Brisbane Test – Situation Normal (Plus 200 Watch)

I got to watch a bit of this test series as I’ve had some time off. I have also watched the highlights, although I am absolutely cheesed off with Sky messing about with their schedules, so here goes.

  1. Test Cricket is in crisis. Oh please god. Spare me. Anyone remember the last days of tests when England were over in Australia? Unless it is a mad series like 2006-7, those days were England only. I was there at Perth in 2006 when Australia were on the brink of clinching the Ashes. There weren’t many Aussies there. They don’t turn up to late in test matches. A bit like our crowds in non-Ashes day 5 matches outside of London. Because Lord’s had a massive full house at cheap prices on a Public Holiday for day 5 against New Zealand, doesn’t mean that would be the norm here. Test cricket is a TV sport now. But we’ve been there.
  2. Australia remain formidable at home – I don’t think we are surprised, and now they have two players with first centuries under their belt – Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja. Their bowling seemed more at home, and they looked to have the number of most of the Blackcap batsmen with one glorious exception. McCullum’s fifth day fireworks were interspersed with mishit hooks and uncontrolled edges. Johnson and Starc, backed up by Hazlewood and Marsh, with Lyon as the spinner are going to be good enough for most teams at home. When do they next play South Africa? Was this catching the visitors cold on a quicker wicket than they’ve been used to? They had better learn quickly because it is Perth next.
  3. David Warner remains fearsome – A left handed Sehwag? Warner is a fearsome prospect, and he doesn’t just do it at home. This was his third “hundred in each innings” test match and he just projects aggression with a bat in his hand. He got into some decent positions in England and threw them away. Might have been we were a little fortunate. But he didn’t give it away here, and he’s off to a massively impressive start. You might dislike him, but you’d like to bottle that temperament.
  4. Channel 9 – Oh my stars. James Brayshaw. It’s non-stop gibberish. I will never understand why you have three people in the booth at one time. The result is that we are crowded for space, and therefore everyone tries to get in when they can. In the case of Brayshaw, who is all kinds of woeful, this is not a good thing. I expect some homerism, and I thought that was actually a little toned down, but the fact that a number of the crew appeared to be watching Kane Williamson in a test match for the first time saddens me. We’ve been there before.
  5. Are Australia over the Ashes – Well, yes. I don’t think you’ll find an Aussie who believes that if the two teams met now in Australia that the home team would win, and probably win very comfortably. I have to agree with them. They can play these conditions very well, and we’d need our bowlers to hit their marks and stay fit. The performance was a classic Gabba performance from the Aussies – score big in the first innings, put pressure on the batsmen. The same as they did at Lord’s and at The Oval. Still, we don’t have to worry about this for a while…
  6. Has the New Zealand bubble burst? Such as it was. Their preparation has been marred on the field by a bad wicket, by inadequate warm ups and off the field by the distraction of the Cairns trial which has gone some way in sullying the reputation of BMac. On the field their bowling didn’t do the damage it needed other than to their own bodies, as Neesham and Southee are now out of the reckoning. Australia weren’t about to let them loose in Hobart either, where they won last time. Mark Craig was targeted, the back-up bowling offered no control and Australia made 800 runs for 8 wickets, had four hundreds, and scored quickly. That’s the Aussie way.

Perth follows at the end of the week. Anyone who watched more of the game have any comments? I didn’t mention the DRS issues at the end….

Also – Double Hundred Watch…

Paras Dogra has done it again, with a back-to-back double hundred for Himachal Pradesh! Looks a good batting wicket as Services are 344/3 in reply. I think I saw on Twitter that Dharamsala is now on the test venue rota for India. All and sundry would be moaning about this wicket, it seems.

It was also a record-equalling innings for Dogra.

Paras Dogra struck 227, equalling Ajay Sharma’s record for most double centuries (7) in Ranji Trophy history, to propel Himachal Pradesh to 531, but Railways began positively in their reply. They shaved 105 runs off the deficit in 39 overs, with all ten wickets in the bag, by stumps on the second day in Dharamsala.

Meanwhile, a thought to Nauween Anwar…. in his second innings….

Note also, the captain declaring with a man on 93. Rameez Aziz does have a first class hundred, so not so bad!


16 thoughts on “Brisbane Test – Situation Normal (Plus 200 Watch)

  1. SimonH Nov 9, 2015 / 2:55 pm

    Some stats from during and after the game:

    1) The Gabba as Australia’s fortress:

    2) Why? One (but not of course the only reason) is first test of the series:

    “In the last 10 years the difference between home team win and loss percentages in the first matches of series is 30% (48% won, 18% lost). It reduces to 22% in the second Tests of series and 18% in the third”. (From Cricviz)

    That’s Exhibit A that these modern condensed tours are a massive issue.

