England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 4th day

Faulkner criticises England tactics

Brydon Coverdale at The Oval

August 24, 2013

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James Faulkner sent down his first overs in Test cricket, England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 2nd day, August 22, 2013
James Faulkner wasn't impressed with his first look at England © Getty Images
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James Faulkner has learnt the Australian art of sledging the English. Even after only four days of his Test career. Even when he hasn't taken a Test wicket. Even at 3-0 down in an Ashes series. Not surprisingly, Faulkner is a favourite of Shane Warne, the man who captained him at the Melbourne Stars, promoted him as a Test cricketer and presented him with his baggy green on the first morning at The Oval.

"The way they batted yesterday, they chose to bat that way. If you're 3-0 up there's no reason why you shouldn't push and try to be 4-0 up," Faulkner said after the washed-out fourth day at The Oval, and following a third day on which England had scored 215 in 98 overs. "That's their choice ... I know the fans get a refund for their ticket today but maybe they should've for yesterday."

There is no question that Faulkner was selected in part to see what he could bring to Test cricket and to assess him ahead of the home Ashes, and because it was believed that he would add some toughness to a side that had perhaps been lacking it. In the Sheffield Shield, Faulkner is a wicket-taker - he has picked up 111 in his past three seasons - but he found it tough going on day three against England, who took only 29 runs from his 12 overs but offered no real chances.

"It didn't surprise me. Any time they feel threatened they sort of go in their shell and play pretty defensive cricket. That didn't really surprise me at all," Faulkner said of England's approach. "I think when they come to Australia it's going to be played on our terms and I think they'll be in for a hell of a challenge back home."

Whether Faulkner is part of that home series remains to be seen. Graham Gooch, as England's batting coach, will have a major role in preparing his batsmen for the different challenges of an Ashes series in Australia, where the pitches are expected to have more bounce and carry. He said it was understandable Australia would be frustrated at the match situation but that England were comfortable with their position.

"The Australian fast bowlers have bowled exceptionally in the last two or three Tests and they've really put our top order under pressure," Gooch said. "Credit to them. Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle in particular have been exceptional. We'd have liked to be in a slightly different position, a more advanced position, but it didn't happen. It's not the end of the world. We're not frustrated, because we're the ones with three Test wins, they're the ones with nil Test wins.

"I don't think any team goes out there to bat slowly. Sometimes you find the conditions a little bit easier to score than others. We certainly would've liked to have scored quicker. But we want to compete every ball and play tight, and we didn't move the score along as we'd have liked. Sometimes that happens in Test cricket. Sometimes you score 300 in a day, sometimes it's a bit harder work."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by SuperSharky on (August 26, 2013, 13:03 GMT)

Well played England. Because you are the creators of the Test Cricket Game, you did the necessary basics just right to feel comfortable. And with that, reminding Australia what is Test Cricket. Maybe they forgot about defensive cricket and thought it was an entertaining monkey event for eager spectators, who only want to see a result, wickets and runs. Maybe they were wishing it was still their KFC twenty twenty bash where all the hot auzzie action is. I can watch for 5 days an defensive match and still feels entertained by Test Cricket. Graeme Gooch summed it up perfectly by saying that it was understandable Australia would be frustrated at the match situation but that England were comfortable with their position.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (August 26, 2013, 5:54 GMT)

England is the last country that can point fingers at others for ruining a Test match for the spectators. They score dreadfully slow - by nature. They take their time to bowl their overs when the other side is in a strong position. I've seen the English bowl all over the place when the batsman on the other side is taking them to the cleaners. I've seen their opening batsman and current captain score 16 runs off 90 balls with the very clear intent of drawing that Test. Yes, it's no shame to play for a draw, but then don't call yourself a better side if you do. I think Michael Clarke was more of a man than the English who decided to play SAFE after a 2-0 nil lead in the series going into the last Test!

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 25, 2013, 19:07 GMT)

"Any time they feel threatened they sort of go in their shell and play pretty defensive cricket."

Yeah, I mean, what kind of team resorts to deliberately spraying the ball down the leg-side to prevent the other team scoring runs? That's pretty defensive cricket, no doubt about it, I can't believe Cook would resort to that...

Wait, what do you mean it was Michael Clarke?

While I don't think there was anything wrong with what Clarke did, will Faulkner be as quick to criticise those tactics? This nonsense that Clarke's declaration shows he was willing to lose in order to win was shown up when Clarke resorted to slow over rates (in the hopes they'd go off for bad light) and firing the ball down the leg-side.

Nothing wrong with that, England's tactics have seen them win this series 3-0, why not try and emulate them? But stop with the hypocrisy.

Posted by king_julien on (August 25, 2013, 17:36 GMT)

@David Allen...The best top 5 of all time...really!!!! now that one had me in splits. Maybe you started following cricket in the last 3 years, even there they do not have best top 5.. Not even one in the top five have an average of 50. Even in current SA side Amla, Kallis and AB average above 50 with Smith not far behind.

In the English side, Root is a prodigy but yet to prove himself, Bell for all the Ashes heroics is walking wicket against quality spin (UAE anyone), Trott similarly has a poor record in sub-continent. Both of them have poor record against SA.

Only Cook and Kevin Pietersen have performed at most places..but then again, most good teams at all times have 1 or 2 great players.

Even if we go back a mere 7 years Aus had Hayden, Langer, Ponting ,Clark, Hussey and India at same time had Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman. These are just 2 small examples. We could keep going back.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (August 25, 2013, 15:34 GMT)

The Australians on these pages are embarrassing. Worst winners and worst losers in the world. This once proud country has to spit the dummy and make excuses for their woeful on the field and off field performances. I don't think the Aussie ego can cope with losing; this is why they whinged about the pitches in India, claimed S.A were lucky in Aus and now every excuse under the sun has been rolled out in England. Pathetic on one hand but hilarious on the other.

Posted by JustIPL on (August 25, 2013, 13:46 GMT)

What do you mean Faukner.? Aussies bowled their heart out but england survived due to Petersen, Bell experience. Do you want england to get out early so that you win the test? I think you regret your contribution with the bat and then with the ball as it is a totally different scenario than IPL.

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 25, 2013, 13:09 GMT)

I'm guessing he'll feel a bit better now. I think what he really meant was "England's batsmen should play some loose shots so I can get some wickets, because I looked about as threatening as a newborn kitten when they actually played properly".

Posted by   on (August 25, 2013, 13:03 GMT)

A good point made by smudgemax. England aren't a great side but they probably do have the best top five of all time. For me the bowling let's the side down when conditions don't suit.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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