Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Hussey wary of magic Monty

The Australian cricket squad will train in Adelaide today ahead of the second Ashes Test match against England from Friday.

Australia won the opening Test in Brisbane by 277 runs.

Despite the comfortable victory, Australian batsman Michael Hussey says his side should not become complacent.

"The same thing happened in England last year when the guys won the first Test and then England came back to win," he said.

"We are very mindful of keeping our minds on the job and playing well in Adelaide."

Hussey has also warned his Australian team-mates to be wary of Monty Panesar's doosra, should he form a two-pronged spinning attack for England.

England coach Duncan Fletcher said on Tuesday he was considering playing both Panesar and fellow left-arm spinner Ashley Giles at the Adelaide Oval, with one of the quicks to drop out of the side.

Hussey spent a lot of time in the nets with a young Panesar when he played three seasons of county cricket for Northamptonshire from 2001, captaining the county in 2002 and 2003.

England played conservatively by preferring the more experienced Giles for the first Gabba Test and he finished with one wicket for 113 runs.

Panesar, the first Sikh to play Test cricket for England, is considered a more attacking bowler than Giles and Hussey has been impressed with him.

"Monty gets more overspin on the ball so he's more of an up and over bowler," Hussey said.

"When I was playing with him at Northamptonshire he was trying to produce a doosra which can be a difficult ball to play if you get it right.

"Giles is more about keeping it tight and bowling into the rough and building pressure that way."

Rest of ABC Sports article here

The State of Domestic Cricket

I often hear people say that the Australian domestic competition is by far the greatest in the world but why is this so?
Is it because Australians are the biggest cricket fans in the world? Maybe, but then again, maybe not, Indian cricket is a "religion" in India. The Barmy Army have showed us that the English are passionate about cricket.
Is it because our domestic teams have greater funding than others? maybe, I don't have any figures to be able to say for sure.
My theory is that because Australia has been so dominant for so long the "fringe" players have to be better just to get a crack at playing for the national team which in turn means that most players have to be as good or almost as good as the fringe players just to make in to the state team. What's your opinion?

Harmison trains in secret

ENGLAND paceman Steve Harmison's troubled bowling action was worked on by coach Kevin Shine at the Adelaide Oval nets in a session that was closed to the media and public.
Harmison's desire to keep away from prying eyes was a good indication of his equally troubled mindset, which was dented badly during the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.

Lock-outs are a rarity in cricket, and the job of clearing media from the nets fell to English security attaché Reg Dickason, who shunted media from the oval before having the gates locked in scenes more reminiscent of secretive preparations for an AFL finals series.

Also irritating Harmison were loud shouts of encouragement from one England supporter.

Before the session, team coach Duncan Fletcher said he had full faith in Shine helping turn Harmison's fortunes around.

He said Shine would spend time with Harmison working on the technical side of the bowler's action and that it was important England did not overload Harmison with advice.

The rest of the English touring party was given the afternoon off after arriving from Brisbane.,8659,20836253-5009880,00.html

I don't know what everybody else thinks but I think this sort of thing is just placing placing extra pressure on Harmison to "perform" All bowlers have their bad days, I'm sure he will bounce back just like Lee will.

Cricket Games - EA Sports Cricket 07

I have the full version of this game and while I won't write another boring review I will tell you it has awesome gameplay and the ashes section - featuring scenarios from last year's series is a great addition. Here is the trailer.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Top 15 Classic Clashes

Just found this awesome page on Ninemsn's Ashes website. They've dug through the news archives and picked the top 15 ashes moments. You can view all 15 video news stories. These are the only Ninemsn videos I know of that work in both firefox and IE and not just IE.
Click here to watch.

