Ashes: Australia’s toothless bowling attack fails them
The Australian side’s troubles lie not in the captaincy of Ponting, but in their hopeless bowling attack.
A glance back into the annals of Test cricket would reveal that Test teams or at least those of a dominant variety always had potent bowling attacks. The fearsome West Indies sides of the 70s and 80s and the all-conquering Australians of a few years ago had bowlers whose names induced fear in the hearts of batsmen all over the world.
It is widely known and accepted in cricketing circles that if you do not have a line-up that is capable of bowling out the opposition twice over the course of five days then you most probably would not have success of the durable kind. This, we find to be very true in India’s case, because while they have always had batsmen that turn up with big scores with an unnatural frequency, they have not been a table-topping Test side until recently, when their bowling attack has started to grow into a dependable unit too.
Australia’s seeming inability to assert themselves on an English side, that is at best a decent Test side (if you wisely choose to ignore the frenzy the English media is creating about the national side), is also centered around this problem.
In the recently concluded first test at Brisbane, two out-of-form English batsmen in skipper Andrew Strauss and his deputy Alastair Cook were able to score centuries (in Cook’s case a double century) with mind-boggling ease, to draw the Test match on which Australia had a stranglehold after both teams’ first innings had been concluded. From the more passionate of the Australian fan circles, there will be renewed cries for captain Ponting’s ouster after this result, but those fans must consider the dearth of match-winning bowlers that the under-fire Aussie captain faces at the moment.
It has to be kept in mind by his detractors that the current Australian bowling line-up certainly does not have any one in their ranks to match the caliber of Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee let alone their being compared to Mcgrath and Warne. In such a situation it is extremely foolhardy to expect the same kind of domination from this Australian team as was usual for Australian teams of the past 15-20 years.
Australia’s toothless bowling attack
Mitchell Johnson who is arguably the most talented of the current Australian bowlers, has been misfiring on all cylinders in the past few series, while Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle are supporting acts at best, with neither of them having the capacity to shoulder the burden of leading a line day in and day out for a long period of time. As far as Australia’s spin woes are concerned, the less said about that the better, for the likes of Xavier Doherty and Nathan Hauritz who would not have found a place in the Australian squad even, a few years back, are now challenging for a regular spot in the test side.
Concluding, all I can say is that the root of the Australian side’s troubles lies not in the captaincy of Ponting, which good or bad, is the same now as it was when they were a dominant force in the Test arena, but in their toothless bowling attacks, a fact to which most Australians must have been rudely awoken after watching the first test. Unless their selectors can unearth some phenomenal bowling talent from somewhere in a short time, I am afraid the Australian team will slide even further down the ICC test rankings table.