The Ashes 2013-14 December 10, 2013

McDermott says bouncer barrage will continue

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Australia's bowling coach Craig McDermott is unapologetic about the short-pitched assault that has rendered England's tail all but irrelevant over two Tests, promising more deliveries around the ears of the touring bowlers at WACA for the third Test.

While the hosts' planning for England's batsmen has been surgical, there is a brutal simplicity to how the visiting tail has been targeted. McDermott's own effectiveness batting in the lower order in Test matches was severely cut back by West Indian throat balls in the 1990s, leaving him to often seek sanctuary outside leg stump with the notable exceptions of the one-run defeat in Adelaide in 1993 and a five-run loss to South Africa at the SCG the following year.

Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle have all delivered concerted spells of short-pitched bowling at Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and Monty Panesar in Brisbane and Adelaide, often with the near Bodyline field of a leg slip, short leg and forward square leg. The results have been stark, condemning England to a "six out, all out" pattern, in contrast to lower order runs made by Brad Haddin, Johnson and Harris for Australia.

"That's been our team plan and I don't think we're going to go away from that," McDermott said as the teams travelled to Perth for the third match. "There's not too many tailenders around the place who bat below seven that enjoy playing a lot of balls around their helmet, so, so be it. Speaking from my personal experience it never really affected my bowling but it certainly affects your batting.

"The way we want to play our cricket we will continue to do, and what you want to describe that as is up to you. We just want to play good, aggressive, Australian cricket, and keep doing that every single day from the moment we put our feet over the [boundary] rope."

Despite the wide margin of victory in Adelaide, Johnson, Harris and Siddle bowled almost as many overs as their England equivalents and will have a day less time to recover after bowling last in the second Test. McDermott forecast little or no bowling for any of the trio ahead of Friday's recommencement of hostilities, confident his experienced pupils knew how to revert to a fuller, swinging length for Perth, its bouncy pitch and assortment of breezes.

"We probably won't bowl too much between now and Friday to be honest, maybe not at all until the morning of the game," he said. "So it really depends on the next 24 hours and how the medical staff look upon that from a recovery point of view. But as a bowling coach I'm really happy with where the guys are at. You might be sore but if you're 2-0 up you're feeling pretty okay, aren't you.

"As far as recalibrating I don't think that's going to be too much of a drama from our point of view, with most of our bowling attack used to bowling at the Gabba or the WACA as their home grounds. We want to be able to swing the ball and bowl good short-pitched bowling when we want to. Our lengths were very good in Brisbane and here, so I'm looking forward more to having them rested and fresh for the start of the game."

McDermott admitted he should not be allowed to take too much credit for the revitalisation of Johnson, who has been the most irresistible force on either side in the first two matches. A haul of 17 wickets augers very well indeed for the WACA ground, where he has surged through 36 victims in five Tests since 2008.

"Everyone keeps talking about me, but it's really had nothing to do with me to be honest," McDermott said of Johnson's startling return. "He's got himself together … the 12 months out of the game has really done him the world of good I think, he's come back a complete cricketer and he's on top of his batting, he's bowling fast, and we've got a great unit. They're not just three or four bowlers, they're all great mates, and to see them on the dressing room floor yesterday afternoon, sitting together, talking about the game and having a beer is what it's all about. If we can keep up that sort of camaraderie in our unit we're going to go really well."

A common sight in McDermott's time as the fast bowling coach has been to glimpse him at the boundary's edge talking to one of his charges between overs. While many will speculate over the theories and techniques that may be discussed, McDermott said it was often a simple chat about life to keep his men relaxed.

"You talk about different things all the time, it might be just stuff, normal everyday things, what's going on in each other's lives, family, all those sorts of things," he said. "It doesn't always have to be cricket, because if you're cricket 24/7 your head's going to explode. It's good to just talk things through.

"They've done their homework, the team's done their homework, not only from a batter's handling their bowlers but where our field placements are. It's not just about getting the ball in the right spot, we've set very, very good fields with Michael [Clarke] and the team's input, so it couldn't be any more complete at the moment."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • LoungeChairCritic on December 11, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    Bowling bouncers to tail enders was one of the stratagies used by the great Windies side of the 80s and the early 90s. I remember being at the WACA game when Geoff Lawson got his jaw broken in 88/89. Nasty stuff. I also remember Curtly Ambrose ripping through the Oz tail to take 7 for 1 with a barrage of short bowling at the WACA in about 1992/93. Every year the WACA gets talked up about its bounce, but in my opinion it is a lot more tamer than it has been in the past. The temp for the test match is predicted to range between 36 to 39 degree's. When it is that hot the breeze is not as strong and will be less of an issue. The fast bowlers will need to bowl short and sharp spells. Although it is a dry heat, England will be looking for their usual excuses to sub there bowlers off the ground at will. I can see plenty of runs scored in this test match. Both teams will be mad not to play a spinner.

  • El_Awrens on December 12, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    More Aussie mind games. What worries me is that these will work just as well as the previous ones ("negative brand of cricket", "scared eyes" etc). Drone on about the pace and bounce at Perth and goad the England bowlers into bowling short - they'll marvel at the extra bounce and ensure the only way they'll get wickets is mis-timed hooks. By the end of Day 3 England realise that Aussie batsmen are excellent hookers and they ought to pitch it up - but of course by then it's too late.

  • Biggus on December 12, 2013, 2:21 GMT

    @Sunil Narula:- What can I say, we Australians I guess by your reckoning should feel ashamed that we have to play an 'average' bowler like Ryan Harris who has a test bowling average of 22 because we don't have access to legendary players like Ishant Sharma with his average of 38. You try to berate @Shaggy076 for stating 'truisms' as you put it but then tell us a bowler with an average of 22 is average. Hey, call me crazy but I'd prefer truisms over willful ignorance in that face of facts. India can only in their wildest dreams imagine having a fast bowler like Harris, so we'll continue to select him, average or not, and he'll continue to take wickets for us. My God, some people......

  • Meety on December 12, 2013, 0:48 GMT

    @Sunil Narula - re: Lyon, maybe you should see how many wickets Lyon got in his last Test v India - if he is ordinary - so is the entire Indian batting line up. In the series in Oz v India - Lyon outbowled Ashwin & co. So maybe you better go back to watching IPL & sandbox cricket in India & leave the adult cricket to everyone else!

  • Meety on December 12, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    @Clyde on (December 10, 2013, 9:37 GMT) - fairly sure Justin Langar copped a ball flush on the helmet from Ntini (1st ball of the innings) & was concussed. The issue with a helmet is - it saves you from being killed when struck flush on the head. It doesn't stop your brain from being concussed. @Jason Harcourt - the WIndies were the ones who stopped adhering to that practice, combined with the improved protective gear, tailenders are regularly scoring big - they are now fair game. The unwritten rule was BEFORE helmets! @TheBigBoodha on (December 10, 2013, 12:13 GMT) - the problem that Test was - that it was the tamest WACA test pitch in history.

  • brisCricFan on December 11, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    @Sunil Narula; Ok, you are so obviously correct on all things cricket... you're 100% right about how these guys are just very ordinary cricketers being made into stars by unimaginitive batting... and I'm certain when the might of India arrives on these shores they will put them to the sword...oh wait, that's right, they were here 2 years ago... and I recall the match at Perth where it was Harris and Siddle that set up an Innings victory... yep, just ordinary bowlers those guys.

    T20 and the way it is played cannot be replicated in any form in a test match... even playing like you may a ODI won't work... think pure numbers... sure you make a rapid 300 off 60 overs... Opposition bats at a sedate 3.5 for rest of day so after Day 1 you are leading by 200 but they still have 10 wickets... day two, they lead by 100, Day3 they lead by 400 and declare with 2 days to bowl you out before you pass first Innings... not smart cricket... time is as important as runs.

  • Shaggy076 on December 11, 2013, 21:38 GMT

    Sunil Naruda; You either have very little knowledge of cricket or better coach than anyone that has coached the game. I think I will go with the former. You say Harris and Siddle are ordinary bowlers, approximately 80 wickets @ 22 and 180 wickets @ 28 (I havent checked them but know these are close) welll if htese guys are ordinary then not many good bowlers have played the game. You say the English should attack them well guess what Cook and Pietersen got out cheaply playing aggressive shots to Harris in Brisbane, and Pietersen has got out being aggressive to Siddle. How many wickets do you want to lose to test the T20 theory. Then you say Cook has fallen into the trap of hooking Johnson what have you watched just the one replay, it was the fourth innings of the series and he hadnt done it previously must be the longest set trap in history. By the way there was only the fine leg back when he fell so the trap hadnt even been set. Out of room but Lyon and Watson are not ordinary either.

