Sheffield Shield Round Up 4

The first Test at the Gabba overshadowed it but the fourth round of the Sheffield Shield concluded on Monday

The results

Queensland and New South Wales played out a rain affected draw at the SCG with the Blues taking first innings points. Queensland were a bowler down after fast bowler Mick Gale injured himself in NSW first innings. Nathan Hauritz, upon his return to the team, shouldered the extra load bowling 62 overs across both innings.Ryan Carters scored his maiden first class century for NSW with a first innings 154.

Western Australia completely dominated Victoria at the WACA. Marcus North and Shaun March both made centuries allowing WA to declare at 8/580 with Victoria using no less than 8 bowlers. In reply Victoria were bundled out for 198 thanks mainly to Dave Hussey’s 85. Forced to follow on the Vics fared a little better managing 345 thanks to 131 to Cameron White. The Warriors won by an innings and 38 runs with Nathan Coulter Nile the chief destroyer with 8 wickets.

Tasmania took on South Australia at the Adelaide Oval in what ended as a high scoring draw. The Redbacks took first innings points thanks to the batting efforts of Travis Head, Johan Botha and Tim Ludeman. In Tasmania’s second innings both Jordan Silk and Ed Cowan made centuries but time beat the Tigers push for an outright result.

Points table

Team Points
New South Wales 12
South Australia 10
Western Australia 8
Victoria 8
Tasmania 8
Queensland 2

 

26Travis

Head of batting

Travis Head, the 19 year old No 3 for South Australia, came close but failed to score his maiden first class hundered. As per last round he was short just 2 runs, dismissed for 98. He did however win the Man of the Match Award for his 98 & 43. After being dismissed for 43 in the second innings Head hit the ball away in frustration and under Cricket Australia’s heavier approach to player behaviour was reprimanded for Abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings during a Match.   Strong contenders for the Man of the Match award must have been Tasmania’s Jordan Silk and Ed Cowan both with centuries and 60s respectively in the same match. Heads three scores in the 90’s this season put him at the pointy end of the Sheffield Shield run scoring table.

Player Matches Runs Highest Average 100 50
MJ North (WA) 4 589 145 117.8 3 2
CL White (VIC) 4 447 131 63.85 1 3
TM Head (SA) 4 437 98 62.42 0 4
RJ Quiney (VIC) 4 378 89 47.25 0 5
JC Silk (TAS) 4 369 107 46.12 2 2
EJM Cowan (TAS) 3 353 123 58.83 1 3

 

Keeping it in the team

Three Shield teams are running with two wicket keepers in their line up currently. Victori have Matthew Wade and Peter Handscomb. Handscomb has been playing as a as a specialist batsmen but took the gloves during the latest round due to Wade’s suspension for pitch tampering. Former Queenslander, Ben Dunk, has been playing alongside Tim Paine as a batsmen and took the gloves when Paine was on Australia A duty. New South Wales have already used three keepers this season: Brad Haddin, Peter Neville and Ryan Carters. In the game against Queensland this round, Neville kept while former Victorian Carters opened the batting and scored his maiden first class hundred. Tim Ludeman, South Australia, and Sam Whiteman, Western Australia, and Chris Hartley, Queensland are the incumbents in their respective states.

Selections

Dave Hussey returned to the Victorian line up due to Matthew Wades suspension for pith tampering. New South Wales skipper Ben Rhorer finally got a go in the middle order with the internationals away on Test duty.

Doug Bollinger returned from injury for NSW and Ben Hilfenhaus from a rest for Tasmania. WA pair of fast bowlers, Michael Hogan and Jake Beherendorf also returned from a resting. Kane Richardson made his first Shield appearance for South Australia this season and former South Australian paceman Jake Haberfield made his debut for Victoria. Clint McKay returned from international duty for his first 4 day game of the season.

Jon Holland carried the drinks as 12th man for the Bushrangers again. The only first class cricket he has played this summer was for Australia A against the touring England team. It is curious how he could be considered for the Australia A team yet hasn’t played for his state in the Sheffield Shield. Fawad Ahmed is filling the sole spinners berth in the Victorian team.

