The Dobber

Jarrod 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).
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 available.
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.

On the other hand, Andy Zaltzman has done the numbers and reveals Australia or England will definitely win the Ashes.

"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.


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