Hussey backs chosen squad

Middle-order batsman Mike Hussey has given his thumbs-up to Australia's decision to stick with a winning formula and name an identical 13-player squad for this Friday's second 3 mobile Ashes Test in Adelaide.
Hussey, whose 86 runs in the first innings helped maintain a stunning average of 76.56 in 12 matches, was just one of a number of key contributors with the bat alongside Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer and Michael Clarke. The Ashes debutant also shared a 209-run stand with his captain Ponting in the first innings and suggested that the overall team display at the Gabba warranted the chance of a repeat performance this week. "It's pretty difficult to change a team that's performed so well in this Test match," said Hussey after Australia wrapped up a mammoth 277-run victory in Brisbane on Monday. "It's not for me to really comment on selection but I think it's very difficult for the selectors to pick the team they want. There are a lot of good candidates out there but when the guys are performing it's hard to look past those guys." Rookie Test pacemen Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson were again named in the expanded squad although neither is expected to usurp the impressive Stuart Clark, who returned the match figures of 7-93, or Brett Lee. Hussey, meanwhile, said that Glenn McGrath was again applying ice treatment to his left heel overnight but was not considered a doubt for Adelaide. "I think it's great for those two guys to again be in the squad, just to show them how close they are," he said of young guns Tait and Johnson. "Maybe it comes down to horses for courses a little bit (for Adelaide)." "I know Shaun will be very keen to play in Adelaide in front of his home crowd. That would be a huge boost for him but again it's going to be a tough selection." He also offered his commiserations to hamstring injury victim Shane Watson, saying that Watson's ability to share the bowling workload gave Australia's line-up an added dimension. Stand-in skipper Adam Gilchrist briefly turned to Hussey's medium pacers on day four in Brisbane. "I think it's really disappointing for the team that Shane Watson hasn't come up," he said. "Having somebody like him in the team really does give us good balance so hopefully he can get fit and be ready for the third Test." Hussey also considered the quick turnaround to Adelaide - the Australians arrive in South Australia on Tuesday afternoon - would be of more benefit to the home side following England's exertions in its first Test drubbing. "One of the positives for us is we weren't in the field in Brisbane for as long as the English were," he said. "I think they fielded for the best part of two-and-a-half days which has got to take its toll." "With the short turnaround maybe that's going to be a positive for us."

Team announced for the 2nd test in Adelaide.

Tearaway quicks Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait have been included in Australia's 13-man squad for the second 3 mobile Ashes Test against England, starting at Adelaide Oval on Friday.

But the additions of Queensland left-armer Johnson and South Australian express Tait to the XI that won the first Test at the Gabba by 277 runs mean there is again no place for spinner Stuart MacGill.

"We are obviously thrilled with the first Test result but we expect Adelaide to be an extraordinarily tough Test match," said National Selection Panel chairman Andrew Hilditch.

"With that in mind we'll continue to look at our options to improve the team as we prepare for a series of tough Ashes encounters. We have picked a squad of 13 to suit the conditions in Adelaide and will look to finalise the 11 during the course of preparation for this Test match."

Selectors were again unable to consider all-rounder Shane Watson with the Queenslander still recovering from the hamstring strain that also prevented him from being selected for the first Test, and his absence has also proved costly for MacGill.

"It is very disappointing for Shane Watson that he will not be fit for this match but we are hopeful for a speedy recovery in advance of the third Test," Hilditch added.

"The possibility of using two specialist spinners continues to be discussed. That decision is made more difficult while Shane Watson is unfit but it will be reviewed depending on the particular conditions we will face at each venue."

But with Michael Clarke making 56 in his only innings in Brisbane after replacing Watson late last week when he had to withdraw, selectors were pleased with the way the New South Wales batsman performed.

"Michael Clarke seized his opportunity after being called in at late notice and played extremely well throughout the first Test and again this highlights the strength of Australian cricket," he said.

The squad for the second 3 mobile Ashes Test is:
Ricky Ponting (captain)TAS
Adam Gilchrist (vice-captain)WA
Michael Clarke NSW
Stuart Clark NSW
Matthew Hayden QLD
Michael Hussey WA
Mitchell Johnson QLD
Justin Langer WA
Brett Lee NSW
Damien Martyn WA
Glenn McGrath NSW
Shaun Tait SA
Shane Warne VIC

Not a totally unexpected decision here by the selectors although Stuart McGill is unlucky(like he has been his whole career) Lee isn't in the best of form with the ball but his batting has improved out of sight and it will only take one match for him to turn his bowling form around. They would have been tempted to drop either Lee or Martyn(I probably would have dropped one if I was a selector) and included McGill but you can't go around changing a winning formula too much as it can create instability.

The First Test

Australia won the first test quite easily (277 runs) This wasn't totally unexpected as they haven't lost at the Gabba since 1988. Let's not forget that Australia smashed England in the first test last time as well and ended up losing 2-1. Having said that it was a great display by the Australians and the only concern is probably Lee's bowling, although he did get Flintoff out for a duck.