The Ashes series has begun, and after the first Test, there have been more articles on the verbals than on the cricket played by both teams. The pitch at Brisbane has always been a good one for fast bowlers, for not only do they get good bounce, but there is lateral movement off the surface, and the humidity helps the ball to swing late often after it has gone past the stumps.
Australia should be thankful that they sent Mitchell Johnson over to India for the one-day series, for it was here that he developed the terrific rhythm that he has carried on in Australia and is looking fearsomely fast.
He has rattled the England batsmen by using the bouncer to good effect and once again showed that it is not just the batsmen from the subcontinent but even those who regularly play against quick bowling on bouncy pitches who can flounder too.
Nobody plays the well directed short ball well. Some may sway out of the way, some will just fend the ball away, some may try and duck and get hit. It is how they face the next ball that is the key, and the effect of a well aimed short ball is often seen in the rest of the over.
The centuries by David Warner and Michael Clarke were well compiled and drove the nail in the English coffin even deeper. Nathan Lyon chipped in too with his off spinners, and so England had no relief at all from either end and succumbed tamely.
How quickly they regroup will decide which way the series is going, and the second Test at Adelaide affords England the best chance, for it is a pitch made for batting after the first hour of play, and the Australian bowlers may not be as hostile there as they were in Brisbane.
In South Africa, Pakistan have won the hastily arranged one-day series by winning the first two games. The second was a real thriller, with Pakistan keeping its nerve and pulling off a one run win. Ahmed Shehzad staved off the terrific bowling of Dale Steyn and scored a brilliant hundred that gave the Pakistanis’ total a real boost.
In India, Shikhar Dhawan’s fine century ensured that India won the one-day series too after stumbling in the second game, and the Indians now leave for South Africa with loads of confidence.
The Young Turks are showing that they are ready to take on the challenge and the responsibility after the retirement of some of the greatest names in Indian cricket, and the next couple of years should be most interesting indeed.
For his fast bowling, as well as his batting in both innings of the first Ashes Test, Mitchell Johnson is the standout Ceat International cricketer of the week.
Professional Management Group