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How to win at the Waca

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Tom Fordyce | 11:50 UK time, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Perth, Western Australia

Less than 48 hours to go until the third Test gets under way, and the tension is ratcheting up. Should England win here in Perth, they will hold on to the Ashes urn for another two years. Should Australia come out on top, the series is wide open again going into the final two matches over Christmas and New Year.

England, dominant for all but two days of the series so far, have a problem. Historically, they have never worked out how to play well at the Waca.

Of the 11 Ashes Tests staged here, they have come out on top just once - in 1978, when Australia's team had been wrecked by the breakaway World Series.

Australia? No such issues. They've won every one of the last five Ashes Tests at the ground, including the 206-run thrashing four years ago.

So what is the secret to winning at this idiosyncratic arena on the banks of the Swan River? What special skills do batsmen and bowlers need to succeed here?

"The thing about batting here is that, while it can be a batsman's paradise, the margin for error is a lot smaller than at other grounds," explains former Australian opener Justin Langer, a Perth native who scored 711 runs, including two centuries, in 10 Tests at the Waca.

"If you nick it, it usually carries to the slips, so you have to be very careful driving. You have to be selective when you go for it. Make sure you're in a perfect position or you're gone behind the wicket.

"If you're going to drive, you need to strike the ball as under your eyes as possible. If the ball gets outside your eye-line, because of the bounce and big carry through behind, you can get yourself in trouble. You're flirting with danger.

"Technically you need to be quite correct, because if you're loose the extra bounce will find you out. You have to keep it all nice and tight.

"The rule of thumb is to play the ball as late as possible. Playing with soft hands is a big thing. If you're watching the ball onto your bat and playing late, you'll have those soft hands naturally because you're not as far through the shot. People talk about hard hands, but you mainly play with hard hands when you're hitting the ball away from your body."

Langer (right) reaches a century for Australia against Pakistan at the Waca in 2004 - photo: Getty

Langer has scored more runs at the Waca than any other batsman in Western Australian history. He also shares the record for the highest Test partnership at the ground, the 327 he put on with Ricky Ponting against Pakistan in 1999-2000.

What shots bring the most reward for batsmen on this track?

"It's a great place to play the pull shot, even with the extra bounce, because that bounce is so true. It's the same with the cut shot," he says.

"The cut is a very aggressive shot, and if you play it here you can afford to play it as hard as you like. On most grounds if you don't quite get it, it will fly off to third man, whereas here the bounce is so consistent that you can feel confident behind it.

"You will also get great value for your shots because the outfield is so quick - it's like an ice-rink. But you have to watch the ball right onto your bat."

The Waca is famous for the Fremantle Doctor, a strong wind that blows up from the west and buffets the ground from mid-afternoon onwards. While it's better known for the impact it has on bowling conditions, it also affects the way batsmen must approach their innings.

"That wind can be a nightmare," admits Langer, now Australia's batting coach. "It's a very strong breeze, so as a batsman you're almost getting pushed backwards at the crease. That's how strong it is.

"As a batsman you always want to be coming forward at the bowler. If the quick has got that really strong wind up his backside it gives them such an advantage. The flipside of that is that at the other end you're getting pushed towards the bowler, and they're having to fight their way into that breeze.

"Good batting is all about balance. As long as you get your balance right at the crease here you don't need to change your stance or set-up because of the wind.

"But you do need to have in your mind that you've got a guy coming in at you fast with the breeze at his back, and it'll be a lot harder for you to be positive with the bat. For example, it'll be a lot harder to hit down the ground because you're hitting into that wind."

What must bowlers do to take wickets and keep the run-rate down?

"It depends how strong the wind is and how regular," says former Middlesex seamer Simon Hughes, in Australia as an expert analyst for Test Match Special.

"It can blow you off-balance as you come into your delivery stride, and that messes up your timing. And bowling is all about timing.

"If it's in your face it pushes you back as your arm comes over, which means you can bowl too full, and if it's at your back it can push you through your action and make you bowl too short.

"You have to make it work for you. If the wind is coming across you from leg to off, you might bowl more bouncers because if a batsman plays a pull-shot the ball can get held up and then get caught.

"A cross-wind will also affect a swing bowler. If you're a right-armer with a good out-swinger, you don't want to bowl into a wind coming from off to leg, because it can straighten out any swing. So you might have to set the ball off wider to compensate for the effect of the wind.

"Other swing bowlers will enjoy bowling into the wind, because it holds the ball up and so allows it to swing a little more.

"But bowling into it will tire you out. Not only are you fighting your way through it when you bowl, but it pushes you back to your mark much faster, so your recovery between deliveries is shorter."

Tim Bresnan is one of three England bowlers competing for a place in Perth - photo: Getty

England have yet to announce which of Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan or Ajmal Shahzad will replace the injured Stuart Broad for this Test.

Should the physical builds and track records of the three bowling in windy conditions come into the selectors' minds?

"Someone like Bresnan would be able to push through a strong breeze because of his leg power," says Hughes. "For that reason he might get the nod. It wouldn't have suited Broad, because he's willowy yet there's still a lot of him. It might not suit Steve Finn either.

"The difficult thing is that the Doctor doesn't always call. Sometimes there's very little wind; sometimes it blows all day and sometimes it only comes mid-afternoon."

