Australia in England / Features

England v Australia, 4th Test, Trent Bridge, 3rd day

Good length, good results

Simon Jones and Matthew Hoggard bowled the ideal length on a slow Trent Bridge pitch

On the ball with S Rajesh and Arun Gopalakrishnan

August 27, 2005

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The pitch at Trent Bridge didn't offer too much assistance to the bowlers, but Simon Jones and Matthew Hoggard showed exactly how to bowl on this slow track. As the graphic shows, Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff were guilty of bowling just a touch too short in Australia's first innings. On a track lacking in pace, that gave the Australian batsmen more time to line up those deliveries to either attack or defend. Jones and Hoggard, though, kept the ball up, and while that meant a few more chances for the batsmen to drive, it also resulted in more wicket-taking opportunities. Not surprisingly, Hoggard and Jones finished with combined figures of 8 for 114, while Harmison and Flintoff only had 2 for 102.

The outstanding bowling performance meant that Australia were forced to follow on for the first time since 1988, when Pakistan inflicted that ignominy upon them. In this 17-year period, Australia forced that fate on the opposition 18 times in 190 Tests.

Chastised by the experience of following on, Australia batted more resolutely the second time around. The scoring rate slowed to 3.31, a significant drop from the 4.43 they managed in the first innings, but the rate of losing wickets too dropped from one every five overs to one every 17. England's bowlers kept up the pressure most of the time, but weren't quite as incisive as in the first innings, when 26% of the deliveries they bowled were potentially wicket-taking ones (that is, they beat the bat, forced an edge or a mistimed stroke, or rapped the batsmen on the pads). In the second innings, that figure for England's seamers dropped to 17%, which is as much as the Australian fast bowlers had managed in England's first innings.

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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