Lizzy Ammon at Lord’s
England (272 – 5) beat Australia ( 257-9 ) by 15 runs
1) The series has been labelled “meaningless” and “without context”. Certainly most people would have preferred a 4th Test against the South Africans than this 5 match ODI series but the context and purpose of it is pretty clear. It isn’t, as many have suggested, purely about money. It is about planning for the world cup and the pursuit of becoming the best ODI team in the World to sit alongside being the best Test team and the best T20 team. Would be nice to complete the triple wouldn’t it? And we are where we are. The Australians are here and the series has all the makings of a very close and exciting contest. This first match was not short of excitement , intensity and tension.
2) Ravi Bopara remains with the spotlight on him. He did get a very good ball today coupled with excellent captaincy to leave a slip in for him. But it is another failure – He always does more than enough at county level to show what he is capable of and how incredibly talented he is and it would be grossly unfair for him to always feel he is in last chance saloon. But at some point, he simply has to put in a string of consistent performances. He does bring something with the ball and he bowled well today but is that isn’t enough to warrant selection if the batting performances aren’t going well enough. Equally, the jury is out over Kieswetter – it’s going to be a defining summer for him. Conversely, Six weeks warming the bench in the IPL doesn’t seem to have done Eoin Morgan any harm. Off the back of a powerful innings for Middlesex the other night in the FLT20, his innings today was immensely impressive, with a wide array of shots all round the wicket which took England from a state of bogged down to an above par Lord’s one day score.
3) In Shane Watson’s pre-match mind games chatter he said he thought England might be a batsman light. I don’t think so. There are question marks over Kieswetter and he is under a little bit of pressure – possibly only from the Media rather than in the England camp itself but the jury is definitely out on him. But even so, a 7,8,9 of Bresnan, Broad and Swann is really not the worst. And besides, the Australians have Steve Smith at number 6 so if I were Shane I’d be worrying more about my own house. In the battle of the bowling attacks, England came out well on top. It helped that they were able to find reverse swing because the outfield had dried but that isn’t the whole reason.
4) David Warner could prove to be the key man for Australia with the bat. He is incredibly strong square of the wicket so giving him any width is a complete no no. Equally, if you bowl short to him he’ll hook you into Camden high street. The only way is straight and full. The hype about Patrick Cummins might be warranted, he’s definitely got something. He isn’t any better than Steven Finn but he is only 19. Definitely a very exciting prospect. David Hussey was given a good going over by Finn before getting into a mess and being bowled off his body. I’m not sure the theory that he doesn’t play the short bowl well is always true but he looked all at sea today. It remains something of a question why Australia persist with Steve Smith, he didn’t bowl and looked utterly unconvincing for his 8 runs before dangling his bat out in the manner of someone who actually wanted to get out to be caught behind off Bresnan.
5) Xavier Doherty is the spinner of choice in limited overs for the Australia. He is, I’m told, the best containment slow bowler in Australia at the moment. He is good at varying his pace and lengths and does his containment role very well but he doesn’t turn the ball and only looks like a slight wicket taking threat when he gives it a little bit of flight rather than firing in arm balls to try and keep the rate down.
6) They were tough batting conditions for England with gloomy conditions and rain delays early on in the innings. But England have a side who can play out those conditions and build a platform to allow for late acceleration. 272 is an above average score for Lord’s and Australia never got into a position that allowed for that acceleration, England broke the partnerships at key times. It was, yet another, clinical well executed performance from England who seem to be stepping up to whatever challenge is put in front of them. Oppositions come and go and England have faith that if they stick to the plans they’ve laid down they’ll come out on top. Whilst it was by no means a perfect performance, it was plenty good enough. The Australians, meanwhile, have a lot to think about.