Aussies go 1 up

I had mentioned in my last Audio Blog that the 1st test was shaping up to be a fascinating game. Well, it didn’t end in that way unfortunately. England went down tamley to the Aussies and well, who do you think were the tormentors ? – the same old pair of McGrath and Warne, who ended up with 4 wickets each in the 2nd innings. Although Warne may be cursing himself for taking the catch for the last wicket (it effectively meant that he would have never taken 5 wickets in an innings at Lords and so his name wouldn’t be amongst the greatest cricketers in the Lord’s pavilion), he surely would have been delighted with his performance, considering the enormous pressure he was in because of his off-field personal problems. No such issues with McGrath, who just keeps getting better with age.

As for England, I think they need to go back to their drawing boards again and chalk out their plans and strategy. Whatever it is that they had is abviously not working. Although experts may be gunning for the necks for some of the players, I don’t think England really needs to panic. So, here is my mantra for England for success against the Aussies:

  1. Play aggressive against them at all times – 5 days in the test, 3 sessions in a day, 2 hours in a session … down to every ball. The moment you relax, the Aussies will sense that and will claw their way back into the game. Clue: Look at the video highlights of the exploits of Sachin, VVS, Dravid against the Aussies in the last couple of series and you will get the answer or better still, talk to Sanjay Manjrekar, who was brought to earth because of his ever defensive yet solid technique. You need to have “fire with fire” attitude.
  2. England’s top-order needs to click especially Strauss and Vaughan. In the last series against the Aussies, Vaughan had made a mockery of the Aussie bowling attack. So, getting him out so cheaply this time is really a bonus for the Aussies.
  3. Improve the fielding – 5 dropped catches and that too a couple from the wicket-keeper. As Geoffery Boycott would say, that is “Ruubbish” and against the Aussies, it is sacrilage. Be tight and tidy in the field – make the Aussies fight for the runs and push them in a not-so-comfortable zone and wait for them to do the mistakes.
  4. Play with a clean mind and never mind the reputation of the bowler – if you think the bowler is that famous Shane Warne who bowled the “Ball of the Century”, then you will never do good. But if you think that he is the same bowler, who was pulverized by Sachin and Co, then you are better off. Summary: Forget reputation, treat the ball with respect, not bowlers !
  5. Take a cue from Kevin Peterson – his attitude was heartening. Debut test, Lords, McGrath and Warne on fire – yet he managed to do well. That was primarily because of his aggressive attitude. He didn’t allow the Aussies to be on top of him at any time.
  6. Keep bowling the same way as before.

I don’t know whether this is the right mantra or not, but I sure do know that England needs to improve in some of these areas, if not all. Can they do it ? – well, that is the answer that the whole of England (and the world) is anxiously waiting to see.

Here is to another great game of cricket.

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