Tag Archives: Ashes 2010/11

Ashes Album II – The Man from Mars

The origin of the name Siddle is unknown, shrouded in the mists of time that even Third Man’s Mark III Time Machine cannot penetrate under the terms of its insurance cover.

However in Queensland on the 25th November it seems to have meant ‘an extraterrestrial intervention of a considerable though time limited extent’ like something from the War of the Worlds or Independence Day.

On the first day of the 2010/11 Ashes series, England, battled to recovered from the shock of losing their skipper to Hilfenhaus’ third ball of the day.

But just as England appeared to have shored up the foundations there was more subsidence with Trott falling to Watson.  41 for 2.  Further reconstruction took place with Cook and Pietersen taking the score towards the one-twenties via lunch at 86 for 2.

At which point Peter Siddle, looking not unlike a ‘50’s comic strip Martian, removed his green lens, adjusted his zinc oxide, smoothed his improbable moustache and began his second spell.

Siddle had opened from the Vulture Street end but his first six over spell, lasting an hour and leaking just 12 of the 35 runs scored, was tidy, short of a length and innocuous confirming expectations of disappointment and trailing questions about his recovery from injury.

But now brimful with extra-terrestrial intelligence he recalibrated the sights of his AKA-fazer and bowled a fuller length. Immediately (that third ball again) he tempted Pietersen to drive hard at a moving ball, edging to Ponting at second slip.  117 for 3.

In his next over another full and sideways moving ball had the hapless Collingwood caught by North at slip three.  125 – 4, Siddle 2 for 16 as the traditional Gabba script began to write itself.

But his captain sent Siddell back behind the Martian eye-shades after four overs. A spell containing two wickets and only 16 runs might seem stingy to some, but on his home planet it might be, well, Martian. Perhaps the X-Files could explain much about Ponting’s captaincy.

Martian Handlers of the Man from Mars?

Siddle was summoned back from outerspace at 191 for 4; the shades now more obviously hiding alien eyes, the zinc a necessary protection against Earth’s atmosphere and a theatrical moustache thought by his ‘handlers’ to make him look more terrestrial. 

The story that this was Siddle’s earthbirthday was the final ruse.  A quick check of the Wisden Guide to Cricketers of the Solar System confirmed that hatched on the sun’s further neighbour, Siddle was born a youthful thirteen and a three-quarter Martian years ago.

This time it is the third ball of his second over which angled across the left handed Cook takes the edge and is caught by Watson once more in the slips.  A pattern was in the process of emerging.

Next ball a full straight and 3mph faster delivery does for Prior.  And the fifth, again clocked at 87.7 mph, full and in-swinging does for the tall Broad whose nerve endings in his feet are a very long way away from the source of their stimulus.  An Ashes hat-trick.

Also accounting for Swann, Siddle leaves the Gabba for the short flight home with figures of

Although the England Ashes campaign seems in tatters, this space invader will never return to our planet to shatter English hopes.  The earthling Siddle does not take his first wicket of the series until the 17th December and in a total of six innings takes only eight further wickets.

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Compare the Drive No. 11 – Taking and Leaving

In 1928 England took the field to defend the Ashes which they had won for the first time since 1912 by a single Test at the Oval in 1926 led in that match for the first time by Percy Chapman.

In Australia they overwhelmed a home side seeking reconstruction by 4 Tests to 1.  Hammond made a total of 905 in nine innings at an average of 113.12.  They bowled out the Australians nine times with the Somerset slow left-armer, White, taking 25 wickets, Geary 19, Larwood 18 and Tate 17.

Australia found two highly promising young batsmen in Jackson and Bradman.

In 2011 England led by Andrew Strauss left the field having successfully defended the Ashes by 3 Tests to 1.

Alastair Cook made 766 runs at an average of 127.66.  England bowled out Australia 9 times with Anderson taking 24 wickets, Tremlett 17, Swann 15, Finn 14, Bresnan 11.

What drive, determination and organisation both sides demonstrated, though parted in time by 82 years.

At every level of the game, matches are won by bowling sides out.  White’s feat of taking 25 wickets on some very flat wickets in 1928/29 was at least if not greater than that of Hammond’s. At an equivalent value of 40 runs for a wicket taken he contributed 1,000 runs.