The XI

Marcus North (Western Australia)
Completed his 3rd century for the season with 145 opening the batting
Jordan Silk (Tasmania)
Scored 104 and 68 against South Australia
Ed Cowan (Tasmania)
Made 123 and 6 at the Adeliade Oval
Ryan Carters (NSW)
Opened the batting for NSW and made his maiden first class hundred one to remember with 154
Shaun Marsh (Western Australia)
Marsh made his 9th first class hundred with 127 against Victoria
Cameron White (Victoria)
Made 131 in Victoria’s second innings.
Sam Whiteman (Western Australia)
The Warriors wicket keeper made 87 at the WACA
Nathan Coulter-Nile (Western Australia)
The main destroyer for the Warriors with 4 wickets in each of Victoria’s innings
 Xavier Doherty (Tasmania)
Took 5/96 in South Australia’s first innings
Nathan Hauritz (Queensland)
Took 4/93 against NSW
Doug Bollinger (NSW)
Continued his fine form this season with 3/65 & 1/20

The round ahead…

Games start today, Friday

Victoria v South Australia, MCG

Tasmania v New South Wales, Bellerive Oval

Western Australia v Queensland, WACA

Plus

Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI v England, Alice Springs

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The Steve Rixon Ashes Diary – Chapter 9

Time to unveil my new Ashes fielding drill - the right angle triangle
Time to unveil my new Ashes fielding drill – the isosceles triangle

Chapter 9

The pre-Ashes build up

Coaching capers, menus and George Bailey

Me: Steve, how’s it going in Brisbane? How are the preparations for the Ashes?

Steve Rixon: Ah it’s you. Well thinks are going well in Brisbane. It’s good to catch up with all the coaches . Boof and I had some quality Esky time on Saturday night and I filled him in on all the goings on in India. We were a little bit worse for wear to be honest when all the Test boys flew in on Sunday.

Me: Talking of coaching are you worried your role is being reduced with Mike Young and John Davison joining the coaching ranks.

Steve Rixon: Look here you little runt I’m still a very important coach in the Australian set up. I was head coach in India, and don’t you bloody well forget it. Mike Young, the baseball guy, is back as a fielding consultant and as much as I love the guy, his background is baseball – his forte is outfielding and throwing, he knows nothing about wicket keeping. So I’m still the wicket keeping and close in catching coach, he’s just the out fielding and throwing coach. Our roles are clearly defined, I’m not threatened. Mainly though we will be taking him up on his offer to run water.

Davo’s been working with the spinners at the Centre of Excellence for a while but now he’s going to be travelling with the team because Craig McDermott can’t. Davo is the travelling bowling coach. I’m not sure how much help he’ll be for Sids, Mitchy J and co but he’ll be working primarily with my protege, Nathan Lyon, and most of their time their focus will be on awareness. It’s been good working with Nathan, he’s come along way with his awareness but’s theres still scope for impovement and it would probably help if we didn’t drop him every series but that is Invers and Patsy’ Howard’s way. I’m still the spin coach though, remember that I’ll still be called upon to come up with the phrases like “rotation policy” and similar.

Me: Why is Craig McDermott not travelling with the team for the Ashes?

It’s been great to get Craig McDermott back as bowling coach, he’s been welcomed back to the set up and jumped straight into his job telling Sids and Mitchy J to “Pitch it up” and “Don’t bowl short shit.” It’s amazing how simple but effective those instructions are. There’s only one snag, when McDermott quit the Aussie coaching gig due to family commitments, he moved to the Gold Coast and took up an occupation with more family friendly hours – yeah he bought a nightclub. Anyway he hasn’t been able to sell the night club yet so he won’t be traveling with the team during the Ashes. Thursday through to Sunday are the busiest days on Cavill Avenue you know. McDermott won’t even be at the Gabba after 4pm each day because he’s got to open up the night club.

McDermott: Remember Sids, no short shit and who is this guy in the sunnies? Anyway I'm off to run my nightclub on the Gold Coast
McDermott: Remember Sids, no short shit and who is this guy in the sunnies? Anyway I’m off to run my nightclub on the Gold Coast

Me: The Australian team’s preparation seems a little rushed.

You know if Australia had only played a 5 game one day seris in India instead of 7 all the players could have been back in Australia for the first Shield match of the summer. But I’ve already gone over why it was 7 game series previously so we move on. I wouldn’t call the preparation rushed if anything it’s been relaxing, every bloody fast bowler in the country who might play in one of the five Tests had their feet up last week. Yep even Ben Hilfenhaus had a break for Tasmania and he wasn’t even named in the Ashes squad.

