25 November 2013

Clarke and Australia send out brash message to England

A man in cricket whites and baggy green walking towards the camera
Photograph from Wikipedia

The baggy green of Australia is bouncing with a level of unbridled joy that even the most ardent West Brom fan could not dream of. Without a Test win since January and having been outplayed in the last three Ashes series they looked desperate when they so confidently talked up their chances before walking out at the Gabba last week. But that's the way they are and there was nothing fraught about the way Mitchell Johnson and David Warner got stuck into the more passive 'Poms'.

After the first day Stuart Broad called England 'silent assassins', but come the early hours of Sunday morning they had been reduced to nothing more than unsuccessful shoplifters with Michael Clarke's men attacking without respite, relentlessly exposing their top order's flaws on a pitch devoid of demons.

While Jonathan Trott's exit from the touring party highlights how many aspects of life pale cricket into insignificance, England have a whole host of sporting problems to contend with. The top order's innate ability to roll over in the first match of an away series is troubling, but the way that Australia's bowling plans worked so comfortably suggests that this failure will be tougher to come back from than in India last winter. 

Credit where credit is due, Mitchell Johnson overcame the song that the Barmy Army voted as their second greatest chant to bounce England's batsmen into feeble submission. Kevin Pietersen looked good in both innings but could not resist a go at the enigmatic quick bowler in the second innings while Trott, although at battle with his mind, clearly had a problem with the short ball. 

Michael Carberry and Alastair Cook both showed some resistance, but failed in producing a solid opening partnership. Ryan Harris still seems to have the England skipper in his sights while Carberry will not be used to the ball coming at his head from around the wicket at 93 miles per hour. It is something that Australia will continue to do on the quick bouncy wickets which they will undoubtedly produce again in the series. 

For all his indiscretions Warner showed excellent attacking form with the bat while looking very solid. If he can keep up this form, and not let the success get to his head like that pint in Walkabout, then he could play many more starring roles over the coming weeks.

The bowling unit is extremely dangerous, and although the Australian top order still looks fragile, coach Darren Lehmann will be very pleased with the way his batsmen did not take their feet off the visitors' necks in the second innings.

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