In similar terms Anderson contributed 960 runs.

Thank you, Team England for the great joy you have given all those who support England.  We all have something special memories to savour for years to come.

For England it is the end of the beginning.  For Australia it would be difficult to predict that they have found a Jackson or a Bradman.

Tough mate.

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Compare the Drives No.10 – Khawaja and Jackson

Did A.A. (Archie) Jackson manage a snooze before he came out to play his first innings for Australia?  Usman Khawaja did just that during the lunch interval immediately prior to taking guard on day one of the final Test in Sydney a few hours ago.

There are some parallels, not least in importance being first deliveries after lunch breaks, the first in Test cricket for Khawaja and for Jackson … well let’s come to that in good time.

'Truth is Beauty'. There are no known imagines of Keats playing cricket. If there were ...

Like Usman, Archie was not born in Australia.  He was a Scotsman from Rutherglen in Lanarkshire.   He arrived with his family in Balmain, Sydney as a 12 year old in 1921.

Like Usman, Archie also played for New South Wales, where he began his  first class career at the age of 17.   

He toured New Zealand with Australia a season later and received his cap as a nineteen year old against Chapman’s MCC side in 1929.  

The parralels continue as Jackson  was brought into the side to replace a great star and team fixture, in his case V.Y. Richardson.  Australia were then as now being forced by retirements, injuries and age to rebuild their team.

Their situation was even worse.   They were three nil down in the series  and no less under the cosh off the field, where the Australian press and supporters were giving them as good a bashing as their opponents.

Third Man has described the three previous Test in the series, all won by England at Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.  

In the fourth Test, At Adelaide in the first week of 1929, England batted first  and when Hobbs and Sutcliffe had taken the score to 143 it looked as if Australia were yet again rolling over in front of  the English juggernaut, but beautiful bowling by Grimmett (52.1 overs 12 maidens 5 for 102) kept Australia in the match despite yet another undefeated century by Hammond.

Bill and an apprehensive Archie already haunted by the illness that would kill him two and a half years later at the age of 23 walk out to bat during the 1930 tour of England.

Jackson walked out to open the batting with Woodfull but in the flash of an eye Australia were 19 for 3 with Tate, Larwood and White doing the damage.  England’s 334 all out looked a very long way off. It is not hard to imagine the invective from the crowd and estimate the intoxicating mixture of tension and self-belief experienced by Jackson.

Third Man does not doubt that Archie like Usman after his knock today would have described his first experience of Test match batting as ‘fun’; fun, fun, fun.

Archie’s, though, was a much more extraordinary baptism as, joined by his captain J. Ryder, he proceeded to give an apparently nerveless exhibition of brilliant stroke play with delicate glances, wristy cuts and searing drives all made under considerable pressure from good bowling. 

Heel raised and ready to play the spinner late

This photograph (right) hints at the lightness of his footwork. 

J.C. ‘Farmer’ White the Somerset slow left armer had manacled the Australian batsmen throughout the series, bowling shorter and flatter deliveries that were hard to get away and which bought time for Tate and Larwood to recover in the intense heat.  

But Jackson was the first Australian in that series to ‘jump in’ to drive White in the grand manner of a Hobbs (see Jack, How Did You Do That?) or, whispering it carefully, the young man’s hero, Victor Trumper.

At lunch on the third day Jackson had painstakingly taken his score to the precipice that is 97.  As the players resumed the field, Chapman called back a refreshed Larwood to the attack inorder to squeeze every possible ounce of potentially paralyzing anxiety out of the situation.

Top of the handle and a very straight front leg.

The Nottingham Express himself describes his first ball after that lunch break, eighty two years ago.

“With 97 runs against his name and having had his back to the wall, he cover-drove me to bring up his hundred.  That ball was delivered as fast as any I had ever bowled previously.

“That glorious stroke has lived in my memory to this day for its ease and perfect timing.  I am sure that few among the many thousands present sighted the ball as it raced to the boundary.”

Today, England were probably very glad to see the back of Usman Khawaja, sweeping against the turn as (urgh) young men are tempted too easily to do.  But England in 1929 had to wait until Jackson was 164 before he was lbw to White.

What are the odds that he too was sweeping against the turn?

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