McGrath finds rare praise for England attack

It is always key players who are targeted, with the Aussies trying to dent, or even permanently damage, the confidence of the object of their attack.

The Australian pace bowler Glenn McGrath has been one of the leading "Pommie bashers", although in the past he has invariably singled out an England batsman and/or the captain for his withering dismissal of their ability. However, the victims all have one thing in common: they are players about whom the Australians feel particularly worried.

This year is no different from any other Ashes summer, in that McGrath has sounded off. However, there the similarity ends. First, because, in the aftermath of the Australians' Twenty20 defeat to England at the Rose Bowl last month, McGrath singled out not one but two players for his usual putdowns. Secondly, the double target involved members of England's bowling attack - Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison.

"I probably expected a little bit more from [Harmison and Flintoff] than what I saw," he said dismissively at the time. But the pair have subsequently shown far more than McGrath and his team-mates would like to have seen.

In the four matches between the two teams, Flintoff has claimed eight wickets at just over 19, while Harmison has proved even more effective with 11 Australian dismissals at a shade over 12 per wicket.

This prompted the unthinkable from McGrath's lips after the tie in the NatWest Series final here on Saturday - praise. "Harmison and Flintoff bowled well on a wicket which suited bowlers like us who like to hit the deck," McGrath said. "I enjoyed bowling out there - although probably not the last over.

"I think Harmy is a class bowler, there's no doubt about that and I think he's one of the main reasons England have improved over the last 18 months. He is one of the reasons why they've been so successful. To have a bowler bowling at that pace and getting that lift and bounce, it's got to give the rest of the team confidence."

But before Australian supporters think McGrath was having a senior moment, and to make sure no England fan believes McGrath has grown soft in his old age, he quickly reverted to type, swinging his big gun back across the opposition line-up before loosing off a salvo in the direction of the England opening batsmen, Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss.

"If you look at these matches, our opening bowlers have been pretty successful against Strauss and Trescothick," he said. He was referring to the fact that in the NatWest Series McGrath has dismissed Trescothick three times and Strauss twice, while Brett Lee has twice got rid of Strauss. McGrath added: "Since those two have been another key to England's success that is one positive we will take out of this series."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003