I did have a chat the other day to Invers about what the hell they were doing with the Invitational XI they fielded against England in the tour match last week, first the kowtowed to England’d desire to have stronger opposition than the NSW 2nd XI so Invers named Ussie, Hughesy and Adam Voges and then replaced them all. It turns out Invers thought the Invitational XI was the test team – apparently that was all the rage back in the 1890’s when Invitational XIs were in their hey day according to Invers. Anyway Patsy Howard had to come in and fix up the mess Invers had created. Invers also stuffed up with the Australia A team, he was meant to ring all the players to let them know they were selected but he got half way through and fell asleep talking to Usssie about his forward defense. I’m surpirsed it wasn’t Ussie who fell asleep. Anyway half the blokes found out about their selection on Twitter.

John Inverarity: This man selects Australia's cricket teams
John Inverarity: This man selects Australia’s cricket teams

Me: Have you been doing any special training since the squad assembled in Brisbane?

Funny you should ask that. With Mitchy J in the team we’ve pulled out the crash mats for Hadds. Yeah Hadds has spent most of the past week horizontal practicing his diving technique down the legside and also infront of second slip. There is awareness that Mitchy J will serve up a lot of leg side filth so we’ve had Sidds and Ryan Harris, the usual fine leg fieldsman, doing sprint training so they should be able to cut off anything that flies past Hadds down the leg side and stop it running away for four byes. Also I’ve introduced a new feidleing program we use to do a three point drill based on a right angle triangle but I’ve mixed things up big time – we now do our fielding drills based on an isosceles triangle. I believe this will revolutionise cricket fielding training – it;s all about trigonometry, I won’t bore you with the details as you may not understand.

Me: I see, what did you make of Englands food requirement’s document that was floating around?

Englands food requirements. You know we share the eating areas with WEngland at all the test venues except Sydney. We won’t be standing for any of this superfoods marketing bullshit quinoa and goji berries stuffed with quail, we’ll just be eating normal nutritious fare that we’ve been served for a few years now. Back in my day the Gabba had the best lunches – quarter chicken and chips with gravy – Merv would go back for thirds. But those days are long gone, these guys are professional atheltes and eat accordingly that doesn’t mean you have to be sucked in by pseudo science marketing nonsense around superfoods. Anyway I guess Englands’ travelling team nutrionist has to justify his position. The caterers have even said they’re not going to bother doing all the dishes so stick that up your quinoa England.

Alistair Cook adds a bit of the old pepper
Alistair Cook adds a bit of the old pepper

Me: What about the two teams how do you see them lining up?

The Australian squad is a lot better than the squad we took to England because we’ve got less openers. This time we’ve only got two – Rogers and Warner. I don’t classify Watto as an opener he’s a number 7 whose now slotted a t number three somehow. I expect that to change if the last Ashes is anything to go buy he was up and down the batting order more than a carrot on a cheese grater – he was lucky to bat in the same position twice in one test mat let alone from one test match to another.

Weaknesses in England team. Well I had a look at their batting, essentially they’ve got three Michael Clarke’s Cook, Peitersen and Bell and we’ve only got 1 – Pup. I really hope George Bailey outplays his first class record as much as he’s outplayed his domestic one day record in ODIs. It’s what Invers and Patsy are banking on I think.

Bowling wise well, people talk up James Anderson but really his figures are on par with Peter Siddle. The only bloke with elite stats in either team is Ryan Harris and we’re jsut hoping we can keep him fit for at least 3 of the 5 tests. We’ve got to be wary of Sturat Broad he will do nothing all series then produce an unplayable spell and take 5-fer in an hour. Englands third seamer is their wekaness witout Timmy Bresnan, I’ve never rated Finn, he’s tall that’s about it really. Tremlett’s in terrible form and he’s not the bowler that toured here 3 years ago. Boyd Rankin doesn’t phase us, so we’ll wait and see who they pick. David Saker can talk about England knowing their bowling line up as much he likes but I can’t take him seriously as an international cricket coach – he still looks like a bogan brickie with a goatee to me. What he need is a moustache and some slicked back hair, that’sw hat real coaches look like.

Me: Any tips mate?

Steve Rixon: Yeah I’ve got a few actually. You reckon Alistair Cook looks silly dressed as a chef, wait to you see Michael Carberry’s space age helmet. But here’s the serious stuff, George Bailey to be involved in a runout he’s already been involved in 49 in first class cricket. If he bats with Watto it’s almost a guarantee there will be a runout – put $10 on that. Here’s the clincher though, put $100 on KP to make a ton. It’s his 100th test match and i’I’ve got a sneaking suspicion he may just be the kind of character who is very very motivated by personal milestones. Just a hunch really but he does have a 90 here at the Gabba. Generally he only makes runs in Adeliae but I reckon the extra motivation will spur him on. Also it’s a bit wet up here, chuck a sly $20 on the match being a draw.