  • on December 11, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    so shaggy076 does know that test cricket and t20 are different...come out of these truisms...harris, siddle, watson and lyon are ordinary bowlers but are being allowed to dominate because of the tentative approach of english batsmen....carberry is allowing lyon to become shane warne...cook is trying to hook johnson when there is a trap on that side,...there is more percentage in cook trying to hook harris and siddle instead of johnson...if you get what i mean...but perhaps you only know platitutdes about cricket....like t20, odi`s and test are not the same...

  • ScottStevo on December 11, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    @Shaggy076, a common reason why most touring teams have little success at Perth is due to the fact that their pace bowlers try to bounce us out and generally bowl too short (marvelling in their own magnificent carry through to the keeper!) as they've got the extra pace and bounce - only to find us carting them to all parts. I'd love to see the Poms bring in a rookie in Mills, who got caned in his ODI experience, or Finn, who can't seem to get it together (though could be dangerous if he does). Tremlett could be a scarier proposition as he's still been bowling accurately enough and at his height could get real lift out of length balls. But if they bowl too short continually, we will amass a load of runs and bury this arrogant Eng side back in the mire from whence they came!

  • milepost on December 11, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    @Shaggy076, completey agree. There are too many neutrals and English coming in here to complain. They are running out of straws to clutch at though.

  • LoungeChairCritic on December 11, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    Bowling bouncers to tail enders was one of the stratagies used by the great Windies side of the 80s and the early 90s. I remember being at the WACA game when Geoff Lawson got his jaw broken in 88/89. Nasty stuff. I also remember Curtly Ambrose ripping through the Oz tail to take 7 for 1 with a barrage of short bowling at the WACA in about 1992/93. Every year the WACA gets talked up about its bounce, but in my opinion it is a lot more tamer than it has been in the past. The temp for the test match is predicted to range between 36 to 39 degree's. When it is that hot the breeze is not as strong and will be less of an issue. The fast bowlers will need to bowl short and sharp spells. Although it is a dry heat, England will be looking for their usual excuses to sub there bowlers off the ground at will. I can see plenty of runs scored in this test match. Both teams will be mad not to play a spinner.

  • El_Awrens on December 12, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    More Aussie mind games. What worries me is that these will work just as well as the previous ones ("negative brand of cricket", "scared eyes" etc). Drone on about the pace and bounce at Perth and goad the England bowlers into bowling short - they'll marvel at the extra bounce and ensure the only way they'll get wickets is mis-timed hooks. By the end of Day 3 England realise that Aussie batsmen are excellent hookers and they ought to pitch it up - but of course by then it's too late.

  • Biggus on December 12, 2013, 2:21 GMT

    @Sunil Narula:- What can I say, we Australians I guess by your reckoning should feel ashamed that we have to play an 'average' bowler like Ryan Harris who has a test bowling average of 22 because we don't have access to legendary players like Ishant Sharma with his average of 38. You try to berate @Shaggy076 for stating 'truisms' as you put it but then tell us a bowler with an average of 22 is average. Hey, call me crazy but I'd prefer truisms over willful ignorance in that face of facts. India can only in their wildest dreams imagine having a fast bowler like Harris, so we'll continue to select him, average or not, and he'll continue to take wickets for us. My God, some people......

  • Meety on December 12, 2013, 0:48 GMT

    @Sunil Narula - re: Lyon, maybe you should see how many wickets Lyon got in his last Test v India - if he is ordinary - so is the entire Indian batting line up. In the series in Oz v India - Lyon outbowled Ashwin & co. So maybe you better go back to watching IPL & sandbox cricket in India & leave the adult cricket to everyone else!

  • Meety on December 12, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    @Clyde on (December 10, 2013, 9:37 GMT) - fairly sure Justin Langar copped a ball flush on the helmet from Ntini (1st ball of the innings) & was concussed. The issue with a helmet is - it saves you from being killed when struck flush on the head. It doesn't stop your brain from being concussed. @Jason Harcourt - the WIndies were the ones who stopped adhering to that practice, combined with the improved protective gear, tailenders are regularly scoring big - they are now fair game. The unwritten rule was BEFORE helmets! @TheBigBoodha on (December 10, 2013, 12:13 GMT) - the problem that Test was - that it was the tamest WACA test pitch in history.

  • brisCricFan on December 11, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    @Sunil Narula; Ok, you are so obviously correct on all things cricket... you're 100% right about how these guys are just very ordinary cricketers being made into stars by unimaginitive batting... and I'm certain when the might of India arrives on these shores they will put them to the sword...oh wait, that's right, they were here 2 years ago... and I recall the match at Perth where it was Harris and Siddle that set up an Innings victory... yep, just ordinary bowlers those guys.

    T20 and the way it is played cannot be replicated in any form in a test match... even playing like you may a ODI won't work... think pure numbers... sure you make a rapid 300 off 60 overs... Opposition bats at a sedate 3.5 for rest of day so after Day 1 you are leading by 200 but they still have 10 wickets... day two, they lead by 100, Day3 they lead by 400 and declare with 2 days to bowl you out before you pass first Innings... not smart cricket... time is as important as runs.

  • Shaggy076 on December 11, 2013, 21:38 GMT

    Sunil Naruda; You either have very little knowledge of cricket or better coach than anyone that has coached the game. I think I will go with the former. You say Harris and Siddle are ordinary bowlers, approximately 80 wickets @ 22 and 180 wickets @ 28 (I havent checked them but know these are close) welll if htese guys are ordinary then not many good bowlers have played the game. You say the English should attack them well guess what Cook and Pietersen got out cheaply playing aggressive shots to Harris in Brisbane, and Pietersen has got out being aggressive to Siddle. How many wickets do you want to lose to test the T20 theory. Then you say Cook has fallen into the trap of hooking Johnson what have you watched just the one replay, it was the fourth innings of the series and he hadnt done it previously must be the longest set trap in history. By the way there was only the fine leg back when he fell so the trap hadnt even been set. Out of room but Lyon and Watson are not ordinary either.

  • on December 11, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    so shaggy076 does know that test cricket and t20 are different...come out of these truisms...harris, siddle, watson and lyon are ordinary bowlers but are being allowed to dominate because of the tentative approach of english batsmen....carberry is allowing lyon to become shane warne...cook is trying to hook johnson when there is a trap on that side,...there is more percentage in cook trying to hook harris and siddle instead of johnson...if you get what i mean...but perhaps you only know platitutdes about cricket....like t20, odi`s and test are not the same...

  • ScottStevo on December 11, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    @Shaggy076, a common reason why most touring teams have little success at Perth is due to the fact that their pace bowlers try to bounce us out and generally bowl too short (marvelling in their own magnificent carry through to the keeper!) as they've got the extra pace and bounce - only to find us carting them to all parts. I'd love to see the Poms bring in a rookie in Mills, who got caned in his ODI experience, or Finn, who can't seem to get it together (though could be dangerous if he does). Tremlett could be a scarier proposition as he's still been bowling accurately enough and at his height could get real lift out of length balls. But if they bowl too short continually, we will amass a load of runs and bury this arrogant Eng side back in the mire from whence they came!

  • milepost on December 11, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    @Shaggy076, completey agree. There are too many neutrals and English coming in here to complain. They are running out of straws to clutch at though.

  • Biggus on December 11, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    @Sunil Narula:- Harris has a test bowling average of 22. Kindly go and play with statsguru and try to find an Indian with anything comparable. Atm his average is comparable with Malcolm Marshall and Richard Hadlee. If you've seen him get hammered in the IPL that says something about 1) T20 cricket, and 2) Indian pitches. At the risk of stating what SHOULD be obvious T20 and Test Cricket are NOT the same thing.

  • ScottStevo on December 11, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    This is by far the most hilarious of threads yet. Basically the English are on here complaining about short pitched bowling because they can't hack it, so question it on a moral level. Give us a break! Complete admission of being soft...Hilarious!

