Home > Features >

Ashes 2013 Review: Top five bowlers

Ashes 2013 Review: Top five bowlers

Ryan Harris (left) and Graeme Swann have been the two best bowlers in the 2013 Ashes © Getty Images

By Bharath Ramaraj

Over the years, in some of the most wondrously titanic battles played between old enemies England and Australia, innumerable cricketers have beguiled, and bedazzled cricket-lovers with moments of near-impossible, soul-lifting masterpieces. It is all about looking to break well-defined boundaries and take their game to regal heights for the sake of their beloved country.

So, in this article, the writer tries to look at five bowlers who have enthralled the audience with their sizzling bowling performances in the just concluded Ashes series held in England.
5) Peter Siddle

The Victorian fast bowler, Peter Siddle, isn’t going to send the crowd into a tizzy by hooping the red-cherry around the corners or by bowling with scorching pace. The whole-hearted cricketer though, by marrying unfailingly resilient self-belief with energetic industrious stamina, just doesn’t give any respite for the batsman.

In the Ashes series, Siddle took 17 wickets. Statistically, his best performance came at Trent Bridge when he took eight wickets in the match. But it was at Old Trafford when he really captivated the imagination of cricket fans by snaring four wickets in the first innings on what was a good deck for batting.

The way Siddle bowled at Old Trafford rekindled the flames of passion of Merv Hughes, taking up the gauntlet of leading Australia’s pace-attack at Lord’s, two decades ago in the absence of injured McDermott. Even the willowy-master Kevin Pietersen wasn’t able to get on top of Siddle’s bowling at Old Trafford.

Peter Siddle perhaps wasn’t at his best at Durham and The Oval, as he took just one wicket in those two Tests. However, he has no doubt come a long way from the days when he was just an honest-trier. Nowadays, he relies on smartly using the crease to prey on the unsuspecting batsman. If not for anything else, he is a great advertisement for vegetarianism and bananaism.
4) Stuart Broad

The Nottinghamshire and England seamer, Stuart Broad, left an indelible mark on the series with a rich-haul of 22 wickets next to his name. The tall seamer isn’t one of those ultra-consistent bowlers who can churn-out fine performances day-in and day-out. However, when he is bowling with good rhythm, he can win matches single-handedly for his team.

In the fourth test match at the Riverside ground in Durham, Broad did something similar by taking a 11-wicket haul and helped England clinch the series 3-0. On a track that can be described as a seamer’s paradise, he extracted monstrous seam movement to floor the Australian batting line-up. When a bowler bowls crackerjack deliveries time and again, a batsman can only pray to god and hope for the best.

In the second innings of that fourth Test at Durham, he reserved his best for Australian skipper Michael Clarke. As the jaws dropped and eyes protruded in sheer disbelief, Broad produced a ripper of a delivery that angled-in, before it sharply changed direction to hit top of off-stump. Interestingly, until the fourth Test match, Broad had taken just six wickets in three Tests.
3) James Anderson

On expected lines, the Burnley Bullet and England’s spearhead, James Anderson, was able to deliver the goods in the Ashes series by taking 22 wickets. He was at his absolute best in the first Test at Trent Bridge, where he took a 10-wicket haul in the match. In fact, at Trent Bridge it was a complete bowling performance from England’s talismanic bowler.

At Trent Bridge, Anderson hooped the new ball around the corners, reversed the old ball and found appreciable seam movement too. His marathon 13-over spell on the final day will be etched in one’s memory forever. Finally, in his second spell just after lunch, he delivered the final nail in Australia’s coffin by snaring Haddin’s wicket with a well-disguised off-cutter. In short, it was a virtuoso performance of endurance and high skill.

If Anderson at Trent Bridge had the red ball seemingly on a string and it looked like he could do whatever he wished to do, he was below-par at Old Trafford and Durham. At Old Trafford, Anderson seemed to be overly bothered by the foot-holes. At Durham, he perhaps experimented too much. Those long and heart-stirring spells at Trent Bridge might have also taken the wind out of Anderson’s sails.

Anderson though, was able to wade through the marshes and swamps that came in his way and did well in the final Test at Oval. In recent years, it has been a joy to watch the transformation of Anderson from a young tyro to a street-smart bowler conquering lofty peaks.
2) Graeme Swann

With 26 wickets next to his name, England’s premier spinner, Graeme Swann, was arguably their most consistent bowler in the series. The old war-horse, Swann came into the limelight with a nine wicket haul in the second test at the well-manicured and hallowed turf of Lord’s cricket ground.