Me: Can do see ya mate.

 

 

The Last 5 Gabba Ashes Tests

2010
The Test started with a bang with Ben Hilfenhaus dismissing Andrew Struass with the third ball of the match but the first day belonged to Peter Siddle. On his 26th birthday Siddle took a hat trick dismissing Cook, Prior and Broad and finished with six wickets for the innings as England were dismissed for 220. Australia were looking shaky in response at 5/143 until Hussey & Haddin put on a partenreship of 307 with Mike Hussey recording his highest test score of 195 and Haddin 136. Australia led by 221 but what happened next was a sign of things to come for the series. Andrew Stauss made 110, Alistair Cook 235 not out, and number three Jonathan Trott made 135 not out as England faced 152 overs and declared at 1/517. Australia’s only wicket taker in that innings – Marcus North. The match ended in a draw.
2006
Injury prevented 2005 Ashes winning skipper Michael Vaughan from playing in the 2006/07 series in Australia. In his absence England plumped for star all rounder Andrew Flintoff as skipper. Flintoff was immediately in the action as notoriously fragile fast bowler Steve Harmison delivered the first ball of the match so wide it went to his skipper at second slip. It set the tone for not just the match but the series as Australia steam rolled England. Ricky Ponting made 196 as Australia racked up 602 in it’s first innings and bowled England out for 157 as the old tormentor, Glenn McGrath, claimed 6/50. Despite holding a lead of 445 Australia chose not to enforce the follow on and instead ground the England bowlers into the dirt. Justin Langer made a century and Australia set England a victory target of 648. A pair of 90’s to Kevin Peitersen and Paul Collingwood were not enough and England lost by 277 runs. Shane Warne and Stuart Clark took 4 wickets apiece in the second innings.
Harmison: Stand by I've got something special planned for the first delivery
Harmison: Stand by, Freddie, I’ve got something special planned for the first delivery
2002
England’s captain grumpy, Nasser Hussain won toss and decided to bowl: big call, wrong call. It was a disastrous first day for England as Matthew Hayden dominated with 186* and Ricky Ponting made a century as Australia reached 2/364 at the end of the first days play. To add injury to insult England fast bowler Simon Jones bowled only 7 overs after he wrecked his knee sliding to stop a boundary. He wouldn’t play again in the series. Australia had a 170 run lead on the first innings and thanks to 103 to Matthew Hayden (he made 300 runs in the test: 197 and 103) set England a target of 464 to win. England capitulated for 79 all out in just 29 0vers and Australia won by 384 runs.
Matthew Hayden: a man of the match winning performance with a century in each innings, 197 and 103
Matthew Hayden: a man of the match winning performance with a century in each innings, 197 and 103
1998
Australia were struggling on the first day at 5/178 but in what turned out to be his last test at his home ground, Ian Healy delivered his highest test score, 134, to lead Australia to 485. Steve Waugh also made a century and Western Australian/Englishmen left arm paceman Allan Mullally took 5 wickets. Mark Butcher managed a century in England’s first innings but Australia led by 110 runs thanks to 6/85 to who else but Glen McGrath. Michael Slater delivered 113 in the second innings to help set England a victory target of 348. England were struggling on Day 5 teetering at 6/178 with spin twins Stuart McGill and Mark Waugh taking five wickets between them. Fortunately for England thunderstorms rolled in shortly before tea, the match was abandoned soon afterwards and they escaped with a draw.
Ian Healy: recorded his highest test score, 134, in his last test at his home ground, the Gabba
Ian Healy: recorded his highest test score, 134, in his last test at his home ground, the Gabba
1994
Michael Slater hit the first ball of 1994/95 Ashes, delivered by Phil De Freitas, for four on his way to 176 off 244 balls. He was dismissed caught by Mike Gatting off the bowling of Graham Gooch – the pair having a combined age of 78. Slater’s slashing innings had set the tone for the series and Australia finished Day 1 on 4/329. Mark Waugh contributed 140 as Australia totaled 426 against an English attack which included “the rat who joined the sinking ship” Martin McGauge. Born in Northern Ireland but raised in Australia fast bowler McGuage decide to play for England. His nervous and erratic performance resulted in runs flowing at almost 5 an over in the first innings and he didn’t get a bowl in the second. McGauge did pick up two wickets, but they were Craig McDermott and Glenn McGrath. England’s batting was as poor as its bowling with no individual century makers. In the first innings England were rolled for 167 thanks to 6/53 to Craig McDermott. They improved in the second innings to register 323 but had no answer to Shane Warne who claimed 8/71 from 50 overs to give him match figures of 11/110. Despite batting collapses of 6/97 and 8/92 in both innings Australia won by 184 runs and McGuage was never picked again. As a side note it is said that McCague once consumed 72 pints of Guinness during a bucks weekend in Dublin.