Is there a particular line or length that tends to reap dividends?

"Some bowlers get a bit carried away with the bounce here," believes Langer. "You don't very often see the ball go through to the keeper above head height, but you do here, so bowlers can sometimes bowl too short.

"But you actually have to pitch the ball up a little more because of that advantage with bounce. You're pushing the batsman back because of the pace and lift in the wicket, but you want to bring him forward because that's where those nicks will come into play."

The highest wicket-takers in Tests at the Waca are all pace bowlers - Brett Lee, Merv Hughes and Craig McDermott, with the top of the pile (52 scalps in 12 Tests) being Glenn McGrath, who liked to bowl exactly the sort of delivery Langer describes - just short of a length on off-stump or just outside, drawing the batsman forward to take the edge.

"At most grounds around the world now blokes can just get on the front foot and play with ease, because there isn't that bounce there any more," says Langer. "At the Waca it's a bit different. You can't be as confident going forward.

"For me, while I was looking to get forward and looking for the full ball, I knew I couldn't go with the same confidence as elsewhere. If the ball is only coming through waist-high you're not so worried.

"Good off-spin bowlers can do well here, particularly right-armers, because they can get their flight into the breeze. What's brilliant is that from the other end against an offie you feel as if you can hit every ball for six, because you've got the wind at your back, and they're flighting it up.

"Leg-spinners don't tend to have as much success; the great Shane Warne never had much joy at the Waca. But the margin for error for all bowlers is very small, because of the true bounce and fast outfield."

What of the specific conditions for this match?

On Tuesday lunchtime the Test pitch here looked much greener than expected, with a little more grass than traditional Waca wickets. Groundsman Cameron Sutherland expects it to offer something for both bowlers and batsmen.

"In the first 10 overs the quicks have been getting a bit of movement here, and there's been some swing," he says.

"It will still have a bit of colour come Thursday, but I don't think there'll be much seam movement off it - there'll be a little nibble, but it won't go excessively either way.

"We'll get cracks, no doubt - it just depends on the weather how big and when. Spinners can play a role - there'll be some bounce for them.

"Given the Waca's history we're hoping it can produce a result. We've only had the one draw here, and that was pretty dead pitch."

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    When JL speaks, the whole world listens.

    Go on JL!!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    I've got a bad feeling about England at the Waca after reading that.

  • Comment number 3.

    Definitely nervous about this upcoming Test. Australians with nothing to lose and Ponting just has to coem good at some point. Also, with Broad out I expect Finn to be under more pressure - I think he's good enough but I would have preferred to have held him back a bit at such a stage in his career. As for who to bring in - It's got to be Tremlett with his extra bounce and better first class average. We don't need extra batting at the moment (so bye bye Bresnan) and I prefer Tremlett's approach to this sort of wicket over any swing bowler (we have Jimmy, the best in the world at swinging it!). I hope Anderson is as rested as he says he is.
    Come on England - Strauss is due a double ton surely!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Not nervous at all - we are the confident team with the form. Our batting line up is strong and our bowlers are playing well.

    BRING IT ON!

  • Comment number 5.

    Very hard to be impartial when thinking about the next test but one thing not addressed above is how the current Australian side will get on at the WACA.

    It is clearly a difficult place to bowl and interesting to see the statistics but do Australia have a bowler along the lines of Hughes, McDermott, Lee or McGrath? I would say no they don't.

    Swann may not take many wickets there but he will be fine twirling away into the breeze and tying that end up so the quicks can use a bit of blow to their advantage (insert your own Botham reference).

    As regards batting it sounds like the sort of pitch tailor made for Cook - "Technically you need to be quite correct" and "Good batting is all about balance." - so thank god for recent form!

    This is a very interesting article from someone who clearly knows and has succeeded at the WACA (sorry Tom, I meant Langer) but it has only served to get me more excited for the re-commencement of battle.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nervous of course, understandably so - can't just dismiss the weight of history and expectation that easily!

    Really hope we aim for the win and get it though. No more bitten fingernails for Tests 4 & 5, get this one in the bag and get the Ashes retained. Letting the Aussies strike back takes a bit psychological weight off their shoulders which we have to aim to keep there.

  • Comment number 7.

    Not sure anyone has mentioned this during the chat about the replacement for Broad, but it seemed clear when the squad was announced that the selectors had picked a replacement for each of the first choice bowlers. So, Shazad for Anderson, (skiddier, lower release point), Tremlett for Finn, (both 6'7" back of a length bowlers), and Bresnan for Broad, (more economical, bowling fullish outside off stump).
    I am sure if we were not at the WACA then there would be litle chat about Tremlett, he was afterall the surprise choice in the squad. The curators in charge of the first two Test wickets have been quoted before match-day of "pace - carry - bit in it for the seamers early doors", when actually they have turned out to be roads.
    Having enjoyed the common sense and consistant decision making in regards to selection, I can only see England plumping for Bresnan. Let's leave the outside bets to the home side....

  • Comment number 8.

    "Get your balance right" and "play tight". A bit of advice for Phil Hughes there maybe!

  • Comment number 9.

    really good article JL. Bit worried abouit the bowling without Broad which breaks up 'the unit'

    The Aussies will surely come back at us a some point, just hope its not until we are 2 up

  • Comment number 10.