  • Shaggy076 on December 11, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    RedWHiteArmy - Bring it on. Our bowlers are equipped to handle the short stuff. Cobra0077 - Have you been watching players stumps are being knocked over as well as short stuff. Seems the current philosophy is working. Iwerneanffontmell - england have used the same tactic when they had the cattle. Ive seen Harmison and Flintoff do it, just as Aussies we know its part of the game. "The sad fact is that short pitched bowling is less palatable than spin." - What does this mean? Short pitched bowling is much more exciting than spin. Cant stand those games in India where they open up with spin. Srikumar Narayan - Bodyline you have to be kidding didnt yous ee Johnson knock over Broad and Anderson stumps first ball, its completely in the spirit of the game

    After reading all these comments, I think perhaps we should just go for a game of lawn bowls. God help us if people have issue with being competetive. Got a bat and protective gear, learn to handle the short ball. Its a game to win

  • Shaggy076 on December 11, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    So many poor posts where do I start. Sunil Narula; Yes T20 is so much like test cricket, they are played in exactly the same way. The thing with T20 is the batting team is usually all out after 20 overs as the risk is calculated. YOu get out in 20 overs in test and kiss the game good bye. Phermon; I believe test cricket is a competetive game. Playing friendlies because someone may get hurt is ridiculous and could cost you the game. Heres a tip if you think you will get hurt then dont bat. Whilst you have a bat in hand the rules of the game will dictate what you can and cant do. Phermon; Examples please? i havent heard an excuse from an Australian player. The only one coming across as a pathetic juvenile rooster is yourself/ What is pratish about bowling bouncers. Insult2injury - Have you checked the last 4-5 partnerships of Englands completed innings it seems the bouncer theory is working pretty well. Are you saying we will role them for even less than that if we pitch it up.

  • dreamliner on December 11, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    My personal view on our batting performance is that whilst the shot selection has for the most part been decent, the shot execution has been found to be lacking. this is normally down to lack of application, concentration levels, or indicated more worrying trends such as an out-of-form batsman. Our bowling is under par and unable to restrict Australia to within a gettable target so lets get rid of the specialist spinners Monty and Swann out, Moeen Ali (allrounder) and Robson in; both will add another 100 runs at least, and get KP to apply himself with the spinning ball to jump start his thinking. And seam bowling changes: Stokes or Broad out (they both made 29 runs in the 2nd test and broad took 3 wkts; 1 more than Stokes), Bresnan or Mills in- Mills is the highest EPP wicket taker and the only one to have taken wickets in each of the three EPP innings on this tour. KP should be reminded to convert his 50s in to 100s or else he is next on the chopping board. Tail/team strengthened!

  • foozball on December 11, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    I remember not too long ago all the talk about how James Anderson had stepped his game up, and could be effective when there was no swing to be had. A series average of nearly 50 casts doubt on such talk. I seem to recall Jason Gillespie was dropped in 2005 with his 3 wickets coming at 50...

    Perth represents the last real opportunity for Anderson to show up in a meaningful way. Sure he can get a Prior-esque 5-for in Melbourne or Sydney, but of what value is that? The pressure is on, time to show us you're more than a good-time chirper!

  • sachin_vvsfan on December 11, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    @chitti_cricket I still remember that game and wonder if its the same Ishant who troubled Ricky. More than the bowlers i think it was our batsmen who scored enough runs to defend. I think that is the problem with Eng currently in this tour. If their top order scores enough runs (ignore all the banter) then we will see a context.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on December 11, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    @Sunil Are you suggesting that a quality test pitch for a 5 day game is the same as a completely flat, dead IPL pitch for 20 overs of cricket, and batting performances in either are directly comparable? I find that quite a laughable comparison.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on December 11, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    As long as the English batsmen keep flashing wildly at short stuff the short stuff isn't going to stop. It seems like they want to prove they aren't afraid by swinging the bat, rather than leaving the ones that are too high and playing the ones they can get on top of. It's actually really strange to watch how many completely out of control shots England have played so far in this series.

    @aussasinator That would be a mistake to Clarke and Warner. Both players hook and pull well, and while the WACA offers extra bounce it also offers very consistent bounce that comes onto the bat very nicely, unlike Adelaide. Unless of course England want to give Warner a good chance of breaking the century in the fewest balls record.

  • I-Like-Cricket on December 11, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    I enjoy the comments about it being an "unwritten law" not to try and bounce bowlers. It was also considered an "unwritten law" not to play anything on the leg side .... times do change.

  • Shaggy076 on December 11, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    Jason Harcourt; Sportsman ship and short pitch bowling, did you just crawl out of a bubble from the 19th century. Tailend batsman these days have a few things going for them 1) All the protective equipment in the world 2) That unwritten law was when tailenders had no will to want to occupy the crease and just slogged at every ball. Now they work very hard at there batting and the bottom 4 batsman can easily put up 200 runs, this can win or lose games a cricket. SO tailenders trying to be batsman, can be treated like batsman and given some short stuff. All the AUssie tailenders expect it and can handle it.

  • on December 11, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    Gees I remember Harmie in Australia!!!!! ........ Thanks for the laugh.

  • Shaggy076 on December 11, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    Diaz54; They played in the day where tailenders didn't no what end of the bat to hold up. Now they work so hard at there batting so that the tail can be very dangerous and put on a lot of runs. Short bowling at the tail is a great policy, I'd be happy to go back to the olden days and pitch the ball up if the tail would take a swing at every ball.

  • on December 11, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    the england batsmen are allowing bowlers like watson and harris to create pressure by not attacking them...watson bowls in the ipl and even club cricketers from delhi smack him all over the ground....ditto for harris...when he bowls for kings xi punjab in ipl even local batsmen treat him like an ordinary bowler...both of them bowl in good areas but once you attack them they are not the same bowlers...england batsmen need to attack bowlers like siddle,watson, harris & lyon...right now johnson of course is in a different league and you need to play him out..he deserves respect...but if you start giving the other aussie bowlers the same respect as johnson then you are asking for trouble.

  • whensdrinks on December 11, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    @orangtan - probably because usually Indian wickets are all the same and the only question is whether they will break up before or after lunch on the first day. Given the different climates and size of India the similarity of the pitches tends to indicate preparing to a predetermined state rather then preparing a wicket to suit the local conditions. You play 5 tests is Australia and you get 3 or 4 quite different types of pitches. This tests out both batsmen and bowlers as they have to adjust techniques to suirt the conditions and makes for better cricket.

  • dalboy12 on December 11, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    I think this series again shows just how important home advantage is --- you see it in nearly every test series around the globe. The truly great test teams are the ones that can win regularly away from home. I think the greatest thing Aussie have done in this series (and in fact it started at the end of the last series) is that they have taken apart the strike weapon of Anderson and Swann. England without these two getting wickets have lose all confidence. That said all it will take is for England to go through the Aussie batting line-up cheaply and they will grow in confidence hugely.

  • on December 11, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    Maybe the England logo should an Ostrich. It's South African and has no tail.

  • Vishnu27 on December 11, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    Keep dreaming Aussasinator! A place England has only ever won at once (to arguably the weakest Australian cricket side ever completely denuded by WSC). I don't think so, at all. Far more likely, is Australia is holding the Ashes aloft on Sunday evening. England are thoroughly rattled. A three day break between tests. Hot, hot & hotter the forecast for the test match. It will be fast. It will be bouncy. All the rhetoric from Flower & Cook will likely amount to very little. Finn might help a bit, but also bowls healthy doses of 4-balls routinely. Don't think there will be too many sleepless nights worrying about Tremlett trundling in at 122-128kph..

  • MiddleStump on December 11, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    The game is degenerating at a rapid pace. A few decades back, bouncers were rare against 9,10 or 11. It is time to bring a law that bans bouncers at number 11 and seriously consider some kind of protection for number 10. Otherwise somebody is going to get hurt badly sooner or later. This new tactic is just another version of body line all over again under the name of aggression.

  • phermon on December 11, 2013, 0:55 GMT

    Australia win two tests and they start behaving like prats. Had they lost they would be whinging about something cos it wouldn't have been their fault - pathetic juvenile roosters. I don't think I have heard a single mature utterance all season from anyone in the Australian camp

  • Biggus on December 11, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    @Aussasinator:- I have no problem if England select Finn and Tremlett and go after us with short stuff, none whatsoever, we know the deal, as do England.@orangtan:- If we cooked our pitches as much as happens in India you wouldn't be able to discern the pitch from the outfield, then you'd really see some fun.

  • Insult_2_Injury on December 11, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    As an old fast bowler I've never understood the need to immediately bounce tailenders. Sure if that's a weakness, but I always found that most tailenders were more worried about the ball on the stumps, even if they tended to shy from short stuff. Hopefully McDermott is employing a double bluff because the WACA pitch should create enough problems on a length for any batsman from 7 down. I'm hoping the barrage to Prior in the last Test hasn't given him his confidence back. Unpredictability is the thing the Poms hate the most and they have all shown flaws in front of the stumps that bowling at the pegs & smart field placings should exploit. The Aussie bowlers showed a remarkable turn around in form when McDermott was first appointed and his 'pitch the ball up' philosophy showed positive results. Hopefully that's still his basic message, because pace doesn't have to be short to be effective. Great all pacers are in form, don't waste it with 3 free hits an over.

