Anyway I'll also say I disagree completely about the game at The WACA in 1998/99. For me, Ramprakash recognised that Hick was smacking it beautifully and played the perfect "foil" innings. Hick got out because he was always a chance to do so playing like that, not because he changed his attitude in response to Ramprakash's - it was the right way for Hick to play, but there was a 50\50 chance of it coming-off big and giving England a chance or not quite coming-off enough (the latter happened). I cannot see how anyone can possibly fault Ramprakash for his knock in that second-innings. The tail was then blown away by Gillespie, who avenged his destruction at Hick's hands, and no top-order batsman was ever going to stop that.
Also, I'll tell you beyond doubt that the openers never gave England a good start in 1998/99 - Atherton wasn't fit to do so. Butcher too played well only in the opening Test. It was Hussain who kept England afloat that series.
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I'm simply saying that 1989 and 2001 were completely irrelevant because Atherton was not yet Test-class\past-it and 1998/99 was completely irrelevant because he was quite obviously nowhere near the requistite fitness levels.
If you give any player in history these disadvantages they'll not have a chance either. Chris Broad or whoever. And Atherton and Broad, with all things equal, were not even close. Atherton was better than Broad with his eyes closed.
Stewart was a better batsman-wicketkeeper than Healy or anyone else Australia have ever had except Gilchrist. Simple as that. Someone who doesn't rate his Ashes performances much is wrong. Anyway, with regards spin, Australia had an advantage over everyone except Sri Lanka because they had a once-in-several-generations talent - on that isn't going to be repeated any time soon. Mostly, spin is redundant in both England and Australia in the absence (majority of the time) of a Warne.As for the differences of opinion in terms of opening batting, wicketkeeping and spin bowling, this is probably because these are the areas that Australia has had the biggest advantage over England in the last 20 years.
openers: Aust 4 really well performed options; England none really (except maybe Vaughn)
Wicketkeepers: Aust 2 alltime greats; Eng alot of chopping a changing, nothing outstanding (I don't rate Stewarts Ashes performences that higghly if you didn't notice)
Spinners: Aus 1 alltime great & 1 one well performed backup; Eng nothing of note
In other areas its not so one sided in Aust favour.
In 1989, England used 29 players - but still managed to bat Atherton out-of-position. The most chaotic, and worst, summer in the history of the game around these parts. Under happier circumstances, Atherton would have debuted in 1990, after an A tour, and excelled right from the very start of his career.
Of course you can't blame Ramps directly for Thorpe's shot but it was brought about by the pressure of the situation. The day before, Thorpe was cruising. The following morning, despite being well-placed, Ramps put up the shutters leaving all the scoring down to Thorpe and as anyone who watched them knows, the best way to let a bowler like McGrath back into a match is to just block him out. That Thorpe got out trying to take the initiative doesn't excuse a poor shot but it's an understandable reaction to being crowded by an Aussie team who were being allowed back into a winning position by the dick at the other end who is content to just keep them out.
It's moments like that which win or lose you Tests and series'. The Aussies made a virtual dynasty out of making sure when the match was still up for grabs, they put their best foot forward. Ramps certainly had the shots but, for reasons only known to him, went back into his shell instead.
A perfect example of someone doing it right against the Aussies is with Flintoff's knock at Edgbaston. England, having been belted at Lords, were in the ascendency on first innings, had the momentum ripped away from them by Lee and McGrath on day 4 and were well down when Flintoff hurt his shoulder as it would have appeared at the time that not only was the last batting hope injured but that he couldn't bowl. So Flintoff chanced his hand and totally took the wind out of the Aussie sails in what was probably no more than half-an-hour's batting. Suddenly both Jones and Harmison were also finding the boundary. Suddenly England were ahead in the game again. He only scored 70-odd but I'd argue the confidence the team got from that carried over the rest of the series. He set the tone, much like Harmison did in Brisbane first ball. Any sportsman in a serious team will tell you just how important moments like that are.
