The Ashes 2013: 1st Test, Day 5 - Flops of the Day
It was a day of twists and turns as players from both sides walked out to play on the final day of the first Ashes Test between England and Australia.
The entire match was rife with umpiring errors, and today was no different. What mattered in the end, however, was England’s eventual win after having anxious moments throughout the first session courtesy the last-wicket pair of Brad Haddin and James Pattinson.
Still, there were some not-so-fine performances on this day, and they are listed below:
Steven Finn (0/37 in 10 overs)
After Ashton Agar took him to the cleaners in the first innings, the giant Middlesex pace bowler seemed to have lost confidence in himself.
On the last day, apart from the fact that his last 2 overs of the match went for 24 runs, that too when Australia were 50-60 odd runs behind the target, his fielding on the ropes left a lot to be desired as he leaked runs quite comically near the boundary.
He wasn’t successful in Australia’s second innings, though he did bowl as usual – fast and somewhat accurately. It wasn’t through lack of effort though – Haddin and Pattinson played him very nicely.
What does go against him, however, is his relative lack of penetration compared to his more successful colleague James Anderson. If he continues to bowl like this, Alastair Cook and coach Andy Flower may have to scrap the three-pacer strategy ahead of the second Test at Lord’s.
Mitchell Starc (1 run off 5 balls)
For a tail-ender with a highest Test score of 99, Mitchell Starc is someone who can bat a bit. All he had to do was stay in with Haddin to help Australia achieve the target of 311.
Instead, he scratched around for 4 balls, making only one run, before another edging another Anderson delivery to Cook at first slip. It looks like only James Pattinson took a leaf out of Agar’s book, as much was expected of Starc since he can hit the ball a long way too.
Graeme Swann (2/105 in 44 overs)
To be fair to the off-spinner, it wasn’t exactly a pitch that offered a lot of turn – just enough bounce to trouble the batsmen. Although Swann tried his best, sending down the loopy off-breaks in order to beat the batsmen in flight, he was ineffective against both Haddin and Pattinson – the latter even tonked him for a massive six over wide long on.
Let’s just hope the veteran spinner delivers a better showing next time, as he is yet another key player in England’s scheme of things.
With England just one wicket from victory and Australia 15 runs short of their target, umpire Aleem Dar decided to liven up the proceedings in the 111th over. Haddin went for the cover drive to a length delivery from Anderson and got a faint tickle to Matt Prior behind the stumps.
To England’s consternation, Dar ruled in favour of the batsman, but skipper Cook responded by asking for a review. Hot-Spot confirmed the edge, Haddin departed, England won, and Dar was made to look foolish. Crazy stuff from the umpires in this game!
I’d recommend that both sides pull up their socks and get to work – this series is not going to be a walk in the park for either of them. Australia have plenty of work to do in the batting department, while England need to sort out some kinks in their bowling. Meanwhile, I will just wait for 18th July, when these two teams face off at Lord’s.