  • cccrider on December 11, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    The memories of Swann thrashing at good line bowling in the Winter series comes to mind. A joker having a laugh and throwing the bat like a pub cricketer, and getting runs. Well, see how the joker likes short pitched stuff. Have a thrash!

  • chitti_cricket on December 11, 2013, 0:16 GMT

    Friends, Don't want to say India is a great team but look what they did to Aussies on Perth pitch, A boy called Ishant Sharma had a famous batsman Ponting searching for his off stump by squaring him. If England want to deal fire with fire then it is the venue they can show Aussies how they can tackle their batsmen with fast bowling with Broad and Finn, Tremlet they should go with 4 men pace attack and one bowler 5 batsmen and keeper.

  • landl47 on December 11, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    @Aussassinator: Flintoff and Harmison played on one tour together- 2006/7. I don't think we want to go down that route again, thanks very much.

  • wellrounded87 on December 11, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    @orangtan It's a thing about every country i think. Whinge about the pitch when you lose. Personally i think a pitch should offer something for all players. It should have good bounce and swing early, then dry up a bit and be good for batting then deteriorate day 4 and 5 for the spinners to work their magic. That is a perfect test match pitch and in an ideal world all pitches would have these characteristics.

    But since it's not an ideal world i actually don't mind the vast differences between pitches around the world, it presents different challenges for different players and helps seperate the men from the boys.

  • brisCricFan on December 10, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    I am not sure what the point is about short pitched bowling... Akram did it, Shoab definitely as did Waqar, Harmisson, Hoggard, even Willis... Dev did it, Hadlee did it, every West Indian that bowled above 75mph did it (even saw Roger Harper bowl the odd bouncer) but they are excused by birth right... Donald did it, Steyn still does... do we forget all the short stuff only because it isn't accurate?

    We seem to collectively think its ok to bowl short if its way down leg or way over the batsmen - somehow that this is in the 'safe zone' - but this is still short for the intent of letting the batsmen know you have it in your arsenal to bowl a ball between the eyes... that gets them thinking will I have to duck the next one... anything to make the batsmen pre-empt what he is about to do is a win for the bowler...

    And for the record - the West Indians never acceded to the unwritten law of no bouncers to the tail. I remember many times watching R Hogg jumping about - what a sight :)

  • brisCricFan on December 10, 2013, 23:48 GMT

    @Clyde, I am well into my 40's and still playing cricket... I have never had to face really fast bowling (well I did in my 20's but I was young and stupid then) and I have never worn a helmet... I have found there is always one way to avoid getting hit on the helmet and having to wonder about it's protective capability... Dont take your eye off the ball and get your head and hands out fot he way... Head for the obvious reason, hands to prevent being caught fending it off. Look at the ball Broad took to the back of the helmet off Johnson - his first reaction was to turn his head away... at that point he can no longer take any effective action to avoid the ball as he has no idea where it is going to go.

    The Catch-22 on better protective equipment is that players now have confidence if it hits them it won't hurt so don't even try to avoid the ball total opposite to what we learnt as kids batting with gloves that more resembled a golf glove, one pad and no helmet, or arm guards.

  • dunger.bob on December 10, 2013, 23:12 GMT

    @ manishwa "Threaten to bowl a barrage of bouncers, and then ask your bowlers bowl a fuller length. Well done Billy."

    Spot on. I wonder if the English are dumb enough to fall for it. Also, it wouldn't surprise me if he's also trying to encourage the Pom's to bowl short themselves. .. You can just leave on length then and bring the cross bat shots into play when you're set. .. People tend to think of Perth as a fast bowlers paradise but they forget it's also a great place to bat if you're good enough. .. I can still vividly recall Gilchrists 60 ball 100 in '07. .. The Pom's were bowling short at him :)

  • Moppa on December 10, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    @pat_one_back, McDermott is referring to his experience on the 1991 tour of the West Indies. If my memory serves me correctly, Courtney Walsh hit McDermott with a bouncer in a warm up match vs Jamaica. McDermott was wearing a helmet but the ball snuck between the grill and the visor and split his cheek (a bit like Ponting at Lords in 2005). McDermott's batting was shot for the rest of the series. He bowled well though. Incidentally, this was part of a specific Windies plan to target Australia's key bowler. @Clyde, backing up points made by others, Justin Langer was hit on the back of the head by Ntini in 2006 and was hurt sufficiently that he was told not to bat again on the fear that if he was hit on the same spot he could die. That may have been dramatic, but I think he was badly concussed despite wearing a helmet. It was a nasty square on blow right on the back of the head near the base of the skull (a poor duck too, I'm sure Langer would agree).

  • dunger.bob on December 10, 2013, 22:46 GMT

    @ Iwerneanffontmell: Just a couple of small points. We do not doctor our pitches. 5 or 6 years ago CA said openly for anyone who cared to listen that they were attempting to return the pitches as closely as possible to their traditional form. .. If you thought Adelaide was fast then you must be comparing it to a sand pit and I can't wait till you get a load of Perth. You'll probably be hiding behind your lounge chair. .. The other thing is do you really have to back 80 years to a different era to find a way to have a shot at us? Surely there must something more recent you can dig out than that. Besides, I've always thought that if Bodyline were allowed to continue unchecked cricket would have died at about the same time the 10th batsman did. Mothers would not have allowed their children to play a game so dangerous. ... This is not bodyline mate. .. You watch, the blokes who get wickets in Perth tend to pitch the ball up anyway. Wouldn't surprise me if Aus. want England to bounce us.

  • kepler22b on December 10, 2013, 22:45 GMT

    Posted by Selassie-I on (December 10, 2013, 17:21 GMT) - dreaming mate.

    Posted by Clyde on (December 10, 2013, 15:37 GMT) - you invented this stuff, take a teaspoon of concrete will you

    Posted by geoffboyc on (December 10, 2013, 15:23 GMT) - um that's what Johnson actually did, he bowled broad, anderson and panesar two of them without a short pitched ball

    Posted by orangtan on (December 10, 2013, 14:25 GMT) - um, because that's what you produce. In Australia you'll get a seamers wicket (Brisbane), a flat track (Adelaide), a paceman's delight (Perth) an English wicket (Melbourne) and a spinners wicket (Sydney). A different wicket to suit any and all players unlike the roads you produce in India so that your players can get inflated opinions about themselves and then get slaughtered every time they go overseas. It does you guys no good as being proved yet again in SA.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 10, 2013, 22:30 GMT

    Tymal Mills. The 23 year old, 90mph+ left armer, currently on tour with England should be included. Lets target their effing bowlers too

  • Scuderi on December 10, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    @orangtan if they do whinge they shouldnt.

    I know Steve Waugh wanted to embrace everything about foriegn tours, and in the last tour Michael Clarke did say that Australia must adapt to the conditions. Which is what England did last time around. I have to say the Aussies only providing flat decks with medium pace bowlers in the warm up games was abit pathetic.

    On another note regarding McDermott's coaching. Previously his mantra was to bowl a full length rather than back of a length. I get the feeling now england are on the back foot we will start to see the aussies pitch it up and get them on the drive soon.

  • on December 10, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    Remember! guys.. english bowlers didnt feel embarassed or ashamed of bowling bodyline to greatest batsman of all time (Don Bradman). Therefore, there is no shame in giving it back to pommies.. even if there batsman get killed on the pitch, shouldnt bother aussies.. keep on with business as usual and target the entire team. After all, everything is fair in love and war

  • CamH on December 10, 2013, 21:36 GMT

    This is a very calculated interview by McDermott indeed. By talking up the intention to keep bowling short at the English, especially the tail, it has several potential playoffs. Firstly it keeps the batsmen in the mindset of expecting short deliveries which will keep the anchored to their crease and not thinking of coming forward. Secondly it will have the English bowlers in the mindset of bowling short on the WACCA pitch. When you think of the many wickets that Glen McGrath took at the ground a very significant amount were from deliveries that were full or just short of a good length that caught the edge of the bat high up because the batsmen wasn't able to get forward or back. Then when you think of the great 197 Ponting made against a Pakistan attack that included Akram and Shoab he scored a lot of runs with hooks and pull shots. Yes the WACCA is a hard, fast and bouncy pitch but it is a pitch that rewards full bowling as the extra natural bounce do the rest.