Anyway, this isn't about who had the better record.
Last edited by Top_Cat; 04-06-2009 at 06:42 AM.
Why do you say he was played out of position? He was not an opening batsman at this stage of his career. He had never opened in FC cricket in either 1988 or 1989 (although he had played a few matches as opener in 1987, mainly in University cricket). For Lancashire he batted at 3 with Mendis and Fowler opening, and he had also been batting at 3 for Cambridge.
In any case, number 3 shouldn't be much of a problem for an opener, surely? Particularly since IIRC he got to bat in the opening few minutes of the innings anyhow.
As for 1989 being the most chaotic in our history, the only one that I can think of which runs it close, and maybe even exceeds it, is 1988, in which we managed to get through almost as many players and 4 times as many captains.
Rahul Dravid did here with a scoring rate just as slow. I'd be more inclined to agree if you were to say that Ramps failed to accelerate adequately with the tail, which is what Flintoff did to great effect at Edgebaston. Criticising him for scoring slowly is a little bit unfair given those situations- but pinning the blame for Thorpe and Hick getting themselves out is utterly ridiculous.
Either way, thanks for the fill-in.
Well yeah, 28 in 1988 (inc. 4-and-a-half captains) and 29 in 1989 - those two combined (following-on from 1986 and 1987 which were also wretched) kinda blend perfectly into the two most wretched years in English cricket history, but I tend to regard 1989 as just slightly worse because it had been preceded by 1988!As for 1989 being the most chaotic in our history, the only one that I can think of which runs it close, and maybe even exceeds it, is 1988, in which we managed to get through almost as many players and 4 times as many captains.
Not many others were tried for good reason - there was no-one else who had a prayer in hell.That's like saying "Apart from virtually all the other batsmen in the order, who was doing better." or course there aren't going to be many but then, not many others were tried. Crawley was worse of course as was Atherton.
Anyway, this isn't about who had the better record.
I see it differently. The bowler controls the game. Gillespie bowled rubbish at Hick on the second evening, allowing Hick to play like that, and he then bowled far, far better on the third morning - it's not like he was bowling the same crap and Ramprakash was just letting him get away with it. Gillespie had tightened-up, so he couldn't be whacked around as he had been the previous day, and he got his rewards when he blew through the tail. Hick had to keep playing in the same manner because it was England's only chance, but if Gillespie bowled well it was not going to work. And Gillespie did, because he was indeed a quality bowler.As I said above, Gillespie was bowling rubbish to that point, he was just coming back from injury and having his action totally rebuilt after all. The batting on day 3 essentially let him bowl back into form and he blew away the tail with a burst of wickets. You just cannot give a quality bowler that sort of chance because they'll take it. No way of knowing this for sure but I'd argue had the England batsmen come hard at him, they'd have hit him out of the attack.
Ramprakash did score runs - it's not like he finished on 24* off 140 balls. Way I remember it Hick was cracking it all over everywhere and Ramprakash was nurdling it nicely (to what extent it's possible to do that on a bouncy, short-boundaried WACA - which is not all that much).A 'foil' also has to score runs, if nothing else just turning over the strike. That way, you score with little risk and don't allow the bowlers to settle. Just blocking, that's for if you're playing for a draw as far as I'm concerned.
And the myth that nurdling it takes no risk is just that - a myth. Otherwise no bowler would ever be able to bowl dot-balls. Opening and closing the face and looking to manufacture into a gap a ball that is not bowled to go there is asking for almost as much trouble as trying to cut one that's too straight, pull one that's too full, drive one that's too wide, hit to leg one that's not close enough to your pads, etc.
Last edited by Richard; 04-06-2009 at 10:00 AM.
Hussain did so much better than Trescothick against Australia it's untrue.
(And in fact against everyone else as well.)
God, England were **** in this period being discussed now. Thinking about it turns a mediocre day into a good one .
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