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Steve Harmison

Steve Harmison for the first Test?


  • Total voters
    52

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
He made the captian draw blood and didn't show any concern, set the tone which puts his name in the forefront of the mind when looking for a key moment in the series.
But England were thrashed in that match, which means it wasn't remotely key in the series.

The key moment in reality, which creaked the pendulum from the dominance Australia exerted between 1989 and the First Test of 2005, was Trescothick and Strauss' partnership in the first session at Edgbaston.
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
However, Dick's assertion he contributed to those four tests the sum of "sod all" is cobblers too. Who picked up Clarke with a slower ball yorker at the end of the third day in the second? & who produced the bounce that disconcerted Kasprowicz into gloving the ball to the saintly Geraint & snatch victory from the vegemite-stained jaws of defeat?
There's those ignore-lists working their wonders again. For those who haven't noticed, this precise point is being debated (by me and someone else) in another thread.
 

Redbacks

International Captain
They lost the match though. England went on to win at Edgebaston due to Flintoff's inspiration, aggressive first-innings batting, Harmison's crucial wickets of Clarke and Kasprowicz, Simon Jones's incredible reverse swing and a little slice of luck late in the day.

Several million miles down the list you'll find Harmison hitting Ponting on the head a while earlier that summer as a factor in why England won the game.
Rich asked why Australian's thought he bowled well in the series and I gave a reason why this may be the case based on what was considered a symbolic moment down under, not that he actually did outperform others
 
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Uppercut

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Rich asked why Australian's thought he bowled well in the series and I gave a reason why this may be the case based on what was considered a symbolic moment down under, not that he actually did outperform others
Fair play. I wasn't attacking you, just taking the opportunity to rant a little about how overrated that incident is in terms of impact :).
 

zaremba

Cricketer Of The Year
Fair play. I wasn't attacking you, just taking the opportunity to rant a little about how overrated that incident is in terms of impact :).
Obviously you can't draw a neat causative line between Harmison hitting 3 Aussie batsmen in the first half hour and what happened in later Tests. But it was hugely symbolic. And more importantly it gave the England team and supporters a huge lift and huge self belief, and let the criminals know that they were in a proper fight for the first time in years. Those factors are hard to quantify but they really mattered.

This is the consistent message that comes from every player who played in that series who's opinion I've read. And it resonates with what the players from previous series have said - the English weakness was in lack of self-belief, lack of aggression, lack of team spirit, lack of fight, areas where the Australians were particularly strong.

I disagree with others on this forum who, perhaps unsurprisingly, baulk at the idea that there may be important aspects of the game in respect of which we can't rely on the evidence of our own eyes as spectators and analysts of the game, and in respect of which we need instead to respect and rely on the views of the players who actually took part.
 

Uppercut

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Obviously you can't draw a neat causative line between Harmison hitting 3 Aussie batsmen in the first half hour and what happened in later Tests. But it was hugely symbolic. And more importantly it gave the England team and supporters a huge lift and huge self belief, and let the criminals know that they were in a proper fight for the first time in years. Those factors are hard to quantify but they really mattered.

This is the consistent message that comes from every player who played in that series who's opinion I've read. And it resonates with what the players from previous series have said - the English weakness was in lack of self-belief, lack of aggression, lack of team spirit, lack of fight, areas where the Australians were particularly strong.

I disagree with others on this forum who, perhaps unsurprisingly, baulk at the idea that there may be important aspects of the game in respect of which we can't rely on the evidence of our own eyes as spectators and analysts of the game, and in respect of which we need instead to respect and rely on the views of the players who actually took part.
While I don't doubt that your general point is true, this particular incident doesn't fit the bill because England had their arses handed to them in that match. They were absolutely stuffed.

The incident only works in hindsight because of what followed. Players can look back now and say, "that was a moment that made us believe we could compete" and be taken seriously. But if someone had said in between the first two tests, "sure we lost by 200 runs, but we know we can take on the Aussies because Steve Harmison hit Ricky Ponting on the head on the first day" they'd have been quite rightly ridiculed.

Symbolic incidents can have a huge impact on the destiny of a series- no arguments there- this just wasn't one of them. It's been blown up to a crucial moment in hindsight when at the time it had no relevance at all.
 

BoyBrumby

Englishman
While I don't doubt that your general point is true, this particular incident doesn't fit the bill because England had their arses handed to them in that match. They were absolutely stuffed.

The incident only works in hindsight because of what followed. Players can look back now and say, "that was a moment that made us believe we could compete" and be taken seriously. But if someone had said in between the first two tests, "sure we lost by 200 runs, but we know we can take on the Aussies because Steve Harmison hit Ricky Ponting on the head on the first day" they'd have been quite rightly ridiculed.

