Thursday, 12 July 2012

Eng v Aus - The Jet Stream Trophy

England won the inaugural Jet Stream series on Tuesday when they easily beat Australia at Old Trafford. The organisers consider that the new trophy and competition has been a resounding success. It was specially designed to be played when the jet stream is parked over Great Britain and rainfall is at record levels. 'We hoped for something special,' a spokesman told Fantasy Bob, 'but what we got was beyond our wildest dreams. It could become an annual event.'

FB is less certain what the competition showed and what conclusions to draw either for England's immediate contest with South Africa or for the Ashes next year. England were superior in every department and may even have brought better sandwiches and cakes for the tea table. Australia were lack lustre and submissive - Mickey Arthur suggested very publicly that they had been bullied. This didn't seem to do much for their morale and they found it tough going in the final match.

In the 4 matches, Australia took only 13 wickets. Conditions can't have been great for batting in any of the matches - FB cannot recall seeing the ball take a divot in the outfield on a televised match before.  Although they maybe didn't suit Australia's bowlers this looks a cause for concern. It also reflects the strength that England have at the top of the order. Only 6 batters were used and Eoin Morgan scored 141 in 3 innings without getting out. He had the astonishing strike rate of 130.55. With Bell cementing the opener's spot, who needs KP?  England continue also to confirm their depth in bowling.

But Australia's batting was fragile. Reports suggested that players were being tried with a view to succession planning for the Test team. Australia may no be much further forward in that objective. Might they have made a better competition had they played the strongest ODI side? There was excitement in the prospect of seeing David Warner - he looked good at Lords in the first match, but like the rest of the team fell away. Only George Bailey enhanced his reputation, and ended the series as Australia's top bat with 149 runs. there was criticism that he was not aggressive enough but his strike rate of 85.14 compares favourably with the England players. Maybe his experience of playing in Scotland and on soft wickets stood him in good stead.

so England gain confidence for the next challenge and Australia are no further forward in the transition process following the end of the golden age. But at least they got to play some cricket - unlike FB and his All Star Fourth XI. FB is thinking of entering the Jet Stream Trophy next year just to get a game.

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