Sheffield Shield Round Up 3

The results

New South Wales skittled Queensland twice for less than 300 at Alan Border field in Brisbane thanks largely to 7 wickets to Trent Copeland. In reply NSW had a host of half century makers propel it to 380 in the first innings and 270 in the second innings. It was enough to collect the six points for an outright win.

South Australia and Western Australia faced off for the second time in two weeks with the game ending in a high scoring draw. South Australia took first innings thanks largely to 204 to Phil Hughes.

Victoria traveled to Tasmania and collected all six points in an outright win. The Bushranger’s success was set up thanks to a first innings 119 to Matthew Wade and a pair of 80s to Rob Quiney. Tasmania could only muster 250 or under in each of their innings and were bowled out on the last day with 47 balls to spare.

Points table

Teams Points
New South Wales 10
Victoria 8
South Australia 8
Tasmania 8
Queensland 2
Western Australia 2

Adelaide Oval

Revamped Adelaide Oval: Shaun Marsh and Johan Botha take the toss
Revamped Adelaide Oval: Shaun Marsh and Johan Botha take the toss

The redeveloped Adelaide Oval hosted it’s first cricket match on Wednesday. The result – 6,000 South Australian’s descended on the venue –  the most at the venue for Shield match since the last day of the 95/96 Shield final. In total 17,000 spectators entered Adelaide Oval during the four days and they say Shield cricket doesn’t draw a crowd. It helps, of course. that it’s free entry for spectators at the Adelaide Oval for Shield matches – I think a few other states could follow this lead. The old axiom of there being three certainties in life: death, taxes and centuries at the Adelaide Oval held true with three individual centuries scored including a double century  to Phil Hughes.

Resting

The Australian pace attack of Ryan Harris Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson were all rested from Shield responsibilities.  Curiously so was Ben Hilfenhaus who wasn’t named in the 12 man squad for the Gabba.

Despite taking 10 wickets each in the first two shield matches, WA fast bowling pair Jake Behrendorf and Michael Hogan were rested and replaced by Nathan Coulter Nile and Ryan Duffield. Whilst it could be argued Coulter Nile would have displaced one of Hogan or Behrenforf on merit, it’s hard to argue the same for Duffield.

Nathan Coulter Nile, Xavier Doherty, Brad Haddin and James Faulkner played after sitting out last weeks round of matches to rest after returning from the India ODI series. Fellow Indian tourists Moses Henriques and Glen Maxwell managed to play for Australia A last week. It will be Haddin and Faulkner’s only 4 day hit out before the First test.

Michael Clarke was also rested for NSW.

Spinners

If it was a Cricket Australia directive to play more spinners and get spinners bowling more overs in Shield cricket it seems to be working. After 3 matches the top 4 wicket takers in Shield cricket are all spinners. The highest wicket taker? Johan Botha. Nathan Lyon is equal 5th.

Player Wickets Average Economy Strike Rate
J Botha (SA) 15 24.53 2.57 57.2
CJ Boyce (QLD) 14 37.21 3.8 58.6
SNJ O’Keefe (NSW) 11 23 2.35 58.5
Fawad Ahmed (VIC) 11 30.27 3.7 49
DE Bollinger (NSW) 10 22.1 2.92 45.4
MG Hogan (WA) 10 24.1 2.77 52.2
JP Behrendorff (WA) 10 27.4 3.53 46.5
NM Lyon (NSW) 10 35.1 2.46 85.3

Selection matters

Dave Hussey was dropped by Victoria to accommodate Glen Maxwell returning. Rumors are already circulating that Hussey will be in South Australia next year linking up with former Victorian, now South Australian coach Darren Berry.

NSW skipper Ben Rhorer still couldn’t make it into the NSW line up and instead captained the Invitational XI at the SCG against England. After withdrawing Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja and Adam Voges, the  Cricket Australia Invitational XI was a NSW 2nd XI with Aaron Finch (fresh off a king pair in the shield), Callum Ferguson and Ed Cowan plus 3rd choice Victorian spinner James Muirhead.

