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If there was any top-order batsman in the England team who looked convincing in Australia, it was Michael Carberry. But time and again, the experienced opener threw his wicket away. Abhijit Banare looks at Carberry’s impressive performance despite not making the big scores.
England’s batting performance in the Ashes 2013-14 makes for an embarrassing discussion. What exactly is to be discussed about? A no-show by the batsmen, the only in-form batsman Ian Bell, too struggled and they were incapable of handling the pace of Mitchell Johnson and co. Apart from the performance of Ben Stokes, if there was anything for England to look forward to in batting, it was Michael Carberry. Heading into this series, England management had taken a gamble of including the 33-year-old batsman. Joe Root and Nick Compton were in the hunt for walking out with Alastair Cook.
A lot was expected out of Carberry in this series, but the opener brought an abrupt end to most of his innings. Carberry’s ability to tire down the bowlers with his defensive techniques were ideal to blunt the Australian pace attack sniffing blood with every short ball fended awkwardly by the batsmen and their inability to handle the pace. But Carberry looked compact, played close to his body and settled down well. Yet every time he did so, he was seen walking back to the pavilion with many unconvincing dismissals. Whether its luck or his indecisiveness despite having his eye in is the point to be thought about.
In the Sydney Test, he once again looked settled in the first innings but flicked a chest-high delivery behind the wicket where Nathan Lyon took a brilliant catch. But it was a trap set for him and he fell for it. In the Boxing Day test, he once again shaped his innings and left an incoming delivery only to see his stumps shattered by Peter Siddle. It was not the first time but Carberry was out in a similar fashion against Ryan Harris at Perth. In the Adelaide test, he pulled one right out of the middle of his bat straight to David Warner who took a superb catch. Once again he was gone after scoring a vital 60. The second innings dismissal too was almost the same when he found Lyon at long-leg.
With scores of 40, 60, 43, 41, 38, 43 Carberry has been the most consistent of all, but the starts never turned into a score which could propel his team forward.
More than runs, it was Carberry’s temperament and ability to play the waiting game which earned him the opener’s spot. However, with Cook too adopting a subdued approach, the hard work at the start was undone due to lack of runs. Having similar style of batsmen on both ends can be disastrous as a wicket even after 20 odd overs could be worrying since the runs haven’t come by. Cook and Carberry found themselves in the same zone with the England skipper struggling with his feet movement against the pacers. England’s poor run will keep Caarberry in the fray looking at the stability he provides. But he may run out of time if he continues to fail in converting his well-compiled starts into big scores.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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