  • chicko1983 on December 10, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    @aussasinator: great to see you back on cricinfo, not one of those posters who seem to have disappeared as England have been losing. As for your comment, Aussie batsmen are the best equipped to play the short stuff as we have many bowlers in domestic cricket bowling 145 km/h or more at the Waac and gabba. I hope tremlett and Finn play in this match, just to see the difference between test quality bowlers (the Aussies) and the best seam attack that England can muster. Siddle, Harris, Johnson all have better strike rates and averages than any English bowler currently playing!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on December 10, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    It's not body line, it's a couple of short balls at players who get paid to play cricket professionally, if they aren't up for a bouncer or two they should make a living at a different sport.

  • on December 10, 2013, 21:03 GMT

    RIGHT NOW THE ENGLAND TEAM IS PLAYING MUCH TOO SOFT. It's like they are walking on egg shells. The batsmen are not showing any grit, and the bowlers seem comfortable just running up to bowl. Where's the aggression in the England fast bowlers ? I haven't seen it in Broad, Anderson, or Trimlet. Johnsom is about to rip their heads off and then when Johnson, Siddle and Harris are on strike, there's not a single bouncer from the England Pacers. That's unbelievable to me. If it continues like that, Australia will win all 5 matches handily. Some one needs to wakeup the England players; I think they are all sleep walking. H E L L L O O O O O !!!!! IS A N Y O N E T H E R E E E ? ? ? ? This is a wake up call. Time to wake up; we're in Wellington. We do have a test match starting here in a few hours. Let's go B O Y S !!!!

  • Cobra0077 on December 10, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    I have no problem with this as long as they play within the rules of the game & the umpires are on top of it. Having said that, the aim of the bowling side is to get the opponents out ASAP and the best way to get the tailender's out is to attack the stumps, as they are bound to miss one very soon, so I do not see the logic of bowling bouncers unless the intent is to scare those tailender's. By the way the look on Montys face in this last match, just was so revealing that he was trying to communicate with the bowlers "just let me get out of here safe so that at least I can have my last samosa".

  • the_blue_android on December 10, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    @ Aussasinator - Tremlett will go for the throat? I didn't know spin bowlers could go for batsmen's throats!

  • Diaz54 on December 10, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    I think one does not need to bowl short stuff at the owlets to get them out cheaply...remember Waquar and wasim,. They were very effective and both could bowl short. However the present tactic by the Australia has scared the England bowlers and actually has got them bowling slower...it appears they can't compete.

  • Aussasinator on December 10, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    England should include Finn and Tremlett with the clear mandate to go for the throats of the Aussie batsmen. not just the tailenders, the Warners and the Clarkes will be hustled out of the pitch. both and Awatson cannot play the risng quick ball. Cook is a moron not to learn of the reason why the Flintoffs and Harmissons succeded. just go for the Aussie throats. perth is won. my word.

  • Selassie-I on December 10, 2013, 17:21 GMT

    SImply put, mostly bowlers will not target tail enders with a lot of the short stuff out of respect, the fact being that they will themselves get it in return. You could have easily dismissed Malcolm Marshall or Michael holding with a bouncer barrage but you would have been out of your mind to do so because they, in turn, would then have decapitated you.

    The Aussies are only doing this as they don't fear any reprisal from the England bowlers who seem to be bowling in the early 80s. The only way to stop them doing this to us would to be to have a bowler they are scared of.

  • landl47 on December 10, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    Does McDermott also forecast that the sun will come up tomorrow? The surprise would have been if he'd announced that Australia wouldn't bowl bouncers at tailenders.

  • Selassie-I on December 10, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Shame none of our bowlers seem to be wanting or able to bowl at 90+ any more, I somehow don't think that the Aussie's would be coming out with this line against Freddie and Steve Harmisson.

  • Clyde on December 10, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    Thank you for the answers about helmets. It seems that one lesson from Johnson's performance is the need for more protection from serious injury to the brain. At least, we need some expert input in the direction of protection of batsmen, whether it be in improved helmets or improved refereeing, not to mention training of bowlers in how to avoid headhunter deliveries when they have to play their part in the tail. I think we need to know that batsmen are not going to be rendered unconscious, or subject to more shock to the brain than, say, what is suffered by a soccer player making a header. Broken teeth or a broken jaw is repairable and acceptable. The line needs to be drawn more scientifically.

  • manishwa on December 10, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    Threaten to bowl a barrage of bouncers, and then ask your bowlers bowl a fuller length. Well done Billy.

  • geoffboyc on December 10, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    Nothing against the rules in bowling bouncers at tail enders to shake them up, and most teams do it. But going back to the Ray Lindwall philosophy, he asked himself whether he was a good enough bowler if he had to bounce out 9,10 and11. No amount of protective gear stops the ball hitting the stumps, the pads or the edge of the bat if the guy bowling it is skilful enough.

  • Brewsir on December 10, 2013, 14:37 GMT

    It is wonderful to hear the Australian bowling coach speak about the British in such nice terms. Bodyline reminds us about Larwood, Voce, Jardine and well known English attitudes. The English (MCC) were able to introduce rules to limit the efficacy of Hall and Griffith but could do nothing about Roberts, Holding and others. McDermott recalls his experiences. I will enjoy the Aussie tail end wrap up while hoping that the British can find bowlers to introduce similar experiences to the Australian tail.

  • orangtan on December 10, 2013, 14:25 GMT

    @Scuderi your point well taken mate but why do Aussies whinge about "diabolical spinning tracks" when they come to India and lose, just asking:)

  • CM1000 on December 10, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    @igorolman - to add to your comments, while I also feel sorry for Monty when he is being peppered with bouncers, he is a grown man and a Test cricketer and cricket is a tough sport. If I was Australia I would be doing the same thing - remember their inability to finish England off in Cardiff in 2009, when Australia dominated the match, took 19 wickets to England's 6 wickets but Panesar and Anderson hung on for the draw? At the time I couldn't believe Australia didn't really attack the tail with bouncers - very bad captaincy from Ponting. So England escaped from the 1st Test in Cardiff feeling like winners and went on to win the series 2-1. If Australia had really gone for the throat and bounced out Panesar or Anderson in Cardiff, Australia would have retained the Ashes 2-2. So its understandable that they are now trying to frighten the hell out of them and knock them over ASAP - what if Monty had survived a bit longer in Adelaide and rain arrived? Precious momentum lost.

  • ihaq1 on December 10, 2013, 14:13 GMT

    england should look to include finn, tremlett and rankin ...a change in bowling tactics...johnson is just not only bowling short stuff but is also accurate and moving around as well...englands top order batsmen must go out to bat and score...the only change they can make in teh batting lineup is bring in ballance for stokes...they could rest their spinners and go in with four fast men and an aggressive approach to bowling the aussies out...the short ball can help too...i would pitch in all the fast men and tell them to go all out

  • David_Boon on December 10, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    Haha Jason Harcourt, you're clueless mate. Day 1 of the 1st Test, Clarke came out to bat and here's Cricinfo's comments "In comes Michael Clarke. Cook greets him with a short leg and a leg slip." He got a bouncer barrage from Broad and popped up to short leg a few overs later. 2nd innings, guess what happens? Same leg-side field, Broad into the attack, then "Broad to Clarke, FOUR. That stroke immediately puts Cook on the defensive, with leg gully taken out to patrol the deep." Clarke went on to make a ton. Cook tried it and was out 3rd ball. This is Test cricket, t's a question of technique and skill, not sportsmanship.

  • DeckChairand6pack on December 10, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    And why not, Test Cricket is all out war. And besides, batsmen - tail enders included, have it all their own way these days. For me that's what makes Test Cricket a supreme test of courage; you cannot just hop around and survive, you're actually supposed to attack and score runs. Looking forward to Friday the 13th!

  • on December 10, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    2 bad Tests, why all the doom and gloom? Finn in for Swann would be my only change. Anderson maybe injured, he's so far down on pace something must be wrong.

  • Robert1612 on December 10, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    Nice article and well said Billy. I can recall him and all the other Aussie bowlers being relentlessly targeted by short pitched bowling by the Windies in the 80's & 90's. To Mr Harcourt and others complaining about short pitched bowling to tail enders how about you familiarise yourself with some background information, let alone the fact that England's "fast bowlers" (and I use that term advisedly!) have the same opportunity to dish it out to Australian tail enders! The difference being that the Aussie bowlers are all making valuable runs after the English bowlers have been at it for a while and seem unwilling to summon the effort required. Certainly having Mitch back to bowling short spells of 150+ followed by Harris who is consistently topping 140 means there is no let up for the English tail, especially when their top order re not faring much better. Bring on the WACA test and lets see what England are made of ... If you can't stand the 'heat' get out of the kitchen!!