Symbolic incidents can have a huge impact on the destiny of a series- no arguments there- this just wasn't one of them. It's been blown up to a crucial moment in hindsight when at the time it had no relevance at all.
Not true. Reporters saw and commented on the relevance at the time. Here's Mike Selvey's Guardian report from the Friday 22nd July 2005:

Until McGrath intervened with one of the most compelling bowling spells in Ashes history, it had been England who had stirred the patriotic fervour.

No England side, not even Douglas Jardine's, can have subjected Australia to such a comprehensive barrage of hostility as that inflicted by Michael Vaughan's pace attack yesterday.

Australia were dismissed inside 41 overs, barely an over more than Bangladesh lasted on this ground a couple of months ago. If England would like to claim that this was a genuine team bowling effort (and to some extent it was) it was Harmison, surging in from the Pavilion end, who unsettled the Australian batsmen with his pace, rhythm and bounce.

Inside the first hour each of the opposition top three - Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting - had all received treatment on the field as a result of blows dealt by Harmison. Ponting's helmet grille sliced into his right cheekbone so that he needed butterfly stitches to staunch the blood. Immediately on resumption the Australian captain, clearly rattled, succumbed to the slip cordon.


----

Doesn't sound like after the fact revisionism to me. A former test quick recognised the significance immediately, even allowing for McGrath's surgical dissection of our top order.
 

Goughy

Hall of Fame Member
I don't think that moment was relevant at all. When Simon Jones, the real hero of 2005, was shattering Aussie stumps with prodigious inswing it wasn't because Steve Harmison hit Ponting on the chin a few weeks earlier.

Not that I agree with Richard's assessment of Harmison's bowling in 2005. But that moment meant nothing.
It meant so much. England had decided the only chance was to go after Australia and be aggessive. There was no guarantee that it would work or how the Aussies would react.

Harmison set the scene that England were going to come hard all summer and the Aussies were going to have a tough fight on their hands. The blood and bruises lifted the morale, made the Aussies seem less invincible, gave the team confience and swagger and got the public excited and confident despite coming in a loss.

It was a statement of intent.

If Harmison didnt bully in that 1st Test then England do not win the series. The aggressive mentality is something that, despite losing, England and its fans took from the game.

'We are going to stand here and fight toe to toe. You may knock us out but we are not hiding and we will keep swinging'

That is why it was the greatest series I have ever seen.

To say the moment meant nothing is not right and misunderstands what was going on at the time.
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
Rich asked why Australian's thought he bowled well in the series and I gave a reason why this may be the case based on what was considered a symbolic moment down under, not that he actually did outperform others
I cannot and never will be able to fathom how "bowling well in a series" is deigned to be hitting Hayden and Ponting then knocking-over the lower-order in both innings'. Nonetheless, I don't doubt that such things are indeed seen as symbolic, in Australia and England. However, I myself am entirely confident that had they not happened the last four Tests would still have gone exactly as they did.
 

Richard

Cricket Web Staff Member
And more importantly it gave the England team and supporters a huge lift and huge self belief, and let the criminals know that they were in a proper fight for the first time in years.
What do you think gave more of an impression that they were in a fight for the first time in years: Harmison hitting Hayden and Ponting in 2005, or being reduced to 65 for 8 in 1997?

I'd say anyone who honestly believes the former is speaking purely based on hindsight at what happened in the respective series'.
 

fredfertang

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
There was a feeling of euphoria around after the first test in 97 but not, to my certain recollection, generally at least, of any belief that the tide had turned - in 2005 despite being one down after Lords it was different and I believe the cause was the "attitude" that particular incident symbolised
 

zaremba

Cricketer Of The Year
What do you think gave more of an impression that they were in a fight for the first time in years: Harmison hitting Hayden and Ponting in 2005, or being reduced to 65 for 8 in 1997?

I'd say anyone who honestly believes the former is speaking purely based on hindsight at what happened in the respective series'.
Yes edgbaston 97 was the last time that I could think of when we put up a real fight. The odd anomalous win in the meantime notwithstanding. So I don't disagree with you there.

As for speaking entirely in retrospect, I don't consider myself unduly guilty of that charge. I Saw the potential significance a the time. In any event retrospect is the only way in which we are capable of judging things that have happened in the past as far as i'm aware.
 

Furball

Evil Scotsman
IMO, the batting on the first morning of the Edgbaston Test was far more crucial in setting the tone for the series than Harmison's bowling at Lord's.

As Uppercut has stated, England got hammered at Lord's. To bounce back and dominate the Australian attack as they did at Edgbaston was a far greater statement of intent.
 

tooextracool

International Coach
I don't want us to get side-tracked too far off topic here, but Sarwan is of similar class to all those, with the exception of Ponting who's a class above nearly every batsman I've ever seen.

