Kimber exposes the dasterdley plan cooked up by James Anderson and
ex-Victoria bowling coach David Saker that lead to Chris Rogers being
caught at short mid wicket:
And it wasn’t as if a James Anderson
late-hooping million-dollar ball took him out. The ball couldn’t have
been any straighter if it were a Southern Baptist Preacher. It wasn’t
particularly quick, maybe the slightest bit of pace off. It played no
tricks off the pitch. Had there not been the yellin’ and screamin’ at
Saker on the balcony, it would’ve looked like a lucky wicket.
Maybe it was. But England seemed to get a
lot of lucky wickets. They continually aimed at Shane Watson’s massive
front pad until they hit it. They gave Ed Cowan a part-time spinner to
hit out of the rough knowing that he might be more likely to have a go
off Joe Root than Swann. They kept the ball in the place Clarke is most
likely to play a half shot and nick behind.
You want stats? Here's
a VERY IN-DEPTH look at Dale Steyn, James Anderson and Harbhajan
Singh's records v the top batsmen, using ball by ball data that has
taken some serious statistical sleuthing to uncover. It's a remarkable
bit of analysis from Anantha Narayanan:
1. The top three modern bowlers: with
over 85% of ball-by-ball data available (15 bowlers: Dale Steyn/James
Anderson/Harbhajan Singh are featured).
On the other hand, Andy
Zaltzman has done the numbers and reveals Australia or England will
definitely win the Ashes.
2. The top three previous generation bowlers: with over 40% of
ball-by-ball data available (12-15 bowlers: Muttiah Muralitharan/Shane
Warne/Glenn McGrath will be featured).
3. The top three modern batsmen: with over 80-85% of ball-by-ball data
4. The top three previous generation batsmen: with over 40-45% of
ball-by-ball data available.
5. Special analyses, to be decided as we go on, based on reader inputs.
"Statistics, schmatistics," as my great
uncle Jerezekiel Schmyulenstein would have said, probably whilst being
carted off for questioning by income tax officials, had he actually
existed. England are overwhelming favourites. Unfortunately for the
baggy greens, that one away series loss was their most recent Test
jaunt, a numbingly inept 4-0 whitewash in India, where, a few months
previously, England had triumphed.
It should be added that, whilst both of
those series were ostensibly played in India, against India, and
featured several of the same Indian players, the two Indias in those
series might as well have been completely different teams. England
faced the smouldering embers of a passing era, Australia encountered
the birth of a bubbly if belatedly midwifed new team.
What if everyone's favourite cricket-indie-troubadors teamed up with
everyone's favourite dear old thing along with everyone's favourite
Barmy Army trumpet player (I thought he wasn't allowed in)? It would
probably look like this:
The Old Bastman compares
and contrast's Ashton Agar's '98' innings that captivated the cricket
world, and Ricky Ponting's last.
Ashton Agar might be a new Vettori, or
even a Pietersen (at 19, KP was still an off-spinner) or maybe an Alex
Tudor or a Jason Krejza or a Richie Benaud, no-one can know. But
whatever else happens, his innings will not be surpassed for its
out-of-the-box unlikeliness and its glorious innocence.
The gap between it and Ponting's at the Oval, that brief window of time
in which sportsmen have their lives and all of us are young, closes
before anyone notices. What a day it was today.