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Crick Down the Legside


September 5, 2009 6:36 AM

Thrilling end to ODI opener

If the ensuing six games in the ODI series involving England and Australia are as thrilling as the first, then we're in for an entertaining series.
England put up a valiant effort chasing down Australia's 260 but came up four runs short - and had they not leaked 50 runs at the end of Australia's innings, and made better use of the second powerplay, then they would have been assured victory.
Australia's bowling attack is well balanced, with the return of the innovative Bracken, measured Hauritz and effervescent Lee who, while unrelentingly competitive, still managed to have a smile on his face in the final four overs.
England will be heartened by the performances of Wright and Rashed, who kept England in touch at the death, although 10 an over is always going to be a tough ask in any conditions - not least under the Oval floodlights.
Bopara regained some of his touch, but still needs to score faster - and England, as a whole, need to keep the scoreboard ticking over during times of pressure and remove those consecutive dot balls.
One aspect of the modern ODI game is the constant movement of batsmen in the crease, and you can't help wondering how more effective they'd be if they kept still.
With the slower ball now a permanent aspect of most fast bowlers' armouries, it stands to reason that you'll have more time to pick it up if you aren't hopping about like a rabbit.
The pre-meditated flick to leg is also becoming overused, and there are times when batsmen would be better standing up and crashing it through the off side.
Easier said than done of course, as the adrenalin is pumping, but something for captains and coaches to ponder.

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