Perth preview

The wicket looks green but it will probably be a road; Chris Tremlett will play but then again so might Tim Bresnan; Australia are looking to the future through Beer goggles, and Andrew Strauss is warning that this Perth Test is going to be no pushover.

Meanwhile, Kevin Pietersen has been caught doing 21kph over the speed limit in Shane Warne’s Lamborghini, and Shane Warne’s been caught doing Liz Hurley.

And if it’s a free piece of official Australia cricket kit you’re after, then Nathan Hauritz is your man, and he might perhaps even throw in a book about Viv Richards if you’re lucky.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING, as Bill Lawry would no doubt scream in his more excitable moments – of which there have been many – but the truth is no one seems quite sure how this 3rd Test will go, with “caution” seeming to be the most favoured approach, if you’re Andrew Strauss anyway.

“If Australia were wounded in Adelaide and have a point to prove, they will be much harder to beat and we have to be ready.”

History would suggest Strauss is right not to be over-confident. England’s last victory at the WACA was in 1978-9 against a team weakened by the lure of Kerry Packer’s World Series. Their last 5 Tests here against Australia have resulted in defeat, they have failed to score 300 nine times out of ten, and have never bowled Australia out twice.

Against the Australia of four years ago, at this ground you wouldn’t give England a hope in hell.

The Australia of 2010 is a wounded animal, but wounded animals are unpredictable and have the tendency to rip your face off.

Nevertheless, Australian selection for this Test has been confusing, and not even Ponting seems to know what his final eleven will be, stating that he will want to take one final look at the wicket before he decides.

Michael Beer, a grade cricketer until two months ago, looks unlikely to play, which makes his inclusion rather puzzling. One can only assume the fact he is a left arm spinner who took Kevin Pietersen’s wicket in the tour game against Western Australia has something to do with it, as KP’s then-perceived weakness against left-armers seemed the sole reason for the selection of the now discarded Xavier Doherty. Doherty did succeed in his mission, albeit not until Pietersen had wracked up an imperious 227 runs.

Beer is now the tenth spinner called up since Shane Warne’s retirement, and even Beer’s predecessor Doherty has admitted, “I am sure the selectors are not quite sure who the next person is”. They certainly seem unable to offer any convincing rationale for this latest selection.

It all leaves one feeling rather sorry for Nathan Hauritz, spotted the other day giving away his Australia kit in front of his house with the explanation, “I don’t play for them anymore.” (Note: may not be exactly what happened.)

While this may be cricket’s equivalent of throwing one’s toys out of the pram, Hauritz, known to be an emotional sort, has a point in feeling aggrieved. He recently took 5 wickets at the WACA and scored a maiden first-class hundred at Sydney, yet the message being sent to him by the selectors seems very much to be one of complete and final rejection.

As far as Australia’s other likely men go, recalled pace enigma Mitchell Johnson could be a handful if the Fremantle Doctor gets up a head of steam, and Phillip Hughes has vowed to go all Sehwag on England if they attack him with any short stuff. Good luck with that.

For England, press reports seem to have been swinging back and forth between proclaiming Tremlett, Bresnan, and then back to Tremlett as Stuart Broad’s likely replacement.

While this pitch might not offer the bounce and carry of WACA decks of old, England would be crazy to decide on the safe option of Bresnan.

Chris Tremlett last played Test cricket for England in the India series of 2007. I saw him take 3 wickets in a losing cause on the last day at Trent Bridge when India had only 73 runs to make and he was magnificent. The notion of him being “timid” or “not aggressive enough” has always seemed to me spurious bullshit. The fact he took the wickets of Laxman, Tendulkar and Dravid during that series should suggest that his talent is beyond question, and his appetite for a fight as well.

If he shares the new ball with Jimmy Anderson in a Test that could retain the Ashes for England, he will get another chance to silence the doubters.

4 Responses to “Perth preview”

  1. Howe_zat says:

    I find myself once again very wary at this point. Australia hit rock bottom at Adelaide and they’re going to hit back, especially if they play four seamers like they should have done all along.

    So as you know, there’s only one thing worse than the Australia selectors, and that’s the Aussie press.

    Hauritz story was almost completely fictional.

  2. Adam D says:

    Firstly you’re right about Tremlett. The guy is a good bowler, of course our ‘view’ of him could change if he has a shocker v Australia in the test. He bowled well v India in those circumstances that you mentioned and after that for a year under Peter Moores was treated dreadfully for England as the 12th man for virtually the whole summer of 2008 when he should have played in tests v N/Z and South Africa (especially v S/Africa).

    It was almost sickening how he was not picked for the test at Headingley that year v South Africa when he’d been 12 man for the whole summer and for some reason not known to any ‘sane’ cricket fan Darren Pattinson (the Aussie bricklayer) was chosen ahead of him.

    That hurt Tremlett’s confidence and it was a disgusting selection. I remember Ian Botham the most proudest Englishman you could meet saying on Sky in the build up to the action on that first day of the match saying how he was disgusted by the selection and it was one of the worst left-field selections ever by an England team (even worse in my opinion than calling up Michael Ricketts and Jay Bothroyd for the England football team).

    Australia are indeed a wounded animal for this match. Ponting is due runs and he needs to prove to the Ozzie media and fans that he still is the best player they’ve got. I fancy him to get runs in this match, he’s a good puller and hooker and should score at least 60 odd in the first innings when he bats.

    Australia need to hit England hard early on, but this could work to England’s advantage if they can weather the early storm (whether they’re batting or bowling) they can come out of it and at least match the Australian’s.

    Looking 4ward to seeing Steve Smith who is a talent, but he shouldn’t be playing in the test arena yet. Hauritz shoudl feel digusted not to be playing, the guy’s a decent player and behind MacGill (and Brad Hogg at a push) is probably the best Aussie spinner behind that fella Liz Hurley’s banging called Shane Warne.

    Hauritz was a good option for Australia and has bowled well for a guy who doesn’t have alot of talent, he’s made the most out of his ability and is no mug with the bat.

    Hughes should be interesting to watch. England will need to stop him scoring early boundaries (if that’s possible when he says he’s going to go ‘Sehwag’ style and blast the ball to the boundary) and get him frustrated.

    Johnson could be also be dangerous in this match, he’ll be out 2 prove England (team and fans) that he can hurt them and he’ll be out to prove to the Aussie fans and media that he can rise up again.

    I think he’ll bowl quite aggressively and that England should play him carefully and not gift him an early wicket or he’ll grow in confidence. If they can do that then Johnno could likley spray a few down the leg-side and gift a few boundaries. England have to play him carefully. Good read m8.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by daniel norcross, legsidefilth. legsidefilth said: BlogSideFilth: Perth preview #cricket #Ashes #eng #aus […]

  4. legsidefilth says:

    H_Z: cheers for that – have now included a link to the article explaining what happened. Poor bloke; he can’t seem to catch a break at the minute.

    Adam: all great points, mate. The Darren Pattinson selection still admittedly baffles me to this day. At the very least you’d have thought they’d have given Hoggard a go. To see Australia’s selectors experience a similar brainstorm by calling up Michael Beer to the squad is just plain bloody bizarre.

    Agree with you completely regarding Ponting’s form returning with a vengeance at some point. It is inevitable. Mitchell will go for plenty but this Test will be his best (last?) opportunity to put the wind up us.

    Whatever happens, gents, this is going to be a cracker.

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