    I fear the vast experience of the conditions at the WACA that the likes of Ponting and Langer have could prove to be crucial for Australia. Not to mention the fact that they have four players in Michael Beer, Mitchell Johnson, Marcus North and Mike Hussey who play at this ground regularly for Western Australia.

    Hopefully, England will have done their homework and will have good plans in place to use the wind to their advantage with both bat and ball.

  • Comment number 11.

    Arrived in Perth a couple of days ago, glorious blue skies. Makes a change from all the snow and ice. Aussies running scared - not met any who think they have a chance. Punter looks distracted. Weather quite windy. Pitch very green. Spinners never done that well at WACA - and esp. not on debut: remember Warne? Can't see anything but an England win inside 4 days. It's ours to lose though. Difficult to see this Aussie team upsetting us.

  • Comment number 12.

    Justin Langer = Over-rated

  • Comment number 13.

    I've read a lot in the last two days that says the WACA is a hard place to bowl spin, even the great Shane struggled here. Why then does it seem like the aussies are going to give two unproven spinners their debuts? Have I missed something?

  • Comment number 14.

    Sorry, smith to play his 3rd game

  • Comment number 15.

    My Lord - a JL column without any nonsense about who is playing well in the nets etc etc. I can't read or listen to any of these former Aussie greats without a feeling of chutzpah. It seems every Aussie is tied up to some great unwritten contract which dictates that they will be successful, despite the evidence to the contrary. No doubt JL, when writing this supposedly dispassionately, was desperately trying to think of some way that Perth would benefit such shockers against the short ball as Hughes, Clarke and, latterly, RP. I take anything any Aussie great says with contempt. So endeth the lesson.

  • Comment number 16.

    As long as we don't let either arrogance or fear beat us, we should be ok.

    Strauss will play not to lose again like we did on the 4th morning in Adelaide (which is not the same as playing with fear in my eyes), and let the Aussies beat themselves again. I am certainly not expecting any aggressive declarations from us in Perth!

    Bresnan gets the nod in my book for the same reasons as described by #7 swanforspoty. Keep the balance of the side and keep it tight and take advantage of the oppo's mistakes.

  • Comment number 17.

    So, on the basis of that article England should do ok. Most of the batsman are in form, from 1-7 they have all made some runs or lots of runs so far on this tour. Most of them should have their eye in. As for the bowling, looks ideal for Anderson and Swann, while Finn needs to find some accuracy and stop bowling the Mitchell Johnson balls, high, wide and handsome. Australia are the team with selection problems not England, they will do well to step up from here.

  • Comment number 18.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 19.

    I predict that papa shango will spill burning hot coffee all over himself this afternoon, will fall over a kerb and break his leg on the way to the dry cleaners, will be involved in an ambulance accident on his way to hospital, and on returning home will find that his pet goldfish has snuffed it.

  • Comment number 20.

    #10 "Not to mention the fact that they have four players in Michael Beer, Mitchell Johnson, Marcus North and Mike Hussey who play at this ground regularly for Western Australia."

    Beer has played just 3 games there since moving to Western Australia recently and North isn't in the squad. Johnson & Hussey have good records there, but given there are only a handful of state sides- compared to our county system- you'd expect there to be at least a couple of "homegrowns" at each test ground.

  • Comment number 21.

    # 18. At 2:36pm on 14 Dec 2010, papa shango wrote:
    "the Victoria game proved Cook's series has been a fluke..." That's hilarious papa, you have surpassed yourself there fella. Let's apply that logic elsewhere......
    Bradman getting a duck in his last test innings, proved that all his previous good form over his test career in attaining an average of 99.94 was a fluke also.
    Also, if Swann gets a few wickets in this test, you'll no doubt confirm that he is the best spinner we have as there's no way a spinner can get wickets on a green seamer.

  • Comment number 22.

    papa shango wrote:
    Aussie's will level the series in Perth.
    ------------------------------
    Sorry? I thought you said Australia would be one nil up by now. In fact, that's exactly what you said. hmmm....

    Cook's double -ton was a fluke? Edged every ball for 4 did he?

    Swann's cheap wickets?? Aussies at a canter?? This nonsense makes Tolkien look like an non-fiction writer.

  • Comment number 23.

    I just looked at papa shango history on these blogs. He wrote not so long ago that he "ignores stats", and a week later said he doesn;t do opinions, he only "speaks in facts". Oh my lord, its RAFA BENITEZ!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 25.

    #24 - Or comparing Papa shango to someone who understands cricket.....?

  • Comment number 26.

    #22... Papa also said that it'd be an Australian 4-0 whitewash ...in a 5 test series! So we tend not to take him too seriously.

  • Comment number 27.

    That's just it Papa; you're not clever enough for all this. He never compared Cook to Bradman - he applied your flakey logic about Cook to Bradman - there's a significant difference.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to the Perth test - I hope Australia have a bit more about them this time, because it was a bit too easy in Adelaide. Great series are close fought ones, not when one team hammers another. It's all set up perfectly...

  • Comment number 28.

    Agree @ #7 & #16 that Bresnan will get the nod. Other than that, it would be so good to have the Ashes before Christmas, but I'm counting no chickens.