The mainstay of the Invitational XI batting in the first innings were NSW’s second and third Choice keepers Phil Neville and Ryan Carters who recorded his highest first class score of 94.

Pitch tampering

Victorian wicket keeper Matthew Wade has been fined 50% of his match fee and suspended for one Shield match after the umpires ruled that he had tampered with the pitch during his first innings of 119 at Bellerive Oval. There was said to be a long valley in the protected zone not caused by natural wear and tear. Victoria have 48 hours to appeal the decision.

Australia watch

True to his Shield form over the bast 12 months, George Bailey made 37 & 16 against Victoria. He also ran out Test aspirant Alex Doolan whilst the pair were batting together. Bailey has now been involved in 49 run outs in first class cricket –  20 times Bailey has run himself out  and 29 times his partner has been the victim.

Brad Haddin made a 50 against Queensland, Steve Smith also chipped in with a half century and James Faulkner managed what appeared to be 25 carefully managed overs across a number of short spells for two wickets and contributed a half century batting at No 6 in the second innings for Tasmania.

251738-cc09785c-4db9-11e3-95c1-9e9b6c573736

The XI

Phil Hughes (South Australia)

Responded to news that he wasn’t in the Ashes squad by making his highest first class score, 204,  his first double century. It was his 22nd first class hundred.

Marcus North (Western Australia)

North’s fine form this season continues with a first innings century, 110, followed up by 84 not out in the second innings as WA batted for a draw.

Travis Head (South Australia)

The 19 year old number 3 was amongst the runs again but for the second week in a row missed out on his maiden first class century being dismissed in the 90s. This time it was 98.

Michael Klinger (South Australia)

Klinger marked his return to the Adeliade Oval with 125 opening the batting

Rob Quiney (Victoria)

Quiney made a pair of 80s opening the batting for Victoria. He just pipped NSW opening batsmen Nic Maddison who managed 72 & 87 against Queensland.

Matthew Wade (Victoria)

Wade lireally scratched out a determined 119 in Victoria’s first innings against Tasmania.

Ashton Agar (Western Australia)

Agar made 93 at the Adelaide Oval but his bowling was less successful with figures of 2/149 off 36 overs.

Dan Christian (Victoria)

Chipped in with a handy 43 in the first innings and contributed five wickets including three lbws in the second innings which accounted for three of Tasmaina’s top four: Silk,  Doolan and Bailey. Christain knocked over Bailey in both innings and affectd a run out.

Trent Copeland (New South Wales)

Copeland’s 5/49 in the first innings consisted of five of Queensland’s top six batsmen . He returned in the second innings to pick up two wickets, Queensland’s No 3 & 4, Khawaja and Lynn, for the second time in the match.

Alistair McDermott (Queensland)

Took 4/44 in NSW’s second innings including clean bowling Dave Warner and Steve Smith.

Xavier Doherty (Tasmania)

Doherty took 6 wickets for the match in his return to Shield cricket for Tasmania. He just edged out Johan Botha for the spinners position.

Sheffield Shield Round Up 2

The results

Tasmania secured first innings points against Queensland in a game that ended in a draw. Tasmania’s first innings 407 was thanks largely to a patient 107 from opener Jordan Silk and it proved too much for Queensland who could only respond with 303. The Bulls didn’t seriously threaten their fourth innings target.

Victoria posted an under par first innings total of 236 against NSW at the MCG with Chris Rogers providing the backbone with a grinding 88 off 213 balls. In reply NSW took first innings points and a handy lead due to contrasting centuries to Dave Warner and Steve Smith. Victoria wiped off the deficit thanks to 117 to Rogers and 94 to Peter Handscomb and set NSW 234 from 40 overs to win outright. NSW started brightly thanks to Warner’s 51 off 45 balls but slowed significantly and the captains called time early for a draw.

Dave Warner and Peter Handscomb in familiar pose
Dave Warner and Peter Handscomb in familiar pose at the MCG

South Australia batted first at the WACA and managed only 222. In reply WA just managed to secure first innings points before they were all out for 230. In the second innings South Australia’s 19 year old number 3 batsmen Travis Head made 92 and guided the Redbacks to a lead of 318. It was far too much for the Warriors who were bowled out 210, in no little part due to a spell of 3/1 from SA paceman Chadd Sayers. No batsmen scored more than 50 for WA.

A king pair

With Aaron Finch returning from ODI duty in India, Victoria decided two similar allrounders in John Hastings and Dan Christian was one too many so axed new recruit Christian. Finch has struggled in Shield cricket over the past 2 seasons making and things reached a new low on his return as he bagged a king pair: cleaned up first ball by a Sean Abbott yorker in the first innings and bowled first ball by Steve O’Keefe in the second innings. Ouch. Finch is off to play against the touring England team for the Australian Invitational XI this week.