Hughes is still a bit of an unknown quantity. He looks a good player, and has done well to achieve a start to his Test career which is almost as good as that of Sourav Ganguly.
There is no way that Sarwan is in the same class as Hussey or Katich. Sarwan is a slightly above average player with a record thats nothing special but just boosted by scores against mediocre opposition like Bangladesh.
 

tooextracool

International Coach
Not true. Reporters saw and commented on the relevance at the time. Here's Mike Selvey's Guardian report from the Friday 22nd July 2005:

Until McGrath intervened with one of the most compelling bowling spells in Ashes history, it had been England who had stirred the patriotic fervour.

No England side, not even Douglas Jardine's, can have subjected Australia to such a comprehensive barrage of hostility as that inflicted by Michael Vaughan's pace attack yesterday.

Australia were dismissed inside 41 overs, barely an over more than Bangladesh lasted on this ground a couple of months ago. If England would like to claim that this was a genuine team bowling effort (and to some extent it was) it was Harmison, surging in from the Pavilion end, who unsettled the Australian batsmen with his pace, rhythm and bounce.

Inside the first hour each of the opposition top three - Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting - had all received treatment on the field as a result of blows dealt by Harmison. Ponting's helmet grille sliced into his right cheekbone so that he needed butterfly stitches to staunch the blood. Immediately on resumption the Australian captain, clearly rattled, succumbed to the slip cordon.


----

Doesn't sound like after the fact revisionism to me. A former test quick recognised the significance immediately, even allowing for McGrath's surgical dissection of our top order.
Dont think it meant as much as you are making it out to be. That article was followed by many articles that said, 'Here we go again' or something along those lines a few days later. I dont deny that his spell was a very good one and perhaps is one of the reasons why the Aussies still hold him in high regard, but I simply do not see how it was a pivotal moment in that series or anything of the like. It didnt mean much at all, just that he had the potential to be very dangerous on his day.
 

tooextracool

International Coach
If Harmison didnt bully in that 1st Test then England do not win the series. The aggressive mentality is something that, despite losing, England and its fans took from the game.
You think this meant more than dismissing them for 79 odd in the t20? I would think the Aussies already would have known from the preceding limited over series that they were in for a real fight that summer, I dont think Harmison's spell changed anything that they didnt already know. I dont think Harmison bowled poorly that series (although I think he benefitted from the fact that we had a 5 man attack that was able to cover up anyone that didnt perform in any particular test) but I cannot logically see how this had anywhere close to the sort of impact as scoring 400 odd in a day against the Aussies or Simon Jones or Freddie Flintoff that series.
 

social

Hall of Fame Member
Inetresting that virtually every player and expert rate Harmison extremely highly whilst majority of CWers think he's ****e (btw, I went to a lunch recently where AB was guest speaker and he claimed that Harmy was UNDOUBTEDLY Eng's best bowler and the one the Aussies feared most

Either there is a massive conspiracy between players and media analysts from all countries aimed at hoodwinking the Eng selectors into picking an average player OR they actually think that there is more to his bowling than many here recognise
 

Uppercut

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Inetresting that virtually every player and expert rate Harmison extremely highly whilst majority of CWers think he's ****e (btw, I went to a lunch recently where AB was guest speaker and he claimed that Harmy was UNDOUBTEDLY Eng's best bowler and the one the Aussies feared most

Either there is a massive conspiracy between players and media analysts from all countries aimed at hoodwinking the Eng selectors into picking an average player OR they actually think that there is more to his bowling than many here recognise
If they think Harmison is England's best bowler, to me that just indicates that they're seriously underestimating the rest of the attack. Or that their minds are still in 2005.
 

Uppercut

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It meant so much. England had decided the only chance was to go after Australia and be aggessive. There was no guarantee that it would work or how the Aussies would react.

Harmison set the scene that England were going to come hard all summer and the Aussies were going to have a tough fight on their hands. The blood and bruises lifted the morale, made the Aussies seem less invincible, gave the team confience and swagger and got the public excited and confident despite coming in a loss.

It was a statement of intent.

If Harmison didnt bully in that 1st Test then England do not win the series. The aggressive mentality is something that, despite losing, England and its fans took from the game.

'We are going to stand here and fight toe to toe. You may knock us out but we are not hiding and we will keep swinging'

That is why it was the greatest series I have ever seen.

To say the moment meant nothing is not right and misunderstands what was going on at the time.
Even so, Harmison hitting Ponting on the head was just a symptom of the attitude that helped England win the series. The incident in itself was meaningless.
 

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