Monday, 20 July 2009

The Bump in the Road

'Records are made to be broken.'

No-one has chased down 522, but every patriotic Englishman or Englishwoman must have gone to bed tonight with that saying at the back of his or her mind. Might I draw your attention to this test? Or, more worryingly, this one? Yes, those teams didn't chase down 522 runs, but they did go into their final innings with challenging targets. The only big difference is they achieved their victories at home.

Clarke and Haddin have actually shifted momentum towards Australia in a decisive way. England are looking like they are on the ropes now, if you ask me. In fact, calculating Australia's chances of victory suggests to me that they are above 50 per cent. I don't believe it, myself. (Sometimes, the numbers lie.) I think we'll see a draw. Tommorrow will see whether I should trust the numbers.

If they do pull it out, expect to see more articles like this one. I have a bone to pick with it, where Mr de Lisle writes:
In fact [the bowlers] batted better than most of the batsmen.

Good, I say. The issue is whether it's more important to win matches or to avoid losing them. In my italianate way, I lean toward the latter. Don't give away wickets with a long tail of feeble batsmen, especially against a strong batting side like the Australians. West Indies show you the flaw in that strategy. It's more important to bat as deeply as you can. I'd even argue that Australia's difficulties arise out of taking that advice to the extreme. They almost certainly need another bowler. Three seamers and a spinner are not enough, unless two of those are all-time greats like McGrath and Warne. You need five bowlers, although one of them can just be a 'change' bowler who keeps the runs down and gives the attacking bowlers a rest. But perhaps that's better discussed another time.

No comments:

Post a Comment