Selection matters

Nathan Hauritz was dropped from the Queensland line up. Leg Spinner Adam Zampa was relegated to 12th man duties at the WACA ground for South Australia. There is still no place for captain Ben Rhorer in the NSW middle order, though that will probably change next week. James Faulkner did not play for Tasmania after his efforts in India in the ODI series.

Mark Cosgrove returned form a broken thumb top open for Tasmania and scored a half century whilst Ed Cowan was cast in the new role of number 3 for the Tigers and contributed a pair of half centuries.

Chris Lynn returned to the Queensland line up following his ton against the touring Englishman last week. He slotted into the number 3 position and scored 150 odd runs for one dismissal.

Michael Beer did not play for WA with Ashton Agar preferred as the sole spinner at the WACA.

Possible Australia watch

Business as usual from Mitchell Johnson for WA with the paceman sending down two wides in his first over before delivering more hostile spells to collect 5 wickets for the match.

George Bailey made 34 and 41. Not exactly knocking down the door for Test selection.

With England’s openers batting through the first days play, followed by two days of solid rain in Hobart for the tour match against Australia A none of the A team batsmen were able to achieve anything of note. They may be ruing not playing Sheefield Shield where the weather didn’t intervene nearly as much.

The XI

1. Chris Rogers (Victoria)

Made over 200 runs against NSW and faced 448 balls in total. In the process he scored his 63rd first class century.

2. David Warner (New South Wales)

In the first innings Warner flayed loose bowling from the Vics to all corners of the MCG to register 104 of 87 balls. He continued his rapid scoring with a quick fire half century in the second innings.

3. Travis Head (South Australia)

The 19 year old scored a match winning 92 and 51 against WA at the WACA. Just edged out Peter Handscomb and his 94 for the number 3 position.

4. Jordan Silk (Tasmania)

Scored a determined and patient 107 off 250 balls opening the batting against Queensland. Also made 50 in the second innings.

5. Steve Smith (New South Wales)

Registered 107 off 169 balls to lead NSW to first innings points against Victoria

6. Ben Dunk+ (Tasmania)

Took over the gloves from Australia A rep Tim Paine and performed well against his fomer state Queensland. In the second innings he made a rapid 81 off just 79 balls to compliment the 51 off 55 balls he made in the first innings.

7. Joe Mennie (South Australia)

Better known as a bowler, Mennie contributed a pair of fifties that were critical for South Australia in their low scoring match against WA. He also chipped in with three wickets.

8. Johan Botha (South Australia)

The South African South Australian skipper took 4/47 with his off spin at the WACA in WA’s first innings.

9. John Hastings (Victoria)

Took 5/51 in the first innings against NSW and was the pick of the bowlers for his discipline not just his wickets.

10. Chris Gannon (Queensland)

Claimed 5/26 in Tasmania’s first innings of 407 – a great effort.

11. Chadd Sayers (South Australia)

Grabbed 4/34 off 20 overs with 11 maidens in the second innings against WA. Also picked up 3/64 in the first innings.

The week ahead…

Starting Wednesday

Tasmania v Victoria, Bellerive

South Australia v Western Australia, Adelaide Oval

Queensland v New South Wales, Allan Border Field

Plus

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The Steve Rixon Ashes Diary – Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

Watto’s century, fast bowler injuries and wee wees

The Fifth Test: The Oval

Me: Mate, long time no talk how are you?

Steve Rixon: Yeah not bad you little runt. I’m just glad the Ashes is over, It’s been a long tour and we’ve still got more to come. Shane Watson, the Enigma, managed to make this Test all about himself with his 176. There were cheers on the balcony when he finally reached triple figures for just eh third time in 50 tests. But they were quickly subsided when the guys realised all they were going to hear about from Watto for the next month would be his century. When Watto reached 150 I think there were a few tears in the dressing room as the guys realised he’d probably just booked his spot on the next Ahses tour in 2015. By the way why the fuck are we touring England again for 5 tests in just two year time? Ashes tours are every four years. I’m not sure if the powers that be realise that scheduling too many Ashes series will kill the public’s enthusiasm. Just look how over doing the one dayers has dulled interest in that format. Anyway when Watto was finally dismissed for 176 there was some applause from the guys as we were all quite happy he’d missed a double ton – we would never have heard the end of that!

