This will be my third and final blog post about the recent ODI series between India and Australia. I have previously tweeted about the incredible series in general, and I have praised India’s batting line up. But now it is time to slate the Australians (something all Englishmen love doing).
The Aussies only took 30 wickets in five completed innings in this series in which they lost 3-2. Mitchell Johnson took 7 of these and missed the final game due to injury as well, and he looked very threatening at times. Ever since IPL 2013 when he played a pivotal role opening the bowl for the Mumbai Indians, Johnson has bowled with pace and aggression and looked to have the batsmen in serious discomfort. Then again, this is Mitchell Johnson and he is prone to bowling some awful spells. With his pace, the lightning fast outfields and the new fielding restrictions, if he gets his line or length wrong then more often than not an in form batsman will crucify him. And that is the risk of Mitchell Johnson.
Aussie new boy James Faulkner is one of the brightest young talents in ODI cricket. Not only did he score quick and important runs against India, he also took 7 wickets. These wickets cost him 320 runs at an economy rate of 7.19. These stats are not ideal but after watching him bowl in this series, I believe he deserved much kinder figures than he ended with. He is another left arm seamer (not as quick as Johnson) and uses his angles very wisely, along with a beautiful back of the hand slower ball which he seemed to underuse at the death against India.
Clint McKay is a very ‘Graham Onions type’ bowler. He has no great pace to write of and doesn’t seem to swing the ball round corners, but his great weapon is line and length with a bit of seam movement to trap the batsman in front. We saw his hat-trick against England in the summer claiming Pietersen, Trott and Root in successive balls, but apart from that he hasn’t impressed me too much. His control in the series against India was very poor, and on the pitches they were playing on he deserved to be hit into the crowd as many times as he did.
Shane Watson is one of the gutsiest cricketers I have seen in recent years. He is exactly the sort of person you do not want to sledge or make angry because he will make you pay. His batting skills are incredible, but his bowling is not up to scratch. Only 3 wickets at an average of 76 in the Indian series is not good enough for someone who George Bailey as captain relies on so much.
For the last 15 years, Australia have had the wonder of Shane Warne to turn to when they need help. Now their frontline spinner is Xavier Doherty. I actually feel sorry for George Bailey, Michael Clarke and Darren Lehmann. Doherty bowled 46 overs in the series against India and only managed two wickets. He averaged 141 and his economy rate was above a run a ball. Compare that with India’s spinners, Ashwin and Jadeja took 17 between them. Doherty’s career ODI isn’t flattering either, 49 wickets at an average of 40.
In all fairness to Australia, the injury list is alarming. Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson. Once again, I feel sorry for George Bailey, Michael Clarke and Darren Lehmann.