Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/8/9/australian-bowlers-have-psychological-ashes-edge

Australian bowlers have psychological Ashes edge

UPDATED 09 August, 2013 2:44PM AEST | by gavjoshi, fan writer for The Roar 3

The Ashes might be lost but Australian bowlers have certainly managed to stem the flow of runs and gained a physiological edge over the top three English batsmen for the return series at home.

While the batsmen progression has been sluggish the bowlers have executed plans perfectly.

The output of Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen has been limited largely due to the accuracy, tactics and the physiological impact of the Australian fast bowlers.

Cook’s cutting

All the pre-Ashes hype was surrounded by the greatness of Cook. Ex-cricketers had even stated Cook was unflawed and the English captain would eventually eclipse Tendulkar’s batting record.

Well if Cook constantly faces bowling of the quality of Ryan Harris, Pete Siddle, Mitch Starc and James Pattinson, the left hander may need to play well into his 40s to overcome Tendulkar’s feats.

It is clear since Cook’s run fest down under two year ago Australians have done plenty of homework.

Firstly, they have stopped feeding him short balls outside the off stump which has meant Cook has not been able to play two of his favourite runs scoring shots, the pull and the cut.

So accurate have the Australian bowlers been, out of the 17 boundaries Cook has hit in the series he has only played two cut shots to the fence while he is yet to hit a pull or hook shot to the boundary.

To put in perspective in the first ashes Test in Brisbane two years back Cook hit 32 boundaries out of which 15 were either pulled or cut to the fence.

Since the Australians have stopped Cook scoring in his favourite areas, he has had to look for alternative scoring options, mostly of the front foot.

Since Cook is pre-dominantly a back foot player, playing on the front foot makes him vulnerable.

The Australian bowlers have seized up this opportunity. Five of Cook’s six dismissals have been when he has playing on the front foot.

Even Cook’s strangle down the leg side in third Test was a result of him playing around the front pad and getting his head outside the line of the ball. This was result of the persistent bowling of keeping it full outside the off stump and making the Cook comes at them.

So far Australia has won the battle despite couple of gritty half centuries by the English Captain.

Double-bluffed Trott

The minute Trott has walked to the crease in the series Clarke has strengthened the leg side field to prevent Trott’s flow of runs through the onside.

The field setting has suggested the Australian bowlers are going to bowl full and straight at the stumps.

However, the Australian bowlers have double bluffed; they have bowled wide and full outside the off stump.

They have used the straight full ball sparingly, either right at the start of Trott’s innings or as a surprise weapon only after Trott has started to shuffle across his stumps.

Bowlers have kept Trott guessing on when they the full and straight ball will be delivered.

Only twice in the series has Trott been able to get into double figures. On both instances the runs he has scored on the onside outweigh the runs on the offside.

In the first Test it was 20 runs offside and 28 onside. Second Test it was 20 runs offside and 38 onside.

Majority of the onside runs are boundaries, due to the fact Clarke has been content to concede a boundary for a bad ball but reluctant to concede a single to keep Trott on strike.

It is deliberate tactic to bowl consecutive balls at Trott. The guessing game has definitely played on Trott’s mind.

Furthermore, when Trott has scored the runs on the offside he has been looked extremely vulnerable.

Either the wide drives have skewed off the edge past gully or end up past the diving slip cordon.

The wide balls have had Trott shuffling across more than usual to reach balls he would normally leave making him even more susceptible to the straight ball.

The constant wide swinging balls outside off stump have been followed by a sharp inswinger to trap him across the stumps.

Starc and Harris have managed to execute it perfectly.

Since the first innings of the first Test the Australian bowlers have dealt a blow in his mind. It will be interesting to see Trott’s response in the next couple of Tests.

Is KP Siddle’s bunny?

Despite Kevin Pietersen’s hundred in the third Test, he is yet to dominate the Australian bowling. Each time Pietersen has looked on verge on something special Clarke has gone to Pietersen nemesis, Peter Siddle.

Siddle and Pietersen have played against each other in 10 Ashes Tests. On the 16 occasions Pietersen has batted in those Test matches, Siddle has dismissed him on seven occasions.

Out of the other nine occasions, Pietersen faced up to Siddle only on six of the occasions. So overall, Siddle’s success rate against Pietersen is 7/13 times, that is over 50 percent.

Not only has Siddle managed to dismiss the English number four batsmen but he has also succeeded in keep him in check.

Out of the 228 balls Siddle has bowled to him, Pietersen has scored only 114 runs at a strike rate of around 50%.

Considering Pietersen natural aggression and his dominance over some of world’s elite bowlers, Siddle figures are outstanding.

What is strange is the fact Siddle has dismissed Pietersen mostly when he has been set.

Out of the seven dismissals, four have come with Pietersen over the score of 30 plus. It is only in the ongoing Ashes series Siddle has managed to dismiss him in single digits.

With still seven Ashes Tests to come, Pietersen could well be Siddle’s bunny, if he isn’t already.

Fan article originally published on The Roar's sports opinion website and kindly reproduced here thanks to The Roar. Submit your own cricket fan article for potential publication on

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 09 August, 2013 2:40PM AEST

Commercial Partners