By Gaurav Joshi
England have been given a major boost ahead of the second Test with the availability of Tim Bresnan and a drop—in wicket that is likely to play in a similar manner to those pitches England had dished up during the Ashes series in winter at home.
After demoralising England on the fast and bouncy wicket at the Gabba, the drop—in pitch is certain to aid England and stop Australia’s momentum.
The natural characterises of the drop—in pitches are they tend to start with true bounce, but get slower and lower as the games progresses. This means the edges will not be carrying to slips and LBW and bowled become the normal mode of dismissals. In Brisbane, most of the English dismissals were caught behind the wicket or caught at short—leg. Those forms of dismissals are highly unlikely at Adelaide. Instead, we are likely to witness imaginative fields at short—cover and short mid—wicket for miscued drives or flicks and bowlers playing on batsmen’s patience.
If there is an area that England batsmen have an advantage over the locals, it lies in their ability to bat time and grind the runs out. The drop—in pitch will certainly benefit the English than the Aussies.
These sorts of tactics will play right into England’s hands and having Tim Bresnan back is a massive boost to the side as well. The Yorkshire man, is not only England’s lucky charm, but best suited to bowling nagging deliveries at the stumps and giving nothing away as seen in the fourth Test in Durham during winter.
Drop—in wickets tend to be quite abrasive, so reverse swing is also likely to play a part. It is a skill that Tim Bresnan thrives on. He is more economical than both James Anderson and Stuart Broad and has an uncanny knack of picking up wickets of batsmen that are well set. In the recent Ashes series held in England, Bresnan dismissed batsmen who had scored more than 15 on 8 times out of his 10 wickets. Throughout his career, he has claimed 26 out of 67 wickets of well set batsmen (15 — 50).
Also the drop—in pitches tend to be slightly abrasive and it likely will enhance reverse swing. Bresnan along with Anderson is England’s best exponent of the skill and with his limited overs experience can use it to his benefit to hold up one end.
Apart from his bowling, Bresnan’s ability with the bat does allow England to gamble with two spinners and two quickies. Bresnan averages 30 with the bat and is more accomplished at dealing with the short ball than rest of the brittle lower—order batsmen. During the Ashes series held in England, Bresnan’s 45 with the bat in the second innings at Durham proved beneficial, as was his gritty 38 at Lords when sent in as night-watchman. Bresnan will allow England to have that extra depth in a team that needs runs to boost their confidence.
(Gaurav Joshi is an Indian-born Australian who played with Michael Clarke in his junior days. He coaches and reports for a Sydney radio station. Over the years he has freelanced for Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and is a regular on ABC cricket show Cow Corner. He is the author of the book “Teen Thunder Down Under” – The inside story of India’s 2012 U19 World Cup Triumph)
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