  • Scuderi on December 10, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    How come everytime India and England lose in Australia they start talking about Australians producing fast bouncy pitches to suit their bowlers. We have strong fast bowling stocks because the pitches are fast and bouncy, not the other way around.

    Of the 25 years of cricket that I can remember each australian pitch has had the same characteristics every year. The exceptions are that Perth turned into a road for a year or two and the SCG isnt as dusty as it once was. I know that at the adleaide oval the directive by SACA has always been a result on the 5th day.

  • RohanMarkJay on December 10, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    @AndrewfromOz I was talking about generally the pitches in Aus. Adelaide is slower and less bounties but compared to pitches with the rest of the world it is an Aussie lacy and bouncy wicket for visiting batsman. It is well known fact all the pitches in Oz are the pacy and bounciest in the world. With maybe Adelaide and Sydney less so. Yet Adelaide and Sydney will be quicker and bouncier than any cricket pitches found in England. This is common knowledge.

  • RohanMarkJay on December 10, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    @pragmaticRealist Have you been keeping tabs on the completed series results of Australia and England over the last 4 years? I have you will find England's results would slight edge out Australia's. I am not talking about just the two tests in Oz I am referring to home and away by both teams over the las 4 year cycle. Geez you Aussies are so precious about your teams. I only said England was only slightly better than Oz over the last 4 year period. Given that Eng had a fairly successful period and they were only slightly better means that Aussie team wasn't that bad either.

  • igorolman on December 10, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    Absolutely no problem with a fast bowler or a coach wanting to bowl bouncers. If they overdo it, or it's intimidatory, the umpires are there to intervene. Broad has a test 150+, Swann has opened in domestic one-dayers and Anderson is the nightwatchman, so they are all capable of dealing with the short quick stuff to a certain extent. Only Panesar is a complete rabbit and it was pretty unedifying to see him peppered repeatedly, bowl 6 at the stumps and he's bound to miss 1, no need for too many bouncers (although a couple to get him on the back foot and outside leg stump is fair enough).

  • Shaggy076 on December 10, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    Iwerneanff......; Did you watch the last test the pitch was as flat as a pancake no real pace at all. Brisbane flattened out a fair bit to. As everyone has mentioned prior to the series Perth is always bouncy but not as bouncy as it used to be. No pitch has changed from the way it usually plays, if they are so bouncy why are Broad and Anderson so innocuous

  • AndrewFromOz on December 10, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    Erm @ RohanMarkJay Adelaide is a "pacy bouncy Australian pitch"? You are talking about the test cricket right?

  • Trapper439 on December 10, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Oh, please.

    For anyone (eg Jason_Harcourt) who is whinging about this, Johnson's bowling isn't any more intimidatory than what Harmison or Akhtar did when they were in their pomp, and it's not even close to what the likes of Ambrose did to Australia in the '80s and '90s.

    Intimidating the batsman with short pitched bowling is a part of the sport. Grow up.

  • on December 10, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    England should recall Eoin Morgan as a replacement to Jonathan Trott ASAP. Should add Rankin for the bouncy pitch at the WACA. Controlled shot selection is very important for the short-pitched assault at the WACA.

  • on December 10, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    Australia are better than England in all aspects atm. For me, fielding and tail end batting have been the difference. England need to kick out some guys and get in bresnan finn and/or bopara. Bopara could prob do better than his opposite watson atm and bresnan is in form and finn could be a good pace threat. I still think us Aussies will sweep 5-zip.

  • TheBigBoodha on December 10, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    @Tulox, unfortunately merely being fast at the WACCA is not enough, as Aus found out by selecting Sean Tait there in 2008 vs India. I don't think he took a wicket, if I recall correctly.

  • PragmatistRealist on December 10, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    @ RohanMarkJay - you say England are slightly better??? Have you been watching the first two test matches???

  • Iwerneanffontmell on December 10, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    I suppose the 'problem' as such is that England strengths are more traditional than Australia's. England have never really had many bowlers adept at bouncing people out as they are brought up on more placid wickets that move around or turn later in the match. Australia know their strengths and have produced faster wickets with that in mind. I find it faintly amusing that many past Aussie cricketers have said that pitches in Oz are not nearly as hard and bouncy as in the past so it is clear that they have been produced to favour the home team - much as we produced pitches with a bit of turn last summer. The sad fact is that short pitched bowling is less palatable than spin. I suppose the irony is that the England side aren't bleating about it like the Aussies did during Bodyline when, according to many who witnessed it, it was sporadic at best and only used against batsmen. To give Lillee a bit of credit, he rarely bounced tailenders unless they had scored a few runs first!

  • AndrewFromOz on December 10, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    Yeah yeah yeah, all very sage but look at the length of the tails. England's tail starts at six or seven with the wet-behind-the-ears Stokes or the hopelessly-out-of-form Prior. Australia have Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle who all have test 50's and are chock full 'o 'confidence so you could say therefore that Australia's tail starts at eleven... Bit of a difference...

  • RohanMarkJay on December 10, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    I think the England team should take the advice of former player Geoff Boycott. They knew before coming to Australia if Mitch Johnson is picked and he surely he will he is the ace in the hole for them. Take Mitch Johnson out and this Aussie side is an aging fairly mediocre side who are playing here to the absolute zenith of their abilities. Having said that England are only slightly better than Australia. They are playing poorly because Aussies have managed to successfully 'mentally disintegrate' many of the England players through sledging on the field and off the field by present and former Aussie players through the media. At to that home ground advantage. Pacy bouncy Aussie pitches and Mitch Johnson. They are asking serious questions. Boycott stated that playing the hook shot unless you are Viv Richards, David Boon or Allan Lamb is very low percentage shot against genuine fast bowling. They should Duck, Weave get out the way shoulder arms etc. Playing a hook to Johnson is crazy.

  • Ozcricketwriter on December 10, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    Quite frankly England deserve it. After all of their nonsense about how "dominant" they were in their 3-0 victory in the away Ashes, in spite of in actual fact only winning because they won the toss 3 times (3 won tosses = 3 wins) and getting lucky with rain in the 2 tosses they lost, England deserve this big time. Fair enough, they won legitimately in 2010/11, thanks to horrific Australian selection policies, but quite frankly all of this horror for England they fully deserved. You give it, you take it. England are going to lose this 5-0 and they are going to be demoralised and they 100% deserve it.

  • on December 10, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    @Jason Harcourt et al. yes, you`re absolutely right that there was once an unwritten law about not bowling bouncers to tailenders. That "law" was rewritten many decaddes ago. As many people have pointed out, the advent of written rules against intimidatory bowling, no more than 2 bouncers per over, no more than 2 fieldsmen behind square leg, and of course the introduction of helmets and other forms of protection have rendered those "laws", quite rightly, obsolete. To suggest a comparison between bodyline - 7/8 fielders on the legside, 4/5 behind square, against unprotected batsmen with no limit to how many bouncers you can bowl - and what is currently being dealt this English team is completely absurd. For the most part the WI team of the late 70s/80s and 90s played 4 fast bowlers who bowled at 90mph - often against men with little protection. England are facing 1 bowler of that speed, and 2-3 men in the mid to high 80s. Crying in their beer? - c`mon, give me a break.

  • on December 10, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    Apart from the batting and bowling by Aussies, what really has impressed me is the tactical yet aggressive field settings. It not only shows the Aussies have plans, but also that they have plan B and C for each batsman with each bowler. It clearly shows the amount of desire to win.

  • RVC-38 on December 10, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    OK everyone from now on... no more sledging ,,, no more bouncers.... games are only to be played over 20 overs.... and we will have fun.

  • Stevros3 on December 10, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    If you don't have raw pace there is actually another way to make the bouncer very hard to play.

    If England play the likes of a Rankin or a Finn then tail enders would would struggle. They can bowl bouncers on a good length meaning it's nigh on impossible to play forward for people that aren't specialist batsmen. I think Rankin needs to play ahead of Finn, Finn's length is too short which is completly the wrong thing especially at a bouncy pitch like the WACA, they need to bowl a good to full length, the bounciness of the pitch along with the steep angle the ball is delivered from will do the rest.

    Ok good top order batsmen should be better equipped than tail enders to face that steepling bounce, but Rankin (not Finn) is also economical.