  • Comment number 29.

    The news coming from aussie camp is Johnson and Bollinger are out? Johnson was told NOT to play for WA last week....bizarre decision by CA?Dropping Hauritz is mad? I think ECB have spies in the Aussie selectors....they are doing more damage than England to the Aussie cricket team!

    Hughes is the new opener, Steve Smith at 7, Harris 8, Hilfenhause, 9, Siddle 10, Beer 11. Not set in stone but reports are indicating this will be the team. Bell pulverised Smith and the new spinner is more unproven than Doerhety?

    Tremlett is bound to play but I would also pick Bresnan over Collingwood.....England don't need the extra batsmen.

    I agree Cook and Bell should do really well at the WACA.

    Again its the Aussie batsmen that need to come to the party....they have to score 400 runs to give their bowling attack something to bowl at. The key is the Aussie attack is not strong enough, its weaker than England's (even with Broad missing). Bresnan, Shazhad and Tremlett are all good bowlers and Ponting would love to have any of them in his squad.

  • Comment number 30.

    Howlingbell: Great series are close fought ones, not when one team hammers another.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Couldn't agree more, although as this is Australia surely exceptions can be made!

    I have no doubt they will be a much sterner test - it's almost as if we caught them by surprise with how well drilled we were in the first couple of tests and having had a bit more time to reflect they may come out with a lot more aggression. And you're right, it would be a lot more exciting if they actaully put upa fight. We are so British!! Pitying the underdog even when its Ricky Pontings snarling little features!!!

  • Comment number 31.

    24. At 3:04pm on 14 Dec 2010, papa shango wrote:

    Stats can be interpreted in many different ways. Facts are facts. I may have made one or two rash statements but this time I have had more time to think them through.
    ________________________________

    Followed by.....

    To compare Bradman & Cook is laughable. What next... Comparing Swann to Warne? Or Collingwood to Richards?

    __________________________________

    Think it through Papa Dingo.

    Or to put it another way...

    Think
    It
    Through

    Papa Shango.

  • Comment number 32.

    I agree #15, really haven't enjoyed Langer's column this time round as he's always trying to put a positive spin on the Aussie side of things. Don't get me wrong that's what he should be doing he is their batting coach after all. I just think the BBC website were wrong getting the Aussie perspective from someone within the camp, it was always going to be ridiculously biased. It should have been someone outside who would have been more impartial, certainly would have made for a more interesting read. I won't even bother with Langer's column for the next Test, even when the Aussies do badly every day it'll be wait for tomorrow things could just turn around, in the nets so and so's been fantastic.

  • Comment number 33.

    Good blog Tom, can't wait for it to start, and by a happy coincidence I have Thursday off so shall be watching the whole of the first days play!

    The only worries I have with England are Collywobble's form and Broad's replacement. I don't fancy any of the replacements to really step up to the mark and have no honest idea who I'd choose! I fancy Bresnan will get the nod though.

    Having said that I am expecting a response from the Aussies. Punter has failed 3 times this series and I can't see him falling cheaply both innings this time. Hughes and Watson could also destroy us before we get started. We'd be fools to write off Australia. Our saving grace has been their bowling though, save one spell from Peter Siddle they have been average at best. Looking forward to Mitch continuing his fine form!

  • Comment number 34.

    Don't feed the trolls for gods sake

    This discussion always degenerates into a row between an idiot whose sole pleasure is annoying people and lying, and a whole load of you telling him he's a lying idiot.

    It puts me off reading the blog - and after all Fordyce is a Good Man with interesting things to say (and despite the ungenerous sentiments of a couple of you so is Justin Langer)

    Just stop bothering - its tedious and you'll never win. Some of you appear to know about cricket I suggest you restrict yourselves to that

  • Comment number 35.

    Good blog, good posts.

    Often after reading these things I start to wonder who makes himself look the more ridiculous through spouting such ignorant nonsense; Papa Shango or Glenn McGrath.

    Excuse the pun but I would say any Aussie right now criticising the English batsmen is on a pretty sticky wicket. Likewise any Aussie criticising England's spinner.

  • Comment number 36.

    No-one has explained yet why the aussies are planning on playing two spinners on a pitch that has never been good for spinners??

  • Comment number 37.

    I expect this Test to be a much tighter affair. The Australians have finally overcome their tendency to swagger constantly, have belatedly woken up to the fact that they are not effortlessly dynamic and sweeping aside the hapless, degenerate Poms and will be busting the proverbial to be competitive. Should be a good game.

    I too have experienced the Freemantle Doctor...riding into it on a bike which is not much fun, but the article bills it as some sort of Mistral. It's not that strong and shouldn't really be blowing a 13 stone fast bowler off his feet. Either way, it will affect both sides so..so what?

    I think that Papa Shango should apply for lottery funding. Such a magnificent obsession deserves financial support! Papa Shango needs to be free to spend his whole day applying his legendary predictive skills to other sports, the stock markets, international currency trades and horseracing! In fact anywhere where man has spent centuries agonising over predicting the future. The man is little short of a genius...in much the same way that he is a sandwich short of a picnic!

  • Comment number 38.

