England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 5th day July 14, 2013

Haddin epitomises Australia fight

The first Test ebbed and flowed right up until the moment of uncertainty surrounding Brad Haddin's dismissal before the waters finally closed over Australia

Brad Haddin re-marked his guard like a man who had given the possibility of losing barely a nanosecond's thought. England's fielders swarmed around him, convinced of the edge that would deliver them victory. James Anderson was not so sure, having heard no sound. Behind Anderson, the umpire Aleem Dar was even less aware of the possibility of a nick, not for the first time in the match. Alastair Cook, Matt Prior and Anderson conferred, briskly but calmly, before deciding to review Dar's decision.

Offering them not the slightest bit of notice, Haddin strode down the wicket and conferred with Australia's last man, James Pattinson, ahead of the next ball he looked so certain would come. As England held their breath, Haddin and Pattinson began planning how to whittle those last few runs down. They also had the chance to ponder for a moment how they managed to get within 15 runs of an England team so few had expected them to seriously challenge. A match flashed past their eyes.

Trent Bridge had revealed its charms and dramas slowly. First impressions were seldom the same as final ones. Day one was frenetic but lacking in poise, nerves playing as great a part in proceedings as skills, tactics or conditions. Australia's first man through the wall on day one had not been Ashton Agar, a nervous debutant yet to become the popular phenomenon he is now. It was instead Peter Siddle, who confounded the small army of critics who had questioned his place. England's first blows were struck not by Anderson but Steven Finn, a hair's breadth away from a grand hat-trick with Michael Clarke as its apogee.

Pattinson started the match not as a nerveless tailender, but a decidedly keyed up fast bowler. He hurled down the first over of the Test match, a nervy bouncer to Cook followed up with a series of balls sprayed too wide to be of any danger to the batsman. Haddin made a similarly ginger start to his series, diving over a difficult leg-side chance offered from Pattinson's bowling and then having his defence punctured second ball by a ripping offbreak from Graeme Swann, who was never again quite as dangerous as he had seemed at that moment.

The disarming of Swann was perhaps chief among Agar's many achievements. Apart from setting records for No. 11 innings and partnerships, bringing a smile to cricket watchers the world over with his charismatic batting, and holding his own as a tidy left-arm spin bowler, Agar showed a confidence and assurance against Swann that can only improve Australia's chances of combating him for the rest of the series. The way he advanced to drive Swann on the second morning, lofting him imperiously towards the Trent Bridge Members Pavilion, was to be tellingly repeated by Pattinson as the target ticked closer on day five.

The confidence with which Pattinson and Haddin faced up to Swann, Broad and Finn left an enormous weight of pressure on Anderson. Throughout the match he responded stirringly to Cook's demands, extending his spells an extra over here or there, and coming back more frequently than either of his pace counterparts. Ultimately Anderson's tally for the match reached into a 56th over. Between them, Finn and Stuart Broad bowled 54.5. Anderson's pre-eminence as a fast-medium bowler in this series, and in the world, is unquestioned. But he is highly unlikely to be able to sustain the Trent Bridge effort for five Tests, let alone ten.

Something else that cannot be sustained, at least in Australian eyes, is the disparity in the two teams' use of the DRS. Another slightly misleading point for much of day one had been England's use of the system, notably a poor Finn review against his caught behind dismissal. The more lasting pattern of the match would be established late on the first evening, when Chris Rogers reviewed his lbw dismissal and found himself on the wrong end of a marginal umpire's call.

These would surface again and again to Australia's displeasure, though England were also to be humbugged by Jonathan Trott's lbw exit when bat appeared likely to have been involved. Broad's survival of a clear catch to slip was less the denial of sportsmanship than a reminder of flawed umpires, flawed Australian use of reviews and a flawed system.

Nothing, though, was quite so flawed as Australia's batting. The memorable tenth-wicket stands in both innings played a huge role in ensuring Clarke's team would stay close with England. They were in the same instant a reminder that this side has been essentially relying on freak batting events to keep them competitive for quite some time.

In 2011 and 2012 such happenings revolved around Clarke, who batted as if in a perpetual dream. This year too few of the runs have come from those men who answer to making them in their job descriptions. Clarke has said he does not care where the runs come from, so long as they arrive from somewhere. But no team can reasonably expect tail-end miracles of the kind produced by Siddle in Delhi, Mitchell Starc in Mohali and Agar here to carry them towards any kind of consistent success.

Haddin knew this as he stood side by side with Pattinson, refusing to believe the day was done. English hearts leapt briefly with joy when the replay screen appeared to show a speck of heat on Haddin's inside edge, then returned to a more laboured pulse as the third umpire Marais Erasmus cross-checked Hot Spot with the stump audio. Only three days before he had been oblivious to an inside edge by Trott.

Stern and confident, Haddin hung on to his thoughts of the next ball, the next run and the final victory, right until the moment Dar crossed himself and raised his finger. The younger Pattinson bowed his head, in frustration and defeat. But Haddin stared straight ahead, not willing to lose face. He kept his defiant posture on the walk off Trent Bridge, even if the removal of his helmet revealed a face lined with pain. However Haddin dealt with this defeat, he would not grant England the opportunity to see it. If his stance said anything, it was this: it isn't over.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • H on July 16, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    @Greatest_Game Think most Aussie fans acknowledge their batting isn't up to the standard it needs to be at. There's no doubt they have some talented batsmen but they've yet to string consistent performances as a unit. Hughes, let's not forget, is a guy who enjoyed a phenomenal debut series in South Africa. Smith looked like a much better player in India. Clarke's probably the one batsman in the world South Africa wouldn't mind having.