    Bowling attack I'd go with is Anderson, Broad, Rankin & Bresnan (possibly Finn instead of Bresnan) I think at the WACA and with the series as it is England have to gamble and go with no spinners, and say to Root & KP they may have to bowl.

  • jonno67 on December 10, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    @ Jason Harcourt, obviously you've just started watching cricket, probably jumped on the bandwagon while England were number 1 not long ago otherwise you'd know how wrong/ill-informed or just ignorant your comment is.

  • cricmatters on December 10, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    Umpires can step in any time, if they feel that a bowler is trying to injure a batsman deliberately. What happened to the two bouncers per over rule? I have seen the umpires, pointing the finger towards their shoulder to indicate a bouncer, however I don't see them calling a no ball if that limit was exceeded. Most tailenders can bat these days and not afraid to face their fair share of short pitched deliveries. If the English top order could post a decent total by batting first, we could have a cracking game at Perth.

  • on December 10, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    Tymal Mills for the WACA. England must fight fire with fire

  • seniorgators on December 10, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    @Jason Harcourt There was a time Jason when men walked in front of cars ringing a bell. Times have changed, rules have changed, protective equipment has changed and tail enders are much better batsmen than they were in the past. Perhaps you forget Flintoff dismissed Kasprowicz with a short one albeit it should not have been given out if Billy Bowden knew the rules ( hit the glove which was not holding the bat) Or John Snow hitting Terry Jenner in the head or Lever hitting Chatfield doing the same. There was no shortage of short ones aimed at OZ tailenders by Broad in the last series. Problem is Aussie paceman are faster and better at it and the English batsmen are playing them poorly.

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    Lack of spin would be a serious mistake. We end up with five bowlers bowling in almost identical styles. As Fred Trueman put it on TMS years ago, with a team like that "You can change the bowlers, but not the bowling." Monty seems to have earned priority over Swann.

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    @Hatter_Mad Well there can be no whinging when the wheel turns. You know what they say, what goes around comes around

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    This is a body line series. Make no bones about it. But only one team is exercising that right. England are starting the matches on the back foot with their choice of team. They want to play spin as they are comfortable with it and I won't be surprised if that colours their choice of selection by retaining Swan and Monty in Perth.," if the Aussies don't cough up spin we will , may be Cooks present mind set or mantra if he retains the two spinners for Perth. Poor team selection all the way through.

  • PrasPunter on December 10, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    @Jose Puliampatta, your comments more or less reflect the effect Mickey A seems to have had on the team, every word mirroring what exactly has happened when MA was around. Thank you Boof and Billy !! Wish we go up 3-0 at Perth !! Go Aus !!

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    @ Jason Harcourt. Good try mate but in the 30's there were no helmets, arm guards, chest guards and gloves were nothing like modern gloves. Australia didn't invent short bowling at the tail and have copped there fair dose of it over the years. The West Indies in the 80's and 90's specialized in it. Trying to accuse Australia of bringing the game into disrepute when really what's happening is this weary, tired and on current form very over rated English side are getting beaten up and their supporters aren't dealing with it well because before this brief resurgence you had been condemned to nearly two decades of mediocrity.

  • geoffboyc on December 10, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    I wonder if McDermott ever heard of legendary Australian paceman Ray Lindwall; who was five times the bowler Craig ever was? Lindwall told England spinner Jim Laker that if he couldn't bowl out a number nine without bouncers then he didn't deserve to be playing test cricket for Australia. But times have changed and the Aussies are not the only ones doing it.

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    @Jason Harcourt

    That was pre-helmet days... Since helmets and the plethora of other protective gear available to batsmen currently became commonplace, so did the bouncer.

    Also if I remember correctly it was an English bowler, Peter Lever, who cracked Kiwi tailender Ewen Chatfield in the head with a bouncer in 1975 nearly killing him. However, Lever was the sole white English county player to ask to be excused from playing the touring South African in 1970 before the tour was cancelled, so maybe bowling bouncers at tailenders isn't the sole mark of sportsmanship in a cricketer.

  • milepost on December 10, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    @Jason Harcourt, if you play test match cricket you can expect short stuff. I know you would like us to gently under arm it to all your batsman at the moment but that is a product of having no technique to deal with extreme pace delivered will skill and precision. Sour grapes I think.

  • PFEL on December 10, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    @Jason Harcourt, Bodyline in the 30's was a but different with little to no protective gear for the batsmen, champ

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    England are simply reaping what they've sown over the past few series! Someone should have had a quiet word to Ando and Broad and told them they would have to walk the walk one day when things weren't going well. Either that advice wasn't offered or it was ignored. Now we have a situation where they are being given a smack in public, sad for the Poms but great TV for all cricket fans!

  • Hatter_Mad on December 10, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    @ Jason Harcourt - this may well be true but I think the Australians would say "you lot started it!".

  • cricmatters on December 10, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    Atrocious fielding cost England the match. If they had held on to their catches, it would have been a different story. Australia caught everything that went up in the air and even converted some half chances into wickets. May be England got too complacent with the flattering 3-0 scoreline in the last ashes even though it was a very close series marred by bad umpiring decisions. England's top order hardly scored any runs in the last series and had to be rescued by Ian Bell every time they caved in for next to nothing. The kind of rubbish shots played by so called experienced batsmen in English side so far indicates that either they don't care or worse know that they can't be dropped because no one else is ready to take their place. May be it is time to bring in some new faces to revitalise the English dressing room. Andy Flower has run out of ideas as well. If things don't turn around quickly in the English camp, he should accept the blame and resign.

  • dunger.bob on December 10, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    @ Clyde on (December 10, 2013, 9:37 GMT): Once a helmet has been hit, if there's any sign of damage to it it, it's replaced with a brand new one. .. Players have been hit through the grill in the past, but it's rare these days. Also depends on the model too. Some are better than others.

    Spare a thought for the cricketers who played the game for 100 years before helmets, or chest guards or shin pads or arm guards and before they could even make a decent 'box'. Some bowlers were just as fast back then. Lillee & Thompson and about 97 magnificent West Indians all played in the pre suite of armour period. .. I'll wager a number of modern "greats" would piddle their pants without all the gear against those animals.

  • drpramit on December 10, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    from here we are predicting 3-0 in perth & may be 5-0 in sydney. Eng batting is looking clue less. In Aus u need to bend ur back which anderson & others have failed to do so far. Only stuart broad has been successful upto some extent. Bring in tremlett & finn; drop swann & panesar. Root & stroke can bowl few overs. Perth is a place where Aus will have max advantage & there will be no respite for Eng batsmen.

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    Once upon a time there was an unwritten rule about bouncing the tail. Shame the Aussies, who let's remember cried into their beer about short bowling in the 30s, have truly forgotten sportsmanship once and for all.

  • DustyBin on December 10, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    Mitch deserves the credit for his own transformation. He has gone from the bowler everyone wanted to face to the the 1 that no one wants to face. For his sake I hope this series isn't a 1 off; perhaps with his full length & high speed he can take wickets on dead overseas pitches too. He has perhaps 4-5 more years at this level (injury permitting), so enjoy your twilight Mr Johnson

  • heathrf1974 on December 10, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    England need to drop both spinners for Perth. Perth is for the quicks. Pick Bresnan and either Finn or Rankin. They should also drop Stokes (although he had quite a solid debut) so as to get in a specialist batsman.

  • drpramit on December 10, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    @clyde no helmet is not completely protective, even a single hit can cause damage sometimes. Now a days ball cant easily penetrate through grill but we have seen batsman being hit on forehead between eyes in spite of grills.

  • IndianInnerEdge on December 10, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Hoping for a cracka @ the WACA - real cricketing skills seen with wood & leather in hand - with all the aggro and bravado, hope no one gets injured, hope for a fantastic memorable encounter with less of the lip service but with more twists and turns.....end of the day -its a game - lets leave the crowing, boorish behaviour and one-up man ship (goes for fans and fellow bloggers too) and celebrate the game that few of us on the planet have the privilege of experiencing....Bring on WACA:)

  • Hatter_Mad on December 10, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    @Clyde - the helmet is not perfect - Root lost a couple of teeth in the summer when the ball just managed to get through the grill on his helmet (it knocked out one of the metal pieces between the main grill pieces as it did so). The helmet probably saved him a bit of pain though.

    The batsman can also take a nasty whack on the back of neck (below the helmet) or on the chin if tries to pull his head away too late. And a direct hit on the helmet will leave you hearing bells for a while.

