|Posted on 2 September, 2019 at 8:20|
England's new fast bowling sensation Jofra Archer has played all of 2 Tests and I might add; on wickets that have done plenty. He won’t find these condition everywhere he plays but this hasn’t stopped him from sledging opponents.
The question I ask is; has he experienced enough of the game to be in a position to make such bold statements? In other words, has he earned his stripes? There is no longevity here... that’s for certain!
Most new arrivals to Test match cricket go about their task quietly and with humility... but not “Jofra” and a lack of cofidence will never be his downfall and he desn't hold back when making judgement either. He claims the Aussies panicked under pressure; in other words they choked and let's face it... it is what many have said, but is this true?
Anyway it has raised some questions in particular; about Australia’s ability to overcome what ended up being a very humiliating 3rd Test defeat at Headingley and do they have tthe ability to bounce back?
Let’s take a look at the pressure situations that Australia overcame during at Headingley: firstly Australia were on the back foot after a disappointing Ist innings and fought back to blast England out; no choking under pressure there. Then from a disastrous start to the snd innings, they fought back to post England a sizeable second innings task; no choking under pressure there either; And
Just when England had put themselves back into the contest, on a wicket that was flattening out... Australia rose to the challenge again.
When James Pattinson had taken the wicket of Broad; he had gone for a miserly 4 runs in three overs and I for one, was certain the Aussies had done enough to retained the Ashes and I headed for bed.
Our arch enermy were 9/286, had lost 2 wickets in three deliveries and with a run rate sitting at 2.48, tail end Charlie "Leach" would need to hold our boys out for more than 30 overs or more.
I can say I was dumbstruck to wake up to the news England had won and to learn of Stokes, had done a "Botham 1981". Just think of it... had this been Pakistan who'd lost from this position; the corruption Police and Media would have been all over them.... and calling it a scandal!
With this in mind; I went straight to the cricinfo “commentary page” to check the ball by ball coverage (a terrific way to get a clear perspective of the game, if you ignore the comments). I did some quick calculations and worked out that Stokes had faced just 45 deliveries, (7.3 overs); I realised that he had flayed our attack at just above 11 runs per over.
I dug deeper trying to find the reason; Pattinson I discovered, had gone on to complete his spell, 3 of which were maidens, costing hime 1 wicket for 8 runs. An overall performance of 25 overs 9 maidens 1/47.
Lyon, when I had turned in for the night, had bowled 35 overs, he went on to bowl another 4 overs; finishing with 39 overs for the inning. His last overs consisting of 17 dot balls and 7 scoring shots. This including 4 sixes (3 hit straight and the other an extraordinary reverse sweep over third man) It meant Cummins and Hazlewood had gone for 43 in only 3.4 overs. Hazlewood, in his defence, had already bowled 30 overs; he was spent!
Josh would have been feeling extremely sore having worked hard for his 4 wickets. Trying to get his big frame into gear again, was going to be a big ask. It's not surprising he went for 19 (4, 6, 6, 2 & 1).
Cummins on the other hand... had bowled considerably less, 22 overs and in his next spell of 2.4... conceded 24 runs, the fourth and last ball, being a wide short pitcher, that was smashed through covers for 4 to bring England a remarkable and memorable victory.
In all; from that 115.2 over mark, when I hit the sack, 8 sixes were hit. Of those runs need for victory, 44 were scored between mid wicket and fine leg... I guess we might say the lines were poor! 27 runs were scored straight with only 1 solitary single... this might suggest some baited deliveries (a term we use is shopping for wickets). it will not be the last time this idea fails and finally 22 runs were scored between 3rd man and cover... ok! you don't mind that.
In summing up; we can ask questions like; did we provided Stokes with too many opportunities to play power shots square of the wicket? Or could it be said that we tried to buy wickets. It could; Or that Hazlewood had been bowled into the ground... but he deserved the opportunity to take another 5 for.
As for Pattinson and Cummins... were they under used? I am sure James would have been happy to bowl a few more, especially after taking his first wicket of the innings.
But the truth is... Australia have been playing a bowler short all series and given our batting display; as it turns out, we might as well have played the extra quick all along.
So is Archer correct?
No, Australia had already fought off a number of clutch situations during the game and put themselves in a match winning position. To say the boys choked is an insult to Stokes and Leach.
Archer is full of confidence and is showing a touch of arrogance that comes with inexperience; he will learn the hard way... perhaps as soon as Old Trafford Test.