    Their bowling's pretty good though, as South Africa's stellar batting lineup will tell you. It's no Steyn, Morkel and Philander, but it's probably next in line. There's a lot of young guys there too, Pattinson and Starc both 23.

    @Jono Makim my gut tells me you won't win this series, although I don't think it'll be one-sided, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the series end in a draw. If you can sort a few issues out, though, the series down under should see you start as favourites.

  • H on July 16, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    @CalmIndiaFan they just bowled out England twice in a Test match on a graveyard of a pitch. Agar had a cut on his spinning finger, according to Lehmann he was told to bowl with more overspin than sidespin while it heals, but he can spin it sideways as well as get that loop and bounce. Wouldn't write him off as a bowler just yet.

    Might be a case for bringing in Lyon to supplement him, especially if the weather's going to stay this dry. Lords is usually a lovely batting surface and if it stays sunny, there's every chance Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Smith and Haddin could get some big runs. Maybe dropping Cowan for Lyon and trying to strike an immediate counter-punch by going in with a five-man attack at Lord's is the way to go?

    Otherwise with Warner gone to South Africa, Khawaja's got to come in for Cowan. He looked all at sea, not for the lack of runs, but the way he got out.

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    @Rooboy, I agree up until your last sentence. Aus are unearthing plenty of good young cricketers, of that there is no doubt. I think they may be a little short of winning back the urn in the near term though. It's a grand work in progress but our batsmen still aren't putting enough pressure on with bulk of runs and it doesn't really look for now as though that will change, but I do have some hope in Rogers, short term and more so in Hughes and Smith in the medium term. Still a couple of gaps to fill in though. Maybe blokes like Burns and Maddinson can force their way in and produce sometime soon, Khawaja I really don't know what to think.

  • John on July 16, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    @IndianInnerEdge on (July 15, 2013, 13:44 GMT), I think you'll find that quite a lot of tail-enders try very hard not to give up their wicket. It's just that McGrath whinged about getting out a lot more than most others.

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    @ Gautam N. Shenoy ..... all I can say is "WOW!!!" For almost 4-years Australia has had literally no stable to order. After continual top order collapses, lower order players have continually been called on to win the game, save the game or save Australia from complete embarrassment. There are many examples of Haddin efforts -

    2013 3rd Test Aust vs India : 2 brave efforts after top order collapses. 2011 1st Test Aust vs NZ : Australia is 5/237 trailing NZ by 58 runs Haddin & MC share a 108run p/ship to take Australia to a winning position. 2011 2nd Test Aust vs SA : Australia is 5/165 and combines with MH (50) then MJ (72) to win test. 2010 Ashes Series : In a series remembered for top order collapses 1st Test - P/ship with MH takes Aust from 5/143 to 6/450 2nd Test - Aust were 3/2. At 5/156 BH holds up tail to score 245. 3rd Test - P/ship with MH & MJ take Aust from 5/69 to 7/189 Aust wins Test. 4th Test & 5th Test - Score 55* and 30 trying to stave off inning defeats

  • David on July 15, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    @ Rooboy. You seem convinced Aus is an "up and coming side." Exactly when is the up, or the coming, going to begin? In their last series, Aus did not manage a single win against India or SA. (Close, almost, nearly…don't start with that. A win is a win, not an almost. No win is no win. A series loss is a loss.)

    Aus have been down, & going, against the top ranked teams, but they were even spanked in their last test against NZ! Their top scorers in their last 3 tests were Starc, Siddle and a 19 year old debutant. Their batsmen can't even find the mark in a dark nightclub!

    It is not only the test team. Aus could not scrape up a win in the Champions trophy. India took them down for 65 in a warmup! (Better than 47 all out, but still …) Lucky Bangladesh weren't in their group!

    Please don't get confused - I'm not writing this because I'm an upset Pom. I'm not upset, or a Pom. I'm actually having a good laugh …up and coming … yeah right!

  • Dummy4 on July 15, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    Well fought Australia. I thought the Haddin wicket was out in real time itself w/o the benefit of replays/DRS. There was a clear sound/nick and bat was nowhere close to pad. Tough on Aus as i was hoping that the last wicket would get them through. They played Swann very well, better than the top half played him at least. Anderson is really something.. menacing all the time, bowled really well in India also.

  • Dummy4 on July 15, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    In all my years of watching cricket, this is the first time EVER that Haddin has shown a semblance of a fight and the will to play a responsible innings. This is not the Haddin we know. He is the one who gets frustrated by a few dot balls and gets out trying to loft the bowlers in almost every pressure situation. I am really surprised. And, he is still to play a match winning (test) knock for Australia. Still a long way to go before he can be considered a reasonable wicketkeeper batsman in tests.

  • mick on July 15, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    "eng team are the world beaters the English press have pretended they are"

    No they haven't. Surely you Aussies are smart enough (apparently not) to understand that the 10-0 stuff is a wind up? It's purely and simply a reaction to all the years of the McGrath 5-0 predictions. That's it. No-one believes it but we know it gets you all fulminating so we do it:-) It's no good getting all petulant and precious now when you are getting a taste of your own medicine. Grow up.

    The reason England are perceived to be favourites for this series is that they have been a better team for the last few years against both Oz and most other teams and have backed that up with results, not predictions. How many on the trot have Oz lost now?

  • Vinod on July 15, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    The biggest praise u can give this Aus team or som of the OZ teams of the most recent past was that every one remembers each tme they were defeated !That proud record was due to the spirit of fighters like Haddin. Even though glenn Mcg was never a great batsmen, his attitude with bat in hand was exemplary and he tried his damnest hardest for the bowler to earn his wicket. With such spirits, this augurs well for the rest of the series...this test match was from test match nirvana.....Bring on Lords...!