  • Micky.Panda on December 10, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    Australia played very well in England at times, but just missed the killer punch it needed to finish England off. It was already clear the Australian pace attack was superior to England's. I think there are many things contributing to Australia's present improvement, not least is playing in Australia, team moral, and even a bit more luck with weather, DRS, etc. Then clearly there is Mitchell Johnson finding form and issuing the killer punch. Still a few batsmen below par but the bowling unit is performing well. Improvement due to McDermott guidance started a long while back. Australia may well be looking better than actually are, due to the "happy hookers". England at least need to make Australia work harder for win.

  • DaisonGarvasis on December 10, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    The Short Ball plan worked for Australia. There is no reason to change the plan as long as it works. In fact, if no other plans were working for Perth, Australia would have planned short balls anyway. May be England batters have to bring along a few spare helmets for Perth.

  • Rahul_78 on December 10, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    McDermott makes a fair point here "Everyone keeps talking about me, but it's really had nothing to do with me to be honest,". Not many pundits and critic seems to be giving credit to Mitch. Everyone is talking about him getting into good space, captain providing good fields to him and coach keeping him in happy space. Bottom line is after being ridiculed, criticized and roughed up by media, fans and oppositions he went back put his head down and seem to have worked very, very hard. The result is he has become strong as an Ox and is bawling frighteningly fast with admirable control. The credit should be given where it is due. He could have very well lost his way and went in to wilderness. It is never easy to deal with failures especially after testing success. Mitch seems to have dealt with it fabulously. Cant wait to see him bowl on the WACA strip.

  • Clyde on December 10, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    Just a small technical point. Can anyone tell me whether a helmet is completely protective of the head? Suppose a batsman is hit flush three times in close succession, does he suffer concussion or anything? And can the ball penetrate the grill if it hits at exactly the right spot?

  • Hatter_Mad on December 10, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    The good news for England is that bowling bodyline is hardly rocket science. If Australia are going to make that their main tactic then England need to adjust accordingly.

  • SurlyCynic on December 10, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Broad and Anderson like dishing it out, both verbally and in bouncing the tail. But they don't like getting it back. Watching them (and Swann) try to get out as soon as possible against Johnson, by backing away or trying to nick wide ones, has been nothing short of pathetic.

  • milepost on December 10, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    If you are in the 11 in a test match you better be able to hold a bat, this is not the Sunday league. I like watching the England tail fending balls off their throats, it is all good fun. Actually the top order have shown they are not up for it either. The England tail does not start at 6, that is where it finishes which is great news for Australia and another reason England have no chance of winning in Perth. The situation at the moment is anything they can do we can do better. It has a nicer ring to it than Aussie Aussie Aussie so perhaps they should sing that all game long in Perth.

  • satishchandar on December 10, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    This Ashes could well be remembered as Warner-Haddin-Johnson Ashes.. the amount of influence these three had on the result is even better than Clarke's. Clarke's is probably an expected outcome and it might have gone with sympathy if not for these three like it was before.. Warner attacking the new ball, Haddin making sure nothing goes wrong post-Clarke, Johnson for seeding the doubts in first game and spinning the bouncer web around every English. I always supported the lesser team during Ashes. this time it was Australia. No better scene than the underdog winning in home. 2005 and then now. England were not underdog in 2005 but Australia were just a notch above England..

  • cccrider on December 10, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    A simple game. McDermott is a genius. And modest. They can keep Saker.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on December 10, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    time for good old chin music

  • on December 10, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    @Rajuramki. Cricket is nether love nor war. It is just a game; irrespective of how much competitively international cricket is being played, now a days.

  • on December 10, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    What happened to Jimmy Anderson? The man the english claim is the best quick in the world! The sparks are going to fly in South Africa in a few months time. Fast bouncy tracks with Johnson versus Steyn. Can't wait.

  • on December 10, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    Andy Flower's impact on the England team is positive or negative? Debatable issue! In my view, despite all his positive contributions, the overall effect is negative; since he has taken away a lot of joy. The players often seem to be looking back over thier shoulders; not physically,but mentally!

  • pat_one_back on December 10, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    Interesting reflection on Billy's troubles with the Windies, I was a bit too young to recall all that clearly but I do remember him being quite a striker of the ball and then almost overnight becoming clueless. May have coincided with Lawson's broken Jaw on the WACA, I'd say a few tailenders ordered swapped to grill helmets after that. I do hope he remembers what Gough did to his chin music at the SCG, sometimes you need to pitch up to the tail.

  • rajuramki on December 10, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    All is fair in love and war . If Australia wants to bounce the England tail , they can do so . England , then will have try the same philosophy when they bowl . But the fact remains that Australia's tail enders are more capable than the England tail enders and hence England may not be successful with this tactic . In any case , the chance of retaining the ashes is minimal , considering the fact that Australia has already managed to break the England players with some hard fought cricket .I'll be predicting a scoreline of 3-0 or 4-0,in favour of Australia, at the end of the series.

  • on December 10, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    McDermott may politely decline much credit for his presence and his positive impact; but no one can deny the positive impact the absence of Mickey Arthur.Why just on bowlers? On the whole team!

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on December 10, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    @brutal England actually do have some bowlers who can hit the 150s and extract that kind of pace and bounce, I just think they're averse to using them because they don't fit the attritional style we've all become accustomed to from them. England and high risk high reward don't really fit in the same sentence very often do they?

  • BRUTALANALYST on December 10, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    The return of hostile fast bowling from the Aussies and South Africans is truly a beautiful sight for the game. How come with all the facilities nutrition and training England cannot produce the same ?

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on December 10, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    At the end of the day, tail-enders are still batsmen that need to be dismissed aren't they? England seem to forget that often...

  • greatshinwari on December 10, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    well said McDermott...i thnk McDermott is the only reason behind the success of australia team..they outplayed indian's as well when he was aussie bowling coach back @ 2011-12..now again it happens to england..i hope and pray that australia white wash england as they did in 2006-07 ashes series...best of luck.

  • BradmanBestEver on December 10, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    To quote Lance-Corporal Jack Jones: "they don't like it up em".

  • BradmanBestEver on December 10, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    To quote Lance-Corporal Jack Jones: "they don't like it up em".

  • greatshinwari on December 10, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    well said McDermott...i thnk McDermott is the only reason behind the success of australia team..they outplayed indian's as well when he was aussie bowling coach back @ 2011-12..now again it happens to england..i hope and pray that australia white wash england as they did in 2006-07 ashes series...best of luck.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on December 10, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    At the end of the day, tail-enders are still batsmen that need to be dismissed aren't they? England seem to forget that often...

  • BRUTALANALYST on December 10, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    The return of hostile fast bowling from the Aussies and South Africans is truly a beautiful sight for the game. How come with all the facilities nutrition and training England cannot produce the same ?

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on December 10, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    @brutal England actually do have some bowlers who can hit the 150s and extract that kind of pace and bounce, I just think they're averse to using them because they don't fit the attritional style we've all become accustomed to from them. England and high risk high reward don't really fit in the same sentence very often do they?

  • on December 10, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    McDermott may politely decline much credit for his presence and his positive impact; but no one can deny the positive impact the absence of Mickey Arthur.Why just on bowlers? On the whole team!

  • rajuramki on December 10, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    All is fair in love and war . If Australia wants to bounce the England tail , they can do so . England , then will have try the same philosophy when they bowl . But the fact remains that Australia's tail enders are more capable than the England tail enders and hence England may not be successful with this tactic . In any case , the chance of retaining the ashes is minimal , considering the fact that Australia has already managed to break the England players with some hard fought cricket .I'll be predicting a scoreline of 3-0 or 4-0,in favour of Australia, at the end of the series.

  • pat_one_back on December 10, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    Interesting reflection on Billy's troubles with the Windies, I was a bit too young to recall all that clearly but I do remember him being quite a striker of the ball and then almost overnight becoming clueless. May have coincided with Lawson's broken Jaw on the WACA, I'd say a few tailenders ordered swapped to grill helmets after that. I do hope he remembers what Gough did to his chin music at the SCG, sometimes you need to pitch up to the tail.

  • on December 10, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    Andy Flower's impact on the England team is positive or negative? Debatable issue! In my view, despite all his positive contributions, the overall effect is negative; since he has taken away a lot of joy. The players often seem to be looking back over thier shoulders; not physically,but mentally!

  • on December 10, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    What happened to Jimmy Anderson? The man the english claim is the best quick in the world! The sparks are going to fly in South Africa in a few months time. Fast bouncy tracks with Johnson versus Steyn. Can't wait.