On a dry track and with Swann bowling into the rough to left-handed batsmen from around the wicket, he proved to be unstoppable. Even in the third Test at Old Trafford, Swann took a well-deserved five-for.

Swann isn’t your quintessential modern day off-spinner, as he doesn’t have the fancy doosra. But by bowling with exemplary control and his uncanny ability to bowl quicker through the air yet, generate sharp turn makes him a difficult proposition to handle. Here is a bowler who has reaped the rewards for keeping it simple.
1) Ryan Harris

With 24 wickets next to his name in just four Tests and that too at a highly impressive average of 19.58, Ryan Harris was rightly adjudged the Man of the Series for Australia. He consistently bowled incisive spells and troubled every English batsman. Harris, popularly known as ‘Rhino’, also assuaged the fears over his fitness problems by playing four Tests.

In all the Tests he played, Harris bowled with a great heart. At Lord’s, he took a five-for in the first innings. He teamed up with Siddle to keep the English batsmen on a tight-leash at Old Trafford. But it was at Durham when he touched that rarefied zone in terms of bowling.

In the fourth Test at Durham, with an eclectic mix of rip-snorting seaming deliveries and sharp bouncers, he was at his magisterial best. Poor Joe Root must have wondered whether he was hit by a 440-volt electric shock after he was cleaned up by a jaw-dropping delivery from Harris that angled in, before it seamed away sharply to take out his off-stump. Unfortunately for Harris, Australia’s batsmen couldn’t step up to the plate at Durham.

Harris has been more of a late developer, as until the 2007-08 Australian First-Class season, he wasn’t rated highly. But he has honed his skills and when fit, Harris is Australia’s best bowler going around.

Riding on the wings of their brilliance in the just concluded Ashes series, the likes of Harris, Swann, Anderson, Broad and Siddle would look to reach stratospheric levels of performance Down-Under.

Other bowlers like Tremlett, who resembles a giant from the fantasy land of Brobdingnag; the forgotten man of English cricket in Graham Onions; and Australia’s tearaway quick, James Pattinson, too would be itching to make a huge impression Down-Under. Interesting times lie ahead!

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

India tour of England 2014

Aug 27, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Cardiff

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 27, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Basseterre, St Kitts

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Nottingham

More

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 26, 2014  at Hambantota

Sri Lanka won by 77 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 25, 2014  at Harare

Australia won by 198 runs

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 25, 2014  at Basseterre, St Kitts

West Indies won by 91 runs

India tour of England 2014

Aug 25, 2014  at Bristol

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 23, 2014  at Hambantota

Pak won by 4 wkts (D/L method)

Photos

West Indies vs Bangladesh 3rd ODI at St Kitts

Videos

Mitchell Marsh: This is a big opportunity for me

India vs England, 2nd ODI at Cardiff: England’s likely playing XI

MS Dhoni taking on England in England and BCCI at home!

India tour of England 2014: 5 key battles to watch out for in Cardiff

India vs England 2nd ODI at Cardiff: India’s likely playing XI

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014: 2nd ODI Highlights

Australia England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 Zimbabwe

Phil Hughes completes his 3rd ODI half century against South Africa

Live streaming: India vs England 2nd ODI at Cardiff

India vs England 2nd ODI at Cardiff 2014: Weather Update

Live Scorecard: India vs England 2nd ODI at Cardiff

Australia vs South Africa, Zimbabwe Tri Series 2014 Match 2 at Harare: Australia are off to a rapid start

Don Bradman and his ducks

India vs England ODI series 2014: Why an Indian win will be surprising

India vs England, 2nd ODI at Cardiff: England’s likely playing XI

MS Dhoni taking on England in England and BCCI at home!

India vs England, 2nd ODI at Cardiff: The Stuart Binny – Ravindra Jadeja conundrum

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

664 Posts | 6 Fans

Funny cricket video

NGOs pursue education for all

HTC Desire 510 announced, featuring 4.7-inch display, Android KitKat and LTE support

Priyanka Chopra: I never thought I can become an athlete

Did you know these 10 health benefits of ragi or nachni?

Flipkart DigiFlip Pro ET701, Pro XT801, Pro XT811, Pro XT901 and Pro XT911 Intel-powered Android tablets launched in India, prices start at Rs 5,999

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Sonakshi Sinha goes overboard with the tan!

Khichdi – 4 reasons why it is more than just comfort food!

India vs England 2nd ODI at Cardiff 2014: Weather Update

Live Scorecard: India vs England 2nd ODI at Cardiff

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here