    I agree...the aussies are playing 2 spinners on a traditional fast pitch? Very odd decision and calling Smith a spinner is strecthing it a bit...he's a ODI batsmen that slow bowls a bit. I think he will be found out at Test level and get spanked by our batsmen. Ponting won't use him much...unless new spinner fails...which is likely, as the guy has hardly any experience at state level....and has never played at international level.

  • Comment number 39.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 40.

    First of all the people who are calling for collingwood to be dropped obviously don't have a clue. Collingwood wouldnt be dropped in a million years, apart from the fact that his slip fielding and general contribution to the team are invaluable, if England lose early wickets there is no one better to steady the ship. We need a strong top 7 because more important than anything is that we don't lose this game. Tremlett will come in for broad because of the obvious reasons of height and bounce on the waca pitch and bresnan will come in for the final two tests to bolster the batting and add some swing and accuracy.

    Oh btw this papa shango guy is a joke, yeh have an opinion by all means mate but this is a serious forum for serious people who know what there talking about, jokers like you aren't welcome. the comment about cook is just a joke I assume, you must be an aussie trying to get under an englishmans skin.

  • Comment number 41.

    Will people please stop having a go at papa shango, the guy (im assuming) is a legend in his own underpants and he has made this ashes series far more enjoyable than it otherwise would have been! maybe he is a WUM, maybe hes being serious but either way please can we embrace him and show him some clearly much needed love!

    now back to the cricket... who will take the new ball with anderson in this match? finn or the other bloke (whoever he may be)?

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm inclined to say "I'm not sure about this test" or "I'm apprehensive about England at the Waca" but then I shake my head and remember that we have the better team and the more in-form players.

    There is no ground in Australia (or the world) where I am worried about England failing to take wickets and make runs.

    At the end of the day we could always have a bad day at the office which could cause us to lose or draw the next test but apart from a total meltdown the series is as good as ours

  • Comment number 43.

    Perth stats (or should I say FACTS)

    England’s record in Perth: Played 11, Won 1, Lost 7, Drawn 3.

    England’s sole victory there was in 1978-9 during World Series Cricket, when the Aus team was stripped of its best players.

    Average runs per wicket at the WACA in Tests between the two countries: England 27, Australia 37.

    The highest innings for England at the WACA is 162 by Chris Broad in 1986-7 - we lost that one!

    Fewer than a third of Tests at the Waca have been won by the team winning the toss.

    The average first-innings score at the ground is 336

    Trolls allowed into the ground - One - It was rugby tackled by Terry Alderman during a pitch invasion which broke Alderman's shoulder and was out for a year. Morale of the story - its best to ignore trolls!

    Records are there to be broken (much like Eng beating Aus at Lords for the first time in eons), but I agree with most of what Justin Langer says - this could be a much more even fight than might be suggested by the recent drubbing England gave Aus.

  • Comment number 44.

    Replacement for Broad - Bresnan - A modern player needs to be able to field and bat, and the bowler needs to have presence as well as control and accuracy. Tremlett's only advantage is his height.

    2 Spinners - Considering Aus have home advantage, they could have asked for a "results" wicket from the groundsman. Its green at the moment, but being a high clay base will bake in the Perth heat and crack up to give uneven bounce on day 3/4. However, all the selectors are batsmen, and the present plight Aus are in is because of the selectors fickle chopping and changing (very un-Aus!)

    Its too close to call - I'd go for a draw with the Punter getting a ton, and our long tail matching the score. We could sneak it, but our bowlers need to be on the money, bowling on a length. Anything short at the Waca goes to the boundary, cut or pull.

  • Comment number 45.

    43. At 4:21pm on 14 Dec 2010, Robert wrote:

    The highest innings for England at the WACA is 162 by Chris Broad in 1986-7 - we lost that one!

    _______________________________________________________

    That game was a draw.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_cricket_team_in_Australia_in_1986%E2%80%9387

  • Comment number 46.

    Hilarious banter from Papa Shango, clearly an aussie wind-up but entertaining nonetheless!

    This test is absolutely crucial, we have to go for the win whilst the aussies are still in disarray, hopefully Strauss and Flower will recognise that. We can't afford to let up on our performance.

    Regarding the conditions, it actually sounds as though the track will benefit the likes of Cook who prefers cutting and pulling. However, we know how much he loves to get stuck coming forward and dangling his bat outside off! We have enough strenght in depth for someone to get a big score on this pitch. Bowling wise you'd have to say it favours Anderson and Finn swinging and bouncing and we know Swann will take wickets and for that reason i'd side with Bresen who can tie up and end and pile on the pressure.

    We've got to watch out for the aussies though, one sniff and they're right back in this!

    Come on England!

  • Comment number 47.

    #45 Oops - sorry I must have expressed an opinion there, lol.

  • Comment number 48.

    Excellent info from JL

    Based on the history at Perth, Australia should win
    But I would not be surprised if England win at Perth

    All the build up and pressure is now on Australia

  • Comment number 49.

    Good to see Papa Shango back to his best - at least there's one (ahem) Englishmen on top form...

    Shame Broad's out. Now we don't have any test class bowlers in our team. If only we had two bowlers (say a spinner and a pace bowler) in the top ten to twenty in the world. Ah well.

    Can I take this oppotunity to congratulate the Aussies on their inevitable 3-1 victory; well played.