How good am I? Shane Watson's century brought mixed reactions
How good am I? Shane Watson’s century brought mixed reactions

Steve Smith played well for his maiden test century, I never thought he’d last that long at the crease. I thought he’d get exhausted from all his fidgeting between balls to stay out their long enough to manage a hundred. He’s got some good qualities, he’s not the prettiest to watch, or most technically correct but he applies himself, puts away bad balls and makes runs. It’s amazing what can happen when two of your top 6 make centuries – we made over 450 in our first innings.

The other batsmen have been a bit of a mixed bag. People keep asking me why we haven’t picked some older heads like Simon Katich, George Bailey , David Hussey or Adam Voges in this Ashes squadto strengthen our batting. Well we picked our veterans of the line up: Rogers, Clarke and Haddin and tried to intersperse those with the players of the future aged 24-26 years old, the likes of Phil Hughes Dave Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade. If we can get these guys playing together and working as a unit they will be the core of our Test batting line up for the next 10 years. People forget that Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and Damien Martyn were all dropped multiple times and each time they came back stronger that this trio didn’t hit their best until they were 29 years old and above. I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you how much of a painfully gritty grinder Langer was in his mid 20s or how Haydo’s footwork resembled two railway sleepers tied together with a piece of rope in his younger days.

A perfect example of this improvement is my old mate Boony, at 25 year old on the 1985 tour he only managed 124 runs at 17.71 and was dropped. But when he returned as a 29 year old in 1989 he peeled off 442 runs at 63.1 and four years later in 1993 managed 555 runs at 69.37. All we need to do is get Invers and Rod Marsh to have a little more patience and back in these players a little more, remember it took Steve Waugh 26 tests to make his first test ton. We should see the rewards – at least 3 of those guys should become 70 test players.

The Austrlian fast bowlers: only Siddel and Faulkner were fit by the end of the Ashes
The serious face of Australian fast bowling: only Siddle and Faulkner were fit by the end of the Ashes

James Faulkner was impressive in his test debut with 6 wickets. He’s got a bit of an aggressive streak and plenty of confidence but he backs it up. I guess coming off a solid base of three season’s of quality output in the Sheffield Shield will stand you in good stead for Test cricket. Funny about that…

It’s lucky Faulkner did Ok because the bowlers have been dropping like flies all tour. Of course J-Pat had already been sent home with his stress fractures in his back. Starcy proper stuffed his back too with a similar injury, then, Mr Intensity, Jackson Bird did the same thing opening up an old fast bowling war wound – you guessed it a stress fracture in the back. Ashton Agar got a virus and went home and Steve Smith hurt his thigh in the last test and he’s jetted home too. But unluckiest of all has to be Ryan Harris.Gee that bloke is unlucky, if it was raining Elle McPhersons he’d get hit by Molly Meldrum. After the last days play he was reaching for a beer from the esky after the test had finished and pulled his hammy. Just plain unlucky! Ryano was easily our best bowler and really made some of the England bats uncomfortable, let’s just hope we can keep him on the park.

I wish Tank Karpinnen, our strength and conditioning guy and a former fast bowler too boot, would focus more of his attention on keeping our bowlers on the field. Tank seems to preoccupied with juicing and with getting Boof Lehmann onto a juice only diet. He is obsessed with juicing everything and he’s even brought his own juice, the Turbo Max 3000, on tour with him so he can, in his own words, “smash down as many soluble vitamins as possible in the shortest period of time” Odd unit Tank, I wish he’d focus on getting the players “cricket fit” and not worry about their soluble vitamin intake.

Celebrations: Hands up who wants to wee on the ground?
Celebrations: Hands up who wants to wee on the ground?

Yeah well the Test match ended in farce really with bad light halting play when there are lights at the ground but for once it worked in our favour as we escaped with a draw. Watching England celebrate at the Oval for the third straight tour was pretty hard to take but overall the England player celebrations were pretty tame really. I mean a bit of a tinkle on the Oval – no biggie. Back in my day when we toured India in 1986 the groundsman use to live at the stadium during a test match, they’d roll out their bedding for the night in the change rooms once the days play was over. After the tied Test in Madras we had a few consolatory beers followed by a few celebratory sherbets for not having lost and a couple of us decided to piss all over the groundsman’s bedding. Yep we pissed on their swags. I’m not proud of it but we did it and we pissed in the fuel tank of their tractor to. Hmmm, those were the days.

Anyway can you put $100 on us to win the one dayers

Me: Sure can, see you mate.