Vetting Vettori and Gilchrist's greatness
The quality of Daniel Vettori's bowling has been a constant worry for Australia this summer, and in the first innings of the first Test he was again the major threat to every batsman - except Adam Gilchrist. Vettori's figures were 5 for 106 in 40.2 overs, but Gilchrist ruined them by blasting him for 58% of his runs while having 29% of the strike. Gilchrist's teammates managed to scratch 44 from his other 173 balls for a run-rate of 1.53 per over. It was a threatening performance for the remainder of the series, but the message for Australia is clear: when Vettori bowls make sure Gilchrist has the strike.
Vettori eventually removed Gilchrist to a boundary catch on 121, but the innings did not help the bowler devise any concrete plans. Gilchrist's scoring rate from full-, goodand short-length deliveries was almost a run from each of his 69 balls. The line from outside off to middle didn't make much difference either, but the five balls directed towards and outside leg were surprisingly not scored from. Vettori's other targets were troubled wherever he set his radar, and only 12 runs came from his 69 darts on off stump.
Over and around
Shane Warne showed how bowling around the wicket to batsmen without concrete plans could be successful as he claimed Craig McMillan and Hamish Marshall in the second innings. He chose the ploy for all but 14 balls of his 14 overs, but had more success with his less-used conventional side. Three wickets came from over the wicket, but they were Daniel Vettori and the tailenders Iain O'Brien and Chris Martin. For the top-order batsmen Warne went around and 56% of those deliveries pitched outside leg as he tried to land in the growing rough and stifle the scoring. Taking away two fours for both his short balls, only nine runs were scored along that line as he waited for Marshall and McMillan to make fatal misjudgements.
Marshalling a plan
The Australians tried bowling to Hamish Marshall's off-side strength in the first innings and watched him breeze to a carefree 146. Strong on the back-foot, Marshall collected 51% of his runs from cover to third man, but he also showed his strength to work the ball between midwicket and fine leg for 35% of his haul. A full line that encourages Marshall to drive straight should be tried in the second Test as only 20 runs, including a powerful six off Shane Warne, came through mid-on and mid-off.