Ashes / News

Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 4th day

Coach praises Hoggard and Harmison

Andrew Miller at Adelaide

December 4, 2006

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Steve Harmison is showing promising signs after his horror performance at Brisbane © Getty Images
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Duncan Fletcher believes that England's maverick strike bowler, Steve Harmison, has turned a corner in the second Test after his wayward display last week.

"From our point of view he's bowled some good lines, good lengths, and got bounce. After that result in Brisbane a lot of people asked: 'Will we get back into this series?', but this side's done that on numerous occasions," Fletcher said after the fourth day's play.

"We've got a lot of character, and we've come back and played really good cricket for four days with a youthful side. We've come good in session after session." And none came better in this match than Matthew Hoggard, whose figures of 7 for 109 were a testament to the disciplines he's learned in the four years since he last toured Australia.

"It was a pretty difficult wicket for the bowlers, so we have to complement Hoggard for sticking to his task," said Fletcher. "He bowled into the wind for a lot of those overs, which shows the character of the individual, and he stuck to the disciplines required. He's a cheery character out there, and he's prepared to get stuck in.

"He's a very useful member of our side," Fletcher continued, "and he's learned another variation from touring the subcontinent. The swing goes pretty quickly out there, so it's variation of pace and most importantly offcutters that can be confusing on a pitch like this that does deviate at times."

Fletcher believed that Hoggard's success justified the selection of James Anderson ahead of the extra spinner. "We thought a skiddy bowler would probably play quite a big role on this wicket," he said. "It happened here when we played South Australia in the warm-up game, James Anderson bowled very well, as did Hoggard. Not every bowler is going to go and get the wickets every time. It was Hoggard's turn this time, but if we played it again, it would probably be Jimmy's turn."

Although the second Test looks likely to peter out to a draw, Fletcher insisted there would be a chance of a surprise finish if the conditions turned out to be right. "It's a pretty difficult day," he said. "We'll look at the first hour or two tomorrow, then reassess and see where we are. We'll just get the feel of things and see what the wicket does."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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