  • Comment number 50.

    post #12 - laughable. Infected Mushroom obviously knows nothing about cricket.

  • Comment number 51.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 52.

    I wish England would trust the top 7 (inc Prior) and go with 5 bowlers! 20 wickets will be much more likely. The Aussies - the bigger they are/were, the harder they fall, I am so happy to see Aus medicore at best these days :)

  • Comment number 53.

    Papa, are you Monty's mum?

    Yes, the second test in Victoria did prove Cook's 235 in the fist test was a fluke. I mean, fancy only scoring 148? That's not good form.

    One or two rash statements?

    Mmm, might just be an overstatement.

    With regards to my previous comment a don't think I was being fanciful enough, I should have of course wished we had three bowlers in the top twenty as well as Broad. It'll never happen though

    As the third test start on my birthday, my ideal scenario would be:
    Aussies skittled for 10 in their lowest every innings ever
    (Ponting GD, Hussey 9, Haddin 1, Swann 8-4, Anderson 1-2, Finn 1-4)
    England open with KP who smacks 4 consecutive sixes of the first four balls and then declares. (KP 24, Beer 0-24)
    Aussies skittled again for thirteen to lose by an innings and a run
    (Hussey 12, Haddin 1, Swann 10-9)
    England retain the ashes, and I can celebrate in time for school in the morning!


  • Comment number 54.

    Papa shango seems to have got every prediction wrong so far, what do u predict for the third test papa? just so I can go to the bookies and bet on the opposite loool

  • Comment number 55.

    Papa you drongo, Collingwood bowled better than most of your frontline bowlers the other day. As for Swann we'd have him in the Aussie team any day of the week at the moment.
    As for the series I hope we turn it around but most of us here in Oz aren't holding out too much hope at the mo

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    Back to the cricket

    I can't believe we selected Beer and Johnson, Hilf's a better bet at the Waca. If we lose which unfortunately the way we are playing a the mo is quiet likely I can't see ponts carrying on.

    We've got no imagination in the field, we may get a few runs this test but our attacks gotta bowl you guys out twice and with the predicted team line up as is its gonna be an uphill struggle.

    I was chatting with the boys down the bar last night most opinion is a draw is our best result but then we gotta win the last two. I can see us doing something in Sydney but nothing much else.

  • Comment number 59.

    Top, top joke #49.

    I'm going for a lucky win one way or the other in a close match. Both teams will go for the win, and it's a results wicket, but with England's batting so brutal against Australia's bowling in the last three innings, I don't see how they don't get decent runs here. And yet on the other hand, Ponting has to hit form again, and I think it will be here, in addition to which this is a happy hunting ground for the Aussies.

    Oh, I'll stick my neck out. England in a nailbiter of Edgbaston 2005 proportions.

  • Comment number 60.

    51 - Thanks Papa, but I was being sarcastic.

    Who plays a batsman at no. 5 because they are a good slip fielder? Australia with Michael Clarke? Nine of fifty balls in one innings and got out to KP (who's probably a better spinner than Swann by Papa's standards) in the other. Hmm. I would say bring in someone, but I'll let the Aussie selectors decide seeing they are the "experts".

  • Comment number 61.

    Now I'm all in favour of somebody doing a bit of winding folks up, nowt wrong about that. But the trick is to do it with enough humour and wit that half the posters know it's a wind-up, and can laugh at the other half who fall for it and then tie themselves up in knots. If all you do is post complete garbage, it's hardly a moral victory when people point out you've posted complete garbage is it.

    Not directed at anyone in particular, but if papa thinks I mean him that's not my fault now is it...

  • Comment number 62.

    Cough cough our selectors are experts, if I could bowl left arm spin I'd probably get a game.
    Seriosuly though looking at our attack

    Siddle (Steady bowled well one session so far)
    Hilf (dropping him was a mistake will bowl well at the Waca especially in the afternoon)
    Johnson (his radars gone a bit wrong, I suggest our keeper shouts loud as he delievers that what he knows where the stumps are)
    Harris (steady no more than that)
    Smith ( steady leg spinner but aint no warne)
    Beer ( lets face it he's either gonna be a total suprise to you poms and get you all out, or freeze like a roo in headlights and get slaughtered)

    Only my opinion guys we are a steady attack and no more than that

    Love it Chuck I am glad someone thinks our selectors are experts, we think they tape players pictures to a dart board at the mo.


  • Comment number 63.

    That said and sorry poms I have everything crossed for the baggy green to find a way to come out on top (somehow)

  • Comment number 64.

    Awww papa's you don't like been found out my little silver fern, so you modded it out.

    It just Barrrrrrrrrrrrick Paps

    We love Vettori paps every time he took 5 against us we won, but then he was your only semi decent bowler. Kiwi bowlers are only any good if their surname starts with a H paps not a V

  • Comment number 65.

    Sheesh he's back anyway can't wait come on England, I saw the record for us up there, but fingers crossed we make it a 2 in that wins column

  • Comment number 66.

    Wheater

    I tried to get papa to tell me the premier league results for the weekend but he politely declined

  • Comment number 67.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 68.

    Swann and Vettori, all said in one breath

  • Comment number 69.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 70.

    I fully agree with papa shango. England have been ridiculously lucky on this tour, and it will stop in Perth. We will lose the next 3 tests and the Aussies will take the urn back.

