delivery that sets top practitioners apart. Nor can he tie up an end.

Part of the reason England prospered on the opening day was that Graeme Swann was able to adjust his style to suit both pitch and position. His counterpart lacks that capability.Admittedly Swann is an old hand and the highest ranked spinner around. Doherty is a newcomer

Not that the rookie has had much luck. Neither Test pitch has offered encouragement. To make matters worse the new-ball bowlers have not been taking wickets, so he begins against opponents already established at the crease. And it has been hot.

Doherty has been handicapped by curious field placements. He was asked to bowl to Jonathan Trott with a packed leg side and inevitably drove his deliveries into the pads thereby negating his spin. Nor was he protected at deep cover, a customary placement given the short square boundaries at this ground. Accordingly anything aimed a fraction wide could be productively dispatched.

Ricky Ponting's captaincy has been unsympathetic. Certainly he has been unable to nurture a spinner. The list of failures is getting longer. He tends to give them long spells at the wrong times and is reluctant to use them aggressively. Yesterday Doherty had one over in the morning and did not reappear until afternoon drinks.

Questions can also be asked about the quality of the local spin coaching. The advent of spin doctors does not seem to have improved the health of the patient. In that regard England has moved ahead with its innovative technology to measure revolutions put on the ball. Australia's "doctors" look more like snake oil salesmen.

Had all factors been in his favour Doherty might have fared better but he is not up to scratch. Nor has he been able to contribute in other areas. He dropped a difficult catch at The Gabba and ran himself out here.

Test cricketers are judged by the highest standards. Doherty falls short of that mark. His first 64 overs in Test cricket brought two wickets, both of them tailenders lashing out.

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own