Ducks, drops and Dharmasena

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December 13, 2013 by dixwah

Welcome to my review/preview of the last/next Ashes Test. What’s changed? An absolute stack – Australian hero Michael Clarke on the back page of SMH, Graeme Swann facing the axe after spinning England to the Ashes months ago, and England facing a wipeout if they can’t turn it around in Perth.

Back to Adelaide. Same old story. England’s three dropped catches on day one put them out of commission, and their batting was caught short.

What’s with hooking all of these bouncers? Cook, Carberry (twice), Prior and Broad. With rain around and playing for a draw, get under it.

Put it away Alastair

Put it away Alastair

If I was batting in Adelaide (obviously reliant on being a far better player than I actually am), I would have taken an off-stump guard, left everything, and when I eventually got trapped in front, backed DRS to come up with ‘UMPIRE’S CALL’.

Unlike many people, I don’t have a problem with DRS or the current gambling both captain’s sometimes undertake in reviewing a decision.

A couple of issues – first, ‘UMPIRE’S CALL’ is ambiguous, and it should be either out or not out, and ‘UMPIRE’S CALL’ at the moment really just means not out because Kumara Dharmasena doesn’t know what day it is, let alone if it’s hit him in line.

We’ve ranted on about this as part of our podcast – Rowan brushed me this week by the way – but Dharmasena is hopeless. You start losing confidence when he asks for the no-ball to be reviewed EVERY TIME when Peter Siddle’s big toe is pretty much behind the line. What’s the umpire there for?

Two rarities. Dharmasena with the finger up, and a Swann wicket

Two rarities. Dharmasena with the finger up, and a Swann wicket

At the same time – with the current DRS – I think that umpires have every reason to use the system to their advantage. Give the benefit and let it be overturned. If the bowling team’s out of reviews, become more assertive and let the batsman review. Get more right than wrong.

So far there’s been one LBW in two tests. Yes Mitchell Johnson isn’t really an LB bowler (albeit he has the only one this series), but as an in-swing bowler relying on friendly umpires for most of my wickets, shame, shame, shame.

Dharmasena’s rightly been moved on, but the ICC has somehow brought back bloody Billy Bowden. So it’s win-lose. Umpires should be seen and not heard, unless it’s Darrell Hair. The big D can do whatever he likes – legend.

Anyway, enough of the umpires, and onto Perth. It’s hot, apparently. Cricket’s a summer sport, deal with it. 100 Tests to both captains and Mitchell Johnson are the other talking points.

Clarke and Cook are exceptional players. Cook’s an innings away, and if England bat first, I think he might cash in. Australia has played well from in front in both Tests, I think that the toss is again crucial in Perth.

Of all the players in Test cricket, Michael Clarke is probably second behind KP in players I like watching. Hughesy’s in there too, but I guess he’s not a Test player (for now). Clarke’s work through cover point is brilliant.

Prediction? I’m none from two so far this series. I think the WACA graveyard stuff is a bit over the top, and England’s bowlers will likely appreciate the pitch as much as Australia. England are a batsman short though.

Tough one. England win the toss, Cook will score runs, and they’re back in it. If they field first, they’ll need to hold their catches to be any chance.

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