After the Gabba: 85%

The Critical Reader might feel Hughesy’s being a trifle harsh when he rates a victory by 381 runs with a full day to spare around 85%, but cast your mind back to 6-153 at the tea break on Thursday with Haddin on 24 and Johnson on 12, and you may agree.

That partnership went on to add a further 93, and much of what followed as the bowling side of the game ran according to the script was only possible because Six and Seven dug us out of a hole.

Still unconvinced? Check the fall of wickets. 1-12 (Rogers), 2-71 Watson, just before lunch), 3-73 (Clarke), 4-83 (Warner, when we needed him to carry on), 5-100 (Bailey) and 6-132 (Smith).

Hardly what the doctor ordered, and it wasn’t as if England's bowlers were bowling particularly well. They weren’t bowling badly, but this trio of quickies with Swann as backup isn’t firing as well as the battery they had, say, three years ago. Tremlett looked to be the weak link, and you can't bank on him being there again in Adelaide.

Warner scored runs in both digs, but we really needed him to go on in the first. Clarke came good in the second, but Rogers and Watson were disappointing. Bailey needs to do more to cement his place in the side. If he does Smith will need more than his first innings 31 to hold on to Five, particularly if we start moving into batsmen who can bowl at Six or Haddin at Six with a bowler who can bat (Faulkner as one possibility) at Seven.

You don’t expect everyone in the batting order to fire in every innings, but most of them should be able to manage a decent score in one innings out of two.

The batting wasn’t the only area where there was room for improvement. We missed two run outs due to poor positioning by the bloke who was taking the return at the bowler’s end. As it turned out, neither proved particularly expensive.

But if we see fielders breaking the stumps before the ball arrives (Bailey) or taking the ball in front of the stumps and removing the bails while doing so (Lyon) there's a need for solid remedial work in the fielding drills.

Dr Hughesy would prescribe at least an hour’s rundown, throw down, underarm for the first instance, and a repetition with a relentless workout on the underarm for the second.

The Bowling, The Barmy Army

© Ian L Hughes 2021