    3) The crowd for the match was 53500 (best ever for a NZ Test in Australia).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark Nov 9, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    New Zealand lost because the failed to make a matching score in their first innings. 307 in reply to 556 was always going to open up an easy Aussie kill. The Aussies hardly ever enforce the follow on these days. The only reason the Kiwis had an outside chance of snatching a draw was because they lost time to rain on day 4.

    The same curse of the poor first innings cost England in the third test against Pakistan. They failed to kick on over night and get a 150 lead. Same is also true of South Africa who needed a big first innings score in a match they would be batting last in against India.

    England had the same problem the last time they played a test match at Brisbane. They bowled the Aussies out for under 300 having had them 110/5 and then collapsed to 136. England failed to match the Aussie big score at Lords this summer. (Despite the most deserving 96 of all time) First innings scores of the side batting second seems to be a bit of a problem. Scoreboard pressure?


  3. Sherwick Nov 9, 2015 / 5:19 pm

    I wonder how many times the Aussies have enforced the follow on since 1981..?


  4. ArushaTZ Nov 9, 2015 / 7:24 pm

    I didn’t see as much of this match live, as I would have liked but I watched all the highlights. It seemed to me that NZ bowled too short. It was a very good batting wicket with good bounce so they need to be bowling a really tight line and a nice good-full length. There was a bit for the bowlers when they got it right, as the Australian bowlers showed, particularly Hazlewood and Marsh. There were just too many four balls from NZ and it allowed Aus to get away to a great start that NZ couldn’t rein in. As we know, Australia are very good at home and great at the Gabba, so it was always going to be difficult for NZ, especially for those that had never played a test match in Aus before.

    NZ did look a little under-prepared (much like at Lords) so hopefully they put up a better show in the next match.

    …and yes it was obvious there were a few guys in the commentary box who’d never seen some of the NZ players before, which is shameful. I like Mike Hussey and Brett Lee though.


  5. man in a barrel Nov 9, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    Just don’t mention the gabba test in 1946 when the rain lifted the stumps out of the ground. That and the Bradman bump ball are enough. Keith Miller in that match showed he was a human being rather than an Aussie


  6. THA Nov 10, 2015 / 1:49 am

    I watched pretty much the whole game live – and a lot of the prep. A few thoughts:

    Taylor and Hussey were talking after the game about why Australia has dominated at the Gabba for so long – those two are definitely the pick of the bunch when it comes to C9; they’re humble and knowledgeable and seem to have a vague idea they’re supposed to be neutral observers, not rampant F-YOU cheerleaders – their observations were that the Gabba is as foreign for most players to come to as an Indian dustbowl is for Australians. The bounce and pace is completely different from anywhere else and even for an Australian to come back to after an overseas tour takes some getting used to. Not exactly revelatory, but the common Australian position is that the Gabba is the norm and everywhere else is wrong, and foreigners should really just learn to bat on our wickets.

    NZ’s preparation was poor. Unusually, several batting spots were genuinely up for grabs for the Australians and so, rather than letting the visitors have a proper bat, as is custom, the Australians went out and batted for as long as they fancied.

    The Kiwi performance felt very reminiscent of England in the past; a decent team but you knew they’d have to be at their absolute peak to stand a chance at the Gabba, and they weren’t. Boult was clearly struggling – way down on pace and looks out of form; Southee was injured early on. Craig didn’t adjust to playing at the Gabba (Swann, a far better bowler, failed to adapt either), and the support bowlers were really medium pacers who didn’t have the tools to take wickets on that surface.

    If Australia wins the toss at the Gabba it’s their game to lose. NZ were under the pump from the off. Perfect day for batting, perfect wicket, not much threat from anyone except Southee who bowed out pretty quickly. With a couple of popgun bowlers on that pitch against Warner, there’s not a lot you can do except hope he gets bored.

    NZ batted pretty well in response. The openers looked very comfy. Their middle-order was wiped out by one really good spell of bowling and the game was essentially over right there. The second innings was a formality. It was fun watching BMac give them some stick in return, but it was the forlorn hope.

    I’m disappointed Hobart, Sydney, and Melbourne weren’t offered up as the venues, but CA’s not that daft. If you have the Gabba and the WACA in the first three Tests of any series Australia will almost never lose at home.