    Keep up your illuminating posts papa.

  • Comment number 71.

    At 6:49pm on 14 Dec 2010, papa shango wrote:
    'Ah Paul on his pretend Ashes tour. Glad to see I'm a Kiwi now, I'll add it to me list of incorrect opinions from you all. Pity I only deal in facts.'

    Fair do's.

    You're a pillock. How's that do you.;-)

  • Comment number 72.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 73.

    Maybe Australia’s major problem isn’t that their great players have retired but that they keep on explaining exactly how to beat the current team. Thanks again JL!

  • Comment number 74.

    1978...32 years...Spandau Ballet...Knight Rider...Ian Botham...all came and went...and still no English win at the WACA. A generation of losing English players are now supporting and/or coaching an English team to win here ?! The scene is set for accolades for Ponting, if not for captaincy then for yet another century. Bangers & mash, baby, bangers & mash...

  • Comment number 75.

    I totally agree with you WestSussexVillain! I don't expect England to win at a canter at the WACA, but I don't expect them to lose either. The Aussies are a sorry lot at the moment and I'm enjoying every minute of it!

  • Comment number 76.

    So and so's looking great in the nets. It's inevitable; who's he bowling against? Likely as not someone with less runs than Swann will take wickets this series.

    The yardstick of high performance is no longer the Australian training ground. We need something more ... robust, reliable, capable (take your pick)

  • Comment number 77.

    Shango you are a kiwi, only they are as dumb as you and have such over inflated opinions of themselves.
    Seriously mate you know nothing about cricket Vettori couldn't turn a ball of the cut part of the wicket if his 4 eye'd life depended on it.
    ONe day you'll understand btu till then stick to knitting or something cause seriously mate you know nothing about cricket, soccer or rugby looking at your posts.
    Sheesh Vettori hahaha, Monty hahahaha now you have got a decent spinner and you seem to think that those two are better. Mate I think you need to go to specsavers for a new pair. Keep away from furry animals too mate there rotting your brain

  • Comment number 78.

    I reckon a lot of the nerves evident from contributions to this blog arise out of the time that has elapsed since Adelaide: time for England fans to wonder if it really happened, time to debate selection for both sides to death, time to worry if England really are that good, time to worry whether Australia have stumbled upon a collection of matchwinners, time to watch and fret over an extremely dull match against Victoria on a pudding of a pitch.
    Let's pretend that the week and a half of nothing to do except blog hasn't happened. Australia would still have no idea who their best pace bowlers are (Hilfenhaus and Johnson back after missing one test), for spinners they'd still be picking straws in the wind instead of established players (poor old Hauritz, dropped for Doherty, a man whose Test career is itself now over and done with, and then passed over for a man who's played 5 first class matches), and their one interesting pick (Smith) seems likely to play as a batting all-rounder at No.6 - some responsibility for a young man! Oh, yes, and Hughes to open - well, anything might happen.
    England's only problem is who replaces Broad? On the showing of the first two matches, what's needed is someone who goes for no more than 2.5 an over - Tremlett or Bresnan, presumably. The swing of Anderson, the bounce of Finn and the all-round skills of Swann will still be the main source of wickets.
    Now, this doesn't mean it's a guaranteed win, far less a walkover. Assume that Ponting, Clarke and Hussey all get in after Watson and Hughes have slogged their way to a quick 100 for the fiest wicket. Assume that the clouds come over just as the umpires throw Hilfenhaus the new ball. Assume (trying hard) that Johnson magically metamorphoses back to his 2008 incarnation. Assume that England suffer a collective loss of form and nerve such as Headingley 2009 or The Oval 2010. We would be in a real struggle, of course, and the match might well be lost.
    BUT, step back from your English paranoia, your fear of beating anyone, especially Australia. Look at the first two tests, and the decisions each camp has had to make since the second. Which camp would the dispassionate, objective observer rather be in? Exactly.
    It won't be easy, it never is. But a 10 day break to have turned the momentum of the series decisively in Australia's favour? Give over.

  • Comment number 79.

    And for your info Papa post 71 is spot on and that is a fact.
    Its called cricket, and test cricket is about quality plenty of your country men (if your British which I seriously doubt) recognised that you have a decent side. The only voice against this opinion cause you haven't stated any facts you stating you opinions look it up in your Oxford dictionary mate you'll then understand the defination, Opinion starts with O you'll find that in the O's Papa. When you state a fact mate the rest us will tell you ok! That quiet clear mate! Don't want there to be any doubt in there alrighty ok finished mate!

  • Comment number 80.

    "18. At 2:36pm on 14 Dec 2010, papa shango wrote:
    Aussie's will level the series in Perth. Johnson has to come good eventually, and they have been brave & made changes. We will stick with what we know, minus Broad of course. Collingwood is way out of form & the Victoria game proved Cook's series has been a fluke.

    Seamers wicket as well which takes Swann's cheap wickets out of the equation. Aussies at a canter & that will turn the series."

    Just out of curiosity, if you are wrong, will you come on here and admit it after the game?

  • Comment number 81.

    Ianexpatoz - notice the inverted commas around the word "experts". To be honest, they might as well bring me on with a bit of my Left Arm Chinaman; it may go for a few but who else is there. Good luck Mr. Beer.

