'An X-rated disaster movie of a collapse'
Australia's batting collapse on Friday virtually put to rest, any and all hopes of a closely fought Ashes Test, as the visitors pushed the self-destruct button with a number of poor shots to get bundled out for 128. Greg Baum, of The Age, sums up Australia's "comical" display.
Of Australia's many collapses in recent times - including its 47 in Cape Town two years ago - this was the most slapstick. Flash followed upon swipe, upon prod, upon bungled referral, upon panicky run-out. England scarcely had to do more than introduce the ball to play. Australia shot itself in its Achilles heel.
Shane Watson's poor performances have been one of the major causes behind Australia's recent losses. In the Independent, John Townsend sheds more light on the cricketer's biggest weakness.
Watson gets out lbw in 30 per cent of his dismissals. No batsman to play as many as Watson's 43 Tests equals that figure. His strength is his weakness. That powerful front leg plants down the pitch, the heavy bat sweeps through but has to go around the pad rather than through the ball and a delivery that a more nimble-footed batsman would pick off through midwicket becomes a deadly missile screaming in through a tiny gap in an otherwise impregnable defence.
Chris Roger's bizarre lbw off a full toss from Graeme Swann forced even the spinner to admit to some "outrageous fortune". Amid all the talk of DRS, collapses and umpires, Vic Marks of the Guardian, looks back at some of the other "ugly" dismissals in cricket.
In 1999 Chris Read ducked a slower ball at Lord's from New Zealand's Chris Cairns and to his chagrin he was bowled. This had been a deliberate subterfuge from the bowler rather than what is variously described as an "oh shit" or "watch it" ball by pros of old. Sir Ian Botham had a reputation for taking wickets with bad balls; remember that first dismissal of Greg Chappell at Trent Bridge, but it is advisable - and it makes life simpler - to whisper that out of earshot of the great all-rounder. But he never propelled anything as filthy as Swann's delivery on Friday.