Monday, 15 January 2007

Australia vs NZ, Hobart

My brain knows that we lost by 105 runs. And it knows that we lost our last 7 wickets for only 23 runs. But somehow yesterday's loss doesn't seem as bad as all that. Perhaps it is because I only caught snippets of the collapse on the radio while at a friend's barbeque. And perhaps it is because New Zealand's inexperienced brigade all put in good performances (Gillespie and Patel both bowled well, although Patel's figures were ruined by a late surge - while Taylor and Fulton provided the batting highlights). And perhaps it is because Shane Bond's hat-trick added a fair amount of gloss.

But the major reason I suspect I don't feel that down about the result is because I was expecting it. And that probably doesn't say too much about the state of New Zealand cricket.

Still. As I noted above, there were positives. And if you compare the performances of New Zealand's new faces to the Australian new boys you do have something to be cheerful about. I thought Hilfenhaus was very average, displaying very little of the pace and aggression he was said to have had. He was particularly lucky to get a wicket, Brendon McCullum was sawn off thanks to a terrible lbw decision. And speaking of bad decisions, Cameron White only prospered after surviving a very close appeal first ball. Nice to see umpiring in Australia is still as good as ever. White might have done well with the bat, but he really didn't look like much of a threat with the ball. He is certainly no new Shane Warne.

I would certainly pick Taylor and Gillespie in my side over those two any day. I suspect Peter Roebuck might agree.

Actually, Roebuck's piece is an interesting one. While the New Zealanders "played superbly in patches" and Gillespie and Taylor made "fine impressions", much less direct language is used to describe the new Australians. "Ben Hilfenhaus has followed in his captain's footsteps. Happily, he has been chosen when his confidence is high. Like Ponting, he comes from an unfashionable part of town. Already, he has managed to reduce his bowling to its simplicities..." Meanwhile, two paragraphs dedicated to Cameron White describe one stroke and fail to mention his bowling at all. Roebuck's praise of these two appears all puff and smoke, with very little genuine admiration shining through. The best he can manage is to say that Hilfenhaus' bowling is simple and White plays a nice slog over mid-wicket.

I am probably imagining it. But it seems to me that the Age expected Peter Roebuck to write an article praising the Australian youngsters, and he obliged despite a lack of conviction.


Brett McS said...

I've never seen a leg spinner put less on a ball than White - virtually the antithesis of Warne. He's a fair slogger, though.

Most teams play well in patches against the Aussies, but they rarely, if ever, manage to shake them off their plan.

Karel said...

I agree with most of your assesment. But dont forget, Australia won and thats mostly due to their bowling. Sure, a couple of decisions were poor but thats cricket. And in the end we didnt get anywhere near their score. I dont have a problem with our bowling and the Aussies scoring 289. Thats just one day cricket and the pitch was a great one. Thought Gillespie stepped up, Vettori was his usual brilliant self (and lets face it, when Symonds got his eye in not many bowlers can stop him) and Bond was scratchy but unlucky early on.
I really dont think Franklin should be in the team right now. We miss Mills and Styris. Im not a fan of Scotty but have a feeling his medium pacers would have been perfect yesterday.
As for the batting - woeful. Persisting with McCullum at the top is silly and i guarantee you (and it pains me to say this), he probably wont go on to score many runs up there this series. Taylors continued fighting brilliance puts to shame the decision to only pick him recently. But thats history and hes making a great fist of things. He'll enjoy the quicker wickets in Australia. Fleming showed his 'rest' was a poor decision, appearing rusty. As for the collapse, thats what happens when your tail starts at 7. And i respect Vettoris growing skills as an all rounder. But hes still no number 7, at least not when we need another 120 runs at 6.5 an over.
Not sure about Fulton either. Ive said in the past he doesnt cut the mustard at this level and my opinion hasnt changed.
If we had another batter there y/day instead of Franklin then perhaps things may have been different. But jesus, who?! discounting the Marshall twins for poor form and who is there? Maybe Sinclair at 4, then have Fleming open with Astle and McCullum drop back down? Imagine what could have happened had we needed 100 runs to win y/day and McCullum had been at the crease with Taylor?
Just a thought...

Karl said...

Oram will be over soon - he was on the news last night saying he's ready to go. Ryder is definitely out of favour - he hasn't made it into the initial squad of 30 for the world cup (but Chris Harris has).

McCullum has been incredibly unlucky. Three of his last five innings have been given out LBW, all I think bad decisions. Looking in the Statsguru feature on CricInfo shows his most consistent batting to be at no.9! I'd like to see him carry on opening throughout the current series, although the dilemma to consider is that Stephen Fleming and Nathan Astle are one of NZ's most successful ODI opening combinations.

Suhas said...

There's a noticable lack of allrounders in the kiwi squad, in the absence of Oram and Styris. Having the middle order bolstered with them was the team's biggest strength, but Vettori and Adams are not good enough batsmen, and we badly need a decent number 7. Seeing the lower order collapse like that made me wonder if Chris Harris might have made a difference - and I do believe he would have contributed more with the ball than Franklin. BRING BACK HARRY! what do you think?

PS: Again, I hate to publicise my blog here but feel free to read my post match musings and comment.