Former County cricketer,
now first-grade coach
Preparation notes will play a key part in the outcome of the first test in Brisbane. Here is my take from a coach’s perspective on what the Australian side should be studying:
– Must take the initiative early.
– Mitch with the ball, Dave Warner with the bat. Get out of the blocks quickly.
– We have the momentum from the Oval, plus stronger red ball preparation, we must use this.
– Batting or bowling we must stay in the contest. The first session is crucial, be the team to get the first tick on the whiteboard – commit to winning session one.
– Play to the conditions. Assess them quickly and act with bat and ball to our advantage. If, and when, there are rain breaks – make sure we protect our situation if batting, and exploit if bowling.
– Take away their front-running preference, this will start with session one, and then take four to five days of bloody hard, focused efforts.
– Sing the song with Nathan Lyon.
COOK – Do not engage, stay patient with length and lines. Early, come into off stump more than across, make him use the stick. Mid-on has to be straight. Above the waist – keep it high and over his left shoulder, make sure the signal is on when we go upstairs. If he gets through the new ball; outlast him, stay patient. Spin – keep him away from the cut, use over and around. Use over to promote his sweep – ineffective and possible out shot.
CARBERRY – Hold him below 10 as long as possible. Block his singles and chain up the dots, keep him under pressure. See how he engages, if he comes back – get into him. Mitch to go upstairs early, with two men catching leg side. Set the tone for the series – we can get through their top, this is the hole to exploit.
TROTT – Engage him at the start. Two lengths; full and hitting stumps, high above chest forcing horizontal bat. Don’t overplay the leg side high stuff, if his hands go up with the short ball then pepper him, if not mix in with stump high length. MAKE HIM RUN BETWEEN THE STICKS. Avoid waist high length which he can take to off and leg side. Spin – 4th/5th stump line with slip in the game – 5/4 off side field.
PIETERSEN – spin and quick from the start. Spin – in out field, do not give him a free hit over the top. Maintain the in-out field throughout. Engage from the start, ego batter – stroke it, make him feel as though he is in control, then wait for the mistake. Back spin against him. Pivotal partnership batter, keep breaking his rhythm. Make him run, ring fielders get in close when he is starting – run out opportunity early.
BELL – Do not engage. Key to the bottom half of their innings. Must go after him early, give 20/30 for the opportunity of the wicket. 5th stump line, play a floating slip to cut off the third man chop. Spin – leave the downtown option once, only once. Play mid off/on deeper than normal; when he comes, it’s with a view to aerial hitting – ring catch hitter. Short ball must be high.
ROOT – Rhino from ball one, into the stumps with above the shoulder mixed in. Suspect from 0-20, do not let him settle, seam focus at the start, go to spin if he gets through his start. Remind him of his position in their line up.
PRIOR. Ego batter – take him down. Critical to their bottom half making runs. Cut off the four ball and maintain pressure – in out fields. Do not let him get away, go to dry line if he gets through the start.
BROAD – Do not engage verbally, engage with the ball – go straight to the trump bowler on the day, make him feel as though it is a big wicket.
SWANN – bomb him from the start, must play a third man. Mitch around the wicket and upstairs, man back both sides and a third man.
ANDERSON – Buck to block him at the top; keep him out of the game. Build frustration after we get through the new ball, and make sure we block the first reverse swing spell. Both spells are critical to him and the bowling group; they look to Anderson for the lead. DENY him. Target is making him bowl four spells in a day. When it reverses outlast him to the next bowler, or new ball.
BROAD – We must beat him with new ball and old. SIMPLE as that, match his efforts and where possible take his short ball on – send the strongest possible message. Do not engage – let the crowd do that. Momentum bowler, they go to him when they need to break partnerships – realise this and stop his threat. Make him bowl back of length – waist high length.
THIRD SEAMER – This is the hole to exploit. Honour the partnership bowler; however, put this link under as much pressure as possible. The less overs the third seamer bowls the more Swann and Anderson will have to bowl. Batsmen that are in target these spells.
SWANN – KEY MATCH UP. If we look after the third seamer he will have to bowl plenty. When the ball is hard and the wicket new, keep him under pressure. Bounce will allow us to hit through the off side – front and back. If he misses length we can score both sides. At the start of spells he will bowl with Pommie pitch fields – close catchers – take advantage. Stay off side of his line (RH’s) – you can take him to both sides from here. Downtown hitters – take him on, especially if he bowls at the short side end.
ROOT and TROTT – no mistakes against these, make sure we are positive where possible.
This article first appeared on Back Page Lead.