  7. mdpayne87 Nov 10, 2015 / 2:05 am

    Think that impresses me most abut Warner is his ability to run twos and threes, I saw a stat somewhere (I’m sure Simon could find it for me!) highlighting how prolific he is running them. That plus his formidable hitting adds up to a very dangerous player.


    • THA Nov 10, 2015 / 2:21 am

      He’s been working with a professional sprint coach. It’s noticeable how quick he is between the wickets and also (particularly in this Test) how aggressive he was at taking singles, sometimes just hitting it straight to a fielder and running.

      He used to be a bit of a chubster but made a real effort to get super fit two or three years ago. I don’t know if it’s coincidence or not but it was about the same time as he got together with his partner, who is a famous Ironman (Ironwoman?) athlete.


    • SimonH Nov 10, 2015 / 9:58 am

      Alas MDP, no way of proving it on Statsguru that I can see!

      I made the same point BTL at the Guardian after watching Warner’s 135 at CT last year:

      Warner’s innings was at an SR of 89 but he ‘only’ scored fifty in boundaries.

      I have looked at number of boundaries hit by batsmen in the last two years. Warner has hit the most (300+) – so that rather disproves our idea! His SR is 20+ any other top batsman and only Steve Smith had hit within fifty of Warner’s number of boundaries. Joe Root, for example, despite playing two more matches has hit nearly sixty fewer boundaries.

      Of course some nations (especially SA) have played so few Tests, the figures aren’t a fair reflection on batsmen like ABDV.


      • d'Arthez Nov 10, 2015 / 4:30 pm

        Statsguru does not provide those details, but you can work around it, to get a bit of an estimate of how dangerous a batsman is in taking runs. It is not ideal, but it will give a bit of an impression.

        I take the example of Cook, since he has faced 9000+ ball since January 2012. That is more than 4000 more than the #2 on the list, David Warner. That just shows that every side is either seriously rebuilding, have poor quality openers, or simply does not get enough fixtures.

        Cook has played 50 matches, scored 3912 runs. 438 fours, 5 sixes. Thus 1782 runs in boundaries.

        Warner has played 43 matches, scored 3705 runs. 447, 38 sixes. That is 2016 runs in boundaries.

        Since balls faced are known, we can determine what the strike rates are for these batsmen when they don’t hit boundaries:

        Cook has faced 8673 balls from which he did not score a boundary. Those 8673 balls resulted in (3912-1782) 2140 runs. So about one in four balls resulted in a run. Which means that if you cut out the boundary balls, Cook is unlikely to take the game away from you. Notice that about 1 in 20 balls ends up going to the boundary, which is not an awful lot. That balls / boundary ratio is pretty similar to Ed Cowan, and Kaushal Silva.

        Warner has faced 4403 balls from which he did not score a boundary. Those 4403 balls resulted in 1689 runs. That is a SR of 38, which would still be a decent tempo (Cook’s SR including boundaries is 42.91). Which means that if you cut out the boundary balls, you have a guy still playing at a decent tempo. About 1 in 10 balls bowled to Warner ends up going to the boundary.

        Most other openers, including Rogers and Vijay have ratios closer to 1 boundary for every 15 balls they have faced. Only Shikhar Dhawan and Chris Gayle have similar ratios to Warner over the past few years.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. SimonH Nov 10, 2015 / 5:20 pm

    TV viewing figures (from C9 via Malcolm Conn – could you ask for a more reliable source…..):

    How does that compare to the UK Ashes’s viewing figures?

    It’s good to have some figures released – much of the ‘death of Test cricket’ discussion takes place in a vacuum of no accurate info.

    Any figures released for Mohali?


    • fred Nov 10, 2015 / 10:59 pm

      CA loses money every summer unless they play England or India. NZ and WI are visiting this summer, so it will be a loss making summer, but that will be offset by the profits from when England and India last visited, and will visit again soon.

      Given all the complexities of cricket, and the rag bag group of countries that play it, who have not much in common with each other, other than having been invaded by England at some point, it’s a miracle something like the ICC exists at all. If the big three can just thank their luck for their place in history and use their power to grow the game, then who else is going to do it?

      For example, and I could use many other examples, why on earth would BCCI not do everything it could to support CSA? They are a fantastic opponent to have, they are everything India isn’t, you gain respect by competing with them, and they help open the door into Africa.


      • SimonH Nov 11, 2015 / 9:46 am

        This was how they argued it:

        Hmm, going to need the CSI team to uncover the faults in their reasoning. Grissom would no doubt point out that, by the same evidence that Williamson is better than Bradman, Tamim Iqbal is better than both of them (but in a pithy one-liner).


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