  • Comment number 82.

    Interesting stuff. Though still optimistic of victory, it's worth noting that England don't have a great record at the WACA, with only one win in 11 Tests. I've done some more analysis of their record in Perth here:
    http://pavilionopinions.blogspot.com/2010/12/stats-not-smokin-for-england-waca.html

  • Comment number 83.

    I'm coming to the discussion late and i imagine that someone has already made this point but weren't england supposed to get beaten up this time round at the Gabba and at Adelaide Oval where Australia never lose....zzzz...
    Where are all the Australian sporting fortresses now, actually?
    don't Australian sporting teams tend to get hammered by visiting English, New Zealand and other teams now?

  • Comment number 84.

    80

    No chance mate he's a wum,and a pretty dumb and arrogant one at that.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed that the ten days has done the Poms no good and and we have at least improved somewhat.
    The thing that worries me was that in 2005 we had a world class attack, the best (and that Papa is a fact). Now in 2010 we have steady but not set the world on fire bowlers and the one who was stand out couldn't hit an elephants backside with a banjo.
    I am not one of those idiot aussies who will sit at the test and rip into guys I recognise when I am seeing good cricketers and even though it sticks in my throat to say it you guys have some good ones.
    We still have some Ponts, Clarke, Hussey, Johnson if he gets his confidence back.
    Test two was a wake up call for all Australians we were outclassed in every department of the game, batting, bowling and fielding. It was the worst I ahve seen us play in a very, very long time how ever we are not gonna play that bad again for sure.
    The question is are we gonna be good enough to win 2 tests? Cause thats the task ahead win 2 tests out of three. Now unless Beer, Smith, Johnson step up and start performing, cause we can't rely on Siddle to do it. Hilf may do ok if we get some swinging conditions but the three afor mentioned need to take wickets to win tests. Then its gonna be hard work.
    All the Poms have shown they can bat a bit, we have underperformed a bit too but again under pressure we cracked badly and played some awful shots! I mean getting out to KP last over thats amateur night! We colapsed the day after like you Poms do.
    We only did ok bowling on a friendly wicket day one of the first test. After that we look lost no plans like the days of old, we don't seem to be putting any together either.
    Hendriques will be in next test if Johnson has another poor test.

    Good luck to both teams hope its a cracker!

  • Comment number 85.

    It is rather amusing reading the profound discourse engaged in posts # 71/72. It's like: He says; she says. One says Fact, the other says Opinion.

    Poll vote?

    Fact:

    Opinion:



  • Comment number 86.

    Left arm Chinaman Chuck I faced one of those in the league last year was one of the strangest experiences ever had at the crease the angle it comes at you is all wrong. From the other end it just doesn't look right, can't quiet put my finger on it.
    What was the name of that SA bowler who used to bowl left arm leg but mostly googlies? Can't remember someone put me out of my misery
    Biggest mistake we made in selection was ditching Merv! He woulda sorted this mess out and if he didn't he'd have farted in their general direction and said "select that!"

  • Comment number 87.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 88.

    "If the wind is coming across you from leg to off, you might bowl more bouncers because if a batsman plays a pull-shot the ball can get held up and then get caught."

    Can someone please explain to me what this gobbledegook actually means? I am a cricket newbie.

  • Comment number 89.

    Sparrow

    Everything on here is opinion so chalk up that for me and there no arguing with a kiwi.

    Just for you sparrow

    Fact:
    Opinion: I

    They think there good at everything Rugby, Cricket, Drinking. Shame they never win much. I will admit South Islands something else! All those are opinions as well

  • Comment number 90.

    Mcgrath had us 2-0 up at this stage, actually no he couldn't be could he??

  • Comment number 91.

    Mate Papa I read your previous posts point out one occasion you have been right this series I need a laugh

  • Comment number 92.

    After you bowled us out first day at Adelaide what was your prediction. Poms all out 150 and us 120-0 by close of play! Good one mate I wish that had been the case but that looks like a parallel universe at the moment

  • Comment number 93.

    come on Papa lets have some of these occasions you were right mate I haven't seen one yet?
    I mean I know there are so few that you have to think hard and your probably a bit slow in the head mate but strewth can't take you that long to reply

  • Comment number 94.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 95.

    Another one mate for you, first test and this is easy mate, I predict we will be 1-0 down by breakfast, I assume thats your time drongo

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    #94

    if it wasn't for Collingwood in Cardiff last year we almost certainly wouldn't have the ashes at the moment Papa, so no you weren't correct there.

  • Comment number 98.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 99.

    88 - If the wind is coming from behind the batsman legs as he stands at the crease (the leg side) across him, you could pitch the ball shorter (further away from the batsman) in order to make him play a pull shot (you'll have to look up the pull shot, no simple way of explaining it. Let's just say it goes to the left or the leg side of a right hander, usually in the air) and the ball is held up by the strong wind coming in the opposite direction, which makes it easier to catch.

    Papa, what kind of punishment can we give you if you are, by some freak of nature, wrong about something? E.g. Jimmy Anderson (3rd best bowler in the world if you're interested) is not test-class and Swann(2nd best bowler in the world) who is such a likeable chap, is merely a county pro. Or will you retract these statements?

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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